The Messenger

I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Malachi 3:1

“I have a message for you!” A woman working at the conference I was attending handed me a piece of paper, and I wondered if I should be nervous or excited. But when I read, “You have a nephew!” I knew I could rejoice.

Messages can bring good news, bad news, or words that challenge. In the Old Testament, God used His prophets to communicate messages of hope or judgment. But when we look closely, we see that even His words of judgment were intended to lead to repentance, healing, and restoration.

Both types of messages appear in Malachi 3 when the Lord promised to send a messenger who would prepare the way for Him. John the Baptist announced the coming of the true Messenger, Jesus (see Matthew 3:11)—“the messenger of the covenant” (Malachi 3:1) who will fulfill God’s promises. But He will act “like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap” (v. 2), for He will purify those who believe in His word. The Lord sent His word to cleanse His people because of His loving concern for their well-being.

God’s message is one of love, hope, and freedom. He sent His Son to be a messenger who speaks our language—sometimes with messages of correction, but always those of hope. We can trust His message.

Lord Jesus Christ, help me not only to understand Your message but to live it.

Ask the Lord to help you share His good news with others in the new year.

INSIGHT

Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, was written by a man whose name means “my messenger.” Malachi, believed to be a contemporary of Ezra and Nehemiah, ministered to the Jews who had returned from the Babylonian exile. Although the temple had been rebuilt (Ezra 6:14–15), the temple service and sacrifices were defiled for several reasons: lack of reverence for God, offering of blemished sacrifices (Malachi 1:6–9, 12–14), and willful neglect of the tithe (3:8–9). Worse, the priests were defiled by mixed marriages and marital unfaithfulness (2:1–16). Because the priesthood—which served as “the messenger of the Lord”—failed in their priestly function (2:7–9), Malachi speaks of a future “messenger” who would prepare the way for “the messenger of the covenant” (3:1). Four hundred years later, Jesus identified John the Baptist as that messenger (Matthew 11:9–10; 17:12–13).

K. T. Sim

By |2018-12-19T16:02:56-04:00December 31st, 2018|