The last book in the Old Testament is Malachi which ends with a curse, Malachi 4:5-6, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
Hundreds of years late, an angel of the Lord appeared to Zacharias, Luke 1:13, “But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.”
Luke 1:15, “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb.”
Luke 1:17, “He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, 'TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS TO THE CHILDREN,' and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
John would be the prophet of the Most High, the forerunner of Jesus and was tasked with preparing the way for His coming. This was in fulfillment of Malachi's prediction of a messenger to “prepare the way.” As BACs we too are to “prepare the way.”
After the Annunciation by the Archangel Gabriel, Mary left Nazareth to visit her cousin Elisabeth who was then six months pregnant. The child Elisabeth was carrying would become the prophet known as John the Baptist. Luke 1:41, “And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Decades later John was fulfilling his charge as forerunner to Jesus. Matthew 3:1-3, “1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: "THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS: 'PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD; MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT.' "
John led a very austere life in the wilderness while baptizing many and warning them to repent. When Jesus was starting his ministry John the Baptist had the following testimony. "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" John 1:29.
At his first coming, Jesus most assuredly was the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world. Jesus gave his life as a propitiation so that we can appear before a righteous God rather than face damnation. Just as John the Baptist had to decrease so that Jesus could increase, Jesus “returned to His place” so that the Holy Spirit could come to us.
Just as John was set aside at conception to be a forerunner of Jesus, we born-again Christians were given responsibility for The Great Commission, Matthew 28:18-20, “18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”