Those Messengers! We preferred some to others; to some of them Allâh spoke (directly); others He raised to degrees (of honour); and to ‘Iesa (Jesus), the son of Maryam (Mary), We gave clear proofs and evidences, and supported him with Rûh-ul-Qudus [Jibrael (Gabriel)]. If Allâh had willed, succeeding generations would not have fought against each other, after clear Verses of Allâh had come to them, but they differed – some of them believed and others disbelieved. If Allâh had willed, they would not have fought against one another, but Allâh does what He likes.
Surat alBaqarah 253
Musa alyahi asalam –spoke to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala directly
And Messengers We have mentioned to you before, and Messengers We have not mentioned to you, – and to Mûsa (Moses) Allâh spoke directly. [Surat alNisa’ 164]
Prophet Muhammed alyahi asalam –was honored in high ranks
Muhammad (SAW) is the Messenger of Allâh, and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves. [Surat alFath:29]
Esa ibn Mariam- was given the clear signs
(The angel) said: “I am only a Messenger from your Lord, (to announce) to you the gift of a righteous son.”[Surat Maryam:19]
In this ayah, there is a reason why Allah subhanahu wa tala said ‘prefered’ instead of ‘favored’ some messengers over each other. Favoritsim, is a bias sort of prefering one over the other. It includes passion and love and not without wisdom. Allah subhanahu wa tala had a wisdom into why He has chosen some messengers over the others in this ayah.
So now the question comes down to, why are the prophets not mentioned in chronologicial order? Why are the prophets placed in the order, where it mentions Musa, Muhammed, and then Esa?
Well islam is a centrist (middle) religion. It combines this world and the hereafter, it stabalizes matterialistics and spirituality, shows us our values and needs. Islam, shows reality, and this is why Muhammed alyahi asalam was the final messenger. We know that Christianity is a very spiritual religion, believing that Jesus was a saviour, and believing in him allows you to enter heaven. Lastly, Judasim is a very materialistic religion.
Islam though, came in the middle. It has spiritual aspects and materialistic aspects which balances out between the two religions. Hence, the order the prophets were mentioned in this ayah are due to this fact. SubhanAllah 🙂