Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom you seek…
What manner of personage would He be did He condescend to appear among us? Should we know Him merely by His bearing and character? We must believe that, as in Judea of old, Christ would meet men with all consideration and courtesy. All, or almost all, the good manners which we have among us — courtesies, refinements, self-restraint, mutual respect — we owe to Christ, to the influence of His example, and to that Bible which testifies of Him. Conceive — but which of us can conceive? — His perfect tenderness, patience, sympathy, graciousness, and grace, combined with perfect strength, stateliness, even awful ness, when awe was needed. He alone, of all personages of whom history tells us, solved in His own words and deeds the most difficult paradox of human character, — to be at once utterly conscious and utterly unconscious of self; to combine with perfect self-sacrifice a perfect self-assertion. He condescended, in His teaching of old, to the level of Jewish knowledge at that time. We may therefore believe that He would condescend to the level of our modern knowledge; and what would that involve? It would leave Him, however, far less than Himself, at least Master of all that the human race has thought or discovered in the last eighteen hundred years. He might speak as never yet man spoke on English soil, might speak with an authority, originality, earnestness, as well as eloquence which might exercise a fascination, purifying though painful as a "refiner's fire"; a fascination equally attractive to those who wished to do right, and intolerable to those who wished to do wrong. But how long would His influence last? As before, there might come a day when His hearers and admirers would become fewer through bigotry, envy, fickleness, cowardice, etc. And so the world, the religious world as well as the rest, might let Him go His way, and vanish from the eyes and minds of men, leaving behind little more than a regret that one so gifted and so fascinating should have proved — so unsafe and so unsound a teacher.
(Canon Charles Kingsley.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
WEB: "Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me; and the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, behold, he comes!" says Yahweh of Armies.