Prepare the way

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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.’”

Bottom line: I cannot become right with God and filled with his Holy Spirit until I humble my pride and confess and repent of my sin.

And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, 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 baptised 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 comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptise you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.”

The Gospel of Mark jumps straight into the Jesus story with his cousin, John the Baptist. John came clearly pointing to Jesus. He stayed in the desert, wore simple clothes and had a strange diet. But his message was very simple. Here’s three points I get out of John’s message that can be applied to our own lives.

  1. Humility: John was all about Jesus. Nothing in his clothes or his habits pointed to himself. To prepare the way for Jesus, John brought himself low, to point to the one “more powerful than I.”
  2. Repentance and confession: Before Jesus arrived, John preached repentance and confession. For God to enter our lives, we must remove those things that separate us from him! To do that we must confess and they lose their power.
  3. First external change, then internal change: John preaches that he is baptising with water to prepare for the Messiah, but Jesus will baptise with the Holy Spirit. Baptism is often called the outward demonstration of an inner commitment. When the Holy Spirit moves in, you can be assured that you become more and more like Jesus.

Bottom line: I cannot become right with God and filled with his Holy Spirit until I humble my pride and confess and repent of my sin.

John prepared the way by calling people to repentance. What am I holding on to today that is stopping Jesus from working in my life?

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