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Ahem! May I have your attention please? There is something very important that I have to tell you. The Word ... which we have discussed in the past few sessions ... is coming, and you need to be ready! What have you been doing to prepare for His coming? My wife and I are expecting our first child any day now, and wow are there lots of things to do in preparation. The lists are long, yet the bags are packed, and the room is ready for its new occupant. Thankfully, the Bible gives us the ‘lists’ of things we need to do in preparation for the second coming of Jesus. Today’s passage talks about John, the man tasked with preparing the world for Christ’s first coming ... as The Word of God in flesh.

John 1:19-23 says, “This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.””

Every person has a God-given task to do. For John, it was to fulfill prophecy, and cry out a testimony of preparation for the coming of the LORD. The religious leaders came and asked him, ‘Who are you?’ He started by clarifying who he was not: not the Christ, not the prophet Elijah (although a copy of him), not a prophet like in the Old Testament. Then he stated clearly who he was: ‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness.’ God had called him to announce the coming of salvation to all who would hear, but in order to hear, they would have to go out to the wilderness to hear! The message was only for those interested. He did not go into the cities, and speak to all who could hear. Effort was required to receive the message, yet many did go out to hear what God had to say through this man. And his message? ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ John is quoting the prophet Isaiah, demonstrating his fulfillment of the prophecy, and calling the people to repent of their sins in preparation for the revelation of the Messiah. This was a reminder that repentance is needed before salvation can come.

R. A. Torrey once told this story, “As D. L. Moody walked down a Chicago street one day, he walked up to a man and asked him if he were a Christian. The fellow raised his fists and angrily exclaimed, “You mind your own business!” “This is my business,” replied Moody. “Well, then, you must be Moody,” the man responded. Ephesians 2:10 says we are, “Created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.””

John was a voice announcing the coming of The Word, preparing people’s hearts for the salvation that Christ would bring. You are a voice called to announce the coming of The Word a second time, preparing people’s hearts for the complete salvation Christ will bring. Like John, who you are is not as important as what you have to say. Repentance is necessary for there to be salvation. People in our country and time need to understand that God exists, that God has set the perfect standard, and that we do not meet the standard due to our sin nature. It is only then that we can tell them the good news of Christ’s work on the cross, paying the penalty for our sin, and Christ’s resurrection, sealing the salvation of all who believe.

You are God’s voice in the wilderness ... SO SPEAK UP!!! God has placed you where you are for a reason. There are people around you that need to hear. Christ’s return is very near, so let’s get crackin’ on the job God has given us.


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