1 Samuel 3:19-4:22; John 5:24-38; Psalms 106:3-5; Proverbs 23:9-11
OT: “Samuel grew. The Lord was with him, and he fulfilled everything Samuel prophesied. All Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was a confirmed prophet of the Lord. The Lord continued to appear in Shiloh, because there he revealed himself to Samuel by his word. And Samuel’s words came to all Israel.” (1 Samuel 3:19-4:1a CSB)
During the times of the first testament, a prophet was confirmed to be a prophet if his prophecies came true. If a word of prophecy was given and it didn’t come true, the prophet was considered a false prophet. All of Israel knew Samuel to be a prophet of the Lord because every prophesy of Samuel’s came true – every one. Was that because Samuel had special powers and could see into the future? No, it was because the Lord was with him and spoke to him. Samuel never saw God, but he did hear God… and he knew God by His word. God spoke to Samuel and shared with Samuel the things that He was doing, Samuel heard God’s words and shared them with Israel, and the words came true – because they were God’s words.
NT: “Truly I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life. Truly I tell you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, so also he has granted to the Son to have life in himself. And he has granted him the right to pass judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, because a time is coming when all who are in the graves will hear his voice and come out — those who have done good things, to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked things, to the resurrection of condemnation. I can do nothing on my own. I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will, but the will of him who sent me. If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true… These very works I am doing testify about me that the Father has sent me. The Father who sent me has himself testified about me. You have not heard his voice at any time, and you haven’t seen his form. You don’t have his word residing in you, because you don’t believe the one he sent.” (John 5:24-31, 36b-38 CSB)
Jesus, as a man, could do nothing on His own. Though He was the Son of God and the Word of God, He had limited Himself to being a man and was powerless on His own – yet He wasn’t on His own. The Father had sent Him, was with Him through the Holy Spirit, and remained with Him because Jesus didn’t seek His own will, but sought only to do the will of the Father and say only the words of the Father. Jesus was (and is) the Word of God, and all the things that He spoke were the words of God the Father. Because of that, His words had life and continue to have life to this day. Jesus said that the day was coming when the dead would hear His voice and live. That prophecy had an immediate physical fulfillment with Lazarus, but it happens every time someone hears and responds to the words of the Lord: people who were dead in sin are brought to new life in Christ when they hear and believe His words. Anyone who hears Jesus and believes His words will be justified and will pass from death to life! Jesus claimed to be the Son of God and claimed that His words were from God, but He Himself said that His own testimony of Himself would never hold up and pass scrutiny. However, The testimony of John the Baptist, the miraculous works that He performed, and the testimony of the Father Himself (Matthew 3:17) was proof that Jesus was not a self-proclaimed deity. Samuel the prophet knew God by hearing His word, and the religious leaders of Jesus’ day could have known God by hearing His word as well. Though they were experts of the law and studied God’s word, they didn’t know the God of the word because the word of God wasn’t residing in them… and because they didn’t know God, they rejected the One that God sent.