Friday- Week 2
"A voice of one calling: 'In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.'"
Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, I Yesus Church icon- Axum
(credit: Adam Jones)
How would we know Who the Saviour was once His ministry began?
[God promised to send a forerunner, one who would ‘point the way’ to the Messiah.]
The importance and priority of the forerunner’s work was so great that all four gospels quote this prophetic verse.
What were three clues to recognizing this special person?
[He would be somehow associated with the wilderness;*
He was to prepare the way for the Lord;
Make the way straight]
How did John the Baptist fulfill these prophecies?
He was preparing God’s people for the Saviour’s arrival through his preaching (Matthew 3:1);
He was promoting a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins--which served to‘straighten’ the path back to God’s original intent, which had been twisted by the teaching of the Sadducees & Pharisees. (Mark 1:4)]
*The Judean Wilderness is an area that would be quite familiar to those who lived in Israel. It encompasses the area outside of Jerusalem along the eastern side of the Judean Mountains to the western shores of the Dead Sea. It was a place of refuge for those who desired solitude or to escape the authorities. David hid in the Wilderness from Saul (1 Samuel 24:1), and Jesus spent His forty days of fasting and temptation there (Matthew 4:1-2).
Close in Prayer
As stated in the Mark 1 passage above, John the Baptist "promoted a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin." According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, repent means to "turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life." John was not teaching anything new. Like the prophets of old, he was a living herald that called the people to come back to God. However, like people all through history, we cling to our own definitions of right and wrong and our stubborn belief that we do not need God.
The goal of repentance is to turn from independence (ie, the belief that we can handle life on our own) and thereby, learn dependence and faith.
Can you think of a time in your life when you consciously made a decision to turn toward dependence on God and away from dependence on yourself? If not, why not do it now?
Make a Joyful Sound!
Choose a song from Songs for Advent- Week 2 or choose your favorite Christmas carol!