After a bold yet brief introduction to Jesus, Mark shifts our focus to Old Testament prophets. He quotes from both Malachi (3:1) and Isaiah (40:3), although he attributes both quotes to Isaiah. If you have time, read the two quotes in their original version in the Old Testament.
Prepare to Listen. Be silent for as long as you need. Pray: Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening. (1 Samuel 3:9)
Read Mark 1:2-3
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”’….
Journey is a common metaphor used by many saints throughout the ages to help make sense of life and living. The metaphor reminds us that we’re travelling, bit by bit, towards becoming the person we’re meant to be. The journey, not the destination is what matters most. We’re always on the way to becoming more like Jesus and thus more fully human. The journey metaphor helps us figure out and navigate through life so that we make sense of it and discover meaning.
Mark’s account of Jesus has been cast as a journey, even though journey isn’t an obvious metaphor in Mark. It is, however, one of his subtle techniques. The journey Jesus takes isn’t a straightforward one from beginning to its end. At times it seems random and circuitous. But, isn’t that how most of our personal journeys seem to go? Enter the story and join Jesus on the journey.
The emphasis on journey is found in the Old Testament quotations, in the words way (used twice) and path (used once). The Greek word translated ‘way’ can also be translated ‘road’ or ‘journey’ and, according to Mitzi Minor, “can denote a literal, physical road or metaphorically designate the course of a life” (The Power of Mark’s Story. 2001, p. 12). This hint of journey at the very beginning is an invitation to pack up and join it. We only learn about Jesus ‘on the way’, we only learn about ourselves and how to live better ‘on the way.’ Join the journey, following Jesus to the end, an end that may surprise, even shock you.
No journey is undertaken without preparation. Therefore, there is a repeated call to prepare the way. These words of the prophets introduce readers to John who was chosen to prepare the way for Jesus. That was then; this is now. Jesus came and also keeps coming. Who prepares the way of and for Jesus today?
How can you live your life today in a manner that prepares the way for Jesus to come in your world today?
No one can make the journey for you. What do you need to do today to get on the journey and stay the course?
Respond to Jesus in Prayer
I choose today to live in a way that prepares the way for you to come into my world; I choose to follow you, Lord Jesus, wherever the journey may take us. Amen.
Go and live in Obedience to Christ travelling wherever he goes today.