Jesus as a Biblical Prophet
Christians have always searched for the answer to their enigma (Jesus’ nature). However, the answer is right in front of them! While there are no verses in the entire Bible where Jesus explicitly states his deity, there are verses that state his prophethood. Some Christians agree that Jesus is a prophet amongst other characteristics; yet this article examines some of the verses proving that Jesus could have only been a prophet and not God. Let’s start by examining this verse:
John 12:49 –
“For I have not spoken on my own authority; but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.”
We see the clear distinction between God and Jesus by the acknowledgment that Jesus has no authority to speak on his own. Interesting to see that Jesus (supposedly God) has no authority, wonder who has it then? On the contrary, Jesus is commanded by God which dictates to him what to say. Now why would “God” need God to tell him what to do?! Christians would hold on to the claim that it is the “human” nature of Jesus that is commanded and commissioned. But to say that Jesus was imperfect (needing the Father to tell him what to say) in his human nature while he was perfect in his God nature implies two different persons,two minds, two wills, and two characters occupying one body. This is not acceptable because according to the Nicene Creed Jesus was only one person and not two. Furthermore, what’s a prophet according to the bible? We find the following verse contains the definition:
Deuteronomy 18:18 –
I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.
A prophet is someone with no words of his own but with words of a higher authority, and is someone who is commanded. These criteria fit Jesus in light of the John 12:49. The latter only makes sense if Jesus is a prophet that’s conveying God’s message not his own. Again, why would God need himself to convey his own message? This brings us to the following verses. Jesus, in fact, wasn’t sent with words of his own:
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
“Jesus answered them and said, ‘My doctrine is not mine, but His who sent me.’”
Again, it is obvious that Jesus wasn’t sent to inform his believers of “his law and message” (if he was God). He was sent as a messenger from God to guide us to the right path. In these two verses prior mentioned, it is clear that neither the “words” nor the “doctrine” is Jesus’; it is God’s. This means that Jesus is not the source of Christianity per se because it is God that states the pillars of “true” Christian faith. If Jesus was God, his words and doctrines would be his as well since “he and the father are one”. There wouldn’t be any need to differentiate between what is for Jesus and what is for God… If you apply prophethood to Jesus, the verses make sense. After all, according to Merriam Webster Dictionary, a prophet is: “one who utters divinely inspired revelations”. This can be applied to Jesus because he is uttering God’s words and His doctrines.
Not only did Jesus not have any words of his own (John 14:24, John 7:16), in fact he couldn’t do anything on his own. He needed God…
John 5:30 –
By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.
Jesus even acknowledged the fact that God gave him power:
John 13:3 –
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God.
The key word in this verse is “given”. Jesus is not the source of power or authority, God is. So, again there’s a disparity between “giver” (source) and the receiver (dependent). Jesus is not a dependent being on his own, he needs God. This further disproves his deity and gets us closer to establishing the fact that Jesus is simply a prophet.
Matthew 21:10-11 –
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”11The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Luke 24:19 –
“What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people”
Barnes’ Notes on the Bible (Luke 24:19)
A prophet – A teacher sent from God. They did not now call him the “Messiah,” for his “death” had led them to doubt that, but they had no doubt that he was a distinguished “prophet.” The evidence of that was so clear that they “could” not call it in question.
Mighty in deed – Powerful in working miracles, in raising the dead, healing the sick, etc.
In word – In teaching.
Before God and all the people – Manifestly; publicly. So that “God” owned him, and the people regarded him as a distinguished teacher.
So, did people whom Jesus performed miracles to consider him as God? No!A prophet is also provided with miracles; it is consistent with being a prophet and is nothing new… Speaking about miracles, some Christians tend to use Jesus’ miracles as a proof for his deity. However, who gave Jesus his power and his miracles? It is God.
Acts 2:22 –
“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.”
Most importantly, what did Jesus say about himself?
Matthew 13:57 – And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.”
Luke 13:33 –
In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day–for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!
Now, did Jesus say I am God and I came down to this earth to spread my word?! No! He said I am a prophet! How clearer can it get? So, until someone can show me where Jesus explicitly says I am God, I’m still going to believe what Islam said about him; Jesus is a prophet. I’d like to end with this monotheistic verse
Mark 12:29 – Jesus answered, “The most important is “Here, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.”
Notice how Jesus includes himself with the people by saying our God. Jesus does have a God after all… I guess the question is: could God have a God? Furthermore, if you combine Mark 12:29 (and many other verses like it which can be found in the bible …) with all the verses proving Jesus’ prophethood and all the verses challenging Jesus’ deity ( John 14:28, 8:28, 5:19; Mark 13:32, 10:18; Matthew 27:46, 26:39, Luke 2:52, 22:43, 6:12… ) you do get a coherent concept. A concept of Jesus the prophet which is far more logical than that of the trinity…
Finally, who is Jesus (PBUH) in Islam? Jesus (PBUH) is a revered prophet of Allah (SWT):
In blasphemy indeed are those that say that Allah is Christ the son of Mary. Say: “Who then hath the least power against Allah, if His will were to destroy Christ the son of Mary, his mother, and all every – one that is on the earth? For to Allah belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between. He createth what He pleaseth. For Allah hath power over all things. – (The Noble Qur’an – Al Mâ’idah 5:17)
Certainly they disbelieve who say: “Surely Allah, He is the Messiah, son of Maryam”. And the Messiah said: “O Children of Israel! Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord, surely whoever associates (others) with Allah, then Allah has forbidden to him the garden, and his abode is the fire; and there shall be no helpers for the unjust. – (The Noble Qur’an – Al Mâ’idah 5:72)
“The Messiah (Jesus), son of Mary, was no more than a Messenger before whom many Messengers have passed away; and his mother adhered wholly to truthfulness, and they both ate food (as other mortals do). See how We make Our signs clear to them; and see where they are turning away!” – (The Noble Qur’an – Al Mâ’idah 5:75).
Say: “Praise be to Allah, who begets no son, and has no partner in (His) dominion: Nor (needs) He any to protect Him from humiliation: yea, magnify Him for His greatness and glory! – (Al Isrâ’ 17:111)
O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not “Trinity”: desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs. – (The Noble Qur’an – An Nisâ’ 4:171)
And Allah Knows Best.