This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'” John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
God gave John the Baptist the mission of being the forerunner for the Savior God had promised in the Old Testament. He prepared the way for the Lord’s first coming by preaching that people should “make straight paths for him.” Just as people in those days cleared and leveled their roads for the arrival of their ruling king, so people should clear the way in their hearts for the arrival and rule of their spiritual King, Jesus.
Prepare! That’s still a vitally important message for us today. We prepare ourselves for Christ’s reign in our hearts and for seeing him at his second coming by believing his Word. We prepare by daily repenting of our sin and battling against our sinful nature with the power that God gives us in his Word. We focus each and every day on Christ and are filled with the peace that he paid for our sins.
When people came out to hear John’s message, they were moved to confess their sins and they were baptized. The baptisms that John performed were “for the forgiveness of sins” (Mark 1:4). Baptism is a wonderful gift of God in which he connects the power of his saving Word to water and gives us the forgiveness of sins. The Bible says, “Be baptized and wash away your sins” (Acts 22:16). Christians can look back on their baptisms and be assured that God has washed away their sins. They can be confident that they are members of God’s holy, eternal family. If you are not baptized, God wants to fill your heart with the peace that your sins are washed away and give you the blessed hope of eternal life. That’s how much he loves you in Christ.
Lord God, thank you for giving us your Son. Thank you for baptism through which you give us the forgiveness of sins. Preserve us as loved ones of your family and help us prepare our hearts every day for you to live there and bless us. Amen.