“Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 3:1)
The Coming Of The Word
There has never been a time God has not sent His messengers to reveal to men the will of the Lord. In whatever form the messenger came, no one could offer excuses of not knowing what they must do to be saved. The eternal message has always been to find a way back to the Father. Nearly a century after the Jews had returned from their captivity, the hearts of the nation had turned apathetic, and the people began to disregard the law of God. The offerings were polluted, religion had become a formality of ritual, and against the will of God, the chosen people of the Lord married the daughters of the world. There would be a four-hundred-year famine of the word when Malachi laid his pen aside. The Lord would not reveal Himself until the coming of the herald of Christ bore witness to the coming of Jesus, the Son of God.
The first messenger of God was John the Baptist. As the Elijah of the new covenant, John would prepare the way for the coming of the Anointed of God. He would seek to turn the hearts of the people back to the Lord so that Jesus could show His glory and power to a lost and dying world. John’s preaching was harsh, direct, and demanded righteous obedience. His message would not be for the faint of heart. The physical presence of the man matched the preaching of the baptizer. He dressed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. His preaching was as tough as the camel’s hair, tight as the leather belt, and basic as the insects and honey he ate. There was no mincing his message. God sent him on a mission, and he preached it hard, heavy, and honest. The people were startled by John the Baptist. He called the Jewish leaders a brood of vipers demanding they bear fruits worthy of repentance.
Shortly after John the Baptism began his work, Jesus began His short ministry gathering disciples around Him and choosing twelve to serve as apostles. In the early days of His ministry, multitudes were drawn to the teaching of Jesus. As the preaching of Jesus became clearer and His message more direct, many disciples turned and walked with Him no more. The people began to dislike the way Jesus taught. His words were offensive. The word remained the same. Jesus taught the people what the Father had told Him to say. He claimed to be divine because He was. His miracles attested to His divinity. Jesus was the Messenger of the covenant to show men the way to salvation. John the apostle called Jesus the Word because Jesus was the Word. Jesus said there was no other way to the Father but by Him. The truth could only be found in the Son of God, and eternal life promised to those who followed Jesus. All of the grace of God is found in the Messenger of the covenant. Refusing to listen to the word of Jesus Christ is refusing to listen to the word of God.
God has always sent His messengers to tell men the good news of salvation. John the Baptist was a messenger to prepare the path of the Son of God. His work of proclaiming the coming of Christ was finished, but the work of Jesus continues to testify to the message of hope found only in the man from Nazareth. The Messenger of the covenant remains the only way a man will find eternal life. When all men are gathered before the throne of God, the question from the Father is whether men listened to His Messenger, the Word. Everyone has the responsibility to seek the word of God to know how to be saved and obey the word. Communication is the basis of how God revealed Himself. The Bible is the message of the Father proclaiming the Messenger of the covenant through the written word. There are no more messengers. If an angel brought a message, they would be accursed. When a man rejects the Bible as the testimony of God seeking to present himself as a messenger of the Lord, he is accursed. There is one message, one hope, one word – and one way. Jesus Christ is the Messenger of the covenant – hear Him.