Bible Society of South Africa
Neville Turley

Jesus, our Messiah – Day 8

The coming of the Messiah

Bible text(s)

1The LORD Almighty answers, “I will send my messenger to prepare the way for me. Then the Lord you are looking for will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger you long to see will come and proclaim my covenant.”

Malachi 3:1GNBOpen in Bible reader

10For John is the one of whom the scripture says: ‘God said, I will send my messenger ahead of you to open the way for you.’ 11I assure you that John the Baptist is greater than anyone who has ever lived. But the one who is least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than John. 12From the time John preached his message until this very day the Kingdom of heaven has suffered violent attacks, and violent men try to seize it. 13Until the time of John all the prophets and the Law of Moses spoke about the Kingdom; 14and if you are willing to believe their message, John is Elijah, whose coming was predicted.

Matthew 11:10-14GNBOpen in Bible reader

“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty. Malachi 3:1 (NIV)

The book of Malachi, the last book in the Old Testament, was written between 450–425 BC. The temple had been rebuilt, but the morale of the Jews was at a low. Times in Judah were hard.

They had returned from exile with such high hopes. Now, almost 100 years later, they remained a subject people, insecure and in fear of foreign invasion. In addition, they were facing famine as a severe drought was crippling the economy. Worst of all, the Messiah had not come.

They questioned God’s love and justice. Why should they serve God when it was the wrongdoers who were prospering?

Malachi was a true prophet. In no uncertain terms, he pointed out to the Jews that their dismal lot was the result of their own sinfulness.

He condemned the corrupt practices of the priests for violating God’s covenant. They did not take their temple duties seriously and were disrespectful towards God, even accepting blemished offerings for sacrifice at the altar.

Malachi was equally critical of the people. They did not give of their best to God and openly doubted whether there was any real benefit to be gained in serving the Lord.

Malachi warned that the day of the Lord was near. Then, the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who did not, will be clear for all to see.

Who was the messenger who would precede the Messiah in our verse for today? Jesus himself declared that the messenger was John the Baptist. He would come in the tradition of Elijah, as the prophets and the law had prophesied (Matthew 11:10-14).

What Christ said about John confirmed that Jesus was the Messiah and the day of the Lord had dawned.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.18.7
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