Prepare to Listen. Prepare the way of the Lord.
Prayerfully Read Mark 1:1-3
The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way;
3the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.”
“We are parched for a word from God,” wrote Todd Billings. In our thirst we search for a word in all sorts of places, perhaps looking for brief inspiring slogans that are memorable rather than challenging. It’s ironic that we continue to search for a word when we already have the Word, in written form, but too few of us read the Bible today, and our thirst remains.
Mark’s contemporaries had no written Word and “despaired that the prophetic voice of Israel had fallen silent forever.” They longed for a Word because there’d been no prophets proclaiming, Thus says the Lord. With his reference to the prophet Isaiah, Mark “boldly implies that the Word of Yahweh is now again being spoke.” God sent John to break the silence and proclaim God’s Word. He went, not to the places where crowds gathered, but to the sparsely populated wilderness across the Jordan River. They made a treacherous journey to hear the good news, which wasn’t given in comforting slogans or a call to arms, but in a demanding challenge to repent, change their minds. Their visions of a political Messiah rescuing them from the occupying Romans had to change. John’s message, as we’ll see tomorrow, said nothing about a political rescue. Messiah wasn’t and still isn’t one that we can domesticate and make into an image of what we want him to be. His Word will both comfort and disturb, assure, and challenge. Are we ready and willing to hear it?
What do you need to do or give up to truly hear God’s Word today?
Lord, I thirst for your word but often fail to hear it because I fail to set aside time to listen to you in your Written Word. Give me the strength today to make the hard journey to truly hear you. Amen.
Live obediently. Let your thirst lead you deeper into God’s Word.
 Billings, Todd. The Word of God for the People of God. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2010, p. 1.
 Meyers, Ched. Binding the Strong Man. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2015, p. 125.