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God’s Word for You

Malachi 3:1 The one you desire

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, April 17, 2021

3 “Remember: I will send my messenger. He will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his temple, and the messenger of the covenant, the one you desire, will come,” says the LORD of Armies.

The ministry of the prophet was beginning to turn out as it so often did: The prophet was growing weary of preaching to this unrepentant people, and the people were certainly getting tired of listening to the same old thing from the prophet. So God sent a message of comfort to both. “This Malachi?” the Lord says, “You will see that he really is my servant, my messenger, my prophet. His name means ‘My messenger,’ and I’m going to make that name live in my holy word as my promise.” So, God said, Remember this. I will send my ‘Malachi,’ my messenger, once again in the future. He will be a man to prepare the way before—who? Before me! says the Lord. In the Gospel of Mark, this verse is quoted from the Savior’s own point of view: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way” (Mark 1:2). If we return to Malachi’s words above, then what happens next is the immediate appearance of the Savior. “Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his temple.” As soon as this distant ‘Malachi’ appeared, so would Christ. This later Malachi, the messenger of God, was John the Baptist. No sooner had John begun preaching and baptizing that Jesus showed up to be baptized and to begin preaching the forgiveness of sins (Mark 1:9-14).

Here Malachi makes a distinction between the messenger who came to prepare and the messenger of the covenant. John came first, to prepare, but Jesus is “the one you desire,” as Haggai also said, “The desired of all nations will come, and I will fill his house with glory” (Haggai 2:7). Why is he the one we desire, the one all nations desire? Because, whether the nations know it or not, “repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations” (Luke 24:47).

If we look for law in this verse, it would have to be either in the context of needing to be preached, or in the context of “he will prepare the way before me.” That preparation was done through the preaching of repentance. Otherwise notice how purely the prophet preaches the gospel here! The covenant of the Desired One is the one-sided covenant that is no agreement at all. It is the New Testament, as Paul says (2 Corinthians 3:6). This is the message we preach: the message of forgiveness through Christ Jesus, and eternal life in his name.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.


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