Prepare the way for the Lord

A voice crying in the wilderness – Prepare the way of the Lord! In Mark 1:3 we read about John the Baptist calling on people to come be prepared to meet Jesus Christ! Thousands listened to him preach about the coming Messiah and thousands were baptized in the Jordan. And Jesus showed up!

What does this mean today?

How do we even go about preparing the way of the Lord? John talked about getting rid of the sin in our lives. All of those things that keep us from experiencing God. Think about it like this. If we know we are going to have guests over, we clean up the house. We prepare food, we want to create a place that is inviting to them.

One time years ago, my husband and I invited a couple over for dinner, but then somehow I forgot that I had. The night of the dinner, we had been busy that day so I brought home a bucket of fried chicken and while we were hungrily devouring it, my doorbell rang and there stood the couple. They were dressed up and had brought an expensive bottle of wine.

Still not remembering that I had invited them over, I brought them in. I brushed the scattered newspapers and kid’s toys off the couch and thanked them for popping by. I told them we were just finishing dinner but still had a couple of wings left in the bucket – would they like them?  I grabbed some glasses out of the sink and rinsed them out so we could drink some of the wine.  I remember that for at least an hour the evening felt really awkward. Finally, the husband said, “Did we have the date wrong? We thought you had invited us over for dinner…”

I was horrified and I suddenly recalled that I had made that invitation. We laughed heartily at the mixup, but I was embarrassed because I had not been prepared for guests.

Prepare for Jesus to be in our lives

When we prepare the way of the Lord, we prepare for him to be in our lives. We prepare for Him to take up residence within us. It’s a good thing Jesus is kind and generous and forgiving. Imagine the embarrassment of offering Him a couple of chicken wings! But the truth is, Jesus isn’t actually that concerned about how clean our house is or even the food we have prepared.

In Luke 10: 38-42, we get to see how people prepared for Jesus to come to dinner. Martha runs around getting food together while Mary sits listening to Jesus talk. Martha finally gets exasperated and complains that Mary isn’t helping and Jesus tells Martha that Mary had done the right thing by sitting at His feet and listening to Him.  I always felt sorry for Martha in this story. She was, after all, trying to feed 12 people who suddenly popped by.  She probably wanted to hear what He had to say, too  – but SOMEONE had to tend to the roast. The dinner became about her and what people would think about her hospitality.  But Jesus wanted Martha to understand that He didn’t need a huge production to impress Him. Some bread and wine and good company would have been fine.

The best way to prepare the way for the Lord

As I have grown deeper in my experience with the Lord, I have learned that Jesus doesn’t expect us to jump through hoops and spin plates. We don’t have to try to perfect. He will give us the ability to do whatever we need. The Lord really just wants our attention. He wants our love.

The best way to prepare the way of the Lord is to prepare our hearts. To be open to His love. To remove those things that keep us from hearing Him clearly. Things like worry, unforgiveness, strife. When He comes to visit He would like us to put those things aside and merely sit at His feet and recognize His beautiful and inviting Love. He wants our time.

The best way to honor Him is to spend time with Him, because when we do that – He fills us with His love and strength and wisdom. If we will create space in our lives for Him every day, time for prayer and hearts free of distraction, we will discover how much more time we have for the rest of our lives.