Editor’s Note: This is the seventh in an eight-part Advent series. We’ve invited some friends of our ministry to write the devotionals. The theme is based on 1 John 4:19: “We love because he first loved us.” The heart of our ministry is to connect people to Jesus. As we near Christmas, we want to reflect on the fact that we only get to connect people to Jesus — and have a personal relationship ourselves (PTL!) — because God first connected with us through Jesus. We hope this Advent series encourages you.

 

“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me.” Malachi 3:1

 

by Dr. Peggy Banks

John the Baptist was the chosen messenger who is mentioned in Malachi 3:1. He had the mission to prepare the way for Christ, the Messiah. John went into all the regions around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (Luke 3:3)

He knew he baptized with water but there was one who is mightier than John who was coming. John the Baptist was to prepare the way for the one who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Luke 3:16)

When John was baptizing at the Jordan River, Jesus approached him. John called out, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

In Genesis 22:7-8 is the first time we read the word “lamb” in the Old Testament. Isaac is asking his father, Abraham, “Where is the lamb for the sacrifice?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb.” In the Genesis passage, God does provide the lamb to Abraham for the sacrifice and Isaac is set free.

In the New Testament at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, we see this word again as John announces, “Look, the Lamb of God …” John proclaims the Lamb of God as the Lamb who came to sacrifice his life, to set us free from our sins.

Do you know Jesus, the Lamb of God? Is he your Savior? Do you know this freedom that Jesus brings through his sacrifice on the cross?

You can know him, as you lift up your voice in prayer and accept Jesus into your heart. If you have doubts today ask God to show himself real to you, to take away any doubts and give you the faith to believe.

About Peggy:

Dr. Peggy Banks is the global ministry director for TWR Women of Hope. Over the years, Peggy has served in women’s ministry, executive leadership development and women’s studies within churches, non-profit organizations and seminaries. She has extensive experience in cross-cultural training for women in leadership. She is married to Ken, who is a hospice chaplain.