Preparing the Way
Preparing the Way focuses on the life and work of John the Baptist. John declares himself to be the ‘voice in the wilderness preparing a "Way for the Lord"’; Jesus followed this by declaring ‘I am the Way’, and an early title in the Acts of the Apostles identifies the earliest Christians as the ‘People of the Way’.
Jesus and John the Baptist
Born just a few months apart from each other, and related in some way, we know little of any earlier contact between them, except during the pregnancies of their respective mothers. However John’s prophetic and baptismal ministry was so effective and extensive that Jesus must have had substantial knowledge of it. Later Jesus declares John to be the greatest person who has ever lived.
Common Priorities of Jesus and John
Whilst John’s austere desert centred lifestyle contrasted strongly with that of Jesus, we can observe strong similarities in their message and ministry. Both declare that the ‘Kingdom of Heaven is near’, and both invite people to make a new start; both warmly welcome people such as tax collectors, Roman soldiers and both have a challenging message to bring the Jewish religious leadership of their day.
Preparing the Way can be a forerunner to the JSP Adventure
Churches who have time before launching the 15 week JSP Main Programme may decide to use Preparing the Way to prepare their congregations for their use of the JSP Main Programme. In doing so churches will get a good practical taste of the way JSP resources typically work: Sundays providing a weekly introduction, and small groups being an opportunity to explore weekly themes. Children’s resources for Under 5s, 5–11 yr olds and 11+ also match those offered by the JSP Main Programme. Preparing the Way is designed is designed to be usable in Lent—partly the reason why Week 4 seems to be chronologically out of place, so that it can be usable on Mothering Sunday.