“The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, 2 as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way”
3 “a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’”
It is always a delight to begin a new study. I realize I am no great theologian, scholar or master teacher. I am a fellow follower of Jesus who is reading, examining and interacting with his Word, applying it to my life and finding strength from within its pages.
And of all Scripture, I love the gospels the most. The stories and teachings of Jesus bring such life to me. Watching the Lord walk, talk, interact and love on people is invigorating. It sets my soul aflame!
So what better way to begin that in the beginning with the good news of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. He’s just now coming on the scene. The world has not yet seen him. He was with God in the beginning (John 1) but now he arrives on earth in flesh and blood. But before his arrival there must be the preamble. The introduction to this great gift of God. And thus the story begins!
It begins with Isaiah’s declaration — a thousand year old prophecy about God’s chosen Messiah: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way.” And what messenger might this be? We know his name, John the Baptizer who is “a voice of one calling in the wilderness saying ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”
John had an incredible and impossible job. He was making way for the entrance of Messiah into the world. And in order to do so, God had been preparing holiness in John. Only one who was striving to become holy could bring in one who was holy (think of the Virgin Mary and Jesus). John wasn’t perfect, but he was God’s person. He was a man after God’s heart — seeking him in the desert, adhering to the Law, living a life for God.
This makes me consider my own devotion. If I want to usher in a move of God, what might I do? It’s not perfection, I know that is impossible. Is it obedience? It could be. But I think it is a combination of faith, desire, hope and love. It’s a dependence upon Christ, a desire for him to be present in my midst, a willingness to allow him to reshape my heart from one of sin to one of sanctification.
God used John to usher in Jesus. What an honor and a privilege. A blessing to the whole world so that people might be saved from their sins, know a loving God and find purpose in this world and beyond. As I begin this study on the Gospel of Mark, I am thankful for John. A human just like me with potential to do wonderful work for a magnificant and merciful God.
“O Lord, as I reflect upon my upcoming trip to the New Room Conference, I think about the legacy of John the Baptizer, of Jesus our Messiah, of John Wesley the founder of the Methodist Church and the reason for the name “New Room.” I think about the gathering and conversations I will enjoy because of the unity of the Spirit. I am grateful for being a part of your Body, Lord, and for being your hands in feet. Help me become nothing so that you might become great. Thank you for involving me in your plan to reach humanity and to follow Wesleys words of doing nothing but saving souls. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen
For more info on Wesleys New Room visit – https://www.newroombristol.org.uk/#:~:text=Founded%20in%201739%20by%20John,and%20a%20vast%20reference%20Library.