Mark 1:3 says that John the Baptist was “a voice crying in the the wilderness”; and of this prophet who Jesus called “more than a prophet” (Luke 7:26) our Lord said, “Among those born of women none is greater than John” (Luke 7:28).
“In the year that the commander-in-chief, who was sent by Sargon the king of Assyria, came to Ashdod and fought against it and took it — at that time the Lord had spoken by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, ‘Go, and loose the sackcloth from your loins and take off your shoes from your feet,’ and he had done so, walking naked and barefoot — the Lord said, ‘As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Ethiopia, so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians captives and the Ethiopians exiles, both the young and the old, naked and barefoot, with buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt. Then they shall be ashamed and confounded because of Ethiopia their hope and of Egypt their boast. And the inhabitants of this coastland will say in that day, “Behold, this is what has happened to those in whom we hoped and to whom we fled for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria! And we, how shall we escape?”’”
The concept of the the prophethood of all believers is quite old, traceable at least to Moses (see Numbers 11:29). The term itself has been around for at least a hundred years; but I am personally indebted to James Luther Adams, whom I knew, for having jogged me into hot-eyed excitement about the idea through a piece that he wrote in 1947 and which George Beach both included and, at Adams' suggestion, used as the title for a volume of compiled addresses and articles by Adams, published by Beacon Press in 1986.
A Southern Baptist megachurch pastor had been invited to his city to hold a city-wide evangelistic crusade. The megachurch visiting evangelist looked up this pastor of the biggest church in the city and said, “Look, I’m in desperate circumstances: I’ve got to have a good love offering.”
The pastor said, “You’re greedy.”
“No, I’ve got these huge payments to make on my house.”
“No. You’re unconscionably greedy. You’re several times a millionaire.”
“How did you know?”
“Elementary, my dear Watson.”
Nevertheless, the “evangelist” pressed his case with other preachers in the city until he was able to walk away with his $25,000. He had his reward. Prophethood is not his vocation.
The first mention of a prophet in the Bible is the reference in Genesis 20:7 in which God said to Abimelech, king of Gerar, concerning Abraham, “he is a prophet.” Moses was a prophet in a truly classic sense. As men and women of heroic deeds, the Judges of Israel performed prophetic functions representing God and pointing to God. The kings of Israel were frequently compelled to fall in line with the visions and calls of the Lord’s divinely inspired prophets. The great prophets like Elijah and Elisha, Amos and Hosea, Isaiah and Micah, Jonah and John the Baptist, and many, many more were people of mighty words; and they were men and women of mighty deeds. Prophetesses like Miriam and Deborah and Huldah and Anna and the four virgin daughters of Philip the evangelist (Acts 21:9) prove that God is no respecter of persons at the point of sex, that prophethood has no direct connection to gonads or ovaries, to sex or sexuality. The call of these prophets and prophetesses was a call to ethical monotheism, justice, righteousness, goodness, mercy, kindness, forbearance, truth, love, rectitude, and responsibility. They everlastingly highlighted the worth of the individual.