English Standard Version, David Cochran Audio Bible
1The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,
“Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way,
3 the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,’”
4 John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel's hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.
~ Prepare the way of the Lord, make His path’s straight.
A famous biblical quote, when this passage seems to zig and zag from an amazing Spiritual baptism into denigrating into temptation in the wilderness. Why?
Jesus was both man and fully Divine. The temptation of Christ mirrors the spiraling ministry of Jesus. The vast crowds of people saw Good News! The blind -see! The lame - hear! While Jesus' siblings at first mocked Jesus, telling Jesus (in John 7) not to mind the Pharisees were looking for Him, but to go to Jerusalem for the festival to prove Himself. The Pharisees know, in probability, this ministry is not headed in Jesus' favor:
The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks?
Another choice provided. Even Jesus' family changed their mind about getting Jesus to jump more into the fray and ask Him to leave with them, in Matthew 12. Another zig-zag.
The point I am trying to make is this - because Jesus was man, God gave Jesus choices in the beginning, the middle and even the end....
Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?
Even in the middle of Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, drinking from the cup of sacrifice - given to Him by the Father - Jesus heals.
But Jesus answered, "No more of this!" And he touched the man's ear and healed him.
Were the events making a straight path for the Lord? Yes, Jesus, being God, knew what was in the heart of man - and, yes, Jesus strove for us daily - placing mercy and sacrifice above honor. Our lives don't always make sense to us. We really don't see eternity - it is another reason to trust the Lord - His plan is at work even in our lives.
In faith we remember Jesus told His mother, His time had not come for wonders of God. But it was. In love and harmony, Jesus stepped forward to help His mother and His ministry unfolded.
The cross isn't a straight path. It is the cross section - the Upward Force of God meeting at the intersection of God taking our sins, flaws, mistakes, embarrassments, lukewarm-ness, indifference and washing our sins white. East becomes West.
God uses our welcoming attitudes & actions affirming love, and what is not what we would label as good to move His plan forward. In the life of His Son and in our lives as the adopted children of God.
Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: "'The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes'
The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone
So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.
Blessed are You, Lord God. Blessed is Your Son, Jesus Christ. Forever. Amen.