“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; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.Malachi 3: 1
Four hundred years or so before Christ’s arrival on the scene, Malachi prophesied the coming of both the messenger and the Messiah. Yes, John the Baptist prepared the way for the LORD and all of Israel looked forward to the Messiah’s arrival, but did they?
The people of Israel expected a savior, a deliverer from their enemies, but Malachi promised more. He promised a Messiah who would purify the people – no more half-hearted commitment.
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. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD. 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 3: 2-5
“Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts.
When Jesus did arrive, He came with an agenda to deliver the people on the basis of righteousness, not political power or deliverance from the Roman Empire. And one day in the future, all will face a final judgment, from a righteous Judge.
Like the nation of Israel, each of us is in need of Jesus’ purification and to understand that salvation is more important than our current circumstances.