“… and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” Luke 1:17 ESV
Many versions read:
“… so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” NASB
“… to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” NKJV, NIV
… placing “the Lord” at the end.
But many other translations read:
“… to make ready for the Lord a prepared people.” CSB, DBY
“… to make ready for the Lord, a people prepared.” YLT
Whichever way the Bible reads, I have been looking closely at the two phrases in this small portion of Luke 1:17.
“…, to make ready …”
STRONGS NT 2090
to prepare:—prepare, provide, make ready (G2090 refers to internal fitness)
STRONGS NT 2680
to prepare thoroughly (properly, by external equipment; whereas G2090 refers rather to internal fitness); by implication, to construct, create:—build, make, ordain, prepare
to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” Luke 1:17 ESV
In reading this verse, my first thought was that both “make ready” and “prepare” meant the same thing and they do in a general sense. Where the divide comes is when the definitions distinguish between external and internal preparedness.
The external layer of a person is prepared:
John the Baptist was sent by God to turn hearts to see their sins, be grieved over them, come to repentance and be baptized in preparation for the coming of Jesus. Each one to repent can be prepared through this process of repentance. We will be convicted and cleansed. Through this conviction and repentance, we are being prepared.
Then, the internal person must be made ready to meet the Lord:
Because of the initial preparation, our hearts and minds are open and welcoming towards the Lord Jesus. Our souls will find joy and comfort as we hear the gospel even as we are challenged and confronted by the Truth. We are being transformed in the process and come to know His grace and are able to receive His mercy. As we walk in obedience to His Word and His will we are being made ready for His coming.
I recall so clearly the moment when I repented of my sins. I grieved over the many times I hurt God by my actions and words. I was being prepared for I wanted to be right with Jesus. I asked Him to be my Lord and Savior. From that very moment, I knew that things changed inside of me. I received a grace that I had never known. I was washed clean and then washed clean again… hundreds or thousands of times since. Each time, I have grown deeper in my walk with Jesus. I was made ready in my admission of my sinful ways. I was then able to accept my salvation in Christ by faith. I am continually made ready as I read God’s Word, as I pray, as I learn to walk closely to my Savior.
M. Henry says in his Commentary, We must be prepared by grace in this world for the glory in the other, by the terrors of the law for the comforts of the gospel, by the spirit of bondage for the Spirit of adoption.
The bud is made ready to become a blossom from the inside-out. The blossom is prepared to glorify the Lord with its outward beauty.
Am I ever done being made ready while here on earth? I have met my Savior by faith. One day, when I meet Him in the clouds, will I no longer need to made ready? I believe not! Christ is so beautiful to me now. I desire that He would be all I need while here on earth, but I must admit that things of this world do draw me in. I wish that were not true, but it is. As I age, I can say that things of this world are less and less important and I do have more peace. I pray that He will be all I need or want on the other side. Hallelujah!!!
Heavenly Father, I thank You again, knowing that when I called out asking for Your forgiveness for the many ways in which I wandered aimlessly, sinfully, and disrespectfully towards You, Your immediate forgiveness of me rained peace upon this woman. I am so grateful, Father. I became prepared. As I began to understand You and Your Son and the Holy Spirit, I was made ready to receive Your Son as my Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit has come to dwell in me and continues to grow me in Your Word, in grace, and in love. I am just overwhelmed by Your love and hope and peace…gifts only You can give me. Oh my! I am filled with a welling up inside of me. You are my All in all. Your Son is precious to me and I pray in His Holy Name. Amen.
Graphic of Luke 1:16-17: https://www.touchbible.net/image-browser/?version=1&book=42&chapter=1&verse=17
Spotty Flowers: https://dryicons.com/vector/spotty-flowers
Photo of apricot blossoms: http://www.photos-public-domain.com/2012/05/08/white-apricot-blossoms-and-red-flower-buds/