“In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall become straight,
and the rough places shall become level ways,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”’” Luke 3:1-6
In a set moment of time, to which Israel had looked forward for centuries, John the Baptist was anointed to announce the Messiah. In all the ages of history, the day of Christ’s coming was at hand. The way of the Lord would bring change like none other, a revolution of righteousness and salvation and hope that would make sense of the world’s chaos since Eden.
Jesus would fill every valley of lonely and hopelessness, and bring down every mountain of impossibility. He would straighten out confusion and smooth every rough circumstance with peace, comfort, and hope. By carrying our grief and shame, He would deliver us unto eternal joy. What a message, what a hope, available to all flesh! This beloved Son of God, with whom He was pleased, was coming to make us sons forever! (Isaiah 53:3-5; Luke 3:22; Romans 8:14-17; 1 John 3:1)
Assigned to our season and place and moment in time, do we look for and see the Lord’s life at work? How are we making smooth His way in our homes, workplaces, churches, communities? To whom, and how clearly, are we proclaiming the hope of salvation? How might we join the angels’ song to laud our Lord and tell of His healing and hope? What needs to change in our demeanor and daily practices for the world around us to see Him in all His glory? (Esther 4:14; Acts 17:26)
“Hark! the herald angels sing,
‘Glory to the newborn King:
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!’
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
join the triumph of the skies;
with th’angelic hosts proclaim,
‘Christ is born in Bethlehem!’
Christ, by highest heaven adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord,
late in time behold him come,
offspring of the Virgin’s womb:
veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
hail th’incarnate Deity,
pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus, our Immanuel.
Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
born that we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth,
born to give us second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
‘Glory to the newborn King.'” ~Charles Wesley (1739)
Lord, may I see Thee afresh every day, and by my life cause others to see You too.