Judgment Tempered by Grace
by: John Koedyker
With these words, Malachi’s message starts to sound a bit familiar. The familiarity is that in the New Testament we hear today’s verse quoted with reference to John the Baptist (Mark 1:2) The Gospel writers identified God’s messenger as the fiery preacher and cousin of Jesus. John was the one who would come to “prepare the way of the LORD” (Isa. 40:3; Matt. 3:3).
Certainly John the Baptist came in the spirit (and even in the costume) of an Old Testament prophet. He spoke forcefully, warning the people that they had better repent and turn to God or else!
But the key to John’s ministry was to point to the One who came after him. We know that to be Jesus. And Jesus was not simply a man; he was God himself come to earth!
The wonderful thing for us, and all people, is that Jesus, the Son of God, came not so much with judgment, but with grace. Judgment took place all right, but it was a judgment on human sin, which took place on the cross. Jesus’ message to all is that of “good news.” God, in Jesus, comes with grace, forgiveness, and salvation. Hallelujah, what a Savior!