O Come, Let Us Adore Him – Advent Day 15 – Paving the Way
The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as 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 wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. … And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps 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 1:1-4, 7-8, NIV)
Growing up in a family with four siblings, my older sister essentially helped pave the way for the rest of us. We learned through her which rules might be bendable and which ones to make sure we strictly followed. She fought for permission for certain activities that initially were denied us, and we can thank her for many of the things we were eventually permitted to do. That’s the way it is for older siblings; they help establish freedoms for the whole pack!
John the Baptist was the one who paved the way for Jesus, but in a much different way! In the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament, the promise was made that one would come who would prepare the world for the coming Messiah. This “one” was John the Baptist; he would fulfill the prophecy, and introduce Jesus as the Messiah to a waiting and watching world.
When this messenger arrived on the scene, the world should have taken notice, as it signified that the Messiah was about to appear. For those who had been longing for the coming Savior, hearing the message of John the Baptist must have filled them with hope! Many were skeptical and doubted his words, but many also believed and gathered to hear his message about the coming Christ. What was included in his message was the need for repentance in order to be forgiven of sin—still at the heart of the gospel message we seek to preach today.
The account in the Scripture above was, of course, years after the birth of Jesus. But as we tie it into our Advent study, it helps direct our thoughts to who Jesus was and why His birth was such a world-changing event! This Christ-child would enter the scene first as a baby, and then, as an adult, He would give His life for the sins of a lost world.
God is so gracious. He didn’t want the people to miss the significance of His Son’s coming, and so He sent one ahead of Jesus to prepare the way. God sent His very best for us, and if we miss the message Jesus brought to the world, we are without hope and forever lost. John the Baptist understood who Jesus was, and he wanted others to understand, too. And so day after day, he dedicated himself to sharing the need for repentance and the promise of the coming Messiah to any who would come and listen.
How might we take on the same faithful approach in sharing the gospel message with those in our own sphere of influence? Do we have the same fervor to see the lost acknowledge the truth of the gospel message? Do we see Jesus with eyes like John, acknowledging that we are so unworthy of Him? And even so, He loved us more than words can express, and came to rescue and redeem all who would simply come to Him.
May we appreciate in this season of Advent that the Christ-child was willing to come so that the purposes of God would be fulfilled. This baby would arrive on the scene, and with Him came our hope. For those of us who know Him as our Savior, may we be obedient to the call to take the gospel message to the whole world. John the Baptist was the forerunner of the Savior, of whom we still preach today. Jesus came into the world for the purpose of rescuing us in our sinful state and providing us with the free gift of salvation. How blessed we are!