As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God’s salvation.’” (Luke 3:4–6, NIV84)
In biblical times when a king would visit another kingdom, it was common for the welcoming kingdom to go through a tremendous amount of preparation. They would go out from the city as far as the eye could see and they would prepare a road for the coming king to travel on. The road would be made completely smooth. They would knock down all high points and fill all low points. A tremendous amount of effort would be exerted to prepare this smooth road for the visiting king.
With that picture as a historical backdrop, John the Baptist comes preaching in the area of the Jordan River, preaching a message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. His message was the tool God’s Spirit used to prepare the hearts, minds and souls of His people for the coming of Jesus the King. John’s message knocked down the self-righteous high points of the religious elite. It filled the low points of the downtrodden and hurting masses who longed for the Messiah.
The one thing that stands out in John’s ministry (and any Christian ministry) is that its purpose is to be a tool that God can use to reach the hearts and minds of His children. God’s Word is always knocking down, filling up, and straightening out our perceptions so that we might be aligned with the truth of God’s Word and the will of His heart.
Let’s be willing to allow the Word of God to do whatever is necessary to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus.