This site uses cookies to provide you with more responsive and personalized service and to collect certain information about your use of the site.  You can change your cookie settings through your browser.  If you continue without changing your settings, you agree to our use of cookies.  See our Privacy Policy for more information.

Prepare the Way of the Lord

Devotions

Blair House is the official guest residence in Washington, D.C., for visiting heads of state and foreign dignitaries. A 15-member staff work within the U.S. State Department Office of the Chief of Protocol to ensure that Blair House is always ready to welcome guests and host diplomatic events.

When God sent His Son into the world, He ensured that people were prepared for the arrival. God had promised to send a messenger ahead of Christ to prepare the way. God’s arrival would involve a dramatic reversal of the current status quo: “Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low” (Isa. 40:5). If God’s people were to be ready for His appearance, they needed to be prepared.

What did that preparation look like? In fulfillment of God’s prophetic word, the ministry of John the Baptist shows us that preparation meant repentance. John came “preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (v. 3). Of course, true repentance is more than lip service about one’s sin. As John declared, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (v. 8).

A life of true repentance means a life reoriented in a new direction. When the crowds asked what they were supposed to do, John gave examples. Rather than hoard for yourself, share with others in need. Rather than engage in sinful business practices, conduct yourself with honesty. These life practices are not means of earning righteousness or meriting God’s favor, rather, they reflect repentance in preparation for receiving God.

If we want to embrace God’s arrival with joy, our lives must be oriented toward Him. Unfortunately, many in Jesus’ day would be unprepared for the coming of Christ.

Apply the Word

This season is the perfect time to prepare for the coming of Christ. After a time of prayer, choose one spiritual habit to begin practicing in your life. Whether giving to those in need, serving more in the church, or just spending more time in prayer and Scripture, offer this new practice as a fruit of repentance in preparation for the coming King. 

BY Bryan Stewart

Bryan A. Stewart is associate professor of religion at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas. His particular interests are the history of Christian thought and the way that early Christians interpreted the biblical canon. He is the editor of a volume on the Gospel of John in The Church’s Bible series (Eerdmans), and he has done extensive research on the ways that the early Church preached on this Gospel. He is an ordained minister. 

Browse Devotions by Date