On Thursday we celebrated the coming of Jesus into our world, and today as we face into a new year, I would like to encourage us to prepare our hearts for God’s work. God’s intervention has begun, and we can see its effects as we look back over human history and our own lives. One part of preparation is clearing out the stuff in our way and walking a path that is straight.
This is the beginning of the good news of Jesus, the Anointed One, the Liberating King, the Son of God.
2 Isaiah the prophet told us what would happen before He came: Watch, I will send My messenger in front of You to prepare Your way and make it clear and straight.
3 You’ll hear him, a voice crying in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Eternal One, a straight way in the wandering desert, a highway for our God.”
4 That messenger was John the Baptist, who appeared in the desert near the Jordan River preaching that people should be ritually cleansed through baptism with water as a sign of both their changed hearts and God’s forgiveness of their sins. 5 People from across the countryside of Judea and from the city of Jerusalem came to him and confessed that they were deeply flawed and needed help, so he cleansed them with the waters of the Jordan. 6 John dressed as some of the Hebrew prophets had, in clothes made of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist. He made his meals in the desert from locusts and wild honey. 7 He preached a message in the wilderness.
John the Baptist: Someone is coming who is a lot more powerful than I am—One whose sandals I’m not worthy to bend down and untie. 8 I’ve washed you here through baptism with water; but when He gets here, He will wash you in the Spirit of God. Mark 1:1-8
- The Good news has begun!
- The messenger has come to prepare the way.
- Change of heart and forgiveness are what clears the path to God.
- Keep your eyes on the goal. What we focus on is where we are going.
- Confession is crucial. We have to acknowledge that there is debris in our lives in order for it to be cleared.
- Outward signs were important and can still be, but they cannot induce or confer the inward reality. Only Jesus can do that.