Coming across the Rocky Mountains last week, along what I believe to be one of the most beautiful drives in the country, a glance in the rear-view mirror captured my attention. After winding down the east side of Roger’s Pass, the highway straightened out for a long stretch and seemingly reached out for some infinite point in the distant mountain range. The beckoning springtime grass, scattered clouds and silent highway combined to make a compelling scene. This sight brought to mind a number of thoughts and Scriptural messages, but one in particular felt like just the right fit.
“Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God!” Isaiah (40:3) spoke these prophetic words about John the Baptist’s future role. Later, each of the Gospel writers would document John doing precisely this, with John 1:23 recording, “He [John the Baptist] said: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness; Make straight the way of the Lord, as the prophet Isaiah said.”
So John basically made this proclamation to anyone who would listen to him, and maybe even to some who wouldn’t. But what was he telling them? God can do anything He wills, surely he doesn’t need people to pave the way for Him! John’s purpose in this announcement was to put people at the ready for Jesus Christ, who would soon be in their midst. This was not only so folks would be on the lookout for Him, but was an urging for people to get their lives right by God prior to the impending arrival of the King.
Just as the arrival of Jesus Christ in the flesh was imminent in the time of John the Baptist’s life, the Kingdom of Heaven will soon be at hand when Christ returns in judgement. We don’t know when that will happen (Matthew 25:13), but if our lives are not right with God at that moment, we will not join the fellowship in His kingdom. Worse, we will be ushered to the gates of Hades. So, what if you don’t believe that Christ’s return is going to happen soon? Well, perhaps you’re right, but then I’d ask, when will you die? Again, if you don’t have your life right with God when you leave this life on earth, the same rules apply. And that death can happen in an instant – even when you’re least expecting it.
Listen carefully…..do you hear it? Hailing from the clutter and noise of our modern day wilderness can still be heard that same announcement – Make straight the way of the Lord!