PREPARING THE WAY OF THE LORD
Text: “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for
Reading: John 1:19-28
Hymn: We have a gospel to proclaim – StF 418
The gospel story before us begins with the testimony that John the Baptist gave when some
priests and Pharisees came to ask him: “Who are you”. They come to John because he was
doing something different, something new, something radical. They saw him as a threat to
orthodoxy. John did not conform to the usual ways of a priest or a preacher, in the Jewish
tradition. This encounter shows how suspicious orthodoxy could be of anything unusual. The
church is one such institution that fears and fiercely resists anything unorthodox, unusual, or
radically new to its way of doing things. But we need to know that no institution has ever
transformed and made impact in a changing world without radically transforming itself or
accepting new ways of doing things.
Again, as the messengers ask John the Baptist who he was and what he does, he shows his
awareness of the prestigious Job he has but is also quick to humbly acknowledge who he is.
He approaches his prestigious calling with humility. He was clear that he was not the Messiah,
the anointed saviour they are expecting. He was clear that he is neither Elijah or the promised
prophet. John refused the prestigious place and honour that these men were accorded in the
Jewish religion, even though he was doing exactly what they were meant to do. In order words,
John wanted the people to understand that ‘who I am is not as important as the mission I am
have been called into’. I am the one crying in the wilderness – prepare the way of the Lord. I
am an ordinary person called into a prestigious ministry.
My dear Christian friends, our call into the mission of God is more important than who we are.
God does not call only the qualified. He also qualifies the called. You may occupy the pride of
space in life and in your community, God can use you despite that. You may also be the lowest
of the low, God can call you and give you a mission. We have a mission, a gospel to proclaim.
We need to focus on that mission, irrespective of who we are, high or low. We are called to
proclaim the gospel of Christ, in preparing ourselves and other people for his coming. It is a
high calling, but we do it in humility, knowing who we are and who we are not, so we can point
to Jesus and not to ourselves.