December 29, 2014

A Major Turnaround

Mark 1:1-8

“&lsquoPrepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”
—Mark 1:3


“Are we there yet?”

Parents often hear these words from their children as their family travels on a long trip—or even a short one. Young children have an underdeveloped sense of time and distance that prevents them from understanding how long a journey will take.

God’s people often have an underdeveloped sense of the gap that exists between our lives and God’s kingdom vision. We would like to think we are decent people who just need a few minor adjustments to become right with God. We might rationalize, “If I lose a little weight, try a little harder to be nice to my neighbors, and give a little money to charitable causes, then I will really have my life together.” In reality, there is much more that keeps us from God’s ideals.

The distance between God’s ideals and humanity’s ideals was so great that Jesus did not merely come into the world without advance preparation. God sent someone to get us ready for him. John, the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, came to help people recognize that the condition of this world needed a major turnaround. He called God’s people to repent and to experience a new way of life (not just a few minor adjustments) that would be signified in baptism. John helped people to realize the problem before they could be prepared to see the solution in Christ.

Lord Jesus, help me to glimpse the kind of glory you are calling me to, so that I am ready to make a radical turn from the ways of this world, to embrace you. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Bill Sytsma

Bill Sytsma is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary (M.Div) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min). He is the author of the book Follow the Leader and is serving as the pastor of New Life Christian Reformed Church in Highland, Indiana. He and his wife, Staci, have hosted support groups for families built through adoption. He and Staci are the proud parents of three active boys: Luke, Isaac, and Nico.

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