January 25

Matthew 3:1-3 1In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea 2and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." 3This 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.'"

Matthew keeps connecting the events of his day with the prophecies of the Old Testament. John the Baptist was the one that was foretold to come in the spirit of Elijah, to prepare the way for the Messiah. He was actually a distant relative of Jesus, and only about 6 months older. We don't know if they had any contact in their youth, but we do know Mary visited John's mother, Elizabeth, before John was born (Luke 2:39-56).

There had been no prophetic voice for the last 400 years, so the people rushed out to hear him. It was a good day or two journey from most cities to the wilderness area where John was preaching. His message was simple, "Repent! The kingdom of heaven is coming and you'd better get your heart ready for it." Repent means to change your way of thinking. John was telling them that the way they looked at the world was not God's way. Their thoughts were not in line with God's. They needed a new perspective. There were roadblocks in their hearts that would keep the Messiah from entering in. If they didn't move them now, they were going to miss Him.

His message is one that can be preached until the day of Jesus' return. Is our thought life in line with God's? Are we seeing things from His perspective? Do we value the things He values, or do we have selfish priorities that have nothing to do with what really matters?

Consider: Stop for a moment, and look down the roadway of your heart. Is it a smooth highway prepared for Him? Are the welcome banners out along the side of your road, or are there signs that say, "No entry without permission"? Prepare the way for the Lord; make straight paths for Him.