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Get Ready for God

Mark 1:1-3
The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: 'I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way' – 'a voice of one calling in the wilderness, "Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him."' (NIVUK)

God does not arrive, or do His work, unannounced (Amos 3:7).  As Isaiah announced John the Baptist (Isaiah 40:3), and John announced Jesus (John 1:29), the task of God's people today is to prepare a rebellious world for the arrival of its King (Matthew 28:18-20).  Mark was quite clear about the identity of Jesus.  He was God's promised Messiah.  'Messiah' comes from a Hebrew word meaning 'Chosen One' or 'Anointed One': the equivalent Greek word is 'Christos' from which we get 'Christ' in English.  

In the Old Testament, the 'anointed ones' were either prophets, priests or kings.  Prophets spoke the truth from God and led the people to repentance (1 Chronicles 16:22); priests would intercede with God on their behalf and make sacrifices to cover their sins (Exodus 30:30); and kings ruled with God's authority (1 Kings 1:34).  Jesus fulfilled all those roles and was prophesied throughout the Old Testament as God's Saviour to deliver and rescue God's people (from Genesis 3:15 to Malachi 3:1).  More than that - Jesus is also God the Son who gives new life to those who trust in Him (John 20:31).  Mark's purpose in writing his Gospel is to explain this 'good news' about Jesus (click here for an outline of the whole book).

It is a very special privilege to announce the arrival of an important person.  John the Baptist spent his working life announcing the Son of God; and in doing that, he knew that Jesus had to become greater and he had to diminish in significance (John 3:30).  So why do some 21st century Christians think that God wants them to be the centre of attention?  Some do all in their power to reassure a godless world that Christians are as 'normal' as they are.  Believers are lured into the delusion that a 'successful' Christian ought to be honoured by everybody.  The truth is: John the Baptist's life was unpretentious and ended ignominiously (Mark 6:25-29), as did the lives of most of the apostles.  Why should we fare any better (John 15:20)?  The importance of John's life was not his comfort or popularity - but simply that he announced the need for everybody to repent of their crooked ways so that they could be ready to welcome Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God and the Lamb of God.

If we are honoured in the community and in the workplace, we should thank God, and use that favour to share the gospel message.  But we should not expect to be honoured.  However, we should expect to be noticed.  If we witness faithfully, our colleagues will learn how much we honour Christ and will be challenged to do the same.  In part, it is the challenge of a godly life that excites some people into seeking Him while others regress into more obvious rebellion.  If they seek - don't interpret it as any personal credit.  If they reject, they are not rejecting you, but Christ - if they slander you because of your holy life.  If they ask how to be saved, they will certainly expect us to be prepared with an answer (share the video at www.crosscheck.org.uk).

Dear Lord God. Thank You for the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and for the people who first explained it to me. Forgive me for not announcing Jesus to the people among whom I live and work. Help me to live the truth today so that my friends and colleagues will want to hear Your Word and start to get ready to meet Jesus. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams