John, called the Baptist, came preaching in the wilderness. The multitudes found him there.
He spoke of a Light that was soon to come into the world. He made it clear that he was not that Light, only a witness to it. John’s message was one of preparation for the Light to come. He is called the Forerunner, the one Isaiah prophesied, a voice,
“crying in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord.”
There was much to be done to prepare the way of the Lord. The Light was coming and those who prepared would be blessed and those who failed to prepare would be blinded by the Light but go away annoyed and unchanged.
The Wilderness Highway
In the desert–the dry hearts of the people–a Highway must be built, but barriers stood in the way.
- Valleys of apathy must be filled with passion for God.
- Tall, ancient hills of tradition had to feel the grader’s blade.
- Crooked places where life turned away from the ways of God had to be corrected, made straight for generations to follow.
- Rough roads of carelessness and misplaced values must be made smooth by daily obedience to the Word of the Lord.
The Glory of the Lord was coming, coming right down this Wilderness Highway! John’s message was repentance of sin with the sign of baptism. The ancient Jordan, the historic passageway to the Promised Land, provided the cleansing stream.
The True Light
John made it clear that he was not that Light, only the witness to it. The True Light would shine brighter than any yet seen. His Light would pierce the darkness of men’s souls to reveal the secret things known only to God and to the sinner’s heart. The Light would also speak of repentance for that is the point of the revealing light. It would do no good to reveal the secret sins of the heart and not offer a remedy.
- This True Light was a healing Light shining from the One who invented light. For those who would welcome the Light, darkness would flee from wounded hearts. Understanding would shine into the darkest corners of the seeking soul, ending fear and doubt and bringing peace.
- The Light would be a transforming Light, addictions would give way to freedom, blindness to sight, deafness to music, and frozen limbs to dancing. Demons who thrive in the dark would flee this Light in terror for there was power even in the sound of the Savior’s Name—Jesus.
To those who believed would be given the right to become the Children of God.
“He came to His own…”
John’s perspective is one of looking back on his time with Jesus. As thrilling and hope-filled as the story is, it is always tinged with sadness, the tragedy of those who saw the Light and turned away from it.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.”
John’s story is filled with people who witnessed the Light. Some received and were transformed while others turned away from Him. As we prepare to daily enter this story, let us do the work of preparation.
John 1: 6-13
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Isaiah 40:3-5 NKJV
The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Lord Jesus, You are the Light of the World! Break forth into my life! Shine into the darkest places in my soul and show me if sins lurk there. I want to prepare for Your coming into my life. May I never be listed with those who turn away from You. May I take full advantage of full membership in the Family of God, a Community of Light, standing against the agents of darkness and shining bright in the gloom of life today. Break forth, O Heavenly light in me! Amen and Amen.
Break Forth O Beauteous Heavenly Light
Words: Johann von Rist; Music: Johann Schop
1. Break forth, O beauteous heav’nly light, and usher in the morning;
O shepherds, shrink not with affright, but hear the angel’s warning.
This Child, now weak in infancy, our confidence and joy shall be;
the pow’r of Satan breaking, our peace eternal making.
2. Break forth, O beauteous heav’nly light, to herald our salvation;
He stoops to earth–the God of might, our hope and expectation.
He comes in human flesh to dwell, our God with us, Immanuel;
the night of darkness ending,our fallen race befriending.
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved