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December 3, 2018, 3:00 PM

Prepare the Way

Mark 1:2-8.

If you have ever traveled with a tour group, someone prepared the way for your trip. An individual or group booked your hotel stays, arranged the itinerary, secured transportation and places you would visit and tickets needed for venues. 

While John the Baptist was not operating a tour agency, God used John the Baptist to prepare the way for Jesus’ ministry. As God spoke through the prophet Isaiah: “Look, I send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way. This will be the voice in the wilderness calling out: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’”

John’s ministry was to prepare people for Jesus’ public ministry and message. John’s goal was not to draw people to himself, but to get people ready for Jesus. 

And what was John the Baptist’s ministry and message? 

John the Baptist baptized people in the Jordan river, calling people to turn from their sins and receive forgiveness. He declared that this was a baptism of repentance. And people came. From all over the country of Judea, even the city of Jerusalem. People came to be baptized as they confessed their sins. 

You’d expect people to be drawn to a guy whose ministry would appear attractive, winsome. Well, John’s wasn’t. Far from it. First of all, John wore garments of camel hair tied at the waist by a leather belt. And John did not dine on Baptist potluck dinners consisting of green bean casseroles, either. Chick-fil-a? Nope. John got his protein and carbs from dining on locusts and wild honey. Not something you would likely see posted on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. And John’s message was unvarnished: “REPENT!” Certainly not a winsome, crowd pleasing message.

John didn’t seem to care about what people thought of him. He wasn’t craving attention for himself. He had one concern: preparing folks for the appearance of the Messiah who is called Christ — the long awaited, promised Savior Redeemer.

When questioned by the religious investigators sent from Jerusalem, John readily said, “I am not the Christ.” “Well, who are you? We have to report something back to those who sent us!” John answered them: “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ Just as Isaiah the prophet said.”

John the Baptist’s humility is noted in Mark 1:7. “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” John declared that he himself was not even worthy to untie Jesus’ shoelaces! Essentially, John said that he is nobody who is simply baptizing people with water. But Jesus will baptize folks with the power of the Holy Spirit resulting in conviction over sin, repentance, changed hearts and transformed lives! 

  • How is your heart before God? Is your heart proud and self-seeking? 
  • Does your life and speech bring attention to you - or to Jesus?
  • Talk to God. Look at yourself through the mirror of the Bible. Confess areas and ways that you have sought to please people more than God. Ask the Lord to transform your heart to reflect that of a humble servant who is simply pleased to obey and serve the Master.

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” James 4:10

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