The Arrival of a Great Prophet (Deuteronomy 18:13-22)

The Arrival of a Great Prophet (Deuteronomy 18:13-22)

The book of Deuteronomy contains an account of the last year that the Israelites spent in the desert. It also explains the Law of Moses in further detail. Within its pages, there is also a reference to the future coming of a great prophet, who would follow in Moses’ footsteps.

Moses himself told the Israelites: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet.” (Deuteronomy 18:18). What does this mean? Moses was a mediator between God and the people. He spoke directly to God and passed on his Law to them. He was also a miracle-worker, a leader and a rescuer (Sirach 45:1-5; Acts 7:35-38; Galatians 3:19)

The great prophet to follow, therefore, would also be a lawgiver, a leader and a liberator. Like Moses, he would work miracles. Above all, he would speak directly to God and transmit his commandments to the people (Deuteronomy 18:17-18; 34:10). None of the later Old Testament prophets did this. Unlike Moses, they saw visions but never spoke to God “face to face” (Number 12:6-8).

Christ told the Jewish leaders that he himself was the promised prophet, saying: “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.” (John 5:46). The people realised that Christ was the New Moses after he had worked the miracle of the loaves and fishes. They said: “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.” (John 6:14)

Christ showed himself to be a lawgiver like Moses when he delivered the Sermon on the Mount. During this speech, he clarified certain aspects of the Law of Moses and set new guidelines for his followers (Matthew 5:1-48). His principles were based on the Golden Rule: “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

As Pope Francis explained: “As Moses had covenanted with God by virtue of the law received on Mount Sinai, so Jesus, from a hill on the shore of the Lake of Galilee, gives to his disciples and to the crowd a new lesson which begins with the Beatitudes. Moses gives the Law on Mount Sinai and Jesus, the new Moses, gives the Law on that hillside, on the shore of the Lake of Galilee.”

This stained glass scene pictures Christ delivering the Sermon on the Mount, during which he clarified the Law of Moses. The window is found within the sanctuary of Our Lady Help of Christians in Blackheath. The date and artist is uncertain, but in keeping with others in the church it was probably produced by Hardman & Co in the late 1890s.

See the full image:

Sermon-MountHardman & Co / The Sermon on the Mount / late 1890s

Where to find this work of art
Our Lady Help of Christians, Blackheath

Read the relevant passage
Deuteronomy 18:13-22

On a similar theme

  • From the Old Testament: Moses, as a lawgiver, received the Ten Commandments from God on Mount Sinai.
  • From the New Testament: During the Sermon on the Mount, Christ shared the moral lessons of The Beatitudes with the people.

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