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Prepare the Way for the King

Michael Ylioja | The Voice of Zion December 2021 --

Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. – Matt. 11:2–10

John was born into this world to preach of the coming of the Son of God. His parents were believers, and when he was a boy they taught him of God’s kingdom. When he grew older, he lived in the wilderness of Judaea and survived on locusts and wild honey. His appearance differed greatly from that of the priests in the temple at that time. He was clothed in rough raiment, not soft cloth. This did not stop God’s work from occurring, and it did not stop people from hearing his message and believing it.

Although John’s time of preaching was brief, many heard his sermon of the coming of the Lord Jesus. Their hearts were pricked and they repented. John baptized them. We can see through the life and preaching of John the Baptist that only when God blesses and when the Holy Spirit works through the mouths of men can true salvation exist.

Although John had preached much of Jesus’ coming, baptized Him and had seen miracles He performed, when he was in prison he began to doubt. He sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus if He truly was the Son of God. Jesus loved John and sent encouragement back to him to remember the miracles Jesus performed, and that more importantly unto the poor the gospel is preached. Jesus reminded John that “blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” Jesus encouraged the doubtful John that He, Jesus, is Messiah and to continue battling the good fight of faith despite being imprisoned for preaching God’s Word.

Jesus instructed those that were gathered, hearing about John. Did they go into the wilderness to hear the man’s words? John was not like a reed shaking in the wind. His words were not here for today and gone tomorrow. He was the messenger that was sent before to prepare the way for Jesus. He was clothed in rough raiment, not soft cloth.

This is the same yet today: God’s messengers are people like anyone else. Jesus pointed out how John had a very important duty given to him, but it did not give him an elevated position in God’s kingdom. All believers are equal before God, despite the fact that we are given each of us our own lot to live, our own place to serve.

The sermon of the enemy of souls reached John in his lowly prison cell and caused him to doubt the foundation of his faith. The threefold enemy works yet today, causing us to question and doubt our salvation. As we prepare for the celebration of Christmas, it is easy to lose focus on the significance of Jesus’ birth. We can let the cares of this world overcome our joy of believing. We need to prepare our hearts daily and nourish the gift of faith. Only through living by the gospel of the forgiveness of sins will we see heaven one day.

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