ODJ: prepare the way

October 10, 2013 

READ: Luke 3:1-9  

John . . . [preached] that people should be baptised to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven (v.3).

In 2004 a massive tsunami created by a 9.3 magnitude earthquake in Indonesia destroyed entire towns and villages. Hundreds of thousands lost their lives simply because they didn’t know the wave was coming. Many countries have now put tsunami warning systems in place, allowing citizens to be alerted so they can move to higher ground.

John the Baptist warned people as he “[prepared] the way for the Lord’s coming!” (Luke 3:4). For thousands of years God sent His prophets to tell people that the Messiah was coming. But the Israelites paid no attention to the warnings.

In Luke 3, seven people in positions of great power are listed (vv.1-2). But God chose to use an unknown, ordinary man who lived in the desert to announce the coming of the King (v.2). Tiberias Caesar, Pontius Pilate, Herod Antipas, Philip and Lysanias were wicked, oppressive rulers. The two high priests couldn’t care less about the people’s spiritual wellbeing. They were part of a crooked and corrupt society. The tax collectors cheated, the soldiers abused their power, and the common people suffered grave injustices (vv.10-14).

Today we live in a similarly wicked and unjust world, one driven by greed and selfishness. And into it we’re to proclaim the coming of the Saviour. John warned people of judgement if they refused to repent (v.9). But His message wasn’t only about condemnation. John also “announced the good news to the people” (v.18) and called them to “[repent] of their sins and [turn] to God to be forgiven” (v.3).

Like John, we must actively “prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!” (v.4), so that “all people will see the salvation sent from God” (v.6). —K.T. Sim

In Ezekiel 33:2-9, how did God use the prophet to prepare the people’s hearts for repentance? 
What things can you do to prepare the way for the Lord? Why is repentance so important in our relationship with God?