God's Got a Plan!
Are you ready for Christmas? It will be here before you know it! This past Sunday we started at new series, “Advent: Christmas in the Gospels,” to help us get focused and prepared for Christmas. We kicked off the series with the Gospel of Mark and his unique introduction to Christ’s arrival. There is no mention of the nativity, the manger, shepherds or wise men with Mark… He starts with God’s plan and a voice crying in the wilderness. The message couldn’t be more clear… Get ready! (Mark 1:1-8)
BIG IDEA - God’s got a plan!
The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. Mark 1:1.
Right out of the gate, Mark leaves no doubt that Jesus is the Messiah the world had been waiting for and He was bringing good, life-changing, world-changing news! His name was Jesus, which means “Yahweh saves”. His name made His mission evident to all. Later, it would be written, 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
No doubt, God had a plan when He sent Jesus to Earth. The New Testament makes that crystal clear! Jesus came to save us from our sin and rescue us from death. Mark then outlines three steps for how we can engage in God’s plan!
Step #1 - Get ready!
2 …“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way”— Mark 1:2
We actually see this word “prepare” twice in two consecutive verses, Mark 1:1 & 2. On the surface, that may seem a little redundant, but it’s not. In the original language these words are different, though they are translated to English the same. One is the idea of receiving something or someone while the other word paints the picture of a big event. John the Baptist would be preparing the way for the Savior of the World who would offer us grace, mercy and love beyond measure. What an event! God wanted to world to get ready to receive a Savior. Are you ready?
How can we prepare to receive Christ, not just during the Christmas season, but every day of the year? There is a reason God had a voice crying out in the wilderness to “prepare” and “make paths straight.”
Slow down! Take a deep breath and exhale slowly. This time of year, things can get crazy fast. If you’re going to focus on Christ, it’s imperative to intentionally slow the frantic pace of your life.
Be still. There is a reason God said: 10 …“Be still, and know that I am God; Psalm 46:10. If you’re having a hard time connecting with God, then you may not be taking time to simply be still.
Use this Advent season to zero in on Who God is and what Jesus means to you. Pick up an Advent devotional for yourself and your family. We have a great resource available online and in this e-newsletter!
Step #2 - Walk straight! (Mark 1:4-6)
One consistent theme throughout the Bible is walking the straight and narrow! This was at the heart of John the Baptist’s message. It is the picture of living a God-honoring life marked by repentance… turning from sin toward God. The Apostle Peter preached:19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, Acts 3:19.
Jesus Christ, not only provided salvation to all who believe, but He taught us how to walk straight… to live a God-honoring life. The truth is, life works when we stay on the path that God has paved for us; and when we don’t, life gets treacherous and bumpy. (Joshua 1:7). If you aren’t walking the straight path, use this Advent season to repent and get back on track! To do that, the next step is essential.
Step #3 - Humble yourself! (Mark 1:7-8).
John knew who he was and he knew Who Jesus was. The most menial role that a slave could perform was the role of untying his master’s sandals. John didn’t even see himself as worthy to untie Jesus’ sandals. That is the picture of humility. We struggle in life when we allow pride gets in the way… when we put our desires, plans, and wants above Christ and His leadership in our lives. This Christmas season, and every day, will you commit to humble yourself in the same way John did, recognizing that Jesus Christ is your Savior, your Master and Lord? (James 4:10)
For much more, click here to listen to Advent: Christmas in the Gospels - Part 1 - Mark.