I will send the prophet Elijah to you. . . . He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents. . . .
The closing verses of Malachi remind us what the whole book has been about. They also point ahead to the New Testament.
Malachi began by stating God’s love for his children. Israel had become distant from God. But God sent Malachi (whose name means “my messenger”) to show Israel how they had wandered from God. Now God promises that Elijah (whose name means “my God is Yahweh”) will restore the relationship. The names of these prophets are important—the message from God (Malachi) results in the Lord again being the God of his people (Elijah).
These words point powerfully to the New Testament and the good news of Jesus of Nazareth, who is God’s Messiah. John the Baptist proclaimed Christ’s coming, fulfilling Malachi’s prophecy about Elijah (see Matthew 11:7-15). Through John, the people turn to God in repentance, and then Jesus’ baptism recalls Malachi 4:6: “You are my Son, whom I love” (Mark 1:11). John recognizes Jesus as the Word—the very message of God—fulfilling the purpose of Malachi.
In this last Old Testament prophetic book, God says, “I love you.” And in the New Testament God shows how much he loves us: he sent his only Son, and he sent his Holy Spirit to bring us to himself. This is how much God loves you!
Dear Lord, you turn our hearts back to you. Thank you for making us your treasured children. Help us to love and serve you always. In Jesus, Amen.
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