So, how does John help us prepare for the arrival of Christ? That is a question to ponder this week as we prepare for worship on Sunday.
You can find my initial reactions to these readings in the italicized text below. I invite you to share your insights, questions, and reactions in the comment section below so that we can continue to discuss these readings.
Malachi 3:1 - 4
See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight-- indeed, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?
For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap; 3 he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the LORD in righteousness. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.
- “Malachi” means “my messenger.”
- Malachi declares that a messenger is on the way. This is not just any messenger, but a “messenger of the covenant.” This messenger will have a connection to the promises the Lord has made to the people of Israel.
- This messenger will be a purifier of the Levites. This makes it a bit awkward to read through a Christological lens. After all, weren’t the Levites opposed to Jesus and his ministry? But if we view Christ on the cross as a sacrifice for our atonement (meaning that which restores the relationship between the Lord and us), then the role of the Levites falls into place; they are purified to offer the one great sacrifice.
- That being said, how would this message make sense without Christ? How was it understood by the first people to receive it?