Sermon Illustrations - Tag: John 1:23
Posted by Douglas on Dec 06, 2008

Today as I was driving from South Paris, Maine to Gray, Maine, I was thinking about how much more enjoyable the drive is, now that all the road work has been completed. Back before all the road construction, if I needed to go from South Paris to Gray, it seemed as though the drive took forever. The road twisted and turned around every little hill and obstacle along the way. Now it's much different, and much nicer. 

Why do you suppose the road used to make all those twists and turns? A good guess might be that the original road builders didn't want to build over the hills, and they didn't have the resources to carve through the hills. So building around was the only option left. Now, as you drive that road, you see rock faces which are a testament to the fact that the road has been carved into the sides of the hills.

As I think about this, I'm reminded of John the Baptist, and the message he was commanded by God to deliver to the people: 

40:4Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.Isaiah 40:4 (ESV)

 

1:23He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”John 1:23 (ESV)

In the days of John, roads were difficult to maintain through the wilderness -- perhaps they were even as awful as our Maine roads during the winter and spring! But what if the king wanted to travel across the countryside? Surely he wouldn't follow the same dizzying pattern of twists, turns, dips and rises that everyone else followed? No, heralds would go out before him announcing to the people, "The king is coming! Fix up the roads! If it passes through a valley, raise it up! If it passes over a hill, lower it! We want the king to have a perfectly smooth and comfortable trip."

Make no mistake about this: when John said, "Make straight the way of the Lord," what he was really saying was, "The king is on His way!" When the king comes to visit, everyone's lives are disrupted. The people understood this, for they asked John, "What do we need to do to get ready for His coming?" John's answer, though simple and straightforward, was certainly a disruption to the way they lived their lives: Be generous, don't be a cheater, don't be a bully, don't lie about one another, and be content with what you have.

Jesus the King dwells with us daily -- does His presence disrupt your life at all? Or do you simply live life as though He is not there at all?

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