Monday, June 30, 2008

Matthew 3:1-3 "Road Construction"

"In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

'A voice of one calling in the desert, "Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him."'" NIV
We'll get to John the Baptist tomorrow. Today I want to focus on this prophesy from Isaiah 40:3. I was wondering what making "straight paths for him" really means. If you look at the NIV study notes for Luke 3:4 (which is the same account), they say that when a king traveled to another country, the roads he would be traveling on were repaired and made ready. In a moral and spiritual sense, John was preparing the way for the coming Messiah through his message of forgiveness and repentance from sin.

This passage gave me a new thought about evangelism. Well, it's not new, just a way of looking at it that I don't normally do. I'm really not an evangelist. I have shared Jesus with many people and some have come to receive Him as their Savior. But my gifting is in discipleship. Someone else usually brings them to the Lord; I help grow them up. In fact, my husband is a very strong evangelist, so we make a great duo. He catches the fish; I clean 'em up so to speak.

But one aspect or should I say motivation for evangelism is that Jesus Christ is coming again. I keep forgetting this fact. Well, not forgetting, but certainly not thinking of it very often. Besides, I always remember my Sunday School stories about how Jesus will come when no one is expecting Him. So in my logical brain, if I'm thinking about His return, He can't come because I'm expecting Him. :-) I know, my husband sometimes questions my logic, too.

But in the same way that John was preparing for the Messiah's arrival on earth, we should be living our lives preparing for the Messiah's return. He is coming; we've been promised. We could even be living in the last days now. So we need to be getting the roads straight and prepared for Him. That means, people need to know Jesus. If they have not received Him when He comes, they will not be going with us "in the blinking of an eye." Now I'm not going to get into the whole pre-, mid-, and post-tribulation controversy. For me it doesn't really matter. I'm sold out to the Lord, so I plan on being ready for whatever comes. And as I understand, people will have a second chance to receive Christ, but it will be a whole lot tougher for them. I plan on taking to the skies when my Lord comes the first time. I don't want to be hanging around here any longer than I have to. I've got things to get to in heaven. Boy, the questions I have not only for Jesus, but Paul, Joseph, Esther... and so much worshipping to get in. I can't wait.

But in the meantime, we must be about our "Father's business." He is coming, and there are a ton of people that still haven't received Him. I'm sure each of us knows dozens of people right around us that need Jesus. It's so hard to watch them floundering. I want to scream, "Just let go; He will catch you." Even though they must decide for themselves, we can still keep loving them and sharing with them what Jesus has done for us. But we have to hurry. Time's running out. So grab your shovels, and let's get the road ready. The King is coming.

Further Thoughts:
  1. What will happen when Christ comes again? (Read 1 Corinthians 15:51-58)
  2. What are we supposed to be doing while we wait for His return? (See Matthew 28:19-20) Find other passages that tell what God expects of us.
  3. Who around you still needs Jesus. Write down their names, pray for the Holy Spirit to draw them to Him, and keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to share with them the love and grace of Christ. Then be about your Father's business.

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