For Moses truly said to the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up to you of your brothers, like to me…
These verses may be regarded as attesting the unapproachable greatness of the Lord Jesus Christ; they invite us to think -
I. THAT HE WAS LIKE UNTO THE GREATEST OF ALL WHO PRECEDED HIM, BUT WAS GREATER THAN HE. (Ver. 22.) A greater Legislator than Moses, for his laws should last as long as time itself; a better Man, for he was absolutely without sin; a worthier Leader, conducting out of a harder bondage into a truer freedom, unto a land of greater promise.
II. THAT HIS RELATION TO MANKIND IS SUCH THAT THE REFLECTION OF HIM IS THE RUIN OF OURSELVES. (Ver. 23.) To be ignorant of some human teachers is to lose a valuable heritage, a precious treasure, excellent and elevating enjoyment; but to refuse his friendship, to reject his service, is to cut ourselves off from the source of eternal truth, is to abandon ourselves to the course which ends in spiritual death.
III. THAT HE IS THE ONE GREAT HERO OF SACRED SCRIPTURE. (For. 24.) "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." Rightly read, "all the prophets" testified of him, and pointed on to those days in which he lived, suffered, died, and rose again.
IV. THAT HE BLESSES WHOM HE SERVES WITH THE SUPREME BLESSING. (Ver. 26.) What would we give to those whom we would fain serve? Health, fortune, power, fame, human love? Jesus Christ blesses by "turning away every one from his iniquities." What a transcendent blessing is this! Consider:
1. How much it involves; viz. the removal of the penalty and the power of sin from each individual soul.
2. How much it implies; viz. the restoration of each soul to God (for to fear him, to love him, and to strive to please him, is the only way to escape from a state of sin), and entrance upon eternal life (for the sphere of sin is the region of death, and to be delivered from the former is to enter the kingdom of life, the life which is spiritual and eternal).
3. By what means it is effected; viz.
(1) by the sacrifice of himself (Hebrews 9:26), and
(2) by attracting us to himself and his service (John 12:32; 1 John 3:5, 6).
V. THAT, COMING TO REDEEM THE RACE, HE OFFERS HIS SALVATION FIRST TO THOSE WHO HAD REJECTED HIM. (Vers. 25, 26.) They to whom Peter spoke were "the children of the prophets;" but they had "denied the Holy One and the Just," and "killed the Prince of life." Yet to those who had so shamefully abused their privileges the apostle said, "To you first," etc. Jesus came to "call sinners to repentance," to restore those who had fallen the furthest, to cleanse the most leprous, to raise the spiritually dead, to win those most utterly estranged and most bitterly opposed to himself. So great a Conqueror is he. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.