Finally they said, “Who are you? . . . John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”
Prepare the Way
In the ancient world, VIPs would send their heralds ahead of them to make straight the way—that is, to ensure the safety and travel ability of the road.
John the Baptist’s mission was to go ahead of Jesus, preparing the way and proclaiming the King’s imminent arrival. He was to blast through sinful pride and self-righteousness, to urge people to repent of their materialism and overconfidence, their lack of priorities and spiritual apathy, to get them ready and eager for the arrival of the One who could save them.
How do we “make straight the way for the Lord” today? By looking closely at our hearts and identifying those sins that clutter them. Are we giving certain sins a comfortable place in our hearts? Are we making excuses instead of getting tough on bad behavior? The Baptist calls out, “Repent!” “Make straight the way!”
Prepared hearts are hearts that daily loathe the sin within us and celebrate the arrival of our Royal Deliverer from heaven. He comes to us time and again in his Word and sacraments, bringing gifts most valuable—forgiveness of sins and peace with God. And on the last day, he will come not in simple means, but in awesome power, riding on the clouds of heaven, bringing our ultimate deliverance. As you prepare for that day, hear and heed John’s clarion call: “Repent!” “Prepare!” “Make straight the way of the Lord!”
Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 3)
Fling wide the portals of your heart, make it a temple set apart.
From earthly use for heaven’s employ, adorned with prayer and love and joy.
So shall your Sovereign enter in, and new and nobler life begin.
To God alone be praise for word and deed and grace! Amen.