Jesus spoke of himself using many messianic titles from Scripture. Names such as “Son of Man” in Luke 19:10, “Green Tree” in Luke 23:31, and “King” in Matthew 25:34 all have their origins in messianic passages from the Hebrew Scriptures. Jesus also was referred to by such messianic titles as “Lord” (Luke 5:8), “Son of God” (Luke 1:35) and “Son of David” (Luke 18:38).
One title applied to Jesus is not so clearly messianic: “Prophet.” There can be little doubt that Jesus viewed himself as a prophet, and that many of his contemporaries concurred.
Jesus the Prophet
Jesus claimed to be a prophet when he quoted the popular saying, “No one is a prophet in his own village,” going on to compare himself to Elijah and Elisha (Luke 4:24-27). He made the same claim when he said, “It cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem” (Luke 13:33).
But what did the people of Nain have in mind when they exclaimed, “A great prophet has been raised in our midst!” (Luke 7:16)? Since they had just witnessed the bringing to life of a dead man, a miracle that also had been performed by Elijah (1 Kgs. 17:17-24) and Elisha (2 Kgs. 4:18-37), one might conclude that the people viewed Jesus as a prophet of the stature of these or other biblical prophets. However, the language of their exclamation suggests a connection with a scriptural passage that points to a more radical conclusion.
Prophecy of Moses
Moses told the people: “A prophet from your midst, from your brothers, like me, will raise for you the Lord your God. To him you must listen” (a literal translation of Deut. 18:15).