The messenger

spring-664911_640Malachi 3:1: “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, in this verse, spoke beforehand about Jesus and the John the Baptist. The Lord who will suddenly come to his temple was Jesus, and the messenger sent to prepare the way before him was John the Baptist.

John said that John the Baptist was a man sent from God (John 1:6-7). He was a bearer of divine words to call the people to repentance. He came in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17) and prepared for the manifestation of Jesus, through baptising the people and leading them to repentance.

John described himself as the friend of the bridegroom who rejoices on hearing the voice of the bridegroom.

He said: he must increase while I must decrease. When some people told him how Jesus was now baptising more people that him, he told them “there is no competition, the only reason I have a purpose is because he gave me one (John 3:26-36).”

He said that the one who sent him to baptise said that the one on whom the Holy Spirit descends and abides is the one baptises with the Holy Spirit.

So when people saw him, saw the great result, and attention he was getting because he was baptising people with water, he said that “there is one among you is greater than me, whose sandal I am not worthy to untie. It is he who baptises with the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:16, John 1:22-36).” The point he was making was that, “what I am doing to you in a physical sense, Jesus will do to you in a spiritual sense. He is far from me as heaven is far from the earth. I am not in his class.”

Jesus said that anyone who thirsts should come to him and he will give them water which will be in them rivers of living water springing up to eternal life (John 7:37-39).

His life is superior life, and he wants to give us. It was the life he poured out on the cross of Calvary. When his flesh was torn it opened the gates to eternal life for everyone to come in. But there is need for thirst. To thirst means you need something that you will die without. It is a longing for something more than you already have.

When Paul asked a group of people: did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed, they said they have not heard about him. And it was the same Paul who said that people cannot believe on whom they have not heard (Romans 10:14-15). Therefore the reason we have messengers is so that the people can believe and through that their lives will be changed.

John the apostle said that what Jesus meant by him giving us water that will spring to eternal life was the release of the Holy Spirit to us.

And what John the Baptist wanted to emphasise about Jesus Christ whom he came to prepare the way for was that he has the Holy Spirit to baptise people in, he is able to baptise people into God, into another kind of life.

It was a similar concept that Jesus wanted to introduce to Nicodemus, but which he finds hard to swallow (John 3:1-9).  Jesus said he must be born again, and that He who is born of the flesh is flesh and he who is born of the Spirit is spirit. He wanted to introduce to him the spiritual dimension he has come to lead people to, but the Pharisee could not see beyond his nose, and he asked: how can a man who is old be born again, will he go back to his mother’s womb and then come out?

Jesus then told him more about the Spirit: “Marvel not that I tell you that you must be born again, the wind blows where it wants but you feel the effect but do not see it, such is the one born of the Spirit.” He therefore redirected his mind from the natural process to the spiritual process that the wind typifies, and into which he has come to lead humanity into, i.e. those who believe in him, as one who himself came as a messenger of God.

A messenger does not have his own words but speaks for another. If you are not carrying another’s message, then you are not a messenger.

To be a good messenger, you need to be able to hear accurately. Jesus told his disciples that whatever they hear in the secret they should declare publicly. They are to receive private briefing from the master and declare it openly. If we are not hearing what God wants to do and say, and then do and say it, then we will fall short in the arena of being a true messenger.

King Saul was to be a messenger of God bearing his judgement to the Amalekites but he did not do it well. He decided to modify the message a little and was therefore disqualified from receiving further instruction (1Samuel 15).

God asked Moses to only speak to the rock to bring water for the people of Israel in the wilderness. When he “modified” that instruction and did something else, he was disqualified from entering into the Promised Land (Numbers 20:8-12).

To be God’s messenger is a sacred duty, even a fearful one. When Jeremiah was being commissioned to be a prophet, he felt he was not qualified because of his young age.

He wondered how he was going to make an impression on the people he was sent to. But God said that he was going to be with him and put his word in his mouth. He was not left alone to think of what to say, as he carries the burden of God, because a messenger does not carry words, but also burden; he gets to also carry the emotions of God. In the same way Jesus said he was going to be with us till the end of the age, even as we deliver his message to our generation.

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