“Remember the instruction of Moses My servant, the statutes and ordinances I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel. Look, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome Day of the Lord comes. And He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers. Otherwise, I will come and strike the land with a curse.” Malachi 4:4-6 (CSB)
“And His disciples asked Him, ‘Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?’ And He answered and said, ‘Elijah is coming and will restore all things; But I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands. Then the disciples understood that he was talking about John the Baptist.” Matthew 17:10-13 (NASB)
What was John the Baptist’s message? It was the same message of return & repentance that Malachi foretold.
“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, because the kingdom of heaven is near.’” Matthew 3:1-2 (HCSB)
Isaiah is another prophet who foretold John’s coming. “For he is the one spoken of through the prophet Isaiah, who said: a voice of one crying out in the wilderness, saying ‘Prepare the way for the Lord. Make His paths straight!’” Matthew 3:3 (HCSB) (Isaiah 57:14)
John the Baptist’s ministry is even mentioned in the Psalms.
“Righteousness will go before Him to prepare the way for His steps.” Psalm 85:13 (HCSB)
And how was the Lord’s way to be prepared? The way was prepared when people repented and turned their hearts toward the Lord.
If you have ever walked against the flow on a Manhattan sidewalk, you understand that it is easier to reach your destination when everyone walks in the same direction as you!
Repentance reverses the flow of spiritual and moral traffic, so to speak. By turning hearts toward the Lord and His Word, men become educated about God’s character, His commandments, the concepts of holiness & man’s depravity, and the world’s need for Messiah. In short, repentance prepares the heart to receive the gospel.
Repentance is not, in & of itself, salvation. It simply prepares the way for it. That’s why John said, “…but the One who is coming after me is more powerful than I”. (Matthew 3: 11)
Moving into the New Testament, let’s continue turning our hearts to God’s Word. Let’s commit to advancing His kingdom by sharing the Truth of Messiah, which His Spirit reveals to us, one chapter at a time.
Elevating your Faith with daily Bible reading and devotionals written by Steve Wiggins.
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