The angel Gabriel would speak to Mary. Zacharias would speak after his tongue was loosed. Gabriel’s message was that Mary’s son shall be called the Son of the Highest. Zacharias would say his son shall be called the prophet of the Highest. First we must go back to the book of Malachi. This tells us of the holy work we are called into, the primary function of our life. As John prepared the way before the way, we go after and testify of it.
Malachi 3: 1Behold, 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. 2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap.
Luke 1: 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Gabriel spoke. Later Zacharias spoke. Concerning these two children, Gabriel said Jesus shall be called the Son of the Highest. John the Baptist would be called the prophet of the Highest. The LORD worked many details in the plan of salvation that we would never have thought of. Things may seem strange to us, but it’s necessary. One might wonder why the Son of God needed someone to prepare the way. Why was it necessary for John to go before him and preach? He was six months older than Jesus. As an adult he lived in the wilderness prophesying and preaching. In contrast, Jesus was quietly raised in Nazareth and considered the son of Joseph the carpenter. He led an obscure life and was taught the carpentry trade. Jesus put himself in a child’s position. At every step of our life we can identify with him. We may say we’re older than 33, the age Jesus died, but remember Jesus is the Ancient of Days. He bore the burdens of mankind as a human being and at times probably felt 100 years old. He was often acquainted with grief. He knows where we come from when we hurt.
He was born in low circumstances in a barn and placed in a manger with the animals. His first sight as a human was through a baby’s eyes. Zacharias and Elisabeth probably lived comfortably. Giving birth was easier on her than Mary in that respect. John left this comfort for the wilderness. Even in the womb he sensed the presence of God. When Mary visited Elisabeth, she said John leaped in her womb. John’s conception was miraculous as well due to the old age of his parents. He was the prophet of the highest and left home excited about the Son of God and his job in preparing the way.
This speaks to us of who Jesus and John were and the roles they had. Jesus was born Savior of the world. He fulfilled that role to his dying breath. He gave it all for us. John’s mission was to be a messenger to prepare the way, a transition time from the old to the new covenant. The old one would be fulfilled and perfected in the life of the only one who lived a sinless life. Without sin he bore our sins so we could have a Savior. He was the only begotten Son of God. Forever we have a Savior if we believe. If you’ve not accepted him, you have a Savior. Jesus is still saving souls. He’ll close out this age of grace, and the opportunity to be saved will be gone. When Jesus comes again, the door will be shut and no matter how hard you beg it will be too late.
Prophet is synonymous with messenger. Malachi said behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me. This is how God wanted it. He wanted to use someone to go ahead of Jesus and prepare the way. John’s conception and birth were six months before Jesus. He didn’t need John, but that’s how God wanted it. Jesus told us to be witnesses. He hasn’t come back yet so people can still be saved. We can still be used of the Lord. He can reveal himself in many ways, but he chose for us to be messengers to spread the gospel to the lost in order for them to be saved. Someone told us about Jesus or we wouldn’t be saved. Someone was a messenger for us. John was important because it’s how God wanted it. Regardless of what the devil may say, Jesus remains the Son of God. From all eternity he’s been the Son of God and from everlasting to everlasting he will be. We have life through his name! We don’t have to pay for our sins in hell. Jesus paid with his life. He has chosen the method for reaching the lost with a messenger.
In Malachi, the first use of the word messenger is the one who prepares the way. The second use is for Jesus. The messenger of preparation alerts those who are turned around to prepare the way for the messenger of the covenant. With his own blood he is the new covenant. In the Upper Room Jesus took bread saying it was his body broken for us. He took the cup saying it was his blood shed for us, the cup of a new testament. John had the privilege of preparing the way. There was hope on the way.
This is the practicality of Christmas. If we put up the decorations and never say anything about Jesus the rest of the year, we have missed the point. The way to tell others is to be a messenger and spread the gospel all year long. Jesus is the messenger of the covenant, the son of the Highest. John was not around. His job was done. He decreased so Jesus could increase. Our time is not over. I don’t know how much longer the world will go on, but Jesus could come anytime. He will come. We know we are living in the last days. God will send him when the time is right.
Will you be able to say “I’ve been a faithful messenger” in witnessing to your lost family, friends, and neighbors? It’s a high honor to tell someone about Jesus. It’s not just up to the preacher and the Sunday school teacher. It’s up to us all. We have him in our hearts if we’re saved and with that is the ability to share him with others in what time we have left. We can still prepare the way and tell others how to be saved. The Lord will do his part. Let’s do ours. It’s more important work than any political leader of the world. Let’s be what God called us to be.
The drive of John’s life was to be the messenger. Let’s do that too. Let’s make our moments count for eternity. The response we get doesn’t matter. Your messenge may be rejected. That’s all right. Do your job. God extends us a challenge. Regardless of how the world thinks about us, we’re the messengers of God. Ask for opportunities. Ask for words to say and the courage to say them. Be all you can be for God.