His presence that changes lives
Isaiah had spoken of John when he said, “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him! The valleys will be filled, and the mountains and hills made level. The curves will be straightened, and the rough places made smooth. And then all people will see the salvation sent from God.’” Luke 3:4-6 From the text, Luke wrote about a prophecy from the Old Testament that was fulfilled through the life of John the Baptist. As Isaiah prophesied, John will be sent ahead of Christ to announce the coming of the Messiah. Unequivocally, his role was to call on people to prepare themselves for the coming of the Messiah for He alone could provide salvation. “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near” (Matthew 3:2). He calls on people to prepare their hearts so they will experience the presence of God in their lives. Those who heard the message responded and prepared their lives. They recognized that Jesus alone could forgive their sins and when He came, they left all to follow Him. When Jesus asked His disciples if they will continue to follow Him after those that at first seemed to be convinced that He is the Savior yet turned away, His disciples affirmed their allegiance to Him. “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-69). Once the heart is prepared to receive the message of the gospel, it will be preceded by God’s presence. To experience God’s presence in one’s life, repentance is required. Repentance leads to change of life, obedience to His will, and submission to His Lordship. The religious leaders in the time of Jesus’ coming missed His presence because they focused on religious rituals and did not bother to turn to God in repentance. John the Baptist called out on them and told them their failure to recognize the Savior because they would rather have their religious traditions over having a relationship with Christ. “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham” (Luke 3:8). God is interested in having a relationship with us. You can miss His presence if your heart remains unmoved and unchanged. We can be busy with all the peripheral activities of religion and still miss out on His presence. He wants you to be contrite and desire His presence in your life by acknowledging His Lordship over your life. “Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing...The Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:39-42).