He sat in the driver seat. Microphone angled just so. He did two jobs simultaneously and did them very well. He drove on the “correct” side of the road (as opposed to the right side) and told us stories, the history of his land. Without both, the trip would have been a lot less interesting. He pointed out important destinations. He gave us the peculiarities of his country. Every trip I’ve taken since, I’ve compared the current guide to him. None have quite compared.
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. John 1:6-9 (NIV)
There once was a man, his name John, sent by God to point out the way to the Life-Light. He came to show everyone where to look, who to believe in. John was not himself the Light; he was there to show the way to the Light. The Life-Light was the real thing: Every person entering Life he brings into Light. John 1:6-9 (MSG)
John the Baptists reminds me of that guide. He knew his spot. He knew he wasn’t the Light. But he knew that he had a role to play. He wasn’t the lead actor. But he wasn’t a random extra. He might be described as a secondary character. But John had to be one of the most important secondary actors ever because he had a significant role in Jesus ministry.
He was the long anticipated one. Elderly parents with their miracle baby! He had an unusual life. Strange food habits (locusts, anyone?) and an interesting wardrobe. He drew a crowd. But it wasn’t his warm welcoming speeches that did it. The Pharisees and Sadducees bore the brunt of his caustic tongue. (Matthew 3:7-10) He didn’t change his message. He called for people to repent from the wicked ways. His eyes were always looking forward.
He was living a life of expectation. I know my job. I’m doing my job. But someone is coming who is more amazing than I can describe. Look for Him. Search for Him. He is the one to follow. No amazing crowd size changed his message. No ridicule from the Sadducees and Pharisees got him to change the call. He baptized scores of people and his advancing fame and recognition did not cause him to rethink the task he had been given. He did the job laid out before him. Prepare the way. Point to Jesus. Prepare the way. Point to Jesus.
Prepare the way. Point to Jesus. Do I do either of those?
I think of my learners and I’m constantly thinking about the road ahead for them in the coming grade. Have I helped cement a good foundation for future knowledge? Have I given them enough repetition to master what they are being asked? I’m preparing the way in the most practical of terms. But in my spiritual life, do I prepare the way? Is my heart able to worship the way I’m meant to? Does worship draw me into a deeper walk with Jesus? How is my time in God’s word influencing my behaviour, my interactions with others? How are my relationships? Are they benefitting from a close walk with my Maker? Prepare the way. Is my heart as tender as it should be?
Point to Jesus. This one hits even closer to home. As I interact with those around me, do they even notice Jesus? Is there anything about me that hints at a relationship with Him? Do my words betray me? OR is Jesus present in what I say? Am I pointing to the reason for my hope? If not, I’ve bungled it all horribly! Every part of who I am is meant to point to Him – the author and finisher of everything about me.
Jesus, my heart longs to be prepared for You again as we anticipate the celebration of Your arrival. I know that You desire to open all the doors to my heart, not just the ones I think I’d like You to be in. I want to be ready for You. I want to be prepared for you. Father, may my life point people to Your Son, Jesus. Conform my will to Yours. My words to the words You are speaking. My heart to the tenderness of Yours. My longings to the passions of Yours. Thank You for enabling me to be the person prepared for You and pointing to You. Amen.