A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”Isaiah 40:3-5
He went into all the country around the Jordan,
preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
the rough ways smooth.
And all people will see God’s salvation.’”
The second Sunday of Advent is the Sunday of Preparation. This includes the passage about John the Baptist who was born to prepare the way for Jesus, the promised Messiah. He quotes in Luke from the Isaiah 40 passage.
His message was one of repentance. Repent of your sins.
Repentence starts with becoming aware of my sin
It starts with an awareness of them…and many didn’t even have that! Think of the Pharisees. They were so complacent in their self-righteousness. They were keeping the rules. They were the good guys…or so they thought!
Jesus came to make them aware that their “goodness” wasn’t very attractive to Him. They came to hate His message. They came to hate Him so much that many of them conspired to kill Him. Over and over, He showed them how their goodness was a sham that was only skin deep!
For those who were only too aware of their sinfulness,
Jesus’ coming was joyful as He promised forgiveness.
But then there were those who were painfully aware of how far short they were from GOD’s standard of righteous behavior. They knew that their situation was totally hopeless before a holy GOD.
For them, the news of Jesus’ coming was good. The news that preparation for His coming involved repentance, even if they didn’t totally understand all that meant? This gave them a glimmer of hope that there was a future for them. That forgiveness, cleanness and light could all be part of their worlds too! It seemed impossible to believe.
Imagine if you were a woman in that day whose only option was being a woman of the street…or so she thought. How would you feel on hearing this message of forgiveness?
All of us are that woman. We can plump ourselves up to look like something we aren’t…just as the Pharisees did. But deep down, we know that apart from a work of GOD, we can’t love GOD or others or even obey as we should.
Only Jesus did that perfectly. It is His record we build our lives on as Christians, not our own. And as we grow in grace, we begin to see tiny glimmers of His grace shining forth in us…every so often. And we know it is something miraculous that only came from Him!
Take time today to prepare for the coming of Christ.
Repent of all those things you do to plump yourself up for GOD.
….to make yourself pretty enough,
Repent of trying to be the good one and feeling self-righteous.
Repent of thinking your sin can’t possibly be covered
…by Christ’s forgiving, atoning blood!
Repent of trying to do your Christian life on your own!
Christ has come into the world to save sinners.
He came to seek and to save the lost.
Welcome Him into the lostness of your life
…into your broken world.