In his testimony of John, Jesus says that John fulfills the figure of the one about whom it is written, “Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you” (Mt 11:10). The first reference speaks of mal-ak (“angel” or “messenger”) who would lead the Israelites to the Promised Land (Ex 23:20). This can refer to an angel or spiritual being, or most probably to Moses who was chosen by the Lord to deliver the Israelites from the slavery of the Egyptians and lead them to the land promised by the Lord to Abraham.
The oracle appears again in Malachi who speaks of the messenger of the covenant who will cleanse and purify the hearts of the people, that they may offer a sacrifice fitting to the Lord (Mal 3:1-3). This messenger is probably Elijah who will bring reconciliation before the day of the Lord. In the Gospel, Jesus declares that the oracle is fulfilled in the person and mission of John the Baptist. He comes in the spirit of Elijah, with the same mission of calling the people to repentance, to prepare the way of the Lord. The “Lord” here is no longer YHwH, the God of Israel, but Jesus, the Messiah and Son of God. John is Jesus’ precursor, as attested in the Gospels and other New Testament writings.
Those who had heard the preaching of John were moved and asked, “What then should we do?” (Lk 3:10). How do we, in turn, prepare for the coming of the Lord this Christmas?
GOSPEL • MATTHEW 11:11-15
Jesus said to the crowds: “Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force. All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, the one who is to come. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2021,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.