Fri Feb 6, Q 39: Christ is Prophet
39. In what sense do you call Christ a Prophet?
Because on coming down into the world (Isa. 7:14) He was the sovereign messenger and ambassador of God His Father, to give full exposition of God’s will toward the world and so put an end to all prophecies and revelations (Heb. 1:2).
In this one question in the catechism, Calvin pulls together many prophetic concepts concerning Christ, including the Incarnation of the Word (cf. Jn 1:1-3; Heb 1:2), his role as embodied messenger of God (cf. Jn 1:14; Heb 1:3), his mission as ambassador (Jn 1:18; 2 Cor 5:18-19), his purpose in revealing the will of God toward the world (cf. Jn 6:39-40; 17:6-8), and his purpose in being the fulfillment and chief end of the prophetic word (cf. Matt 5:17-20). All of these concepts are involved in Christ’s office as Prophet toward us—his work to make known God and his will to us by the Scriptures and the Spirit of God.
From the time of the second giving of the Law, the Scriptures pointed forward to a prophet like Moses whom God would raise up to speak his words to his people (Dt 18:15, 18; Acts 3:22-24; 7:37; cf. Jn 1:21). In the vein of Moses, but excelling him, that one would have unique experiences as a speaker for God:
Num 12:6 And he said, “Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. 7 Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house. 8 With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the Lord.
The Prophet who is the final Word from God—Jesus, the Son over the house of God—was the form Moses beheld, and is the unique God who declares the unseen God to us (cf. Heb 3:1-6; Jn 1:17-18). His humiliation and exaltation speak of all things God has willed for us. We must sit at the foot of the Cross and the opening of the Tomb and listen with joy.