Samuel is one of the most well-known prophets in the Bible. And while there is no written record of him prophesying a future Messiah, Peter describes him as being the first prophet to speak of the days when a Messiah would come. (Acts 3:24) He was the last of the judges in Israel and would anoint its first two kings – Saul and David. God used Samuel in many ways to lead the nation of Israel during a time of transition. And his life would also foreshadow the biggest transition of all for God’s people… the beginning of the Kingdom of God.
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And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days. – Acts 3:24
Samuel points to Jesus in some pretty unique and interesting ways. In fact, some scholars would say that his life nearly mirrors or foreshadows the life of Christ.
Here are three similarities between Samuel and Jesus (as well as some major differences):
Now, no birth is more miraculous than the birth of Jesus was born of a virgin. But Samuel’s birth was miraculous nonetheless. His mother Hannah was barren and desperately desired a son. She made a vow to God that if He would give her a son, she would give him back to God. Her prayer was answered and Samuel was born. At a young age, Samuel went to live at the Temple with Eli the priest and served God all the days of his life. All of this was accompanied by a joyous song of thanksgiving from Hannah’s heart in 1 Samuel 2:1-10. If you remember, Mary also sang a song of thanksgiving after the miraculous birth of Jesus. (Luke 1:46-55)
Many scholars also believe that Luke was making a connection between Samuel and Jesus and their upbringing when he wrote the following in his gospel:
And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. – Luke 2:52
Now the boy Samuel was growing in stature and in favor both with the Lord and with men. – 1 Samuel 2:26
Both were miraculously conceived, and both were raised in preparation to serve God with their lives.
Life of service and obedience…
Both Samuel and Jesus lived a life of service and obedience to God. They devoted their entire lives to serving Him and living out His call on their lives. In Samuel’s case, he was called at a young age. He audibly heard the voice of God so clearly that he thought Eli was calling for him. Jesus obeyed His Father to the point of death on the cross.
For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. – John 12:49
I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me. – John 14:30-31 (NIV)
Two kingdoms established…
Samuel would establish the Kingdom of Israel under their first king, Saul; and he would soon be replaced by King David. But Jesus would establish the Kingdom of God. As King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus will be on the throne forever as our King!
When speaking to King David, God gave him the following promise:
When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me… – 2 Samuel 7:12-14
God used Samuel in a mighty way to transition His people towards their true purpose.
In the same way, the greatest transition of all happened when our Messiah died on the cross, came back to life, and took His place as our King.
This post is part of a larger series called “Let There Be Light.” Join me as we journey through the Old Testament leading up to the arrival of Jesus, the Light of the World!
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
**Photo by Ben White at ChristianPics.co