I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me
~ Malachi 3:1
The last section of the historical narrative of the Old Testament tells the story of the exiled Jews and the Jews who were restored to the Promised Land. Among the exiles, we hear of Esther who married the king and saved her people from genocide. Among those restored to the Promised Land, we read of Nehemiah and Ezra who returned to rebuild the wall and the temple and restore temple worship.
The Old Testament concludes with a note of expectancy: “See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty. (Malachi 3:1)
Following the last writings of the Old Testament, there was an inter-testamental lag of about 400 years where there were no Biblical writings. During that time the world experienced the classical Greek period of Athens, Sparta and the philosophers; the Persians of Daniel’s day conquered much of the world before diminishing and being replaced by the empire of Alexander the Great. The influence of Greece gave way to the rise of Rome and a new empire of iron ruled the known world. It was into this period of relative political stability that Jesus was born.
When he came, there were shouts of praise in the heavenlies. The exuberance of the angels bespeaks a groaning of the entirety of creation for the Messiah. Yet he came in humility.
I can fail to appreciate the magnitude of his coming sometimes. Reading scripture in this way reminds me how blessed I am to have been born into an age after his coming.
Lord God, may I always remember the blessing of being born in a time when I can know Christ. Amen.
~ Stephen Peterson