Lent Devotion for March 15
"Believe Moses, Believe Me”
Reader: “If you really believe in Moses…”
Response: "…you would believe in me.”
SCRIPTURE: Deuteronomy 18:15-22
15 Moses continued, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. 16 For this is what you yourselves requested of the Lord your God when you were assembled at Mount Sinai.
You said, ‘Don’t let us hear the voice of the Lord our God anymore or see this blazing fire, for we will die.’
17 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘What they have said is right. 18 I will raise up a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell the people everything I command him. 19 I will personally deal with anyone who will not listen to the messages the prophet proclaims on my behalf. 20 But any prophet who falsely claims to speak in my name or who speaks in the name of another god must die.’
21 “But you may wonder, ‘How will we know whether or not a prophecy is from the Lord?’ 22 If the prophet speaks in the Lord’s name but his prediction does not happen or come true, you will know that the Lord did not give that message. That prophet has spoken without my authority and need not be feared.
SCRIPTURE: John 5:41-47
41 “Your approval means nothing to me, 42 because I know you don’t have God’s love within you. 43 For I have come to you in my Father’s name, and you have rejected me. Yet if others come in their own name, you gladly welcome them. 44 No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from the one who alone is God.
45 “Yet it isn’t I who will accuse you before the Father. Moses will accuse you! Yes, Moses, in whom you put your hopes. 46 If you really believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me. 47 But since you don’t believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
Do you recall who was at the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus? It was Moses and Elijah representing the Law and the Prophets, two-thirds of the Old Testament. They were discussing with Jesus how He was fulfilling both of them and preparing for His final “exodus,” having neared the completion of His earthly mission. In the Deuteronomy passage, we see that Moses was a prophet, called by God. The prophet was God’s spokesman to the people. If you will, God used a human’s voice to communicate with His people, in the language of the people. No chance to misunderstand! We also read that Moses told the people that God would raise up another Jewish prophet after Him. Notice the verbs associated with God and His prophet. “I will raise up; I will put my words in his mouth; I will command him; I will personally deal with… There is no mistaking God’s relationship to his prophet. The margin of error for a prophet of God is zero. Everything they say must be 100% true and correct every time, or they are not God’s prophet. There is clearly a close, vitally personal relationship between God and His prophet.
When Jesus responds to the Jewish leaders in John’s gospel, He knows the leaders have a legalistic mindset in regards to God. They have rejected Jesus, and in doing so, have rejected Moses as well. In this passage, Jesus makes the claim that He is the fulfillment of what Moses had said. “If you really believed Moses you would believe me, because he wrote about me.” Jesus spoke God’s truth and unfortunately, the people rejected Him. Jesus is the ultimate prophet. People and religions of the world that look at Jesus as a great prophet (Islam, et al), bring condemnation upon themselves, because His claim was not only that He was the Prophet, but also Priest and King, the Son of God, the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that no one comes to the Father but through Him. What He said puts everything else in perfect perspective, for it is God’s perspective. God took on human flesh to communicate as clearly as possible to the people He loves and for whom He died.
MUSIC: “The Lord’s Prayer" by Andrea Bocelli and Mormon Tabernacle Choir
May the time not be distant, O God, when Your name shall be worshipped in all the earth, when unbelief shall disappear and error be no more. Fervently we pray that the day may come when all shall turn to You in love, when corruption and evil shall give way to integrity and goodness, when superstition shall no longer enslave the mind, nor idolatry blind the eye, when all who dwell on earth shall know that You alone are God. O may all, created in Your image, become one in spirit and one in friendship, for ever united in Your service. Then shall Your kingdom be established on earth, and the word of Your prophet fulfilled: "The Lord will reign for ever and ever." On that day the Lord shall be One and His name shall be One.
–The New Union Prayer Book, 1975