“Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts.
These verses from Malachi show us both John the Baptist and Jesus together in one passage. In ancient times, in the near east it was common for kings to send a messenger ahead to prepare for the arrival of the king. A messenger was sent to make preparations and ready the people for the coming of the king. The job of the forerunner was to remove obstacles that would prevent the people from experiencing the king. And that’s what John the Baptist did for the people of Israel. John was the, “voice of one crying in the wilderness,” he was the “Elijah who comes before the Lord.” He prepared the people to accept the King by teaching and preparing their hearts for God through repentance of sins. John called the people to repentance in order for them to be ready to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
John’s role was twofold, one to announce the arrival of the king, and two to make the people aware of their sin and their need of repentance. In other words John helped to prepare the hearts of the people to understand their need for a Savior. Today that role is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit, who works in the hearts of men and women to ready them to accept the Gospel of Christ. He does this because the King of kings has already come and Jesus will return again, very soon. So now is the time of our salvation! Now is the time for the Holy Spirit to prepare us for the return of our King. And He does so by preparing our hearts to hear and understand the Gospel message as he moves Christians to share the message of salvation through Christ alone by faith alone to those who are lost. Therefore, since our salvation is at hand, we must ready ourselves and seek out Jesus, and accept Him as our Lord and Savior. Then through God’s guidance we are to seek out those who are lost, while there is still time for them to be saved before the King returns.