I have been studying in the book of Luke lately. Some points came to light and I would like to share them with you. Today we will delve into preparation: how it pertains to John the Baptist, Jesus, the disciples and us. Prepare for some good stuff!
Let’s note areas we need to prepare for in everyday living: a grocery list, food to eat, for school by doing homework, for a new job by creating a resume, for a vacation by scheduling it ahead of time and then packing, and for a road trip by changing oil and getting gas. Then there’s thinking ahead and planning for our future and our children’s future! In every aspect of our life, we must plan and prepare for what is to come.
My husband thinks I overdo it when extreme weather such as a snow storm or a hurricane’s tropical storm heads our way. I make sure we have extra batteries, extra water, and canned goods to carry us through should we lose power for an extended period of time. I bake banana bread and freeze meats. I see this as part of my responsibility and I want us to be ready just in case!
God used prophets in the Old Testament times to speak to His people, usually with a word of warning of what was to come. The prophet Isaiah spoke of someone to come:
“A voice cries: In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make the straight in the desert a highway for our God….and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 40:3,5.
This was fulfilled when we read about John:
“…the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is is written in the book of Isaiah, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness….'”
God was preparing His people for the coming of Jesus. There hadn’t been a prophet that spoke a word from God in over 450 years! So they were eager to hear what this man had to say! John called them to acknowledge their sin and their need for salvation. As a result, many recognized their need to repent, and although baptism had been up to that point something that only the Gentiles did, John applied this ritual cleansing to the Jewish people. He was preparing their hearts to receive their Saviour.
With Jesus, after he had been ministering for a short time, he chose to use 72 of His disciples to prepare for His upcoming visits to towns and villages.
“After this the Lord appointed 72 others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go.”
When they returned after a period of time, they were so excited that even the demons were subject to them when they used Jesus’ name! That is because He had given them authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy.
We are to be like John the baptist and like those 72 disciples. We need to prepare people for Jesus’ return, His coming again! It is our job to help others see their need for repentance, and their need for a Savior. This is our calling. We have been given authority as the disciples were to help those that are blinded by this world, by our enemy.
The Lord is a big believer in preparation! He chooses to use man to further His will; for today, for tomorrow, for eternity. He gives us the time we need to get ourselves and others ready. But the day will come when that clock runs out of time.
Consider Noah; he had to prepare for the coming flood by building the ark that would save he and his family. If he hadn’t, none of us would be here today.
God uses ants to teach us about being prepared:
“Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise……she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.”
The parable that Jesus told of the 10 virgins fits well. The 5 virgins that did not prepare by getting sufficient oil, missed feasting with the bridegroom when he came. The 5 that were ready because they prepared with extra oil for their lamps, went in to the marriage feast. Then the door was shut.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a holy vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the Master of the house, prepared for every good thing.”
2 Timothy 2:21
The armor of God includes; as shoes for your feet, the preparation (readiness) given by the gospel of peace.
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
1 Peter 1:13
Jesus said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may also be.”
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
One amazing gift that the Lord has given to us is time. We don’t know how much of it we have, but hopefully there is enough of it for us each to be prepared for whatever comes our way. In addition, to urge others we come in contact with to use their time wisely as well.
Food for thought: Are you prepared for that day? Is your family going to be ready? How can you help others be prepared?
Fun facts: Doomsday Preppers can now spend $6,000 at Costco to buy a 1 year supply of food that feeds 4 people 2,000 calories a day.
Photo by: Erik Witsoe – Big Ben