I wrote a previous post on the ministry lessons of John the Baptist. I would like to expand it by exploring what it means to prepare the way for the Lord. How can we point the way to Jesus and prepare people for Jesus’ second coming? We shall refer to Zechariah’s prophecy shortly after John’s birth.
And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord. You will tell his people how to find salvation
through forgiveness of their sins. Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.
1. How to Find Salvation
To prepare the way for the Lord is this: Tell people how to find salvation. That’s our key message. That’s our first priority. We are not to tell people how to find money, a life partner or a career. We need to tell people how to find salvation. Man’s greatest need is for a Saviour. Do you believe that? We do people an injustice when we talk about everything else except the Gospel!
2. Through Forgiveness of Sins
The text explains that salvation only comes “through forgiveness of sins”. The salvation plan is simple: Jesus died on the cross for our sins, was buried and rose from the dead. Jesus shed his blood because without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins (Heb 9:22). In Old Testament times, pure animals were killed and sacrificed to forgive sins temporarily. But by believing in Jesus, our sins will be completely forgiven. That is the message we are to tell others to prepare the way for the Lord. He will be coming a second time to judge the world. Will people be ready for it?
3. Because of God’s Mercy
Why does God provide such a wonderful gift of salvation for us? Verse 78 says it is because of “God’s tender mercies.” Do you know the difference between grace and mercy? Grace is giving us something we don’t deserve. Mercy is not giving us what we deserve. I’ll tell you what we deserve: Death! All of us are rotten sinners who are on a one-way ticket to hell. We are on death-row with no way out.
But God’s mercy extends to us. He sent Jesus, who suffered and died in our place so that we may be pardoned from death. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says soc clearly:
For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
God made the way for us if we are willing to accept his free gift of salvation.
4. To Bring Light, Life and Peace
Verse 79 mentions two amazing effects of salvation: 1) God gives light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, 2) God guide us to the path of peace.
God not only brings us out of darkness and death, He guides us to peace. Salvation is not just a get-out-of-hell ticket. It’s about receiving God’s peace right now. We aren’t made to scrap through life but to live victoriously in Jesus Christ. Our lives are a testimony to others that Jesus has changed us inside out supernaturally. May we not only tell others that salvation is found in Jesus, but also speak with new lives in Jesus.