Make ready a people prepared for the Lord
John the Baptist
It was said about this saint that he will “make
ready a prepared people for the Lord”… Meaning
prepared to accept Him and believe in Him. So how
did John achieve this mission?
He was talking about Him before he sees
Him, in a way to make people love and glorify
He used to say that He “is preferred before me,
for He was before me.” And “whose sandal strap I am
not worthy to loose” and when he saw Him he pointed
at Him and said “This is He of whom I said, "After me
comes a Man…” And John bore witness, saying, “I saw
the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He
remained upon Him.” “And I have seen and testified
that this is the Son of God.” (Jn 1:27-34).
“I indeed baptize you with water… He will baptize
you with the Holy Spirit…”
And said that He is the groom and the church for
Him is the bride.
And said about Him “He who comes from above is
above all” “He who comes from heaven is above all”
“He must increase, but I must decrease.” (Jn 3:29-
So do we make people love Christ and glorify
Him, as the Baptist did?
He also prepared this people for the Lord, by
leading them to repentance, saying: “Repent, for the
kingdom of heaven is at hand!” and baptized them
with the baptism of repentance. And gave “knowledge
of salvation to His people By the remission of their
sins” (Lk 1:77). And because of that he was
preaching powerfully and rebuking. And saying to
people “Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths
straight… every tree which does not bear good fruit is
cut down and thrown into the fire…” (Mt 3:1-11).
The Baptist has made ready to the Lord a
prepared people. And our duty towards him at
least is to prepare to the Lord individuals or
groups… So who were the first servants who
followed the Baptist’s work and made ready to the
Lord a prepared people? They are the fathers the
_The Fathers the Apostles_
The Baptist made ready a people for the Lord
before Christ began His mission.
And the apostles made ready a people for
the Lord after His rising to Heaven.
They made ready a prepared people for the Lord,
by spreading the faith and preaching the gospel to
the whole world (Mk 16:15). And they obeyed the
Lord’s words to them: “and you shall be witnesses to
Me” (Ac 1:8). So they witnessed that He rose, and
how He defeated death by His death, and lightened
up the immortality way for us, by becoming the
firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (1 Co
15:23). They also became witnesses of His many
miracles and teachings, His redemption to humans,
and His becoming a love sacrifice. With this love with
which He loved us until He sacrificed Himself for us
and became a propitiation for the sins of the whole
world (1 Jn 2:2).
And as they made ready a people for the
Lord who believed in Him, the bible says –about
the apostles’ work – “And the Lord added to the
church daily those who were being saved” (Ac 2:47).
“And believers were increasingly added to the Lord,
multitudes of both men and women” (Ac 5:14) “Then
the word of God spread, and the number of the
disciples multiplied greatly… and a great many of the
priests were obedient to the faith.” (Ac 6:7). They
were preaching and teaching everywhere “Their line
has gone out through all the earth, And their words to
the end of the world.” (Ps 19:4). And so, as the Lord
ordered them, they witnessed for Him “in Jerusalem,
and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the
earth” (Ac 1:8).
And one of those who made ready to the
Lord a prepared people is: St. Paul the Apostle.
He became a huge energy in the church, teaches,
checks on people, as he said to his colleague
Barnabas: “Let us now go back and visit our brethren
in every city where we have preached the word of the
Lord, and see how they are doing.” (Ac 15:36). And
made many disciples to work with him in building the
Kingdom , and make ready a prepared people for the
Lord “as ministers of God: in much patience, in
tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in
imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness,
in fastings…” (2 Co 6:4, 5).
And St. Paul and his friends worked on
leading people to repentance.
And he says about this that “Now all things are of
God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus
Christ, and has given us the ministry of
reconciliation… Now then, we are ambassadors for
Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we
implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God.”
(2 Co 5:18, 20).
And concerning teaching and preaching, he said
to his disciple Timothy: “Preach the word! Be ready in
season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort,
with all longsuffering and teaching… endure
afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your
ministry” (2 Ti 4:2, 5).
St. Paul described how he was making ready
people for the Lord saying: “For if I preach the
gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid
upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the
gospel!... For though I am free from all men, I have
made myself a servant to all, that I might win the
more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I
might win Jews… to those who are without law, as
without law (not being without law toward God, but
under law toward Christ), that I might win those who
are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that
I might win the weak. I have become all things to all
men, that I might by all means save some…” (1 Co
It is a wonderful example that the apostle gives
to us on how we spend every effort to make ready a
prepared people for the Lord…
Not people only make ready a prepared people for
the Lord but even angels.
The work like the people in building the Kingdom,
and they rejoice over one sinner who repents than
over ninety-nine just persons who need no
repentance (Lk 15:7).
It was said about them in the epistle to Hebrews:
“Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to
minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (He
Also the church in one of the most important
elements that makes ready for the Lord a prepared
From the beginning: it made ready for the
Lord a prepared people for martyrdom.
For, since the beginning, Jews and Emperors of
the Roman Empire went against the faith. And hard
ages of persecution and martyrdom went by. And the
church spent every effort to prepare its sons to go
through this period. First by confirming faith and
standing against doubts as St. Paul the apostle said:
“always be ready to give a defense to everyone who
asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with
meekness and fear” (1 P 3:15). And the history
recorded a group of defenders.
