God’s Messenger – Malachi 3

Malachi, the final prophet in the Old Testament, foretells of another prophet who will arrive four hundred years later, John the Baptist.  John would be the herald for the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.

1 “See, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. Then the Lord you seek will suddenly come to His temple, the Messenger of the covenant you desire—see, He is coming,” says the Lord of Hosts. Malachi 3:1 (HCSB)

After Malachi’s prophetic mission was complete, God closed the book on the Old Testament and His word was silent until John the Baptist’s and the Messiah’s coming.

In the fullness of God’s time, Jesus was born of a virgin in Bethlehem by the power of the Holy Spirit, as prophesied through Isaiah and announced by a visiting angel, Gabriel. Mary then agreed to God’s plan and will.  Gabriel is the same angel who had given God’s timeline for the appearance of the Messiah while visiting the prophet Daniel centuries earlier.

John the Baptist was born of Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, and was six months older than Jesus.  When both men were around thirty years of age, their public ministry began.

1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!” For he is the one spoken of through the prophet Isaiah, who said:

A voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
Prepare the way for the Lord;
make His paths straight!   Matthew 3:1-3 (HCSB)

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Father would use John to draw many people to prepare their hearts for the coming of Christ.  As Jesus later said,

44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.  John 6:44 (NIV)

It was not a very convenient thing for most people to come hear John speak.  Large crowds traveled from the Jerusalem area down to the Jordan River to hear him and to be baptized.  Their trip was around 40 kilometers or 25 miles one way, quite a long journey to be taken on foot or on a donkey.  The power of the Holy Spirit was evident to draw them to experience God, and He is still doing that with the hearts of women and men today.

Participating in John’s baptism was a sign of willingness to turn away from one’s sins and to turn back to the Lord, cleansing and preparing oneself for the Messiah’s arrival.  The process of turning away from our sins and towards God is also referred to as repentance.

While John was baptizing, he spoke of the arrival of Jesus, who would later arrive to teach at the temple in Jerusalem, fulfilling Malachi’s prophecy.  John spoke to the crowd of the Messiah who was near at hand:

11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but the One who is coming after me is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to remove His sandals. He Himself will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  Matthew 3:11 (HCSB)

Soon, Jesus Himself appeared at the Jordan River to be baptized, having made the long trip down from Galilee.  John objected, saying that Jesus is the One who should baptize him.  But Jesus insisted, so it was done.

16 After Jesus was baptized, He went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on Him. 17 And there came a voice from heaven:

This is My beloved Son.
I take delight in Him!  Matthew 3:16-17 (HCSB)

The presence of the Holy Spirit descending like a dove and the approving voice of the Father at Jesus’ baptism is a scriptural appearance of the Holy Trinity.

May the Lord continue to draw you and all of your loved ones into His glorious presence through faith in the Messiah, Jesus Christ.


Father, we lift up our loved ones and all those You have placed in our lives, asking You to draw them to Yourself and to Your salvation in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, just as You drew the multitudes to the Jordan River to hear and be baptized by John the Baptist.  We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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