A Voice in the Wilderness


Preparing for the coming King.


Some cleaning equipment. (mop, pail, broom, etc.)


In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'" Matthew 3:1-3 (NIV)

Do you always keep your room neat and clean? Are all your toys picked up? Are there any clothes on the floor or hanging over the back of a chair? Did you make your bed this morning? Are there any "dust bunnies" hiding under the bed? If you knew I was coming to visit this afternoon, would you have to rush home to make sure everything was in order?

My mother was a very good housekeeper, and although our house always looked great to me, I can still remember what happened if my mother found out that company was coming. She brought out the broom, the mop and pail, sponges, window cleaner, bathroom cleaner, dust rags, and furniture polish. Then she called all the children together and assigned each of us the jobs that we were to do. When we were finished, she checked to make sure that not a speck of dirt or dust remained.

Can you imagine what it would have been like around our house if we had been expecting somebody really important -- someone like a king or queen? Well, that is what our Bible lesson is about this morning. The coming of a King. Not just any king -- the King of Kings! Jesus!

The Bible tells us that in the days before Jesus began his ministry, a man called John began preaching and telling the people to prepare for the coming King. When John told people to prepare for the King, he didn't mean that they should go home and sweep the floor, pick up their toys, and make their beds. He meant that they should prepare their hearts. How? By repenting of their sins and turning toward God. When they did this, John would baptize them in the Jordan River. That is how he got the name, "John the Baptist."

It is important for you and me to make our hearts ready for the coming King too. We do that by confessing our sins and asking God to forgive us. If we will do that, the Bible tells us that he will forgive us and make our hearts clean. Then we will be ready for Jesus when he comes.

Father, every day we do things for which we need your forgiveness. We ask you to forgive us and make our hearts clean so that we will be ready to welcome the coming King. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.