The book of Malachi gives us a glimpse of who Jesus is in the Old Testament (O.T).
This is the last book of the Old Testament and it means Messenger. Interesting in this book entitled Messenger, we have two (2) messengers who are explicitly called out. One messenger is with a cause, the other is of the covenant. Malachi 3:1 reads Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. God is silent for the next 300 to years between the Old Testament and the New Testament, and His silence is broken by this messenger.
Messenger #1 is the Messenger with a Cause which was to prepare the way of the Lord (referring to the voice in the wilderness, John the Baptist – Luke 3:4).
And Messenger #2 is the Messenger of the Covenant whom God delights in (referring to Jesus Christ, the Lord). God delights in Jesus. He announced it not once but twice, when he said This is My BELOVED Son, in whom I am well pleased (in whom I delight) at the baptism of Jesus (Luke 3:22) and the transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17:5).
In Malachi, Jesus is the Messenger of the covenant, in whom God delights.
Luke 7: 17-30 is an account of John the Baptist, the last prophet of the Old Testament, one who is said to be the voice in the wilderness, preparing the way of the Lord.
Confusion of John
John is initially confused and doubtful as to whether Jesus, truly is the promised Messiah (Savior) or not. John’s message was of condemnation while Jesus’ message was of salvation. John expected restoration of Israel’s kingdom and Jesus was displaying acts of restoring God’s kingdom.
Confirmation by Jesus
In all of the confusion, John however did not compromise his mission to be God’s messenger and sends his messengers to Jesus for confirmation. Note, Jesus does not answer in words but in action. He tells John’s disciples to tell John, what they saw and heard – the works and miracles of Jesus. This was sufficient for John to continue in his belief, that Jesus truly was the “Lamb of God” whom he had asked the people to behold.
Commendation of John
And when the disciples of John had left, Jesus commends John by saying that “John is the greatest prophet, ever born of woman“. Praises so great, makes the hearer wonder, what could make Jesus say something this great of a man.
Closer analysis of the text gives us two characters of John.
- John was Uncompromising – He was not a reed that was shaken in the wind? He did not vacillate in his belief (although it may seem like he did and wanted confirmation). Wiersbe’s commentary has a good definition of doubt and unbelief. Doubt is not unbelief. Doubt is the act of the mind, while unbelief is the act of the heart. John was doubting, and not unbelieving. Paul in his epistle to the Church in Ephesus writes that we should no more be like children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of man, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to decieve. (Ephesians 4:14)
- John was Unpopular – His clothing was not one that would be worn in a king’s court but one of soft raiments, very ordinary or less than ordinary. John was not a celebrity by any means and he did not seek positions of prominence, power or pomp.
I believe, it was the unwavering and uncompromising character of John the Baptist, in conjunction with his attitude of accepting to be unpopular, always “allowing God to increase, and him to decrease” is what got John the commendation that no other person born of woman, has received from the mouth of the Son of God.
Point(s) to ponder:
- Are you and I willing to be Uncompromising?
- Are you and I willing to be Unpopular, letting God to increase and each of us to decrease?
This may make the Son of God witness about us, that we are the greatest in his eyes? Wouldnt that be some sort of a commendation. Wow. Think about it.