Posted by: Brad Beaman | April 7, 2010

Prepare the way for Jesus

Have you ever had that terrible sinking feeling of being unprepared? As a student maybe there was a test you did not study for. As an adult maybe the tax deadline came and you were not ready. Proper preparation is the key to many things.

If you have been part of planning a big event you know just how preparation is vital to everything. A sports team will win or lose the championship based on their off season preparation.

Mark begins his Gospel with the greatest preparations of all. Preparing the way for Jesus.

Mark 1:1-8

1The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God

 2It is written in Isaiah the prophet:
   “I will send my messenger ahead of you,
      who will prepare your way”—
 
3“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.
5The 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. 6John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7And 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. 8I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Mark wrote his Gospel to help people know Jesus. In this gospel we are confronted with a call to action. He portrays Jesus calling others to action. Mark presents his gospel in a way that all of us who read his gospel are called to action.

The preparation for Jesus was written long before in the prophets. The Old Testament scriptures told about a coming Messiah. There was an expectation for the coming messiah because the prophets prepared the people for this.

Mark focuses on two scriptures, Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1.

Isaiah 40:3

A voice of one calling:
       “In the desert prepare
       the way for the LORD;
       make straight in the wilderness
       a highway for our God.

Malachi 3:1

“See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty.

The New Testament is connected to and fulfills the Old Testament. These scriptures speak not only of the coming Christ, but the one who comes before to prepare the way.  So these are the scriptures that prepare the way for the one who will come and prepare the way for Jesus.

A voice was needed and voice was heard. It was that of John the Baptist. Jesus is the promised deliverer and John is the promised forerunner. There was a period of silence after the book of Malachi. Now the silence is broken. The prophetic succession continues. Scripture is fulfilled. A forerunner, a messenger a voice is now on the scene and it is John the Baptist who fulfills the role to prepare the way for Jesus.

John fulfilled two prophesies of scripture. He was the promised forerunner and he appeared in the wilderness. Now the prophesy of the one who was to prepare the way was fulfilled. It was now, “the fullness of time.”

John’s purpose was to point to someone beyond himself. In the time of Isaiah’s prophecy there was preparation when a king would travel. A team would go before the king and cut down trees, fill in valleys, bring down mountains and straighten crooked roads. The way was prepared so the king could travel on a smooth road.

John prepared the way for the King of Kings. He made the way straight through his preaching and call to repentance. John had a mission to prepare the way for Jesus.   

 What a figure John was appearing from the solitary life of the desert. His camel hair garment, his leather belt and his eating locust and wild honey were part of his wilderness lifestyle. John was willing to denounce any sin at any price. Momma don’t let your babies grow up to be prophets. People like John get their heads chopped off. 

He fit the Old Testament mold of a prophet. Hi renounced the religion of his day. He called the religious leaders a brood of vipers. John preached with authority of “ Thus sayeth the Lord.” John preached with that burning conviction.

Even King Herod did not scare John the Baptist. John preached against his sin. As a matter of fact Herod was scared of John Mark 6:20 Herod feared John.

 

John preached repentance. A call to turn from the life of sin. Baptism followed repentance. Finally after 400 years there was a voice. Something new was about to happen. John was the forerunner. John preached, “Prepare you for the one who comes.” The Bible says, “There has been no one born that is greater. Yet when asked if he was the Christ he denied it passionately and said, I am not even worthy to unlatch the sandal of the one who comes after me. “  

Mark 1:7

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. 8I baptize you with[d] water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

John preached Christ. John denied his own worthiness. That alone belongs to Christ. John proclaimed the most profound message of all “The Kingdom of God is at hand” When John saw Jesus he said, behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

John baptized with water. His baptism is ceremonial, outward only. Jesus would come and He baptizes with the Holy Spirit. Only Jesus is worthy to save you from sin. He came to die on the cross. His resurrection can be a reality in your life.

The way to God is prepared.

Scripture prepares us.

John prepared us

Jesus has arrived.   

Now is your responsibility. Prepare your heart and trust totally in Jesus.

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