Read Matthew 3:1-3
In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was, 2 “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” 3 The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said,
“He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the LORD’s coming!
Clear the road for him!’” (NLT)
1. What was John the Baptist’s key message when he preached?
2. Who prophesied about John the Baptist?
3. What specific actions were urged by the voice in the wilderness?
John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus, preaching repentance and urging people to turn to God. This was prophesied by Isaiah approximately 700 years earlier. Isaiah 40:3 says, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God!” Each of these phrases – prepare the way, clear the road, make a straight highway – all indicate the need to remove unnecessary barriers.
This doesn’t mean watering down the gospel or compromising truth. It means removing the unnecessary barriers that we as humans put up that keep others from knowing Jesus for who He really is. As a church, this is our primary mission, and each of us plays a role in clearing the way for others to know God.
Here are some next steps you can take as you process what this means for you:
How You Can Pray
Thank God for the simplicity of the gospel and for making it accessible so that all can know Him. Ask Him to reveal where you’ve personally put up unnecessary barriers that may be keeping someone else from knowing God, whether holding up rules that aren’t laid out in the gospel or behaving in a way that doesn’t reflect Christ. Confess what He brings to mind, and ask Him to help you shed these unnecessary barriers so you can reflect His heart to those around you. Pray for the church as a whole, that they would reflect Him to the community.
What You Can Do
Do a personal assessment of how you reflect Christ in the following spaces: home, neighborhood, work, community, and church. Where you see gaps, note what unnecessary barriers might be present, and write down one step you can take this week to remove them.