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Luke 3:2-6, “Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

Before John the Baptist began to preach, Luke tells us that “the word of God came” to him. John would prepare the way for the Lord to make things right with this fresh revelation of repentance and remission of sins. The word in the Greek New Testament translated “remission” occurs in Luke’s writings more frequently than in all the other New Testament writers combined. In medical language (Luke was a physician) this term was specifically used to describe “the relaxation of disease.” John spoke of repentance as the catalyst for this “relaxation” of the problem of sin. This was expressed outwardly under his ministry through baptism in water. This country around Jordan is referred to as “the wilderness” in Matthew and Mark’s gospel. For those in the wilderness, they were invited into this repentance and remission of sins. This was how they prepared the way of the Lord. The Lord was ushered in through this change of heart and cleansing relaxation from sin itself.

The valleys in life are filled in Jesus Christ. Mountains are made low and perspectives on uphill battles are reversed in Jesus Christ our Lord. Do we know someone whose rough way needs to be made smooth? Who wants to ride down a bumpy road anyway? There is no relaxation in that. Many times for the Lord to do His work in us we are required to change our hearts. His ways make things that are crooked straight again.
As we bring the life-giving hope of the gospel to those who may be walking down crooked paths, we know that those roads can indeed be straightened. This repentance and remission is how “all flesh will see the salvation of God.” This pattern does not fail. God has established that repentance and remission of sins is how we continue to see the salvation of God (Acts 2:38). We can thank God that we know how to prepare the way for the Lord. The crooked places can be made straight and the mountains in life will surrender and come under the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord.