Rev. E. Ahenkan Owusu
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Isaiah 40:1 – 11, 2Pet 3:8 – 15, Mark 1:1 – 8

"A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'"


The Akwambo festival is celebrated by the chiefs and people of Agona Nyakrom and Agona Swedru in the Central Region of Ghana. It is celebrated every first week of August. The festival literally means “path clearing”. The Asafo companies weed footpath leading to streams and rivers, farms and other communal places, as well as paths which lead to their worship places. The following day the whole community gathers to thank God for their protection during the previous year and asks for more blessings, abundant rainfall and a good harvest for the coming year. In effect, the path weeding is done as a symbolism of preparing the path and the community to pave way for the coming year to come with all the good things of life. "Make straight paths for the Lord and my text is taken from" Mark 1:3.


Beloved, though the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy had an immediate fulfillment in the return of Israel from exile (Isa. 40), it also had an ultimate fulfillment in the coming of the Messiah which Mark made reference to. Quotations in Mark 1:1-8 are borrowed from two prophecies—that of Isaiah, which was the longest, and that of Malachi, which was the shortest and latest (with more than three hundred years between them), both of whom spoke to the same purport concerning the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in the ministry of John the Baptist. Malachi, said, “Behold, I send my messenger before thy face” (Mal. 1:2). Mark identified this messenger as no other than John the Baptist, “This messenger, was John the Baptist” (Mark 1:4).

John's message and baptism were preparations meant to arouse the people to make them ready to meet the Messiah, Jesus Christ. He preached the remission of sins and repentance, in order to alert people that there must be a renovation of their hearts and a reformation of their lives, that they must forsake their sins and turn to God, and upon those terms and no other, their sins should be forgiven. He preached about that the  Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, pointing to immediate appearance of Christ, and directed his hearers to expect him speedily to appear, and to expect great things from him. This prepared the hearts of all the people, and upon this Jesus builds His teachings and ministry. Interestingly, repentance for the remission of sins, was what the apostles were commissioned to preach to all nations (Luke 24:27). In fact, John the Baptist straightened the path to welcome the New Covenant championed by Jesus Christ.

 1. The Waiting Period

The people of Israel concluded that the long-awaited Messiah would not come as promised. After prophecy upon prophecy from one prophet to another, one generation to another to no avail, all hope for a Messiah to redeem them was lost. Suddenly, out of nowhere appeared a man who “wore clothing made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey” (Mark 1:6). They thought it wouldn’t be but in their unexpected and unguarded hour, Jesus came to fulfil God’s purpose. Paul asserts that creation and the children of God are awaiting redemption from the Lord. He said “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Rom 8:19-23). Elsewhere in Gal 4:4-5, Paul said: “But when the appropriate time had come, God sent out his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we may be adopted as sons with full rights.” Beloved in the fullness of time, he came to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah and Malachi. My dear friends, soon the fullness of time for his second coming will come and we will behold him descending from the clouds to take his servants up to their eternal home. Beloved are you ready for His return?

2. A Straight Path in the Wilderness

When eastern princes marched through desert countries, ways were prepared for them, and hindrances removed. May the Lord prepare our hearts by the teaching of his word and the convictions of his Spirit, that high and proud thoughts may be brought down, good desires planted, crooked and rugged tempers made straight and softened, and every hindrance removed, that we may be ready for his will on earth, and prepared for his heavenly kingdom. What is it that belongs to humanity? All we are and have are but like the grass and the flower thereof! And what will all the titles and possessions of a dying sinner avail, when they leave him under condemnation! Such is the corruption of the world, therefore there is something you have to do to make room for him and to remove all obstructions and hindrances that inhibit our growth in the Lord. When the paths that were crooked, are made straight, then a way is made for Christ's comforts (Isa 40:1 – 3). It’s time to set your life in order to pave way for His return.

3. Holy Living Make Straight Path for the LORD.

“Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days, scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, "What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created." But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed but wants everyone to repent. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment. Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. This flesh, world, and all that dwell in it will pass away; it will burn like paper in a blink of an eye. Why then waste your time, resources and integrity investing in these transient things. Why destroy your soul and spirit on these unworthy things. It is time to turn unto holiness, living a worthy life pleasing unto the Lord as we await the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ.

4. We are Called to be Heralds for the Parusia (His second coming).

A herald goes ahead of the entourage shouting in the wilderness make straight path for the King. By calling the nation to repentance, John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord Jesus Christ. And this was his message: "After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." (Mark 1:7-8). Christian friends, I came in the fashion of John the Baptist to point to Jesus’ second coming. The glad tidings of the coming of Christ were to be sent forth to the ends of the earth (Isa 40:9 – 11). You and I are called to be heralds of His second coming. The angel said of John the Baptist to Zechariah, his father, “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17). 

My dear, just as God sent John the Baptist to make ready a people prepared for the first coming of the Lord so has God sent you and me to our generation to make ready a people prepared for the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. I beseech you brothers and sisters by the mercies of God, “This is the time, no more delay; this is the Lord’s accepted day”! “Men die in darkness at thy side, without a hope to cheer the tomb; Take up the torch and wave it wide, the torch that lights time’s thickest gloom”. This is the time to “Toil on, faint not, keep watch and pray, be wise the erring soul to win; Go forth into the world’s highway, Compel the wanderer to come in”.

When was the last time you took a personal interest in winning a soul for Christ? This Christmas season I challenge you to set a target for yourself to witness to a number of souls to point their attention to the Second Coming of Christ. It’s good to share gifts and lots of love to people around this season, but how useful is a soul that acquires a lot of gifts and possessions without receiving the eternal gift. Selah! This is operation “No Soul No Christmas”, “One More Soul for Christ”. Christmas should not end without you speaking to someone about the gift of eternal salvation in Christ alone.


Behold He comes; are you prepared to meet him? Have you straightened all your crooked ways and made a holy path for His return. To be prepared for Christ’s return is to be faithfully obeying him in the present and actively engaged in whatever work he has called us to do. Certainly, on the day of the Lord’s return, there will be some researchers whose work will never be published to influence the world, there will be some men and women in church worshipping, there would be some writing sermon to you like I am doing now, there would be some Christians relaxing at home. Again, there will be some in the night clubs; some will be lying naked next to people they are not married to, some will be worshipping idols. But to all those who are saved, Jesus will say 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' Matt 25:21. May such be our story in Jesus' name, Amen!

Shalom Aleichem


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