Last week we discovered that perhaps the most important thing we can do as we prepare for the Easter season this year is to think about how to prepare the way of the Lord. We must follow in the footsteps of John the Baptists.
But just how does one “prepare the way of the Lord”?
Perhaps the best thing to do is to look to Jesus' example: "that
you should follow in His steps" (1 Peter 2:21b NIV2)!
went about winning the hearts of the people by showing them pure,
unadulterated, selfless love! Love that exchanged the riches of heaven
for the suffering of the cross!
This doesn't necessarily mean
that we must all "go to the cross." Rather we are told to take up our
crosses: "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is
not worthy of Me." (Matt 10:38 NKJV). This expression means that we
must be as totally devoted to God as Jesus was. So totally devoted that
whatever path God lies before us, we will take it without question. Even
if that path leads to death.
But Jesus doesn't leave us with
just a vague notion of what
"take up [your] cross" means.
He goes on to expound:
"Therefore whoever confesses Me
before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven."
(Matt 10:32 NKJV)
And Jesus knew how difficult it might be to
confess this might be to confess Jesus before men. He knew that
confessing Him might subject us to ridicule, rejection, expulsion,
persecution and even death. This is why He tells us in the very next
verse: "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not
come to bring peace but a sword..." (vs 34).
mean we shouldn't do it, however. Jesus tells us that those who fail to
confess Him before men will also be denied before God: "I will also
deny before My Father who is in Heaven." (Vs. 33).
serious about this, friends!
But there is more: "He who
loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who
loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me." (Vs. 37).
This shows us that carrying our crosses means we must put God
above our families, jobs, lifestyles, securities, even our happiness. We
must put God above everything!
But didn't Jesus say He came to
bring life and to bring it more abundantly?
thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have
come that they may have life, and that they may have it more
abundantly." (John 10:10, NKJV). Abundant life doesn't mean we'll
always have peace and happiness or that all of our desires will be
fulfilled, for Jesus tells us: "He who finds his life will lose it,
and he who loses his life for My sake will find it." (Matt
10:38-39, NKJV) This means that whatever happens to us, good or bad by
earthly standards, true living comes from living in Jesus!
what does this have to do with "preparing the way of the Lord?"
It is the first step. We cannot hope to "prepare the way of
the Lord" without confessing Him before men! This may sound hard,
but it is only hard for the heart that is not fully devoted to God!
Friends, I would like to propose that the times when we find that it
is hard to confess Jesus before men are the times when we've placed our
families, our jobs, our own forms of happiness at a higher level of
importance than God! For the heart that is truly devoted to God,
confession of Jesus before men will not be something we even have to
push ourselves to do. It will be a simple fruit of that relationship
Join us next week for the third and last part of
Preparing the Way for Easter: Showing His Love.
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two
teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet
newsletter, and Scriptural
Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and
inspirational poems, with
access the rest of the "Prepare the way for Easter" mini-series, click