CHAPTER 6: JESUS THE PROPHET
Mark 6:4: “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.”
Jesus is in Nazareth in this passage. Jesus is from Nazareth. Jesus grew up in Nazareth. Jesus is among people who saw Him as a baby, a child, an adolescent and knew His family well. They knew His brothers and sisters.
Jesus calls Himself a “prophet” in this verse (and in other places). Is that a correct term for Jesus? My first thought is… yes… because Jesus Himself uses the term so it must be correct. But why? Many times we apply other titles or labels to Jesus, but we do not always use ‘prophet.’ In my opinion, other religions use that term to downgrade Jesus in their belief systems.
What is a prophet (238x in Old Testament and New Testament)?
A professor of mine taught me the following:
Prediction – 5% of information and passages deal with the future
Rebuke – this made them often unpopular due to the burden of judgment
Ordination – did so for successors for kingdoms at God’s directions
Prayer – intercessory prayer for the people
Healing – mostly early prophets like Elijah and Elisha
Exhortation – Word of God to others like Nineveh
Teaching – large blocks of information and theology in the Bible
Jesus Christ did all of those things in His ministry. Yes, He made predictions and rebuked others and ordained the Church and prayed and miraculously healed and preached and taught. He did all of those things! Jesus was indeed a prophet.
Not only did Jesus do the things prophets did, but He also died the way prophets died.
Matthew 5:12 says, “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Hebrews 11:32-38 says as well, “And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37 They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated– 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.”
The scribes and Pharisees and the elite had a power base in the Sanhedrin and in the Temple in Jerusalem which is why Jesus was questioned in the Temple when He taught there (Matthew 21:23-27 || Mark 11:27-33|| Luke 20:1-8). He was in their seat of power teaching. He was not ‘qualified’ to be one of them. He was not allowed by them to teach. And yet He could and people listened because He was a prophet.
In the more rural areas (Capernaum, Nazareth, etc) it is my understanding that men took turns reading and giving comments (Luke 4:16-30) like Jesus did in His hometown. We see that in Mark 6 as well. This is similar to my understanding of how the Amish teach and preach even today. I don’t believe every synagogue had a Pharisee assigned as they would have in the captivity in Babylon which is where the synagogues and Pharisees started. He was allowed in rural areas. He was a prophet bringing His message.
In addition, notice in Mark 6:4 (also Luke 4:24) that Jesus calls Himself “prophet” which would have been a traveling evangelist in the same way as John the Baptist or Elijah. Those fellows were outside the system but held authority from God. Isaiah and Jeremiah and Jonah were also prophets but were more inside-the-system guys. Jesus was allowed as He held the outside-the-system prophet position.
Even after His resurrection in Luke 24:19, the 2 disciples on the road to Emmaus called Jesus a prophet. Jesus was an outside-the-system teacher and prophet. When questioned about His authority to teach and preach (Matthew 21:23-27 || Mark 11:27-33|| Luke 20:1-8) He just thumbed His nose at them. Part of why they kilt Him.
Oh yes, He was a prophet… The Prophet.