Epiphany 4, January 31, 2021

Prophet and Savior (which is why we LISTEN)  Deuteronomy 18:15–20

"The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet (Asyndeton) like me from among you, from your brothers-- it is to him (Asyndeton) you shall listen--

21They went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath [Jesus] entered the synagogue and was teaching. 22And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.

To whom should we listen? These days it seems everybody’s putting something in our ear—politicians, pastors, teachers, bosses or foremen or team leaders. Half of it we don’t believe, and the other half, well, we’re a little wary. Chances are we ought to be.

Problem is, most people are just telling us what they think we ought to hear.

  • Two aspects of the Lord’s gift of a prophet:
  • The divine initiative over against the human initiatives 
  • The way of the Canaanites and the way of Israel is characteristic of the Book of Deuteronomy and its emphasis on the divine Word.

V 15: 

  • Gospel Handle - This is the pre-figure-ment of Jesus Christ
  • Canaanite practices of divination and various forms of seeking “insider information” from the gods and spirits. 
  • Such practices were accompanied by child sacrifice, because these were intended to secure the favor of those same deities.
  • The Prophet God would raise up: 
  • Was the one, the only one, to whom Israel should listen; he would tell them all they needed to know. 
  • He would be from among their brothers, as Moses was, meant he would not have to be placated with the pagans’ horrific sacrifices; he would already be favorably disposed toward them.
  • Weekend of Feb 14th: On the holy mountain of the Transfiguration, his Father’s voice repeated Moses by saying “Listen to him” (Mk 9:7). 
  • Jesus of Nazareth will be the final messianic prophet. Christ is the fulfillment of God’s word of promise.
  • Idolatry (as depicted in Deut 18:9–14) attempts to escape from the living voice of the living God.
  • Moses warns the people that false prophets would speak words that God did not command.

V 16: 

  • When God spoke at Sinai, Israel was terrified to hear from God directly (Ex 20:18–21). As Moses has now been the mediator, so Christ will bring God’s word in a way we sinful people can bear to hear.

V 17: 

  • Jesus not only prays for us, he steps into our place (2 Cor 5:21) and rises again for our vindication (Rom 4:25).

V 18: 

Vv 19–20: 

  • This law crucified Christ!!!!!  This was the share of blasphemy!!

How do we know if something is really a false prophecy, or someone is a false prophet or false teacher? That is why it is so important for the laity to know God’s word as well, especially as summarized in (AT LEAST!!) Luther’s Small and Large Catechism

  • Martin Luther’s classic hymn “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word” emphasizes how essential this Word is to Christ’s ongoing work. What he has accomplished in his death and resurrection benefits us only when we hear of it and believe. 
  • “Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word; Curb those who by deceit or sword Would wrest the kingdom from Your Son And bring to naught all He has done” (LSB 655:1).

 

In the Creed, we are admitting that the Holy Spirit brings us into faith with Jesus and that he keeps us in that faith. 

So we proclaim as we speak the Apostles Creed: