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The Rising Of The Prophet
The coming of the Messiah (read the study series from Israelite Monarchy - The Messiah) was long-expected. All Prophecy is centered on His comings (see Why Two Comings Of The Christ? and Jesus Of Nazareth, Prophet Of God). But the first coming of the Son of God seemed sudden; Jesus of Nazareth had lived about thirty years of His life without much public notice, before His appointed time came.
"7:16 And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people. 7:17 And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about." (Luke 7:16-17 KJV)
"They glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, that God hath visited His people"
The public "rising up" of The Christ caught even John the Baptist by surprise (at least perhaps by who it was, rather than the certain knowledge that the Son of God, Who was to be born as a man, then had to be around as someone), which seems somewhat ironic because John's entire life (John wouldn't even have been born if not for his later service to the LORD - see The Other Miraculous Birth) and ministry were intended to prepare the way for the Messiah, an "opening act" for a play that had been written long before by "the LORD God" Who would Himself fulfill the prophecy of His own coming (see Christ The Creator, 'The God Of The Old Testament', 'Before Abraham Was, I AM' and Why Did Christ Put Moses To Death?). Nevertheless, the Messiah's answer was undeniable, by anyone with the "eyes to see" - and John surely had them.
"7:18 And the disciples of John showed him of all these things. 7:19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?
The Messiah then publicly reiterated John's purpose (see The Prophet Of The Judean Wilderness) as a testimony of John, a validation of John's ministry in response to John's validation of Him.
"7:24 And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind? 7:25 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings' courts. 7:26 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. 7:27 This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
Fact Finder: Christ's return will not be in secret. It will be preceded by great events (e.g. see The Seven Seals and The Last Two Prophets). But nevertheless, for many it will seem sudden. Why?