In Luke 13:31-35, Jesus responds to the warning by the Pharisees to run from Herod:
31 At that very hour some Pharisees came, and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32 And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. 33 Nevertheless I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’ 34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! 35 Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
What exactly is a prophet? The Catechism defines a prophet as “One sent by God to form the people of the Old Covenant in the hope of salvation.” The Greek word prophetes means one who is “an interpreter, spokesman…and an inspired preacher or teacher.”
Is Jesus just another “prophet” or is He “THE Prophet”? Consider:
- When Jesus speaks, He is constantly referring to the fulfillment of the Old Testament: when He calls Herod a “fox”, it is both a reference to Herod’s slyness but also to a someone who is seeking to oppose God’s Kingdom on earth: “Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards” (Song 2:15). A prophet reveals the truth.
- Jesus casts out demons and performs cures; Elijah in the Old Testament did this too.
- The prophets from the Old Testament were killed in Jerusalem (for example, Isaiah is thought to be sawn in half).
So, is Jesus just another prophet?
No, Jesus is the Son of God, who is all things Divine, including offering prophecy and Truth:
- Jesus speaks of three days in this passage, a reference to the three days between the Crucifixion and Resurrection. This comes true.
- He speaks of His own death and that He will “finish my course”, which is a reference to His Resurrection.
- Jesus uses the imagery of a hen protecting her chicks, a phrase that harkens back to various Old Testament imagery of God’s protection of those who come to Him (Psalm 17:8, 61:3-4).
- What is particularly poignant and amazing is that it is He, Jesus Christ who was with the Father from the beginning (John 1:1), who sent all the Old Testament prophets, who were killed, and who now is coming Himself, offering prophecy (both revelation of the future events and the Truth of God’s loving mercy and wish to draw all to Him).
- His comment, “Behold your house is forsaken” is perhaps a prophecy of the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Christ is offering a prophetic warning.
- Jesus’ last phrase is a bit enigmatic: “you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Jesus is Lord and His own name means “Yahweh (God) saves.” This may be another prophecy of Christ’s second coming.
Prophets come and go. False prophets often find followers.
There is no “prophet” who can compare to THE Prophet, for Jesus Christ is God Himself. Only Jesus, THE Divine Prophet, can reveal the fullness of Truth.