A Messenger Sent from God
John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus.
A bell such as a town crier might have used (to ring as you begin the sermon) and a newspaper
"A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.' " Mark 1:3 (NIV)
Before the days of printed newspapers, town criers walked through the streets ringing a bell and calling out, "Hear ye, hear ye!" Then they shouted out the news from every street corner announcing the time of town meetings and other items of interest to the people. Even after printed newspapers came along, you could walk the streets of a city and hear the voice of a newspaper boy crying out, "Extra! Extra! Read all about it!" Then he would shout out the days headlines, hoping to get the attention of those who were passing by so that they would buy a newspaper.
Today, people get the news in many different ways. Some rely on the newspaper and they read it from cover to cover, some get the news from the Internet, others get the news by listening to the radio. Probably the main way that people get the news today is by watching television. No matter how you get the news, it is important to know what is going on in the world around us.
Long before the birth of Jesus, God spoke through the prophet Isaiah to tell how he would spread the news of the coming of the Messiah. This is what he said, "I will send my messenger to prepare the way. He will be a voice of one crying in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the coming of the Lord! Clear the road for him.'" Who was the messenger that God chose to bring this good news to his people? It was a man named John the Baptist. John was a very unusual man who wore clothes made of camel hair with a leather belt around his waist. His favorite food was locusts and wild honey. He traveled around in the desert preaching that people should repent of their sins and turn to God. When they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan river.
John the Baptist was very popular and had a great following, but he always told the people about Jesus. "Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am," he said. "He is so much greater that I am not even worthy to stoop down and untie the straps on his sandals." Yes, John was faithful in bringing the news to the people.
It has been 2000 years since God sent his Son, but God still needs messengers to spread the news. This year, as we celebrate our Savior's birth, won't you be God's messenger to share the good news with others?
Father, we thank you for this very special time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. There are many who do not know about Jesus. Help us to be your messengers and share the good news. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.