Day 23 - Prepare the Way
“The word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’” --Luke 3:2-4
Over the next few days leading up to Christmas Eve we’ll be looking at some of the people who were on the periphery of Jesus’s story. God used a lot of people in some seemingly small ways to call attention to His Son coming to earth, and the man mentioned in today’s Scripture, commonly referred to as John the Baptist, was one of those people whose purpose in life was to be a sign pointing to the Messiah.
In these verses we see John calling people to repent of their sin as a way of preparing for Jesus Christ, but if you’ve been following this study you already know that Jesus accomplished the forgiveness of sins by dying on the cross, so why would John be calling people to repent before coming to Jesus?
This time of year, many of us have to shovel snow off of our driveways in order for our cars to leave the garage. Certainly, our cars are capable of driving over the unplowed snow to get to the street, but we shovel nonetheless because it makes the journey from garage to street much less dangerous. That’s what repentance is for us. In our lives, we can come to Jesus as the forgiver of sins even when we are in sin itself, but if we live in repentance, we are working to keep the junk off of our souls so that Jesus is easier to get to; so that a clear path between our lives and the life of our Redeemer exists, making this journey less treacherous. Repentance doesn’t forgive us of sin, Jesus did that. Repentance, rather acknowledges that the sin that is in our lives needs to be checked and rechecked on the road to God making our lives look more like His Son’s.
Where are you on this journey? Does Jesus seem difficult to reach because of sin for which you have not asked forgiveness? Remember that He is not far off and He wants to be near to you. Pray through the words in James 4:7-10 as you seek to draw near to God.