Revelations from the Word

(Back to Index)


Make level a way for the Lord

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"And he went into all the country surrounding the Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, according to what is written in the book of the words of Isaiah, the prophet: It is the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make level [yashar] his paths. Every valley shall be exalted, every mountain and every hill shall be made low; that which is tortuous shall be straightened, and the rough ways shall be made smooth. And all flesh shall see the salvation of God" (Luke 3:3-6).

John the Baptist was called by God to prepare a way for Jesus, to make level His way, by preaching the baptism of repentance. The Hebrew verb yashar translated by to make level, means to make straight, to smooth, to conduct, to lead directly. So, God Himself made level Cyrus' way for He said to him, "I will go before you, and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut asunder the bars of iron. And I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, who call you by your name, am the God of Israel" (Isaiah 45:1-8), so that he could reconstruct the Temple in Jerusalem, and so that he might know that the Lord is the only God.

Cyrus was then able make the Lord known to the whole earth the God of Israel, the only God, and the Creator of all things. John the Baptist therefore prepared the people of Israel by the baptism of repentance to receive the revelation of the glory of God, that is to say the Messiah. This One was to comfort the people of God after his time of servitude, and was to be revealed as the Shepherd (Isaiah 40:1-11).

In the same way, Jesus was sent by God to prepare the way of grace, to make level the way to God, renew God's Covenant with the people of Israel, but also with all the peoples of the earth, to set the captives free and become their Shepherd (Isaiah 49:8-13). So Jesus revealed the love of God and His plan of Salvation for all men (John 3:16-17).

We have, in our turn, received the mandate to make of the nations disciples of Jesus (Matthew 28:19). We are therefore called to prepare a way for the nations, to clear a way, to remove the stones and to lift a banner towards the peoples (Isaiah 62:10), so that all flesh will see the salvation of God, and to bring together a holy people for the Lord.