The coming of the Messiah - 12 December 2017

Neville Turley

“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 ebb.  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 for a severe drought was crippling the economy. Worse 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. 

Prayer: Almighty God, by whose grace alone we are accepted and called to serve you. Strengthen us through the Holy Spirit and make us worthy of your calling, for Jesus sake. Amen

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