Today there is a lot of misconceptions about the Church. Because of this we will begin before the beginning of the Church. There is a prophecy that was fulfilled that one would come and prepare the way for another.
An explanation of this verse will help us to see what this prophecy means in the New Testament. Prepare ye the way. This is a picture of a king that will be travelling among the countryside in his domain. There would be those that would herald the coming of the king and preparation would be made for his travel. My dad used the terminology – this road is crooked as a dogs hind leg. Roads would be straightened as much as possible, valleys filled in or bridges built, mountains reduced in size where the road went and pot holes filled. The purpose was to make the travel a little easier for the king. As the king travelled a herald would precede the king announcing, “the king is coming, the king is coming.”
We need to see the application of this principle in fulfilled scripture. Matthew 3:1-3 gives this picture to us – “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2. And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 3. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
Matthew makes the statement that John the Baptist is the fulfilment of this prophecy. We then have in John 1:23 John the Baptist statement about himself. “He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.” Here we see that John the Baptist is the herald for the Saviour that was to come. John the Baptist had a very specific message. Matthew 3:2 – “And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Notice the response to this message in Matthew 3:5 – “Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, 6. And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. Now what was John the Baptist doing? Preparing the way for Jesus.
How is this preparing the way for the Lord? John chapter 1 explains a lot that was prophesied. Verse 15 records John the Baptist witness of the Word that was made flesh – “…This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. Verse 29, John utters those immortal words “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John stands with two of his disciples saw Jesus and made the claim – Behold the Lamb of God! These two disciples them followed Jesus. As we read further we find Jesus calling Philip and Nathanael to follow him. Matthew 4:18-22. This is the passage where Jesus walks the seashore of Galilee and calls his disciples to follow him. Verse 19 contains the words that every child knows – Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. Their response contained in the next verse – “And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
Let us now examine the purpose of John the Baptist as he came to prepare the way for the saviour. 1. He preached repentance in the wilderness. 2 When a person repented, John the Baptist baptised them. 3. He preached and extolled the superiority of Christ. Now Jesus has come and preparation has been made for his coming. There are saved and baptised believers that are ready to be put into the church. Jesus walked the seashores of Galilee and called out his church that had already been prepared.
God made great provision for his Son to come and give his life for the lost and also to give his life for his church.