Summary: Like John the Baptist, the word of God has come to us and we are called to prepare the way of Jesus.
Luke 3:1-6 “Discover the Christ Whose Way Is Prepared”
The Word of God came to John in the fifteenth year of the right of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphais. God called John to prepare the way, because in his infinite love, God was entering the world and become a part of human history.
The Baker Hamilton Report is out, recommending significant changes in our policy in Iraq. A week has past and the Central States are still digging out from a winter storm, and trying to get power connected once again. Prices at the gas pump are creeping up. The body of a father and husband who died trying to save his family was found in Oregon. And, Google reported that Brittany Spears was the most googled name on the Internet. In to this time of history, the Word of God has come to you and me calling us to prepare the way for the Lord. God in his infinite love wants to enter each and every heart and have a personal relationship with everyone.
The end goal of God’s will in plain. God was all humankind to see and experience God’s salvation. This is not God’s plan “B.” This is not an altered goal because of the events of Eden. No. From the beginning of creation, God had the goal to have all humankind experience his salvation. God’s plan is in motion. John was a part of that plan, and so are you and I.
Special circumstances surround John’s birth. His parents were old. His father had an angelic vision. The angel named John. Everything about John proclaimed him special. Rejecting his priesthood—something that was passed down from generation to generation—his faith was nurtured and he was theologically trained in the Essene community.
When the word of God came to John, he was ready. He entered into the wilderness—not an especially good place to prepare for the coming of the king—and began to preach his gospel of repentance and baptism for the forgiveness of sin.
We can avoid or escape the truth that we have the same ministry as John. God is coming. God wants a relationship with his creation. You and I have been chosen to prepare the way. We have been chosen by God to be his children. We have been called by our baptism to be God’s witnesses and lights. We have been equipped and prepared for our specific, significant ministry. The Word of God has come to us.
In the middle of this period of time, while we are Christmas shopping, baking cookies, enjoying the fellowship of others, we are called to prepare the way and witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The preparation that we are engaged in is not for the sake of Jesus. He can take the bounces that rough roads provide, and he does not fear the up and down, narrow, winding mountain roads. The preparation is for us. Jesus, ever the gentlemen, does not intrude on us. The Holy Spirit gently draws us to Jesus and Jesus waits for us to open the door. As Revelation 3:20 states, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hear my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and him with me.”
The preparation starts with us. We are the first to open the door, to repent and to be baptized. Repentance is acknowledging our need for Jesus. Repentance is admitting “We Can’t.” We can’t be perfect enough to make ourselves holy. We can’t be the people we want to be. Bedazzled and confused, we can’t walk the path that Jesus sets before us. We simply can’t, but Jesus can.
In baptism, God makes us his own, gives us new life, fills us with the Holy Spirit and commissions us to be his shining lights, witnesses, and body in the world.
We are sent in to the world to invite people to give up on their futile efforts to serve powerless idols, save themselves, or please God. We offer to the opportunity to repent—admit their need for Jesus that the salvation he provides—be baptized, and enter into the fellowship and ministry of God’s people—the Church.
The world will never be the same because of a man named John. He prepared the way for Jesus.
Nor will the world ever be the same because of us. Our love will make a difference. Our words will accept, encourage and invite. Our lives will shine for Jesus.