Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings’ courts. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written,
“‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’ Luke 7:18-28
In the Lord of the Rings books the ruler of Minas Tirith sends a messenger to the king of Rohan asking for help. His message is a red arrow, signifying that the kingdom is under attack and they need the Rohirrim to come to their rescue.
Immediately the king sends messengers in reply to let the people of Minas Tirith know that help is on the way. But his messengers do not make it through. They are killed before they can deliver their good news.
Messengers may be more than just letter carriers. Up to this point in the Gospel of Luke the Greek word for angel (angellos) is used 18 times. And right here (in vs. 24 and 27) is the only place that it is not translated “angel” in English. Here the translators all use the actual meaning, “messenger.” They don’t want you to think that John is an angel, a spiritual being. But maybe they are wrong.
When you went to see John, what did you go out to see, Jesus asks. A prophet? Yes. But more than a prophet. “I will send my messenger…” my angel to prepare the way.
Is John more than just a a letter carrier? A prophet carries the word of God, but John prepares the way for God’s Son. The word that he brings has such great power it causes kings to tremble.
God’s angels, his messengers, are not just letter carriers. They carry the good news which Paul says is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” And you are called his messenger!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you have called me to be a messenger, an angel. Give me courage to wield the power of your wonderful word, the Word of Life! Amen.