Summary: John urged the people to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. We need to fill in the "potholes" of our lives and communities in preparation for the return of Christ.

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Cousin John

Malachi 3: 1 – 4 / Luke 3: 1 – 6

Intro: Have you ever been to a family reunion and everyone there is talking about the one relative who is really weird? If you answer no to that question, the you are probably the one everyone else is talking about. --- Every family has one, the person that is just a little different, a little eccentric. --- You see, in my family it is me! I’m the one who has lived all over. I’m the one who has a college degree. I’m the one who has been married twice. The list goes on and on as to why my relatives think I am weird.

I. John is the one in the family of Jesus. He is the weird son of Zechariah and Elizabeth (Luke 3:2)

A. Word of God came to John in the desert:

1) I’m sure the family thought it was his strange diet, his weird clothes and walking around in the blazing son that caused him to think he heard God’s word.

2) Essene

B. Called to be a messenger / prophet – speak not his own ideas but the truth given him from God. (Thus says the Lord; not thus says John.)

C. Messenger – Hebrew MLAK / Greek AGGELOS – both are simply translated “messenger, envoy or angel.” In this case it is one who speaks on behalf of God – What was God’s word?

II. What did John preach? God’s word was baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (LK 3:3)

A. Baptism – ritual cleansing – preparing – Saturday night bath.

B. Repentance – metanoia – turning away from and to at the same time.

C. The call comes to us from God to do likewise; to turn away from sin and turn toward a life committed to God.

III. Luke 3: 4 – 5 / Messenger of the Covenant is a quote of Isaiah 40: 4 – 5

A. Have you seen the insurance commercial on TV that shows a talking pot hole? “Did I do that? Let me call someone for you! Oh, I don’t have a cellphone.” The talking pothole just causes problems and does nothing to fix them.

B. Men have built all sorts of roads: roads of commerce and conquest. Many of those roads contain potholes. – one road supremely needing to be built is the way of the Lord. It has no potholes but the ones men and women make.

C. Our world is filled with potholes. Fill up the potholes of ignorance / bring low the mountains and hills of stubborn prejudice and pride, straighten out people’s crooked thinking / smooth the rough ground of resistance to the will of God. WHY?

Conclusion: Luke 3:6 – “And all humanity will see God’s salvation. This is the goal! This is the message of God for God’s church during this advent season. How will this happen? --- When you and I get involved and personally do some “roadwork” one pothole at a time.

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