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Sermon December 5 2021

Advent 2 C 2021 Road Construction

Luke 3: 1-6


Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen. 

The Interstate Highway system that we have in the US has been called the greatest Public Works Project ever completed in the history of humankind. Right after President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, the Interstate Highway System became an important part in the economic life of the nation.  

For example, the Interstate system has made it easy to transports goods around the country. And the Interstate Highway System has it made simple for people to move about and conduct business and enjoy recreational activities all over the great land that we call the USA.  And the Interstate Highway System has been an important part of the American way of life in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. 

A recent addition to the Interstate Highway System has been the introduction of the Toll Road System here in Texas.  On my truck you will see that I have a Tx Tag sticker on my windshield so I can use the toll roads here in Texas. 

I do not use toll roads much here in West Texas, but when I lived in Seguin, I used Texas Toll Road 130 a lot to get between Seguin and Austin. Did you know that the speed limit on the toll road is eighty-five miles per hour? Texas Toll Road 130 has the highest speed limit in the nation. Before the road was built it took me 1 hour and 20 minutes to get to Austin. After the toll road was competed, it took me 45 minutes to get to Austin from Seguin. 

Yes, the Interstate Highway System and the Texas Toll Road System built to supplement the Interstate Highways are truly modern wonders. But these roadways did not happen overnight. In fact, it took years to build these roadways. 

Surveys needed to be done. The land needed to be purchased. Valleys needed to be filled. Hills needed to be leveled. Sand and gravel were needed to be trucked in and spread on the roadway.  Asphalt and cement needed to be laid upon the foundation. And finally, lines had to be painted on the roadway so future drivers could navigate the highway.  

And in the case of Toll Road 130, animal crossings were built under that roadway so wild hogs and other animals could cross the road without being hit by vehicles.  I cannot even begin to describe the mess a wild hog or a deer produces on the highway when hit by a vehicle traveling eighty-five miles per hour. 

As you can see, a lot of challenging work and planning went into the building of the roadways that we take for granted. And they did not happen overnight. 

Today we hear the fulfillment of the prophecy spoken by the Prophet Isaiah which stated “The voice of the one crying out in the wilderness; ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.  Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”’ 

No, John the Baptist was not crying out for an infrastructure bill to improve the roadways in our nation.  Instead, John the Baptist was crying out for us to remove all the obstacles in our lives that may prevent us from receiving the promised Messiah into our world. 

In fulfillment of the old prophecy, John the Baptist told his listeners to make smooth the rough places in their lives, and to fill in the valleys, and to make low the mountains and hills, and to plow through all the obstacles that would prevent humankind from welcoming Jesus into our hearts and into our lives. 

And how is this possible?  This morning John the Baptist points out the piece of heavy equipment that God gave to us to bulldoze through the rough terrain that exists in the landscape of our lives. 

And this special heavy equipment is called “A Baptism of Repentance for the Forgiveness of Sins.”  Repentance is the machinery that clears away the rubble in our lives.  And Baptism is the tool that God uses to forgive sin, and to deliver us from death and the devil, and to give everlasting salvation to all who believe what He has promised. 

During this Advent Season, John the Baptist urges us to confess our sin as we prepare ourselves for way of the Lord and then let God take care of the construction.  

For you see, Jesus came that first Christmas to bring peace to our troubled hearts.  God sent His Son to make the road straight, and to fill in the hollows, and to flatten the hills of sin and temptation. 

Jesus came to deal with our sin because we cannot deal with the consequences of sin on our own.  We simply enjoy earthly pleasures too much.  And sin comes naturally to us.  And no matter how hard we try to change our ways, temptation and sin do not go away. 

Yes, we humans can do remarkable things.  The interstate Highway System and Texas Toll Roads are proof of the capability we have as a human race.  These roadways have been a blessing for every one of us. 

But when it comes to sin, we mortals are powerless against the influence sin has over us.  Today John the Baptists calls out to us to confess all our sins and then prepare for the One who will fill all the valleys, and level the mountains, and make straight the crooked roads, and smooth out the rough edges in our lives so we may all rejoice in the Redeeming Activity of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Let us pray: God of all people, your servant John came baptizing and calling for repentance.  Help us to hear his voice of judgment, that we may forsake our sins and greet with joy the coming of the Christ Child when He shall come again to judge the quick and the dead.  In Jesus name we pray.  Amen.