Saturday, December 9, 2023

Advent Words 2023 ~ Word 4: Prepare


Advent Words 2023
Day 4: Prepare

“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.’”

Matthew 3:1-3


The Advent season is a time of preparation for the coming of Christ. We don’t often think of the Advent season as a time for repentance. We associate that more with the Lent season. But at the heart of preparing for the coming of Christ is coming face-to-face with our own hearts. And that preparation involves repentance, for repentance prepares us to receive grace.


In Matthew’s gospel, right before Jesus will begin his ministry, we are introduced to John the Baptist. Matthew tells us that John came preaching. John was the prophet that was promised in Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:1-5, the prophet that would prepare the way for the Messiah. Isaiah tells us in 40:1-5 that the Messiah’s arrival will indicate that sin has been paid for and that the Lord’s glory will be revealed.


John the Baptist’s message of preparation was to call the people to repent. Repentance in the Bible means to change one’s mind or perspective and then to act on it. To turn from one way to another. Repentance involves action so that not just the mind is changed, but one’s lifestyle changes as a result.


Paul gave a picture of what this repentance looks like when he was on trial before King Agippa. He describes to them what Jesus spoke to him on the road to Damascus:

The Lord said, I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ …So then…  to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.” Acts 26:17-18, 20.


Our changed life is an outward expression of the repentance and salvation that is ours through faith in Jesus Christ. When we turn in the baptismal pool, it represents our repentance and our acceptance of faith in Christ, as we turn from our old way of life to new life.


John preached repentance because, “The kingdom of heaven is near”. The King is coming. The way to prepare for his arrival is to prepare our hearts. Sin separates us from God and all he has for us. Repentance opens our hearts to God and to His grace and enables us to accept and receive His gift of grace, His Son Jesus Christ. 

John’s command to repent in Matthew 3:2 in Greek is a present tense imperative. Greek present tense calls for a continual, habitual action. Repentance, therefore, is not a one-time action but it becomes a lifestyle. It becomes a way of life where one continually looks at one’s heart and lifestyle and goes before the Lord, turning to Him and repenting of our sins, looking to the Spirit of God to bring about in us the character of Christ. Advent’s time of preparation helps us connect with our need to repent and to prepare our hearts for the coming King.

Share how you respond to today's word in the Words Facebook Group or on Instagram using #adventwords2023.


  1. Thank you Mary. This "Prepare" devotion was power packed. Christ is coming again to receive us into Himself and preparing for that day should be a lifestyle. That was the convicting part for me.