Saturday, December 5
All week, we’ve been pointing to this moment, and now it’s here: John, son of Zechariah, “prophet of the Most High” (Luke 1:76), the messenger sent to prepare the way of the Lord (Malachi 3:1), has begun his work. He has grown from a small child into a wilderness man and traveling preacher, dressed in camel’s hair, eating locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:4), and “proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 3:3).
John is like the court official who rolls out the red carpet for the king, who heralds the king’s arrival with a trumpet tune. He’s the one who gives direction to the people in attendance, who instructs them in how to behave, how to array themselves, how to stand, when to sit, and what to say. He tells them baptism would be a good idea—a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Baptism is their preparation for the coming king. They need to be baptized—washed of their uncleanliness—before they can receive the king. Without baptism, they would be inhibiting the way of the Lord, making it difficult to traverse the valleys and mountains that John’s ministry is making level.
But with baptism, cleansed of their sin, they are able to travel those straight paths. They are able to “see the salvation of God” (3:6).
Prayer: Coming King, we are trying to ready ourselves for your arrival. We’re trying to listen to your messengers and heed their words. We’re trying to make ourselves clean so that we can receive you properly. Cleanse us from all unrighteousness and let us greet you with joy.