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Prepare the way of the Lord Tuesday, 22 November Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
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The time of indecision has passed. Even as John spoke these words, Jesus was there among the people, coming to be baptized. You cannot decide about Jesus later. Either repent or reject — there is no other option. To resist, delay, put it off, is to reject Him. We said we wanted to go, and vaguely planned to. But we never did anything concrete about it. Then we discovered that it had left. Our real desires are always revealed by our choices.
Those who truly want Jesus will repent of their sin and that repentance will always manifest itself in their choices. John says that true, sincere, genuine repentance will be evidenced by 3 basic changes.
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He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. He made it clear that he was only the forerunner of the Messiah. His mission was to prepare ; the Messiah would fulfill. His baptism was for repentance; Jesus would bring the remission of sins. His baptism was with the symbol of physical water; Jesus would bring the reality of spiritual fire.
As I do, I ask you to please pay close attention and listen actively, not passively. Jesus came to Israel at the time ordained by God. And what He came to do only He could do. But God sent John ahead of Him with the task of calling the people to prepare by repenting. Such revivals are marked by a shaking of the traditional religious scene.
God calls for some new John to go to His people with a call to repentance because the Lord is coming. Let me give an example: In Wales, in , Evans Roberts had just begun his training to be a minister. At 26 he was older than the other students by several years. Even in that day, some seminaries were known to rob students of their faith. So Roberts had worked for 10 years in the coal mines and as a blacksmith. But the calling of God would not let him alone and finally he started school.
At the end of the meeting one night, a preacher named Seth Joshua closed in prayer. Roberts and many others had been praying for revival for some time. But that night, as Roberts prayed, he had a vision of hundreds of thousands of people being converted to Christ. From that moment on, he had a firm conviction the Lord would bring revival. He asked the dean of his school for permission to return to his home church so he could speak to the youth. The dean granted him permission to set aside his studies for a week.
Roberts went to his pastor and asked for permission to speak to the youth. Roberts shared with them how the Lord had been speaking to a number of the students at college and how present God had been in various meetings around Wales. With these conditions made clear, 17 young people remained. Roberts then led them in worship and prayer for nearly 3 hours, pleading that God would graciously break down any hardness of heart which might be holding them back.
Though hints of revival had been seen in other places in Wales prior to this, that night proved to be the beginning of an out-pouring of the Spirit that went on for the next 70 years, reached every continent, and saw millions converted to Christ. The original 17 along with a few others returned the next night for more worship and prayer. The night after that more turned out, and each night for the next week saw more and more till the church was filled with people every night.
The two other churches in town filled every night with people praying and worshiping God. Then they filled the churches during the day as well. The revival was so deep, so real that crime dried up and there was no work for the police, so they formed quartets and sang in the churches.
Rocca di Papa, October 25, 1982
There were numerous business failures — saloons went bankrupt, brothels closed, gambling houses boarded up. Hundreds of new missionaries went to distant lands. And a whole new crop of hymns were written to bolster the worship of God. But he was also convinced God wanted to bring revival. So he did the one thing, the only thing he could to prepare for it; repent ,.
The Church always looks forward to the second coming of Christ. We do not simply think of a Lord who came two thousand years ago or a Lord who will come at the end of history. We await a Lord who comes continuously into his world, among his people. Advent is the season when we especially await the coming of the Lord.
Every Christmas is a real coming of Christ. Both Israel and the early Church not only waited for the Lord to come, they also believed that when the Messiah came, something new would happen to them, to their Church and to their nation. We celebrate Christmas year after year, but nothing happens to us and to our community.
Prepare the Way of the Lord!
This is so because, in the first place, we do not expect anything to happen to us or to our community. We do not believe that God is able to change us and we do not want to be changed. Secondly, we must be prepared to receive the Messiah when he comes.
At the time of Jesus, there were several movements in Judaism preparing themselves for the arrival of the Messiah. By detailed observance of the Law, the Pharisees believed that they would be ready to receive the Messiah. By observance of Jewish rituals and the study of the Scriptures, the Essenes in the desert prepared themselves for the advent of the Messiah.
The Zealots believed that by trying to drive out the Romans by force, they were preparing themselves and the nation for the arrival of the Messiah. All renewal movements in Judaism in the first century were movements of preparation.
John the Baptist (Prepare the way for the Lord!)
The Advent season reminds us that we must be always ready to receive the Lord when he comes. The day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night. He comes unexpectedly and suddenly. We cannot fix the time. We cannot decide when and how he should come.
Prepare the Way of the Lord! | Desiring God
The parable of the virgins who did not take enough oil reminds us that we should be ready all the time. Let the season of Advent be a time when we look forward with great expectation to the coming of the Lord, trusting that he will do a new thing in our life and in the life of the world. It is a time when we prepare ourselves morally and spiritually to receive him when he comes.