In just a few days we will be celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a time of great rejoicing for the Messiah, the Liberating King, enters time and space to save His people from their sin.

But there was another noteworthy birth about that same time. He was the earthly cousin of Jesus and his name was John, known to us as John the Baptist. There may be some question of which one was born first. All we really know is what Luke records:

“When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.” (1:57-58)

But the birth order is not what is important. The purpose is. At John’s birth, his father Zechariah after months of God-imposed silence proclaims: “And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him.” to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.” (1:76-77)

Zechariah’s words echo a prophecy long before of Isaiah:
“A voice of one calling:
‘In the desert prepare the way for the Lord;
make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all mankind together will see it.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.'” (Isaiah 40:3-5)

Later John appears on the scene as that voice and his ministry of the coming Messiah and the repentance from sin indeed prepares the way for the message and ministry of Jesus. Soon after Jesus appears, John even says, “I decrease so he can increase.”

Have you ever thought of yourself as one who prepares the way for Jesus as through our relationships we introduce them to Him–his promises and His power? Or as Dan Kimball describes it, “The bridge to the Bridge.”

There is no more important calling.
© 2018 by Stephen L. Dunn. You have permission to reprint this provided it is unchanged, proper authorship is cited, it is in a publication not for sale, and a link is provided to this site or to For all other uses, contact Steve at

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