Prepare the Way!

The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

It is written in Isaiah the prophet:

“I will send my messenger ahead of you,

who will prepare your way”—

“a voice of one calling in the desert,

‘Prepare the way for the Lord,

make straight paths for him.’

And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.  And this was his message: “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Mark 1:1-8 (NIV)

My pastor recently preached on this passage and I will share some of his thoughts as well as those I have heard in my meditation of this. In the beginning – Mark and John both began their gospels with these words, repeating the words of Genesis. When I read the first chapter of Genesis (the Bible of Jesus, Mark, and John!), I can see why Mark and John would start their gospels that way. Jesus was there when it all began. Verse 26 says, “Let us make man”. It doesn’t say “I” – it says “us”! Jesus was there. (No, I am NOT going to explain the Trinity today!) Mark and John remind me that the gospel of Jesus has always been and so will always be.

Mark tells the story of John the Baptist. John was the one to prepare the way. John’s ministry was about repentance. He said that we are sinners and we must repent and begin anew with baptism but we must repent first. John spoke a hard gospel. It was not about love and sweet gardens. It was about “TURN OR BURN”!!! There is joy in that but first there is conviction and guilt for choosing the wrong path.

My pastor said that those who preach a true gospel are … different, even strange or peculiar. I believe he is right. They do not say, “I’m ok – you’re ok”. They are not into their ego and wondering if they are pleasing everyone. They probably do not wear the most expensive suits or speak with the most cultured tones. They only want to please the One who is their message!

John said he wasn’t valuable enough to even kneel down and untie Jesus’ sandals. Do you hear the connection to Jesus kneeling down to wash the dirty feet of the disciples who would continue His message? Jesus taught humility and that He too was only here – to glorify the Father. Yes, Jesus died for me. That glorified the Father because it showed His extravagant love. The Father s magnified. I see the Father in Jesus. I see the Father in John. That is how to prepare the way!

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