LESSON 10—I Prepare the Way for the Lord
We women love weddings. The fancier the better. When my husband and I were married, the aisle runner was a long sheet of white butcher paper. When I walked down the aisle to meet my husband to be, my high heels poked little holes through the paper, all the way down to the front of the chapel. No one told me I should have danced down the aisle on tiptoe. I probably should have known.
Today aisle runners are fabric. Some even have embossed designs—white flowers on white fabric; or the bride and groom’s initials printed at one end. What I like about aisle runners is that they prepare the way for the bride to meet her husband. It’s better than a red carpet.
John the Baptist’s life was prophesized in the Old Testament when God spoke through Isaiah and Malachi.
A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3).
“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. (Malachi 3:1).
Wasn’t “preparing the way” also part of Jesus’ Great Commission?
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20, emphasis added).
Jesus confirmed the Old Testament prophesies about John, saying,
Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written:
“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you’” (Matthew 11:9-10).
In other words, Jesus, confirmed that Isaiah and Malachi had prophesied John the Baptist as coming to prepare the way for Jesus’ ministry. Although John the Baptist denied he was “the Prophet,” he has been called by modern theologians “the last great prophet set out in Scripture.” He evidently came from a line of prophets because at his birth, his father, Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesized:
And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him” (Luke 1:76).
John the Baptist was also a witness to Jesus.
There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light (John 1:6-8).
God had told Elizabeth through Zechariah that John was part of a bigger plan. That meant Elizabeth was part of that bigger plan, too. In raising John, she followed the guidelines from the angel. She was also obedient to the Laws set in Scripture and she was a righteous woman, raising her son in righteousness. By her teaching and example, Elizabeth too had a part in helping prepare the way for the Lord.
Quite possibly, Elizabeth may have also helped prepare the way for the Lord by being an encouragement and mentor to Jesus’ mother—her cousin—Mary.
We don’t know how long Elizabeth lived. She was already old when she gave birth to John. Would she have lived to see him grown? Would she have lived to watch him begin his ministry? Would God have mercifully taken her home before her son John had been beheaded?
If she had been alive during John’s ministry, how might she have helped? She certainly would have felt that her son was precious; possibly she felt he was even more precious having been foretold to her and Zechariah by God. She may have read the accounts of Isaiah and Malachi and recognized with awe that her son had been the man those prophets had spoken about so many centuries before.
Yesterday we learned that, like Elizabeth and like her son John, we can spread God’s word and speak on His behalf. Today we see that, like Elizabeth, we can also help prepare the way for the Lord and be a witness to Him, so that Jesus can do the work of salvation in people’s lives.
I can’t convert someone. I can’t save them spiritually. Only Jesus can do that. But what I can do is share the Gospel with others. I can tell them about Jesus. I can live my life in a way that reflects Jesus. I can help prepare the way so that Jesus can take it from there.
Elizabeth gave birth to John the Baptist. She and her husband Zechariah dedicated John to God and raised him according to what the angel of the Lord told them to do. They raised him to become the man who would prepare the way for the Lord. We, too can help prepare the way for others in our lives to accept the Lord.
If Elizabeth were here she would say this was her story. She helped prepare the way for the Lord by the way she raised up her son.
Who are we to God? When we know that we have a responsibility to be a witness and help prepare people to accept Jesus, we understand how God might see His women of faith. We can respond:
I am like Elizabeth.
For Thought and Discussion
- In what ways can you share the Gospel of Jesus with others?
- In what ways can you live a life that testifies about Jesus?
- Who in your life might need you to help prepare the way for the Lord to enter their hearts?
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity to be a witness for you and to help prepare the way for Jesus to be other people’s Savior. Holy Spirit, please give us guidance on how to do that in a gentle and loving way. Please help us be a light that shines for you, Jesus by allowing you to shine through us. Amen.