Advent: December 12

Gospel: Mark 1:1–8

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost. (KJV)

A Life That Prepares
John the Baptist was a great man who spoke boldly and was unapologetic about whom he served and what he was called to. John had one message and mission: his message was, “repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand,” and his mission was to point and prepare the way for Jesus.

His entire life was wrapped in preparing the way for the ministry of Jesus.

When we look throughout the many accounts in history or in any Disney movie, we see the arrival of a king included music of all kinds and a parade with a significant amount of entertainment for the crowd’s amazement, all alongside a military show of strength.

Jesus chose John as his announcement to a world that he was coming, and John took great honor in being the vessel of pointing to Jesus. John’s impact was great during his lifetime, but he knew that his greatest impact would result in him pointing people to the one who could give them an eternal hope.

Verse 7 says that John preached, “There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.” He is saying here, I know you think I’m doing great things, but the one who is to come is going to do even greater things than I. You haven’t seen anything yet!

If you were around Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, Billy Graham, Cesar Chavez, or even Michael Jordan, you would start to talk about their greatness without even knowing it or intending to, and your life and behavior would start to reflect that you were around them. You would start to pick up their behaviors; you would start to care for the things they cared about.

In that same spirit, our lives should reflect Jesus. If you spent any time with MLK or Harriet Tubman, you would know their trusts did not lie in man or in their circumstances; it lay in their connection with Christ, which gave hope to others.

The greatness you see in these individuals is a result of their relationship with Christ and hearing his heart. John 15 speaks of the Father as the vine dresser, Jesus as the vine, and us as the branches of that vine, which demonstrates a connection that intertwines and point to the relationship we have with Jesus! Jesus always spoke of his connection with our heavenly father, and our lives should always speak of our connection with Jesus!

During this Advent season, I challenge you to live a life that prepares. Be like John and be intentional about impacting the world in such a way that it points others to Jesus and his will for their lives, which prepares a door for the Holy Spirit to bring freedom, salvation, and redemptive love that is unmatched!

What does your life point to? Does it reflect Jesus and point to his coming? How does it invite people into the experience of Jesus?

Charles Stevens Jr. – Senior Pastor at Transformation Church in Sacramento, California