What Jesus Did! 'Preparing the Way' — Matthew 3:3-4

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

John the Baptizer is the one that Isaiah the prophet was talking about. Isaiah said: "There is a person shouting in the desert: 'Prepare the way for the Lord. Make his paths straight.'" John's clothes were made from camel's hair. John had a leather belt around his waist. For food, John ate locusts and wild honey.
— Matthew 3:3-4
Illustration of Matthew 3:3-4 — "There is a person shouting in the desert: 'Prepare the way for the Lord. Make his paths straight.'"

Key Thought

Preparation is hard work. To be the one who prepares the way for someone else's travel, but doesn't get to go down that road, well, that is even tougher. To live all your life so someone else can find the spotlight is toughest of all. But to lose your life in this cause, goes beyond words. John spent his life for one purpose: to prepare people to know Jesus as God's Son, the Christ. Can our purpose in life be any less? What would happen if we decided to begin each day with the commitment that we would live, talk, act, and care for people with the express purpose that their hearts become prepared to acknowledge Jesus as Lord? So let's find out, beginning today!

Today's Prayer

Loving and patient Father, I'm a little slow sometimes to catch on to what you want me to do. But, I know you want me to live my life with the same purpose John lived his: to help prepare people to know Jesus as Lord. Give me eyes to see those searching for Jesus and a life that beckons them to follow him. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

At that time John the Baptizer came and began telling people a message {from God}. This was in the desert area of Judea. John said, "Change your hearts and lives, because the kingdom of heaven is coming soon." John the Baptizer is the one that Isaiah the prophet was talking about. Isaiah said: "There is a person shouting in the desert: 'Prepare the way for the Lord. Make his paths straight.'" John's clothes were made from camel's hair. John had a leather belt around his waist. For food, John ate locusts and wild honey. People went to hear John. The people came from Jerusalem and all Judea and all the area around the Jordan River. People told the sins they had done, and John baptized them in the Jordan River. Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to the place where John was baptizing people. When John saw them he said to them: "You are all snakes! Who warned you to run away from God's anger that is coming? You must do the things that show that you have really changed your hearts and lives. And don't think that you can boast and say to yourselves, 'Abraham is our father.' I tell you that God could make children for Abraham from these rocks here. The ax is now ready to cut down the trees. Every tree that does not make good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. "I baptize you with water to show that you changed your hearts and lives. But there is a person coming later that is greater than I am. I am not good enough to take off his shoes for him. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He will come ready to clean the grain. He will separate the good grain from the straw. He will put the good part of the grain into his barn. And he will burn the part that is not good. He will burn it with a fire that cannot be stopped." At that time Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River. Jesus came to John and wanted John to baptize him. But John tried to say that he was not good enough to baptize Jesus. John said, "Why do you come to me to be baptized? Ishould be baptized by you!" Jesus answered, "Let it be this way for now. We should do all things that are right." So John agreed to baptize Jesus. Jesus was baptized and he came up out of the water. The sky opened, and he saw God's Spirit coming down on him like a dove. And a voice spoke from heaven. The voice said, "This (Jesus) is my Son and I love him. I am very pleased with him."

Matthew 3:1-17

Related Scripture Readings

John answered, "A man can get only what God gives him. You yourselves heard me say, 'I am not the Christ. I am only the one that God sent to prepare the way for him.' The bride always belongs to the bridegroom. The friend that helps the bridegroom just waits and listens. He's happy just to hear the bridegroom talk. That's how I feel now. I'm so happy that he (Jesus) is here. He must become more and more important. And I must become less important.

John 3:27-30

Ahaziah said to the messengers, "What did the man look like who met you and told you these things?" The messengers answered Ahaziah, "This man was wearing a hairy coat with a leather belt around his waist." Then Ahaziah said, "That was Elijah the Tishbite!"

2 Kings 1:7-8

The Lord All-Powerful says, "I am sending my messenger to prepare the way for me. Then suddenly, the Master you are looking for will come to his temple. Yes, the messenger of the {New} Agreement that you want really is coming! "No person can prepare for that time. No person can stand against him when he comes. He will be like a burning fire. He will be like the strong soap people use to make things clean. He will make the Levites clean. He will make them pure, like silver is made pure—with fire! He will make them pure like gold and silver. Then they will bring gifts to the Lord—and they will do those things the right way. Then the Lord will accept the gifts from Judah and Jerusalem. It will be like in the past. It will be like the time long ago.

Malachi 3:1-4

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.