Advent: December 11

Gospel: Mark 1:1–8

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

   “Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You,
   Who will prepare Your way;
   The voice of one crying in the wilderness,
   ‘Make ready the way of the Lord,
   Make His paths straight.’”

John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey. And he was preaching, and saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (NASB)

The Arrival of the Messiah
Mark 1:1–8 tells us about the ministry of John the Baptist, the forerunner, God’s messenger, the Voice telling the people their Messiah was closer than they could have ever imagined. As a matter of fact, He would arrive in their lifetime.

I’m sure being a son of priest Zacharias and his wife, Elizabeth, this “PK,” as we’d call him today, knew his Scriptures well and would have been familiar with Isaiah 40. I wonder if John as a young man had any clue that he was the one selected to be the Voice, the one “crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight!’” and calling out “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:1–3).

The prophecy of Isaiah 40 was for John and is also for us today as well: “Say to your city, ‘Here is your God!’ Behold, the Lord God will come with might’”(verses 9b–10a, my paraphrase).

Bride of Christ in 2020, we are the ones now chosen to prepare the way for the second Advent of Jesus our Messiah. Our world is full of wilderness and desert land, and it needs us to raise our voices in prayer and proclamation: “Spirit of repentance, come! Holy Spirit, come!”

WE are now the Voices. It’s our time to follow the command of Isaiah 40:9: get up on a high mountain, O Bride of Christ, bearer of good news; lift up your voices mightily, O Church, bearer of good news; lift it up, do not fear.

We can join in Apostle John’s invitation to the world recorded in Revelation 22:17–21, “‘Come!’ say the Spirit and the Bride. Whoever hears, echo, ‘Come!’ Is anyone thirsty? Come! All who will, come and drink, drink freely of the Water of Life! . . . He who testifies to all these things says it again: ‘I’m on my way! I’ll be there soon!’ Yes! Come, Master Jesus! The grace of the Master Jesus be with all of you. Oh, Yes!” (MSG).

Jeannie Buyer – Small Group and Bible Study Leader at McKernan Baptist Church in Edmonton, Alberta