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The Pilgrim Path (3/23/2020)

The Pilgrim Path---The Gospel of Mark---chapter 1:1--8

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As is is written in Isaiah the prophet,

BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER BEFORE YOUR FACE, WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY;

THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS,

MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD,

MAKE HIS WAY STRAIGHT.

John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan river, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel's hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey. And he was preaching , and saying, "After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. I baptize you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

In the Ancient East, a great deal was done in preparation for the arrival of royalty. Special servants were sent ahead of them to make sure roads and bridges were mended. Paths were smoothed and made strait. This was done---because: The King was coming! Well, John the Baptist, was quite the Forerunner for Jesus Our LORD. He really prepared the way (go back and "read" about his ministry). Take some time to think about what Christ "left"---and then, what it was "like"---for Him to be "down here" with us:

---He left unimaginable glory---to come live down here

---When he was born on earth---he was placed in a cattle trough

---He lived with the most common---of common people

---He walked everywhere He went---except for a few unforgettable boat rides

---His trade was among the rank of "Blue Collar" souls

---When He started teaching on The Kingdom of God---The Religious Elite said He was a rebel and a blasphemer

---He would "touch" the diseased and deranged

---He never simply performed a miracle to benefit Himself

---He taught like no one had ever taught

---He was aware of the thoughts and motives of every soul about Him---but He constantly showed love and kindness to individuals who humbled themselves before Him

---He knew he'd be lied about in a mock trial

---He knew he'd be crucified

---He loved us so much---He came anyway

---We didn't do much of anything by way of preparation for Him---But He had prepared So Much for US---He just Had To Come!

We had a couple here with us at church years ago---from India. The man was an IT Specialist--she was an ICU Nurse. They moved on to Virginia. They came by, one Sunday afternoon---a while after Sunday School. They had their little boys with them. It was so good to see them. We visited for a while in the office kitchen. Then we had our little huddle---we held hands and I prayed for them. When I opened my eyes---I saw that the man and woman had removed their shoes while I was praying...you cannot know how touched I was by that. We were talking to God---and they thought they should "remove" their shoes...When I consider this text in Mark chapter one---I think of "making way for the LORD." The best way to make way for the Lord Jesus Christ is to say, "here I am Lord Jesus---You decide..."

Great Quote from St. Gregory the Theologian (330-390):He took upon Himself the worse, to bestow on us the better; He became poor that we, through His poverty, might become rich; He took upon Him the form of a slave, to give us back our freedom; He came down to lift us high; He was tempted that we might gain victory; He was shamed to glorify us; He embraced death that He might give us salvation; He ascended heavenwards that He might draw to Himself those who were lying prostrate, fallen through sin. Let us give all, let us offer all, to Him who gave Himself as the price of our redemption and our reconciliation. But we can give Him nothing as precious as ourselves...

Grace and Peace to You in Jesus Our Lord, Pastor Jason