Summary: Are you spending more time preparing for Christmas than you are for Jesus?X
• VIDEO CLIP
• SLIDE #1
• How are we preparing for Jesus? Are we spending more time preparing for Christmas than we have for Jesus?
• The second candle in our Advent series is the candle of preparation. When Advent was first celebrated in the 3rd century, it was with an eye toward preparing for the second coming of Jesus, later in the middle ages Advent was tied to the celebration of His incarnation.
• The candle of preparation is an important candle for us to light in our lives. WE need to be ready for the coming of the Lord at anytime, we need to be ready and open to accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior!
• If our heart is not prepared, we will ignore the call of Jesus, there are issues in life that need to be addressed so we will be open together.
• In the passage we are going to examine this morning, Luke is quoting from Isaiah 40:3-5. The context of this passage is Isaiah telling the people that they would eventually be carried off to captivity, which began in 605 BC at the hands of the Babylonians, about 100 years after Isaiah wrote the book of Isaiah.
• Chapter 40, the source of this prophecy, is a pivotal point in the book of Isaiah. The first thirty-nine chapters focus largely on God’s coming judgments on Israel and the surrounding nations.
• The opening words of chapter 40, “‘Comfort, comfort My people,’ says your God,” mark a dramatic change in tone.
• The message of Isaiah’s prophecy changed from judgment to salvation, which is the theme of the rest of the book.
MacArthur New Testament Commentary, The - MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Luke 1-5.
• The Isaiah passage has dual meaning, it applied the the Jews return from Babylon as well as the coming of the Lord and the one who was to prepare the way, John The Baptist.
• Many things in life are done better when there is some preparation, proper preparation can make things easier and less chaotic.
• Let us not spend more time preparing for Christmas than we do for Jesus.
• Let’s turn to Luke 3 together.
• SLIDE #2
• Luke 3:4 (HCSB) as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah: A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord; make His paths straight!
• SLIDE #3
I. The purpose of preparation.
• John the Baptist was the voice of the one crying out in the wilderness, why was he doing crying out in the wilderness?
• John was in the wilderness preparing the way for the Lord.
• For history sake, this took place in 26 AD. Luke does a great job giving us historical reference points by which we can pinpoint the beginning of the ministry of Jesus.
• In verses 1-3 of Luke, he gives us historical points of reference. Tiberius Caesar followed Caesar Augustus in 14 AD; however, history tells us that Tiberius was co-regent with Augustus beginning 11 AD. So 15 years after he began his reign was 26 AD.
• Herod reigned from 4BC to 39 AD. The word Tetrarch denoted one who presides of a fourth of a country or province. Anyway back to preparation.
• John was preparing the way for the Lord’s coming.
• This phrase “PREPARE THE WAY” denoted preparing the way for a king to arrive.
• In ancient times, when a King was going on a journey, highways needed to be built before them.
• This was no simple process, the people could not get their heavy road graders and explosives to do this.
• The ancients would make a path as straight as possible from point A to point B. They would rip out trees, cut down hills, fill valleys and gullies.
• They would take what were crooked roads and make them straight. On occasion they would also plant trees and other landscaping features to make the trip more visually stimulating for the king.
• We do the same type of thing today. If the President is going to go somewhere, there are a great deal of preparations that need to be made to help ensure his safety. There usually lots of pomp and circumstance at the arrival of a president or leader from a foreign country.
• The main reason for preparing the way was to make the journey for the king easier.
• Obstacles were removed so that the trip would be quicker and along with a greater level of safety.
• John’s job was to prepare the hearts of those who would come in contact with Jesus so that they would be ready to be open to His arrival.