'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’
This challenge from John the Immerser echoes the prophetic words of Isaiah, Go through, go through the gates; prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway; clear it of stones; lift up a signal over the peoples (Isaiah 62:10). In the same manner John did, Isaiah was preparing the people of Jerusalem for the arrival of the promised Messianic King. This verse is actually written in the language of landscaping for road improvement and reparation projects in view of the arrival of a great dignitary; projects that had to be started before the onset of the event. Isaiah’s message continues with these words, "Behold, your salvation comes; behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him." And they shall be called The Holy People, The Redeemed of the Adonai; and you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken (Isaiah 62:11-12).
In the ancient world a young maiden chosen to marry a king would ready herself for sometimes up to a year (Esther 2:12); she would go through body ‘improvements and reparations’ so to speak. She would regularly immerse herself in baths filled with aromatic herbs and plants with skin cleansing properties. She was also given food from the king’s table until the appointed time when she would finally marry the king..
As Rebecca left her past behind to marry he who is a shadow of Messiah, as she became a new creature, as she left her kinfolks behind in Babylon to be part of a new family, as she entered the tent of her mother-in law Sarah to continue in the matriarchs venue: we are this bride and we ought to behave as such. We are to make ourselves ready and immerse ourselves in the baths of repentance to present ourselves to Him in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that we might be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:27); betrothed to one husband, as a pure virgin (2 Corinthians 11:2).
Immersion in waters filled with His cleansing Words (John 15:3) is our preparation before we come to Him at the end of the age. May we let it clean us each day from the Canaanite culture that surrounds and snares us. As we do, may we sincerely and honestly pray in the same manner as King David, the great Messianic foreshadow did, Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you (Psalms 51: 1-2; 7; 10; 13).