In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said – the voice of one crying in the wilderness: prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’
I left secondary school at the age of 15 as it was necessary to earn and contribute to the family finances. I received the princely sum of two pounds 18 shillings a week I remember. In consequence further study was undertaken at evening classes and I was able to gain a qualification in civil engineering at Westminster Technical College. Bear in mind that this was some 65 years ago so I think I can be forgiven for not retaining detailed recollections, but I do remember learning about some sort of formula for “cut and fill” – useful when planning railway cuttings and road improvements and ensuring that gradients were appropriate for the particular mode of transport.
The point that John is making in quoting from Isaiah is that Jesus the Messiah was on his way and that there is preparatory work to be undertaken. He described that preparation in terms of repentance – turning from sin and opening of lives to God.
As we look ahead to the return of Christ we to must “prepare” the way by being ready ourselves when we are called to meet him as Lord and King and Judge. (RS)
“On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry announces that the Lord is nigh;
awake and listen for he brings glad tidings of the King of kings.”