The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.…
I. THE ADVENT IMPLIED. "Prepare ye the way of the Lord."
1. The Lord here spoken of is doubtless the supreme Jehovah; and from the appropriation of the passage by inspired authority to Christ, I apprehend nothing less can be intended than to intimate that He who was coming was the true God and eternal Life. This was that Immanuel who was to bring in an everlasting righteousness, to redeem and restore the Israel of God, and accomplish salvation for all the ends of the earth. Let us, then, inquire, Is this interpretation of the passage justified by other scriptures, and especially by the event itself? Assuredly He came with all the signs and demonstrations of incarnate Deity. He Himself laid express claim to this high character, and most manifestly displayed the perfections which it involves. With these sublime views of His character agrees the testimony of all His inspired apostles.
2. The disciples of John were required to contemplate here the true Messiah coming to effect salvation, to fulfil all the promises made of old to their fathers. It is, therefore, of great interest and importance to ascertain what was involved in that character, and what was the work assigned Him to do. It is expressly declared that He came to do the will of God, — to magnify the law and make it honourable, — to render to it a perfect obedience, and make reconciliation for iniquity.
3. The way of the Lord to us must be understood of His approach to our consciences and hearts by His word and spirit.
II. The charge to "prepare the way of the Lord" implies that there ARE DIFFICULTIES OR OBSTACLES IN HIS WAY.
1. There is the pride and self-righteousness of the human heart,
2. The heart is by nature hard and impenitent, blinded to its own defects, and, even after the confession of them, unwilling to have them condemned or to give them up.
3. The state of human desires and affections presents other and formidable obstacles to the claims of the Lord. Their desires are low — their affections carnal. The poor grovelling heart must be raised to noble and exalted ends and aims.
4. In some there exists a mass of prejudice, and the truth of Christ is viewed under a false light, or through a perverting medium. They will not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, and they cannot enter therein. Some are prejudiced against the authority of revelation — some against the mysteries of godliness — some against the doctrines of grace or salvation by the merit of another; and many dislike the holiness, the self-denial, the separation from the world which Christianity inculcates.
5. Repentance is necessary to prepare the way; humility, to receive and learn the doctrine; prayer, to give it success in the heart; and watchfulness, to carry it out into practice. Every one who is himself a disciple of the Lord, has something to do in preparing the way of Christ in the earth.
(G. Redford, LL. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.