Are you ready for the King's arrival?

by Scott Vance on September 28, 2022

Matthew 3:1-10
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2  "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." 3 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.'"
4 Now John wore a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, 6 and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father,' for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
“Save the date!”  You’ve probably received such an announcement from a happy couple that is engaged to be married.  Cards like this are usually mailed to family and friends months ahead of time so that they can set aside a specific day to attend the wedding.  But it’s more than just setting aside a specific date.  When you receive a Save the Date card, you have to do some preparation to be ready to attend the wedding.  Travel arrangements might need to be made, gifts prepared, cards selected, and there may be specific attire that is required.  When you attend a wedding, one has to get ready, not to mention all the work and preparation the couple and their families have to do to be ready to host the wedding.
This passage is all about being ready but not for a wedding, instead, it’s about being ready for the arrival of the king.  In this passage, John the Baptist is calling people to be ready to receive the King, the long-awaited Messiah; Jesus.
It’s been hundreds of years since Isaiah first gave this message of preparation; the Lord is coming; get ready! 
John called people to repent and be ready and people were coming out in droves to hear John’s message.  They confessed their sinfulness and many were baptized.
Even the religious leaders came to John, but John didn’t have comforting words for them.  John challenged their pride.  The religious leaders thought that they would be just fine because they had always been in the line of the people of God, tracing their ancestry back to Abraham.  They knew that God had made incredible promises to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3), and they believed that since they stood in the line of Abraham, they had nothing to worry about.  But John warns them otherwise; the axe is at the root of the tree and they need to bear fruit, good fruit, in keeping with a heart and life that are transformed in relation to the king.
Going through the motions isn’t going to get them there; what will is a heart that is wholly devoted and in love with the king and a life that bears fruit in keeping with that love and devotion.
The people need to get ready.
And so do we.  But being ready isn’t a one-off event.  It isn’t as if we just do certain things and then we’re “certified ready.”  It’s an ongoing process in relationship with Jesus; resting in His presence, listening to His voice, and following where He leads us.  We won’t be perfect in that process.  There will be parts of our lives that need adjustment, parts that need to be tossed out, and unfruitful branches that must be trimmed.  It’s an ongoing process that, paradoxically, we engage in and through our relationship with the king Himself.
He is making us ready for Himself for you and I are His house, His temple and He wants us to be ready (1 Cor. 6:19).
Are you ready?
God bless you, and know that you are constantly in my prayers.


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