“…the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings…”
– Malachi 4:2 NASB
Malachi is one of the twelve writing prophets of the Old Testament who are called “The Minor Prophets.” The word “minor” doesn’t mean that their ministries were of lesser importance – only that their writings were much shorter than those of “The Major Prophets”: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel.
Malachi’s “book” comes last in the Protestant Old Testament. He was one of the last Old Testament prophets to write, and is dated around 400 B.C. Thus the freshest ink used for prophecies of Messiah had been drying four hundred years before He was even born. No other figure in world history – religious or secular – had a biography of him written before he was born – long, long before.
Buried near the end of Malachi’s text, in the middle of a sentence, is this prophecy of Christ. People in Malachi’s time might have struggled to understand it, but Jesus’ resurrection from the dead made its meaning undeniably clear: “the sun of righteousness will rise…”
Ever since the beginning of time, humanity had struggled with death and even what to think about it. Death came to everyone, but what did it ultimately mean? Through Jesus Christ, God demonstrates that humans are like seeds planted in the soil – destined to spring forth. Jesus was the firstborn from the dead.
Forty days after His resurrection when Jesus ascended into heaven, the reference to “wings” made sense. This also provided a bridge between the “healing” Jesus did in the four Gospels, and the “healing” He did through His apostles in the book of Acts. Either way, Jesus was “healing.”
The key phrase in Malachi’s prophecy is what leads it: “the sun of righteousness.” The sun outshines all the stars. Just so, Jesus outshines all other human beings in moral excellence.
It is natural and normal for us to recognize excellence in human life. There is athletic excellence, academic excellence, managerial excellence, journalistic excellence, rhetorical excellence, and on and on. What matters most in life, however, is moral excellence. It is certainly the excellence that matters most to God. Every other human being is a fading star in the light of “the sun of righteousness.”
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
O God, You came to earth to show us what a moral life looks like. We only thought we knew. You have left us an example to follow…an example of selfless love. Help me follow Your example today…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.