Sunday, December 03, 2006

Prepare Ye the Way

Mark 1:1-3 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; 2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

The prophet John went before the Lord, commanding men to repent and to be baptized for the remission of their sins. This was preparation for the Lord to draw near. For only humbled men can abide Jesus Christ. This was both a grace and a warning to them. When Jesus comes to those who are hard of heart and unwilling to repent, He comes on that terrible day. But when He comes to those who have been softened by the Word of God’s prophets to recognize their sinfulness and abhor every way that separates them from their Holy God, He comes on that great and notable day.

So, you too, have been prepared. You have been called to worship the One true God. You have confessed your sins. You have had the Word of God read and declared to You. All of this is wonderful but also humbling for we realize that these things are too high for us, we cannot attain to them. We fall short of the glory of our God. So, we lay ourselves down upon His mercy and in this humiliation, our gracious God is glad to lift us up.

The paths are straight. The Lord Jesus comes and He bids you come to Him. His mercies are new. His face is towards those who long to see Him. Though your eyes be downcast in humility, Jesus will look upon you and take away that shame. He now bids You to look to Him in the joy of forgiveness and sweet communion. We were in the wilderness, but no longer. The king is here. The banquet is set. The guests have arrived. So, let us eat.

The Christian Year

As I mentioned last week in the exhortation, one of our goals in this church is that we learn to think like Christians. Today is the first Sunday of Advent. This is the beginning of the Christian calendar. We have too long been formed by the calendar of those who do not see Christ as the centerpiece of history, the point from which all times should be counted. But He is and though the world try to erase the memory of Christ in the Common Era, C. E., they cannot do so.

After all, in every nation on Earth, the calendar is counted reckoning the years according to our God’s Sovereign rule in Christ Jesus, the Lord. Some nations try to count the year according to their prophets but all the world knows the truth. And even these pagan and Islamic countries are made to trade and meet, the world over in the A.D. It is the year, 2006. More precisely it is A.D., Anno Domini, the Year of the Lord, 2006. Jesus has been reigning these 2006 years, glory be to God. And it will remain A.D., world without end. How blessed we are to begin counting another year of Jesus’ reign.

God has made great promises to us and He is not slow in delivering them. However, some cannot bide the Lord’s timing. They are impatient and do not believe and trust that the Lord will do that which He said that He would do. They mistake His delay for lack of concern, or for a failure on His part. But we are not to be like this. It is A.D, 2006. Another year of Jesus’ reign, A.D, 2007, will bring another year of the establishment of His kingdom. Can we not see what He has done in the world? Can we not anticipate what He will do as He continues to reign?

Let us put aside all unbelief. Let us believe the heralds of God who have made His promises known. Let us confess our lack of faith and trust in His power to do so.