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.


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!


Post Comments (41)

41 thoughts on "John the Baptist Prepares the Way"

  1. Bethany says:

    We should be living our lives like John. It is so great to read how he had such faith that he didnt care if he was “crazy!”

  2. Leslie Long says:

    The note in my bible for John 5:35 says, “Jesus’ characterization of the Baptist as a ‘burning and shining lamp’ echoes Psalm 132:17, where it said that God has ‘prepared a lamp’ for his anointed. John the Baptist was a ‘lamp’, but not the light (John 1:7-9)…”

    John 1:7-9 says, “He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.” (‭John‬ ‭1‬:‭7-9‬ ESV)

    Thankful for the Light of the world and that God has called each of us to be a lamp on a post, not hidden, but for all to see so that Jesus, the Light, can be made known to the world. “Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” (Matt 5:15)

    This then takes me back to Isaiah 40:5 where it says, “the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and ALL flesh shall see it together…” — which my bible notes is “not a private viewing for the remnant but out in front of the whole world. From this promise of God’s presence flow all of God’s gracious promises. ”

    John the Baptist wasn’t afraid to expose the news and truth of the coming of Christ for the whole world to hear about it. I continue to pray each new day for the courage to put my lamp, which carries the light of Christ, on a stand for all to see, that His goodness and glory might be revealed.

  3. Antimony says:

    I’ve been so discouraged today. Regardless of how much I know that my focus must be on pleasing God … I still want people to like and approve of me. Especially my parents! And yet I feel like I can never measure up to their expectations! I know they love me. And they want the best for me. But whenever I leave, I feel like such a failure. I need to re-focus my mind on Christ. He has to be first. He is the Light in my darkness. And He gives me the opportunity to be light to others!

    1. stinav96 says:

      Praying for you today, Antimony! I know how much our parents' approval means. And now, being a parent, I see how hard it is to want so much for your children but not beat them down with the good you want for them. Thank you for highlighting that for me today. And I will be praying that as you focus on Christ, your parents will see Him in you and trust Him with you. As I was told by several fellow SRTers the other day, you are a daughter of the One True King! You are fully accepted in Him! Thank you for your heart to love Him and respect your parents!

  4. Melody says:

    There's that saying that goes "you may be the only Bible some people ever read." May we radiate God's light and love this Christmas season so that when people "read" us, they read about Jesus.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Bless you, Paige. I can feel your struggle come through your words. I am heading into my last semester of nursing school. I have had encouragement from all sides, and felt God’s hand in many things along the way. But sometimes I feel like I have been scrambling for three years to achieve nothing. I could have done more for the kingdom by being on the mission field I am sure. I don’t know if this was where God wanted me. All of this has taught me to pray and seek Him. I am leaning not on my own understanding. I hope.

  6. Anna says:

    Unconventional ways. Unapologetic joy. Oh, how I long to be the kind of woman that shines brightly for Him in a way that people notice…and are changed because of it.

  7. Bridget says:

    Figuratively as in the wilderness the people were in… Lost.

  8. Bridget says:

    I wonder what the people of Isaiah’s time thought of his prophecy? Many years later, there WAS a voice crying in the wilderness…literally and figuratively.

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