Mark 1:1-4 1The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2It is written in Isaiah the prophet: "I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare Your way" 3"a voice of one calling in the desert, `Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.'" 4And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”
Prophesies fulfilled, we see this continually throughout the life of Christ as it is recorded in the Gospels. In the Old Testament book of Isaiah, written 600 or more years before the birth of Jesus, Isaiah writes of one who would “Prepare the way for the Lord”. That is exactly what John the Baptist lived for, he lived his life with one main purpose and goal; “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.”
The Nation of Israel had been experiencing great turmoil now for many years. If memory serves me correctly they were at the end of 400 years of silence. 400 years where they had not heard from God. No Abraham, no Moses, no David, no Solomon, no Isaiah, no one to be a spokesman for God. 400 years of silence! Oh they had their religious leaders who claimed to be spokesmen for God, but those religious leaders’ ears were deaf to the voice of God. Yes religion was alive and well in those days, but God has never been One who was impressed in any way with religion. Religion can easily be done as a ritual. What God is interested in is an individual who serves God, not from a sense of duty, but from a heart of love. That was what John lived and that is what he preached. John the Baptist preached “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” As you watched the life and ministry of John, you find out that John’s calls for repentance were certainly not aimed solely for the sinners in the world’s eyes. He pointed his accusatory fingers at the religious leaders as much, if not more, than the “sinners”. Guess what, those religious leaders didn’t like of appreciate that and as a result they wanted him dead! They had a good thing going and were not at all interested in loosing it. I wonder if they would have wanted me dead? Would they have wanted you dead? God had a plan, a purpose for John, and John was so intent on obeying God, that he would let nothing, including his own death, stop him from accomplishing that purpose. How set are we at being obedient to God and His purpose and plan for our lives? The good news for the vast majority of us is, we really don’t have to worry about loosing our life. That being said, in some ways the plan God had for John and has for us are quite similar. The rest is up to us. John was opposed to established ritualistic religion that “does, does, does” for the sake of man’s approval. Approval from men is a momentary pat on the back. It’s here today and gone…..well it’s gone today. Simply put, it doesn’t last. A heart that serves God because of love for Him receives a pat on the back from God. Those are the pats, the rewards, the blessings that never end. Which am I working for?