“And he was preaching, saying, ‘After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to bend down and untie the straps of His sandals.’”Mark 1:7
God has a special place for each one of us in His sovereign plan. We may not recognize or understand how we fit into that plan, but God does and that’s what is important, not any frustration, pain, or disappointment we may perceive. Instead, we need to focus on the fact that God is using each one of us for His glory and find comfort in that. As part of God’s plan for Jesus Christ and the road to the resurrection, John the Baptist was no exception as God used him to help make ready for the coming Savior.
The book of Isaiah foretold John the Baptist as someone who would ultimately prepare the way for Jesus Christ. He would serve as the Lord’s forerunner, going before Him in the wilderness and ensuring there would be no hindrance of any kind. Isaiah describes that in this role, John the Baptist would make straight a path in the desert; that every valley would be raised, and every mountain would be lowered. Any difficult terrain along this path would be leveled and prepared for all in preparation for the Messiah.
During John the Baptist’s ministry, he attracted a diverse following in which many people would come to hear him in the wilderness of the Judean countryside. The wilderness can also be seen as more than a literal location, but also the figurative wilds of our heart and our sinful nature. John the Baptist would tell all those that heard him of the importance of repenting of their sins and acknowledging the importance of the Messiah. Through his ongoing exhortations, John the Baptist was working to answer questions and prepare the hearts of those before him by sharing the good news. He was actively working to ensure that the path was groomed and prepared and that there would be no doubt or question concerning the Messiah.
Let this be a lesson to each one of us. Yes, we are all a part of God’s plan and we each have a unique role in it. However, within that plan, God has also charged each one of us with the Great Commission to tell others about Jesus Christ and the salvation that comes through grace by faith in Him. Fulfilling that responsibility will not always be easy, satisfying, or instant. There are times that God places someone in our life that requires us to make a significant commitment to raise valleys or lower mountains for the purposes of sharing the Gospel. We need to recognize that when we do this, we are serving as a forerunner just as John the Baptist did. We are preparing the way for Jesus Christ to change lives and fulfilling God’s ultimate plan.