Matthew 3:3 tells us that years before John the Baptist appeared, Isaiah prophesied that his basic message would be: “Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.” The picture the Old Testament prophet was conveying is that of a people who are preparing for the visit of a ruling monarch, and they are clearing the road for his approach. Isaiah 40 describes the process further: as leveling places in the road that are too high or too low; straightening out crooked places in the highway, etc.
The idea is that when a king is coming, his people get ready for him. But of course, John was not speaking here of an earthly king, but of The Messiah when He would come. Many of the Jews in John’s day DID in fact prepare for the coming of Jesus, by repenting of their sins, and being baptized. There was an air of expectation, which was later fulfilled in Jesus’ ministry and in the launch of His church.
But this kind of preparation is not only for the Jews in Jesus’ day. We too are expecting the Messiah. We are both looking for His physical return to earth, and many of us are also hoping that in the meantime He will “return to us” in the sense of reviving us, or doing a great work among us. These are good hopes. But, one might ask, what are we doing to PREPARE for this? Are we “making ready the way of the Lord”? Are we straightening out the road before Him? Are we preparing our lives for His return, by repenting of specific sins, and consecrating ourselves for the special work that we hope He will do among us?
If the King is really coming soon — or if we hope to see Him work in a special way among us in the meantime — then we had better get ready for Him. What specifically do you need to do in your life to “make ready the way of the Lord”?