HERE HE COMES!
Ever-present God, You walk with me through good times and bad, Your footsteps are my guide and Your hands, my support.
Read Mark 1:1–8
John the Baptist Prepares the Way
4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with[e] water, but he will baptize you with[f] the Holy Spirit.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectImagine you’re about to be introduced to the president or a king or queen. How would you prepare?
Turf was laid, bedding plants planted, railings painted, paths swept and floors polished. A member of the British royal family was coming to open a new extension to the place where I used to work. Before royalty comes to visit, preparations are made. Crowds come out to greet royal visitors because the great arrival is announced in advance.
When the long-expected Messiah arrived to bring in the kingdom of God, it was John the Baptist who came to announce His arrival (7–10) and to make the preparations for His coming.
You might have expected God to prepare the way for the Messiah by sending someone impressive to announce the forthcoming arrival to the religious or political establishment, but instead this rather odd figure appears in the wilderness.
John calls people to turn away from their sins and accept God’s forgiveness – symbolized in baptism (4). John announces the coming of someone greater than himself, who does something more radical. John’s baptism of water was only an outward symbol; the coming Messiah would pour out the Holy Spirit, changing people from the inside (8).
If you had been in the crowd listening to John, from what would you repent? How would you want to change if you were going to meet Jesus? Ask for the Spirit’s help to live today to please the Messiah.
Dear Lord, I pray now for spiritual growth in my life. Lead me from falsehood to truth, from despair to hope, and from fear to hope.
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