John the Baptist preached prepare! Any preparation for us?

A camelJohn the Baptist was an odd character. He lived in the wilderness (in the desert valley of the Jordan River, north of Jerusalem), wore wilderness clothes (camel’s hair) and ate wilderness food (locusts). Even though he led a strange life-style, people still flocked to hear him, which was good, because John had an important, God-appointed job…
A locust

To get people ready!

In between munching on locusts dipped in honey (was that for added flavor?) John told people to “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near” Matthew 3:2. Hundreds of years earlier the Prophet Isaiah had predicted, “Someone is shouting: Clear a path in the desert! Make a straight road for the LORD our God” (Isaiah 40:3). That someone was John the Baptist, making straight roads for God.

The phrase “making straight roads” has an interesting background. When a king planned to tour his dominion, a crew would be sent out ahead to fill in any potholes and knock down any hills in the way! Nothing will impede the way of the king!

John’s make-way, readiness call was referring to peoples behavior. They needed to change their thoughts and actions and return to following God. “He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 3:3). Repentance can mean to feel sorry for our choices. But John the Baptist wanted people to do more than just apologize for sins; he was also asking them to prepare their hearts for the Lord.

What about us?

Do our hearts need preparation? Jesus is always seeking us out; wanting to have a close, personal relationship with us. He needs our hearts and minds ready to accept that relationship!

What do we need to do to welcome God into our hearts? Discuss these ideas with your family.

  • We think of prayer as talking to God, but it’s also about listening. What are ways to help us quiet ourselves as we prepare to listen for God?
  • Do we feel as though we need to be in a certain location? What would be a small way to recreate that location at home?
  • What can distract us from God? How about TV or sports or sleeping in on Sunday mornings? What will help us remove those distractions?
  • What about “boulders” in the way? Is there some other way we feel we should be spending our time? Is there some past experience that keeps you from letting God in?
  • Can what we expect of God be a hinderance? What are your expectations of God? Perhaps what is needed is to get to know God better?

What are your thoughts on preparing the way for God?
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Photo credits (all from Flickr): Banner photo (not visible in readers or email) by Pink Sherbert Photography. Camel by xikita. Locust by Peter Rowley.All licensed under: Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

2 thoughts on “John the Baptist preached prepare! Any preparation for us?

  1. My 4 year old twins were discussing how prater was like talking to God. They wanted to know why he didn’t talk back. I told them he doesn’t respond quite that way, he is much subtler. I’m curious what other ppl say to their kids. ??

  2. Don’t worry about not having all the answers Shannan, after all, adults have asked this same question! I would say, “we might not always hear God talking to us, but God always listens.”

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