68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
In the words of a dear friend of mine: “I have probably already chewed on this before”, then she would go ahead and proceed with the story anyway, but if you listened carefully and intently, she would mention something in that story that she had not mentioned before, shedding new light on it, the key was listening intently. That thought comes to mind for me as I ponder this passage of scripture and I think rightly so, because I believe in order for others to hear the story here or any in scripture or life for that matter, that must listen intently, they must clear their mind and heart when listening to others so they can truly hear what is being said.
It is Zechariah’s son, John the Baptist that is being spoken of here. His job was a simple one or not, the mission for his life was to be the one that prepared people to be able to hear and see with their whole heart when Jesus came on the scene; “to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sin”. Forgiveness of sin here is a cleansing of the heart; it is a removing of the barrier of sin that has been placed between us and God, a barrier that prevents us from seeing and hearing God and his message of salvation. John’s mission was to prepare people to be able to see and hear Jesus. But they could not do it in the state that they were in; there was work to be done.
I often wonder/ponder today if we as Christians have not forgot or neglected this work of preparation. It seems as though we just want to give them Jesus without preparing them to truly hear and see who, we try to give them Jesus when their heart is cluttered with sin, obscuring their vision and making it impossible to see Jesus for who he truly is. Sometimes people make a decision based strictly on the emotion of the moment, and later after reflection go back to the life they had before because they had not been prepared to see and hear who Jesus was and is.
I do believe that sometimes these spontaneous decisions do take hold, but even in the best of circumstances, the person is still unprepared for the life that a person is called to in Christ Jesus.
I believe this work of preparation is important and also often neglected, I believe that scripture is clear that it is essential. (Just by this passage alone)
I further believe there is a very close tie between this work of preparation and discipleship, that it for another time though but the thought needs to be put out there.
Zechariah’s song rings clear in my ears and my heart each time I read it, the message is their; prepare the way for people to see and hear Jesus.