Mark 1:1-4 NLT
Isaiah had written:
“1This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. It began 2 just as the prophet
“Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
and he will prepare your way.
3 He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the LORD’s coming!
Clear the road for him!’”
4 This messenger was John the Baptist. He was in the wilderness and preached that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven.
Within the cultural context of the ancient Roman world, imperialistic society demanded that important officials and people of prominence were always preceded by an announcer or herald prior to their coming so that the people would be ready to receive them. Before the arrival of Jesus, the most important man who ever lived, John’s mission was to announce his coming— A New Testament welcome—if you will. In the New Testament, the Gospel of Mark begins not with the birth of Jesus but with the proclamation regarding the beginning of Jesus’ gospel ministry. Mark gives an account of John the Baptist preparing the way for the Messiah’s arrival, and the writer reverberates what Isaiah and the other Old Testament prophets had already spoken—That there would be a messenger to prepare the people for the coming of a long-awaited Messiah (Malachi 3:1; Isaiah 40:3). John bore witness that this Messiah would come in the person of Jesus Christ. As a forerunner bearing the message of his coming, John—the voice calling in the wilderness—had been warning the people to prepare the way to receive Jesus the one, true Son of God as the Messiah. The gospel is built upon this truth.
Moreover, John preached a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel to prompt a period of preparation. This preparation would be a time of reflection, self-denial and repentance—all vital spiritual practices of our present-day Lenten season. In verse 3, the messenger says, “Clear the way… Make his path straight.” That is to say— ‘Clean your hearts and turn away from anything blocking the route to your heart in order that you may be reconciled to God.’ The message John was preaching was reconciliation through repentance—the activity of reviewing one’s actions and feeling regret, contrition or remorse for those past wrongs.
To repent frees our minds and hearts of guilt and shame which are roadblocks to receiving the deliverance one awaits. To prepare the way for the Messiah—and all the grace and comfort he brings with him—we must ensure a clear pathway for salvation and deliverance to walk alongside us unobstructed. The world, with all its obstructions and distractions, must be far removed from our hearts and the crooked paths made straight for his swift and forward progression towards us. As we read the book of Mark and receive the message of John the Baptist, we acknowledge and receive Jesus Christ as the one, sent by God who has fulfilled His promise to save us from sin. In fact, He is the promise—announced, expected and delivered! Indeed, Christ becomes our deliverer abiding in us when we are prepared to receive him as such (1 John 4:15).
Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your messenger to proclaim your Word and for announcing that the Messiah— my deliverer, Jesus Christ would come. Please allow me to prepare the way in my heart for your very kingdom to come. I repent of my sins, and I ask for your forgiveness now. If there is anything blocking my deliverance, I pray that you would help me to remove it so that I might daily see and sense the presence of your Son, Jesus. I renounce evil thoughts and deeds, and through the spirit of baptism, I die to sin daily.
Call To Action
Hear the messengers God has sent and start making room to receive the deliverance that’s coming. Make a highway through the wilderness of your life and turn away from sinful and selfish ways of living—back towards God allowing this Lenten season to be a time of reflection, repentance and reconciliation. Pray for a time of preparation for the Messiah to enter. Commit to personal change clearing the way of your minds/hearts realizing that we are truly forgiven if we repent of our past sins.