In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight.’” (Matthew 3:1-3)
John the Baptist was chosen by God for the historic ministry of preparing the way for the Messiah. No other prophet was chosen for this ministry but John. He was not just a prophet, but “the Voice of one crying in the wilderness: make straight the way of the Lord,” as the prophet Isaiah proclaims. Isaiah continues regarding John, “every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth.” John strongly and violently (forcefully) opposed hills, valleys, crooked places, rocks, bumps and even the evil monarch, Herod. These are a depiction of evil forces. John opposed anything that was in opposition to the Kingdom of God. He was clearing the way, as it were, for the arrival of our Lord. Thus, he did not tolerate ungodliness, compromise, or the deception that comes with sin because they all emanate from the kingdom of darkness.
His key strategy in preparing the way of the Lord was to preach the good news about God and then to call people to repentance and subsequent right living. There will always be spiritual opposition to such a ministry, and that opposition will manifest in the natural realm. In his case, his ministry came at great cost, ultimately costing him his life. In Matthew 11:11, Jesus says, “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Jesus is speaking of us when He says, “he who is least.” The least of us, or the ones of us who are the least esteemed, are greater in ministry and effectiveness than John the Baptist who has been honored by Jesus as being greater than all others born of women.
At this hour, we are being called to prepare the way of the Lord. Like John, we must not tolerate ungodliness; we must not compromise. Know that evil forces would have you lulled into believing that sin is not sin. Many voices in our society loudly proclaim standards, values, and morals that are ungodly, and some Christians buy into the lies. Little do they know that sinning is always costly; we are robbed of God’s best for our lives and there is a resounding pain that echoes, often for years, when we knowingly and deliberately sin. It is far better to live a life of righteousness and to join John in suffering for righteousness’ sake and in beckoning others to come to repentance and to faith in Jesus. Prepare the way of the Lord.