Prepare The Way
(Luke 3:1-6; Baruch 5:1-9)
John the Baptist announces the coming of Jesus, the Messiah, by crying out the words of the prophet Isaiah: “Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley will be filled in, every mountain and hill be laid low, winding ways will be straightened and rough roads made smooth. And all mankind shall see the salvation of God.”
The powerful imagery of this ancient prophecy is lost in the modern world. In Isaiah’s day, when the upcoming visit of the king was made known, all of the people would stop whatever they were doing, and go to work preparing the way for their king, by sweeping the streets free of rubble, filling in any potholes, leveling any bumps, and making the path as straight as possible, all so that their king’s coming would be made easy and swift. Nothing was more important than the coming of the king.
After calling the people to preparedness, Isaiah proclaims that the coming of the Messiah-King will forever transform the world, that not only will the roadways and local scenery be “tidied up”, but his kingdom’s valleys and mountains will be made level, and every rough road will be made smooth -all will witness the Salvation of God, for the coming of this Messiah will usher in a New Eden –where, the prophet Baruch says, “…Israel can walk in safety under the glory of God. And the forests and every fragrant tree will provide shade for Israel at the command of God; for God will guide Israel in joy by the light of his glory with his mercy and integrity for escort.”
If John the Baptist’s call, to prepare for the coming of the Messiah, is repentance, then the roadway rubble is the trash and clutter in my life; the deep gorges are the wounds of sin, the mountains are a mirror of my towering pride; and the curving paths are my twisted justifications for the tolerance of sin. Just as I am hopeless to level mountains and fill valleys, so am I to absolving sin in my life.
But John’s Messiah is a most Extraordinary King. He comes, not to be served, but to serve –to reconcile the Unreconciled, to heal the Wounded, to bring hope for the Hopeless. Mountains are thrown into the sea at his command, and the Prodigal is brought home. He is the Valley Filler, the Mountain Leveler, the Servant Savior.Jesus, my Servant-King, my Savior, forgive me my sin. May your Kingdom take reign over my failed attempts to rule. I am ready for your Coming. I surrender to your Holy Spirit. Do not allow me to hide from you. May your Mercy overwhelm my fear to let go. Render my heart to our Love -make me hungry and thirsty for your will. Open my eyes to the New Life you are offering me. Make straight my path, oh Lord. Make straight my path. Nothing is more important than your coming into my life. Be now, My Savior, My King.