Lk.3:3,4 – John went preaching and baptizing throughout the Jordan Valley. He persuaded people to turn away from their sins and turn to God for the freedom of forgiveness.
This was to fulfill what was written in the book of the prophet Isaiah:
“Listen! You will hear a thunderous voice in the lonely wilderness telling you to wake up and get your heart ready for the coming of the Lord Jehovah. Every twisted thing in your lives must be made straight. Every dark way must be brought to the light. Wrongs righted. Injustices removed. Every heart of pride will be humbled low before him. Every deception will be exposed and replaced by the truth so that everyone everywhere will be ready to see the Life of God!”
John the Baptist ushered in a new day. His preaching was radical and confrontational. You could not listen to John and be unaffected. You would leave the bank of the Jordan River with either a new perspective on what life is all about or you would leave just plain mad. That is the way it always is with a prophetic voice; they are loved or hated. There is really no middle ground. John prepared the way for the ministry of Jesus. This would take us out of the world of types and shadows into the brilliance of God’s new day. Here are some thoughts from the Passion Notes on this passage.
“This is the definition of repentance, and it has two concepts. One is turning away from sin; the other is turning to God for freedom. They are linked together as one word, translated “repentance.” The Aramaic word has the concept of returning to God, to unite with Unity.
John’s message was revolutionary, for the religion of the day taught that forgiveness could only be found temporarily by offering sacrifices in the temple. John…..told the people that forgiveness of sin was a heart issue, not gained by an animal sacrifice offered in the corrupt religious system of the day. Repentance, breaking open the heart, is more important than gaining forgiveness by religious acts.”
I think we may be in one of those transitional kingdom seasons today. The message of the church has been weakened over the last several years focusing on how to improve your current life today. That wasn’t what John or Jesus preached and it certainly isn’t what the church should be proclaiming today. Maybe its time for a good season of repentance and reformation. Maybe its time for new voices thundering in the desert, “PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD”.