Faith and Family

Lynn Jones: Preparing the way for the Lord

By Lynn Jones

When I was growing up in Plainview, Louisiana, all the roads around us were dirt roads. They were not asphalt roads or gravel roads; they were dirt roads. There were many problems with these roads, but one of the main ones was that the roads got rough. With traffic and the weather, they developed holes, ridges, and “corduroy” stretches. So, periodically, the parish would send road graders to grade the roads and smooth them out. The road grader would push down the bumps, fill in the holes, and make the way smooth. 

Lynn Jones

Isaiah said, “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” (Is. 40:3-5). 

When John the Baptist came preaching and preparing the way for the beginning of the ministry of Jesus, Matthew said that his ministry was the fulfillment of these ancient words spoken by Isaiah, “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him’” (Matt. 3:3). In other words, John the Baptist could have been called “John the Road Grader.” He was making a straight, smooth road for Jesus to travel. 

When the road grader came by our house, we boys could think of nothing more exciting than growing up to operate a big machine like that on the roads of Plainview. When we announced this as our career choice, my mother always had a painful expression on her face. 

I never achieved that career goal, but, in a sense, by my preaching and ministry I have tried to prepare and smooth the way for Jesus’ coming into the hearts of people around me. Of course, that’s not just the calling of preachers; it is the calling of all Christians. 

Sometimes we do just the opposite. We make the way rough for the Lord. Our anger, selfishness, and insensitivity make it difficult for Him to come into the lives of people around us who are not believers. They look at these characteristics of our lives and conclude that they do not want to have anything to do with Christ. 

On the other hand, our patience, love, hope, and kindness can smooth the way for the Lord to come into the lives of people around us. It is time for all of us to “Prepare the way for the Lord—make His way smooth so that He can enter in.” We need to devote ourselves to the sacred work of doing what the road grader did on those Plainview dirt roads—smooth the way for His coming!

Lynn Jones is a retired pastor who lives in Oxford. He does supply preaching for churches in his area and often serves as an interim pastor. Jones is also an author, has written two books and writes a weekly newspaper column. He may be contacted at: