John replied in the words of Isaiah: “I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare a straight pathway for the Lord’s coming!’ ” - John 1:23
John the Baptist said he was the servant sent before the King to prepare the pathway. What did he mean? When Eastern kings and emperors visited their realms, a servant was always sent ahead to prepare the pathway. Torrential downpours often caused roads to cave in and mountains to slide down onto the highways, blocking traffic. The servant’s job was to make sure the highways were repaired, with all the holes filled in, so the way was fit for the king!
This custom was familiar to the people of John’s day. So when John cried out, “Prepare a straight pathway for the Lord’s coming,” the meaning was unmistakable. The people knew their national road in Israel needed repair—the Jews served Rome. The people had family problems—personal paths to clear up too. Their lives were a mess of rubble that needed attention. The Jews knew that Isaiah the prophet had said that when the Messiah came, he would restore all things (Isaiah 11:12). John told them the King was coming, and it was time to pick up a shovel and get to work.
Repentance is taking up a shovel and showing God you mean business. It’s being sorry enough to make restitution where possible. Then the King will come!
For Further Study: John 1:19-28
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
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