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Before the coming of Jesus, God would visit his prophets on occasion to give them a word or a vision through his Holy Spirit. The prophets would then go forth to the people and proclaim what God had told them. This proclamation was usually preceded with “Thus saith the Lord”, indicating that the word or vision had been given to the prophets some time before it was proclaimed. In other words, there was a gap in time between when the prophets received the word or vision from God, and when they proclaimed it to the people. God’s Spirit did not remain with the prophets, but only visited them now and then. This distinction between Old Testament prophets and all prophets since Jesus is critically important.
With Jesus, there was no need for “Thus saith the Lord” because God’s Spirit was with him 24/7. God didn’t just occasionally visit Jesus with a prophetic word or vision, he was with Jesus all the time, through his Holy Spirit. So when Jesus opened his mouth to speak a word or vision, God was speaking directly through him at that time. There was no delay between when Jesus received the word or vision from God and when he proclaimed it to the people. The receiving of the word from God and the proclamation to the people were simultaneous, which is why Jesus didn’t have to say “Thus saith the Lord”.
However, this form of proclamation, enabled through the constant presence of God’s Spirit with Jesus, has confused many into believing that Jesus is God. This deification of Jesus would have puzzled not only his followers but also Jesus himself. In fact, Jesus is very clear that “the Father” is greater than he, and that he is the “one who was to come”, meaning that he is God’s Messiah, God’s son, God’s suffering servant, and God’s Prophet, as prophesied throughout the Old Testament by various prophets. Jesus himself referred to his role on Earth as “son of man”, which means “prophet” or speaker and revealer of God’s Truth. This was in reference to Moses’ renowned prophecy (Deuteronomy 18:15-18) that a mighty “Prophet” (note the upper-case “P”) would one day arise, and that God would put his words in his mouth and the Prophet would speak all that God commands him.
Similarly, the prophet Isaiah’s reference to the Messiah as “Immanuel” or “God with us” doesn’t mean that Jesus is God, but that God was with Jesus through his Holy Spirit. In the same way, God is with born-again believers through his Holy Spirit, as Jesus promised us he would be. In fact, the presence of God’s Holy Spirit with someone is the key indicator that the soul is reborn. The main difference between us born-agains and Jesus is that Jesus had the fullness of God’s Spirit with him, having been born with it (not born-again), whereas we have only a portion of God’s Spirit with us, depending on the strength of our relationship with God and the depth of our faith.
As with Jesus, when God gives us a word or vision, we also don’t have to precede it with “Thus saith the Lord”, because God speaks directly through us at any given time. His Spirit is always with us. However, it’s up to us how much we allow God to speak or work through us. We make that decision through our thoughts and actions, that is, our will. The more our will aligns with God’s, the more he can work through us, through his Spirit.
I don’t know about you, but I want God to work through me as much as possible, so I want to align my will with God’s as much as I can. When Jesus stated that “the Father and I are one”, he meant that his will and God’s will were so aligned that what Jesus wanted was exactly what God wanted, and vice-versa. Jesus, in everything his did and said, reflected God’s will.
We need to strive for the same.