In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mt 3:1-2)
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mt 4:17)
What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet... Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. (Mt 11:9,11)
Jesus describes John as the greatest among the prophets that came before him, (all those who came after him are of a different order.) Yet we don't have a record of anything John prophesied... or do we?
Now, I know that John was special among the prophets because all the others saw Jesus from far off, but to John it fell to say, "Behold! The Lamb!" But I don't believe that was the only way he was prophetic. We don't have any record of him saying "Thus says the Lord..." or any other conventional form of prophetic utterance, but we do have a record of his preaching.
We know that Jesus only did what he saw his Father doing. He came to instigate a new Kingdom order of God's will on the earth not to follow existing trends, so it is inconceivable that Jesus was copying or plagiarising John's message. So we see that John's message was highly prophetic for this reason: He was preaching Jesus' message before Jesus!
This, I believe, lifts the lid on the true nature of preaching. It can be, indeed it should be a prophetic activity. It is not just regurgitating the scriptures into a little homily or thought for the day. It is not following a teaching programme and ticking off doctrinal foundations. There is nothing wrong with these things, but if that is all preaching is, it falls short of the mark. Preaching is prophetic, for it is capturing and communicating what Christ himself would say to the church.
There is thus an overlap and symmetry between the ministry of the prophet and the ministry of the preacher: The prophet brings a prophetic message to communicate the word of God; the preacher brings the word of God to communicate the prophetic message. The most important requirement for both is to stand in the presence of God and hear what he has to say.