Day 21

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

from the John the Baptist Prepares the Way reading plan


Isaiah 40:1-5, Mark 1:1-8

BY Diana Stone

Text: Isaiah 40:1-5, Mark 1:1-8

If John the Baptist were a member of your family, he’d be that loud uncle you invite to holiday gatherings with the secret hope that he’ll decline. John was different, to put it nicely. He ate bugs, wore clothes made of camel hair, and talked (loudly) of radical ideas.

But if you got to know John, you’d quickly realize something important about the man: he was authentic. John was not radical for radical’s sake—he didn’t do these things for shock value or to garner attention from others. John lived differently than everyone else because, unlike everyone else, his single mission was made clear from the moment of his birth: “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins” (Luke 1:76-77). His job was to proclaim Jesus—the God-made-man who was also his cousin— and John devoted his life to Him, down to the his choice of “natural” attire and “organic” cuisine.

John knew Jesus was the Messiah before most anyone else even understood who He was. John obeyed God’s call on his life to prepare the people for Christ’s coming, fulfilling prophecies Isaiah made about him long before his existence and those his father Zechariah made at his birth. John’s role as the Preparer—as the Way-Paver—was so important that Jesus Himself said of him, “I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John” (Luke 7:28).

I wonder if there were times John lamented his unconventional calling. It couldn’t have been easy. Did he ever wish he could pass the torch to another—let them be the crazy uncle for a while? We don’t know what John prayed and felt in the quieter moments of his wild life, but we do know he was faithful to his Lord. In John 5:35, Jesus calls him a “burning and shining lamp.” Isn’t that what we each long to be—a light for Jesus? What a tragic yet stunning honor it must have been for John to sit in jail awaiting his own execution, knowing he was giving his all for the man he loved more than life (Mark 6).

You and I may not make our home in the woods or be able to stomach the thought of locusts for lunch, but our souls can be just as sold-out for Jesus as John’s was. We, too, can be Way-Pavers for Christ in the hearts of those around us. Like John, we can prepare the way of the Lord, shining the gospel light in the dark places and pointing people to Jesus in every season.

Our lives may look strange—maybe even a little crazy. People may whisper about our unconventional ways and unapologetic joy after we leave the room. But, friends, we know the Messiah! We know the One who is Himself our salvation and hope. God, give us the courage and grace to act like it.

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For an added layer of worship during this sweet season of adoration and expectation, we’ve created a Spotify playlist for Advent 2014! You can find the complete SheReadsTruth | O Come Let Us Adore Him playlist at this link, or listen to today’s track on the player below. Enjoy!


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Post Comments (41)

41 thoughts on "John the Baptist Prepares the Way"

  1. Debbie says:

    How completely wonderful would it be to have our Lord say of us that we were lamps that burned and gave light….that we testified to the truth…..
    We actually have that opportunity.

    He is with us!

  2. Kendall_S says:

    mulling over today:

    how can i be a way-paver?

    is my own selfishness and pride getting in the way of Christ's light shining through me?

    what opportunities have i missed because of hurry or stress or single-mindedness?

    would my family describe me as a way-paver?

    do i care more about Christ's mission or my own "wants" and "needs"?

    lots

    lots

    lots

    to think over and pray through today…..

    thank you God for sending John the Baptist as a shining example of how to sell out to You and Your Son.

    1. Sheryl says:

      You put my thoughts into words….lots to ponder and act on today.

  3. drasch says:

    I wonder at John’s perseverance. He chose, every day, to be a way-paver. God, that I could have one tenth of John’s zeal for you and your Word.

  4. Kelly_Smith says:

    This message is exactly what I needed to hear today. My soul needed a boost of courage, a reason to share! I will celebrate Christmas with my extended family today. There are enough family members who need Christ to make it a mission field. I have an awkward salesman feeling around then when it comes to sharing the Gospel. Today is the day to let the "crazy uncle" in me hang out! Today is to the day to love them more than I love my pride. Today is the day to prepare the way of the Lord!

    1. stinav96 says:

      Praying for you today, Kelly! "Be strong and courageous! The Lord your God is with you wherever you go!" In Jesus' Name!

    2. Missy says:

      Kelly, I feel the same. In my time of preparation before coming here to visit family I just felt like my sole mission this Christmas was to be super bold with my brother and sister-in-law. I have no idea how that'll look (and to be honest, I'm a little nervous about how it could look), but I love this thought of "why should I care what they think about my unabashed joy when I leave the room", you know? Praying for you and others as we go boldly, like John.

      1. Kelly_Smith says:

        Thank you! Praying for you, your brother, and your SIL!

    3. Debbie says:

      Kelly, I pray for your boldness…and then for mine with my family also!

      1. Kelly_Smith says:

        Thank you! Praying for you and your family, Debbie!

    4. Beth Warner says:

      Oh my goodness Kelly, same here. But it’s mainly with my son I have that “salesman” feeling,, My Son!! Whom I love so much!! I ask The Lord to give me the right words to say, but I feel so awkward. Please pray for me sisters to have the boldness to “shine that light brightly”. I pray for courage for you too my dear. Have a wonderful day .

      1. Kelly_Smith says:

        Thank you, Beth! Praying for you and your son!!

  5. Amanda says:

    We can prepare the way for jesus by bringing new followers to him.

  6. lucy says:

    An inspiration. Nothing else matters! Seems especially poignant around Christmas time.

  7. Angela says:

    Yes, how I long to be more courageous in my faith and love for Jesus. By your grace Lord.

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