Prayer: : Prepare our Way O Lord to You! Forgive us when we stumble and fall and think life is awful. Forgive us when we don’t see Your hand in our lives, guiding us on our way to You. May we make open our hearts to Your ways and Your calling. May we follow You along the path of life! In Christ’s name we ask this. Come Lord Jesus Come. Amen.
Read St Matthew 3: 1 – 12
John the Baptist. The name means “Yahweh is gracious”. John is the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth. In the Gospel According to St Matthew, there is a description of John the Baptist. Which is very unusual. For St Matthew it was important that John the Baptist be described. And his description is of a prophet, and especially as the prophet Elijah. John is said to have lived in the desert (as did Elijah). St Matthew uses the text from Isaiah “A voice of one calling in the desert. Prepare the way for the Lord and make straight paths for him” (Isaiah 40: 3 Matthew 3: 3 NIV Zondervan, 1983).
John’s task is to prepare the way for the Lord by telling the people to repent and return to God. And some people did repent and return to God. The people confessed their sins and John baptized them in the River Jordan.
John’s ministry and vocation was to tell the people to prepare the way of the Lord. The voice of one crying in the wilderness. John’s ministry was not an easy one. John frequently came into conflict with the Pharisees and Sadducees. In this portion of scripture, John calls the Pharisees and Sadducees a “brood of vipers” because they would not look inwardly at themselves and discover that God was missing from their hearts. The Pharisees and Sadducees would not repent and return to God. . If John the Baptist came to your house today and asked you to repent, confess your sins, and return to God what would you do?
In the Old Testament, the desert is always a place of finding God, of prayer, of struggle and temptation, but always a place of hope. Where is our “desert” today? Where is the place where we find God, where we pray, where we struggle and always find hope?
This Advent season, write down one way you can be the voice of one crying in the wilderness to prepare the way for the Lord.
Prayer: Great God, as You prepared the hearts of the prophets to spread Your Word, prepare our hearts this day so that we too can spread Your Words of love. Everlasting Prince of Peace, each Advent You remind us to prepare the way for You. May we take up this task with delight and prepare the way for Your glory again this year. O Lord Jesus, come again and save Your people. Amen.