Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Prepare The Way For Christ

Matthew 3:3

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ ”

Many of us if not all of us have prepared for something important. Maybe it was a job interview. Maybe it was the season of time when we were preparing for college or marriage or a career. We have made plans and prepared for something in life that was important. Olympic athletes prepare a lifetime for their moment in the spotlight as they compete for their countries.

I remember when God laid on my heart the calling to be a pastor. In the denomination where I have served for 41 years – I needed a four-year college undergrad degree and a three-year Masters degree – all at accredited schools. I eventually also earned a Doctor of Ministry degree to further my education. Along with the educational requirements – which continue in the form of continuing education credits – I had to undergo examination after examination it seemed as I was first ordained a Deacon in the United Methodist Church and later ordained an Elder.

Some people my age are planning for or already into retirement. It takes planning and prep work for sure. Questions abound. Can we afford to retire? What will we do in retirement? Where will we live (some cannot afford to live where they lived while they were working and some want to downsize so they can spend more time doing other things)? It takes much prep work to retire. It actually takes a lot of prep work while we are working to make sure we can retire well.

Preparing for something important is usually not easy and it is time consuming. Today’s passage speaks of John the Baptist and his part in preparing the world for the coming of Christ – the most important entrance possible. Here’s today’s passage in partial context. Matthew 3:1–17 – 1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ ”  4 John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” 13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. 16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin and he prepared the way for Christ to begin His ministry. Think about it a little – who was instrumental in introducing us to Christ? If we attending church when we were younger we might name our parents – our pastor – our Sunday School teachers – or those who worked with the VBS program or the youth group. It might have been a teacher from school or a friend. It might have been an organization like Young Life or Pioneers or maybe it was a combination of persons and groups.

If we are followers of Christ today – are we helping to prepare the way for Christ in the lives of others? Are we witnessing our faith at work – at home – in our local church family? Are we allowing our light to shine so that others see Jesus in us – working thru us – and at times maybe even in spite of us?

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

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April 26, 2017 - Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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