The Jewish people were on the lookout for someone who would be like the prophet Elijah. This was due to the prophecy in Malachi 4:5 “Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord’s arrival.”
The father of John the Baptist (Zechariah), remembered this prophecy when the angel of the Lord spoke to him about his son,
He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous – to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. (Luke 1: 16-17)
So in essence, John the Baptist would prepare the people for the coming of the Lord Jesus by “turning” them away from their ways and pointing them towards God. This message of repentance was received by many but it was also dismissed by many.
Repentance means turning the direction of our lives and the desires of our hearts so that we will become in line with God’s will for our lives and desire the things that He desires. Repentance is altering what we rely on in life, what we hope in and what we are counting on for salvation.
Although we would like to think this is something that will happen naturally, this is not the case. But God has not left us on our own to find the way. Not only has He come to us in the person of Jesus, He also sent ahead of Jesus one who would help prepare our hearts to receive Him, one who would call us to repentance.
Just as John the Baptist prepared the people for the coming of the Lord, we also prepare for the coming of Jesus into our lives when we embrace John’s message of repentance.
God has turned His heart toward us in Jesus Christ, and God invites us to turn our hearts to Him in repentance.
Prayer – Lord Jesus, you are the Way! Help me to examine the condition of my heart to see the ways that I am not aligned with you. Change my ways so that I may help prepare the way for others to know you.
Song: Prepare the Way
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.