…Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight paths for him. (Luke 3:4)
Have you ever had to wait for something? Did it take a lot of patience? Was it worth the wait? If you are anything like me, you have had to wait for a great many things. Maybe you are even waiting for something now. What does your life resemble when you’re waiting? I can honestly say that at times I do well with the waiting game and at times I fail miserably. I probably fail more times than I care to admit. My time is just a little different from God’s. That’s why I’m really enjoying this next passage of Scripture we are going to go through together.
Let’s take a look at four different people who were waiting for the coming Messiah. What did their lives look like as they waited?
1. The Shepherds
The Word of God doesn’t say they were waiting. In fact, I know they weren’t waiting. Not in the way that the next three people were waiting. Shepherds in that day were looked at as dishonest and unclean according to the standards of the law. They represented the outcasts and sinners for whom Jesus came. It’s not a coincidence that they were the first to hear the Good News that a Savior had been born. For this is what they heard from the angel…
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for ALL the people.” (Luke 2:10)
Every sinner and every outcast is waiting to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. They are waiting to be presented with the JOY that only Jesus can bring. Yes, sometimes people don’t know they are waiting for the Truth that only Jesus can bring! The greatest thing that happened after the angel left the shepherds is their response. They did not worry about how their sheep would be taken care of or how long they would have to travel. They simply went to see this great news that they had heard! They responded immediately! Will we respond immediately to Jesus this year when it comes to sharing the Good News? You’re a walking testimony every where you go!
This man was said to be righteous and devout. He was living to see just one thing. To see the Savior! He was able to do the first custom on the Lord, as a child. Can you imagine the smile on his face? He waited his entire life for this moment. What a moment that must have been! He was not waiting to see this for himself. He was not concerned or worried. He wanted to see the salvation that would be brought to humanity. He was able to live his days well before the Lord and receive the gift of watching God’s promise come to fruition. Here are his words,
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismissed your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of ALL people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for the glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32)
The thing that I learn most from Simeon is that he didn’t get so busy wanting to see just one thing that he stopped living. He knew he still had work on this earth to do while he waited. He continued to work in the temple and be available for God. He was allowing God to guide his steps.
Anna was a prophetess. She was a widow and around 84 years old. She too was waiting for the Savior. Her life before God was so precious. I’m so appreciative that Luke mentions her in this passage because she reminds me of how I want to be when I’m waiting. This is the part of Scripture that impresses me most,
“…She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.” (Luke 2:37)
I truly believe that God has called us to an attitude of prayer and worship. It doesn’t mean that we have to be at the Church night and day. Remember, God is looking at your heart. How does it look when you’re at work, with your kids, your spouse, your friends, your peers, in that traffic jam, at the grocery store, and even on Sundays? Are you in an attitude of worship and prayer?
I know I need to work on this daily. I want to stay in that place where I’m available for God and not let things of this world affect me so much. Anna was ready when the Lord came. Anna spoke to Joseph and Mary on the same day that Jesus was presented at the temple. She was ready to see Him. She was fully aware and not too busy. I pray we will not be too busy when Jesus wants to spend time with us.
4. John the Baptist
John was preparing the way for Jesus. He was waiting just like the others. But he too was busy doing God’s work. He did not fall behind in his efforts. He even took the time to hear what people were thinking and speak the truth to them. You can read about this in Luke 3:15-16. He never let anyone put false claims on him. He knew someone greater than him was coming. He simply came to fulfill the prophecy written in Isaiah.
As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.” (Luke 3:4)
My commentary tells me that “make straight” is actually a poetic way of saying “make easier”. I’m wondering if we can be little John’s to someone this year. How can we make life a little easier for someone? Do you know anyone who is really struggling? Have you ever offered to bring them to church? The Shepherds didn’t know they needed a Savior until He came, but they received Him. Simeon, Anna, and John all knew they needed a Savior. They lived their lives reflecting the One they had yet to know.
If you are a little more like the Shepherds, still trying to figure out this whole Christianity thing… I invite you to read Why are you here? and please contact me. I would love to talk to you more. God sent His Son for you. Remember, He had the angel appear to the Shepherds first. That’s how important you are! God would love to have you come home this year! He has a party waiting just for you!
If you’re more like Simeon, Anna, and John… Then I invite you to continue reflecting the One who came for you! Never lose sight of what we are here for! Keep your eyes on eternity!
Challenge: Read Proverbs 1, We will continuing with Luke tomorrow, but I need to catch up with you!
Memory Verse: Psalm 37:23-24, How is this coming along?
Dear Father God, I pray that we will become reflectors of Your Word. May we learn what it truly means to stay in an attitude of worship and prayer. Please cleanse our hearts and renew our minds. May we desire more of You and less of us. May we walk out Your ways and live for only You!
Learning to reflect Jesus,