A PREPARED WAY
Matt 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8; Luke 3:1-18; John 1:19-28
At the beginning of every gospel in the New Testament, we find an unusual character. This man was John the Baptist. He stationed his ministry in the most unlikely of places, the wilderness. He was dressed in a garment full of camel’s hair. His diet consisted of everyone’s favorite dish, locusts and honey. If we were to lay eyes on him, we would probably think he looked more like a beggar or maybe a social outcast.
However, this man was no outcast wandering in the wilderness alone. He was a man with a powerful voice. A man with a great ministry by preaching on repentance and baptizing men and women in the Jordan River. In fact, he had such a following that the scripture says “Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him” (Matthew 3:5). Yet with such a great ministry it was never centered around his glory and his fame.
Instead, in our passage we see John the Baptist fully devoted to one thing, and that is fulfilling this prophecy from Isaiah 40 (similar prophecies can be found in Malachi 3):
“A voice cries: In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 40:3-5
The Lord had sent John the Baptist as a prophet to pave the way for Jesus Christ. He was the voice promised in Isaiah. The one called to make the path straight for the glory of the Lord. The voice that would be an arrow pointing to Jesus Christ.
John the Baptist preached repentance, but Jesus would grant the gift of repentance through his life and death.
John the Baptist would baptize with water, but Jesus would baptize believers with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
John the Baptist preached forgiveness of sins, but Jesus was he Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world.
John the Baptist was ushering in the coming King who would be the very glory of God, and Jesus is that King.
John truly was a humble man whose greatest desire was that Christ would increase and he would decrease (John 3:3). It would be wise of us today to follow in his steps of humility. Yet it would be wiser, if we would set our gaze on the one he was pointing to, Jesus Christ, the lamb of God who came to take way the sins of the world (John 1:29).