Characters of Christmas: Prophets
By Bryan Crotts
I wonder if you can tell the whole story of the Bible in a few sentences? Impossible! After all, the Protestant Bible contains sixty-six books, 1,189 chapters, 31,202 verses and contains many types of literature (history, poetry, law, etc.) and would be a massive piece of literature to summarize succinctly.
It can be done! French theologian John Calvin said that Scriptures gives us knowledge of God and knowledge of self. Others have said of the Bible that it tells us who God is, what God has done, and what he requires of us. The Bible is the story of God’s plan of salvation for us in Jesus Christ. The whole Bible tells us about creation, fall, and redemption. God made the world and everything in it (Genesis 1 & 2), and will redeem the whole creation from its groaning under sin’s curse (Romans 8). This is done through the person and work of Jesus Christ.
The prophets of the Scriptures tell us in nearly every book of the Bible that Jesus will be the Redeemer of all that it is broken by sin and is now held under its curse (Revelation 5). Along the way through Scriptures, we are given small hints of hope that open with great brightness and clarity in the life and ministry of the Son of God.
Moses first tells us of the promised One who would defeat Satan (Genesis 3). He later speaks of a greater prophet to come whom God would raise up (Deuteronomy 18). The patriarch Job (19) acknowledged, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.” Jeremiah speaks of Jesus as a Righteous king (23). Jesus is foretold to be a good shepherd for Israel and one who will lead them in obedience (Ezekiel 37). Micah speaks of the natal city of Bethlehem (5:2) Hosea 11 tells us about Jesus’ childhood escape from Egypt after Herod’s death. Daniel, in exile in Babylon, looks forward to Jesus’ atoning sacrifice (9). And there are more prophets with more to say!
Isaiah tells us the most. He is often referred to as the Christmas Prophet and show us that Jesus the Messianic King of David will be born of a virgin, a manifestation of God in human flesh, and that his kingship will be one of restoration for God’s people. His songs about Jesus as the Suffering Servant tell of Jesus’ acts of humiliation and exaltation.
Now that we have seen Jesus by faith through the New Testament witnesses, we rejoice because the words of Isaiah 53 have come true, “He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”