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Preparation for the Messiah

(Matthew 3:1-12)

Lesson 1 -- first quarter 2010
December 6, 2009

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2009

Introductory questions to chew

"Make his paths straight" (Matthew 3:3) -- Is that part of my calling today?

If so, how is that done?

Will I accept (without complaint or self-pity) the discomforts of the wilderness?

How do I overcome the fear of man which causes compromising of the message?

What has repentance produced in the garden of my life?

Is it possible God has purging to do in my life?

A Witness and His Voice

John the Baptist identified himself as a voice, specifically, "the voice of one crying in the wilderness." John cried for repentance. John cried out the news of the coming One. John cried forth that the kingdom of Heaven was at hand. John was a voice, John had a voice, John used his voice to prepare the way for Jesus.

Have you found your voice?

Then came the day when Jesus appeared on the scene of John's ministry. John saw Him...and used his voice: "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."

John was not so caught up with his ministry and his message that he missed seeing Jesus. John was not so consumed with himself and his surroundings that he missed seeing Jesus. John was not so aware of the people that he missed seeing the Person. John was not so busy exposing and condemning hypocrisy that he missed seeing the True One. I wish this were true of me.

I can get so involved with these devotional commentaries...that I can actually miss seeing Jesus. I can become so involved with mission board work and school board work...that I miss seeing Jesus. I can get so bogged down with my failings (and successes)...that I miss seeing Jesus. I can become so consumed in my pursuit of solutions to interpersonal problems and family foul-ups...that I miss seeing Jesus.

My friend, how can I point out the Lamb of God to others if I have missed seeing Him myself? Life is not about commentaries, boards, failings (and successes), and problem-solving. Life is about Jesus! Because Jesus is life. And Jesus is the One who takes away the sin of the world.

Have you seen Him?

Have you found your voice?

Would men know you've been with Jesus? They need to know by your voice. They also need to know by your life. Let your life develop into one that points to Jesus, "Behold the Lamb of God!" May those around you see in daily walk and action that you have His life divine. When they are near you may they feel His presence near.

We will never be the voice crying in the wilderness. I believe, though, that God calls each one of us to be a voice calling in the moral wilderness in which we live. And wilderness it is, grinding steadily toward absolute, all-encompassing vileness and depravity not seen since Noah's time. This corruption already stealthily and gently smoothers our God-ward sensitivity, slowly and steadily invading our hearts like smoky tendrils wafting gently and seductively on the numbing breezes of our culture.

Noah found refuge in his ark. Your refuge is in the Lamb of God. But you will not reach that refuge if you do not see Him! Nor will you help others to safety if, having seen Him, you do not find your voice.

Have you seen Him today? Did you even look for Him?

Imagine John, preaching and answering questions...but scanning the crowd, looking for the One his spirit would identify as the focus of his message. And then..."Behold the Lamb of God!"

This concludes my comments based on the alternate lesson developed by Christian Light Publications. To read my comments on the passage for the International Bible Study, click here: A Son Is Born.

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