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. mjasi253 says:

    So helpful to read this. I was feeling discouraged because some coworkers were giving me a hard time recently about not joining in on something I felt was inappropriate. I’m a people-pleaser by nature, so saying no and standing my ground is hard, and I hate wondering if people are talking about me. But John did all of that…and more. I’ve never fully realized before how his life can parallel ours. Thank you for this study!

  2. Shawna says:

    I oftentimes get annoyed with the glitz and glam that surrounds this time of year. I mean… Didn’t Jesus come to us in a manger? Doesn’t he sit with the prostitutes and hang with the beggars? I can sometimes feel like John, as I choose to not partake in the glamour of this grand event. And at the same time, I struggle to not lavish too many gifts on the ones I love the most. Instead of focusing so much on the ones nearest and dearest, I’m striving to focus on all those who surround me during this time of year. I know we all need to see Jesus, and I just hope to shine when I need to most!

  3. Sarah says:

    Hi Paige, I will be praying for the Lord to burn in your heart (in an inescapable way) what His desire is for you. Having gone through a long & difficult educational road myself, I know it is exhausting, & there are so many other fun things we could be doing. However, being faithful to Jesus is so much more important. I pray you’ll have clarity in deciding, and strength to persevere in what He calls you to do! He is faithful & He will finish what He’s started in you!!

  4. Beth Warner says:

    I’m a little relieved in reading these posts this morning,, that I’m not the only one having trouble being bold like John. Although I seem to be able to “shine”at work and with my customers,,, but have a hard time talking to my son about The Lord. Why is that?? I come up empty each time. I’m so afraid I’ll blow it. I pray for for courage and boldness and discernment for each of us sisters, to pave the way to Jesus. In Jesus’ name!!! Xo

    1. April says:

      Oh Beth, I would imagine it is harder to share with your son because there is "so much more at stake", it's so very personal for you. For him to turn from Christ, is to turn away from you too because Christ is in you. While you of course want customers to see Jesus in you, you want your son along to share the path on this journey of life. May I offer a word of encouragement? You can't "blow it", it is God's "job" to win your son over. Your "job" is to love freely & be who you are in Him. Heavenly Father, please help Beth relax in You when sharing with her son. Open his eyes to see You in her. Fill her to overflowing with You & Your love, may it spill out & over all who get near her. May this be the year her son's eyes & ears are opened to understanding Your living word.

      1. Beth Warner says:

        Oh Thank you April, I so appreciate your prayer. I will continue to keep asking for open doors to talk to my sweet boy. God Bless you, xo

  5. KatSmith1026 says:

    In my Bible, the passage in Mark referenced the reading in Isaiah, & also this verse, Malachi 3:1 – “Behold, I send my messenger, & he will prepare the way before me.”
    Just wanted to share that with you all this morning. Praying courage & boldness for you, my sisters!

    1. Beth Warner says:

      Thank you, same to you Kat.:)

  6. jenadams87 says:

    "God, give us the courage and grace to act like it" Yes Lord, I don't have it in my strength.

  7. Onfaith says:

    "A burning and shining lamp" – what a way to be described and by your Savior. I love how different John was, it reminds me of a man I met a year ago. He was homeless and proclaiming God's goodness in a big way. The first words out of his mouth were, "do you know Jesus". He was bold, fearless and loud. I watched as the other folks, especially those most familiar with him, would roll their eyes and mumble that something was "wrong' with him. I can't help but think that John must of faced some of the same scrutiny. It is further proof that God uses different people and circumstances to bring us closer to Him. Just like Jesus in a manger, we would have likely imagined the one preparing the way here for Christ to be a little more delicate in his words, clean in his demeanor, attractive and gleaming with an obvious "look" of righteousness…..you know like the "pretty" people we all want to follow. But the reality is that John is so much on the outside like us, like our sin, on the inside…..dirty, loud and unkempt, in need of a savior. It just shows us that no matter what we have hiding inside, how we think of ourselves, what dirt the enemy tries to cover our hearts with, it can glean for Christ. We, too, can be a bright and shining light …. we don't have to "clean up" to meet Christ, to spend time with Him, even if, as today for me, just in our PJs, with hair askew and a profoundly runny nose. Jesus just wants to know that my heart is for Him too! ~ B

    1. Kelly says:

      Yes! Yes! Yes!!! Thank you for that picture!! You’re right, I think that’s exactly what today’s John would look/act like! And that’s exactly how people would treat him :( I pray for boldness and a faith like that!

    2. kristina says:

      love this!

  8. Nadia says:

    I pray that I have the courage to be a light for Christ in whatever circumstances come my way.

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