By Matt Henslee
Scripture: Mark 1:1-8
As we continue through this season of Advent, we know it’s not only a season of anticipation but also of preparation. When we reflect on the work of John the Baptist, we see a work of preparation.
Preparing the way by preparing hearts for Christ’s coming.
As John was unworthy, we’re unworthy, but we learn Christ didn’t come to provide a better way to live. No, He provided the way of salvation.
The way of salvation isn’t about a list of dos and don’ts we keep to earn a right standing with God. In fact, there’s nothing you can do to be made right with God.
Instead, it’s what Christ did on our behalf. After Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He lived a perfect life only to die a sacrificial death and rise again.
In exchange for our sinfulness, Jesus gives us His righteousness when we believe on Him for salvation. This is what Martin Luther called the “Great Exchange.”
Now, if you’re anything like our family, you’re beginning to wrap gifts. Thoughts and prayers go out to all of you during this trying time.
But do you know what? Our children, as awesome as they are, don’t deserve these gifts. We give them, however, because we love them.
Likewise, God loved us so much, as John says:
He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
So, during this time of Advent, prepare.
- Prepare by forgiving others as you’ve been forgiven.
- Prepare by welcoming others as you’ve been welcomed.
- Prepare by proclaiming to others that Jesus came, died, and rose again.
- Prepare them for His return by calling them to repent and believe.
MATT HENSLEE (@mhenslee) is managing editor of LifeWay Pastors and coauthor of the book Replanting Rural Churches. He is the husband of Rebecca, father of four princesses, and pastor of Mayhill Baptist Church in Mayhill, New Mexico. This devotion was based on Juan Sanchez’s “The Most Wonderful Time of Year.”