In Deuteronomy 18, God promises through Moses to raise a line of godly prophets in Israel. That line would culminate in one person who would be the "prophet like me" of Deuteronomy 18:15: "The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him." Deuteronomy 18:18 gives us the same promise in the Lord's own words: "I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him."
It's interesting to discover that the Jews had always understood that this prophecy would one day be fulfilled in a literal way by the coming of a "the Prophet" who would either A) come just before Messiah or B) would, in fact, be the Messiah. That expectation helps explain the dialogue between the Jews and John the Baptist in John 1:19-21. When they ask who he was, he said, "I am not the Christ." "Who are you, then? Are you Elijah?" "No. "Well, then, are you the Prophet." "No." When they said, "the Prophet," both the Jews and John the Baptist understood the reference to be the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18.
The same thing happened to Jesus himself. When he performed the miracle of feeding the 5000 in John 6, the crowd responded by saying, "Surely this the Prophet who is to come into the world" (John 6:14). Again, the reference is to Deuteronomy 18. Later when he spoke to the multitiudes at the Feast of Tabernacles, some of the people exclaimed, "Surely this man is the Prophet" (John 7:40).
John 5 records a long dialogue between Christ and his antogonists where they question his credentials to be the Messiah. At the end of the debate, he summarizes his position by referring them to Moses, who was universally revered in Judaism. He basically accused them of not believing Moses' words: "If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me" (John 5:46). But where did Moses write about Christ? There are several possible answers, but none more obvious than Deuteronomy 18.
Excerpted from "A Prophet Like Moses" by Keep Believing Ministries (used by permission).