Isaiah 40:1,3,4 opens the Messiah and that is where our Advent story begins.
“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.” A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
It had been 400 years since the prophet Malachi had spoken and the people were hungry and eager to hear from God. Hundreds of years before Isaiah had prophesied that the people would be comforted by the voice of one crying in the wilderness who will proclaim the arrival of the Messiah. The one spoken of here is John the Baptist. His mother Elizabeth was Mary’s Aunt and their babies were due months apart. Zachariah, John’s father, had received visit from the angel Gabriel foretelling the birth of this forerunner of Jesus. Luke 1:13-17 “But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Just as Isaiah had prophesied, John came and proclaimed a message of repentance and prepared the people for the Lord’s coming.
Isaiah also spoke of leveling the ground in Isaiah 26:7 “The path of the righteous is level;
you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth.” Jesus, Messiah, would come and make way for the righteous. Jesus indeed smoothed the way for mankind to be made righteous through His coming, His death and His resurrection. All the mountains of sin that stood between God and man were made low through His sacrifice. Jesus made “every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain” for those of faith to come to God. He removed the barrier of sin between us and holy God. Jesus made the way for us to be saved.
John, the herald of Jesus, came to call Israel to repentance and faith. Let us answer his call today as we meditate on the beauty, exactness and completeness of God’s Word and the hope we have in Jesus.
Let our Advent journey begin with repentance,