Second: the church prepared its sons through
ascesis, not loving the world, courage and not fearing
death. Also the church took care of the martyrs’
The church also prepared a ready people for
This was done through baptism, Holy Chrism, the
communion of the Holy Spirit, and leading them to
the life of virtue and righteousness.
Also by confirming them in faith and answering
back to heresies and heterodoxies, like what
happened in the Ecumenical and local syndic
meetings against heretics and to put churchly rules to
organize the pastoral work. And we shouldn’t forget
what St. Athanasious the Apostolic did in answering
back to the doubts of Arians, and how much
persecution and exiling he went through for the sake
Also the church in making ready a prepared
people for the Lord, the responded to the Lord’s
saying: “pray the Lord of the harvest to send out
laborers into His harvest” (Mt 9:38).
And so the patriarchs were keen to ordain bishops to
take care of the dioceses. And the bishops were keen
to ordain priests to take care of the local churches.
And the priests were keen in preparing servants and
speakers… All this, to make ready a prepared people
for the Lord.
_Pastors and Priests_
The priests first cared for making ready a
prepared people for taking communion:
And that was through repentance and confession,
appropriate fasting and purity of the body. Placing
before them always the saying of prophet Samuel
“Sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the
sacrifice” (1 S 16:5).
They also cared for leading the people to the life
of virtue, as the Didascalia says:
“The bishop should care for everyone so that
they get saved”. And so they cared of leading
everyone to salvation through repentance and
spiritual growth, so that they become temples for the
Holy Spirit, a picture for God, and sons of the
Kingdom. And that is through preaching and teaching,
religious upraising and checking on them. Also
through praying for the people, and taking it one step
at a time and easing the road of righteousness before
Also offering them the good example, because
teaching also is not enough. And it is ok to prepare
them also through firmness and upraising. And we
do not forget God’s angriness on Eli the priest who
took easy raising his sons, so he lost his life and
priesthood as well (1 S 4:18).
Priesthood work is not sufficient in preparing
people, there is also the work of fathers and mothers.
_Fathers and Mothers_
These have a duty to prepare their children
religiously and spiritually, and not only in caring for
their bodies alone, but more for caring for their
spiritualities since their childhood, and preparing
them for the childhood phase then for the youth
phase in a life firm in God…
Here we would like to mention the example of St.
Timothy to whom St. Paul the apostle said: “when I
call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you,
which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your
mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also” (2
Also St. Jochebed in the Old Testament who gave
to world of her children: Prophet Moses, his sister
Prophet Miriam, and their brother Aaron the chief
priest. And how that her son Moses, by staying with
her for around four or five months, she taught him all
the faith bases, after which he lived in the Pharaoh’s
palace surrounded by tens of the Pharaonic worships
and yet he kept his faith firm. And he became the
faith hero in his age.
And if we were mentioning the hero mothers and
grandmothers in making ready God’s people, we do
not forget the duty of fathers too to whom the Lord
said to every one of them since the Old Testament:
“And these words which I command you today shall
be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to
your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in
your house…” (Dt 6:6, 7).
And fathers and mothers make ready a prepared
people for the Lord through setting up an example as
well, by training them practically on the holy life,
taking them to the church and spiritual meetings and
making them get accustomed to praying, fasting and
taking communion. And he we place before our eyes
the saying of Prophet Joshua: “But as for me and my
house, we will serve the LORD” (Js 24:15).
_We all as Servants_
The Lord Christ has risen to Heaven, and left
us the responsibility of caring for His Kingdom:
And we pray and say “Your Kingdom come”. So
do we participate in this? And do we make ready a
prepared people for the Lord for this Kingdom? As the
Lord Christ said to us: “and you shall be witnesses to
Me” (Ac 1:*). And His saying too “he who does not
gather with Me scatters abroad” (Mt 12:30). But His
saying: “I chose you and appointed you that you
should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should
remain” (Jn 15:16).
Therefore, we follow the Master, the Lord who
desires all men to be saved and to come to the
knowledge of the truth (1 Ti 2:4) “He who does not
desire the death of the sinner like him coming back
and living” (Ez 18:22). The Lord who “has come to
seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk 19:10).
This is His will; to save His people. And our duty
is to do as He wishes, we who tell Him everyday in
our prayers “Your will be done”…
Therefore, we all have to make ready a prepared
people for Him. Because if Satan was working with all
its efforts to keep people away from God and His
Kingdom, we work with all our efforts to prepare
them as sons for the Kingdom.
We do that because we love God’s Kingdom and
we love our brothers in humanity, and it will be hard
for us if one of them perish.
We with all our fiery hearts, all sacred zeal and in
all ways as the apostle says: “but others save with
fear, pulling them out of the fire” (Jd 1:23). Placing
before our eyes the saying of St. James the Apostle:
“he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will
save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins”
And so, we in all cases make ready a people, either of
the neighbors, of friends, of colleagues, or of anyone
we meet on the road, as St. Phillip met the Ethiopian
eunuch on the road and saved him.
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