Here is my messenger
whom I send on ahead of you
to prepare your way!
A voice of someone shouting in the wilderness:
'Make ready the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.'
So, John the Baptizer appeared in the wilderness calling for baptism and a change of heart that lead to forgiveness of sins. And everyone from the Judean countryside and all the residents of Jerusalem streamed out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan river, admitting their sins. And John was dressed in camel hair [and wore a leather belt around his waist] and lived on locusts and raw honey. And he began his proclamation saying:
"Someone more powerful than I will succeed me, whose sandal straps I am not fit to bend down and untie. I have been baptizing you with water, but he will baptize you with holy spirit."
--Mark 1:1-8, SV
On Jordan's bank the Baptist's cry
Announces that the Lord is nigh;
Awake and hearken, for He brings
Glad tidings of the King of kings.
2. Then cleansed be ev'ry heart from sin;
Make straight the way of God within;
Oh, let us all our hearts prepare
For Christ to come and enter there.
3. To heal the sick stretch out Thine hand,
And bid the fallen sinner stand;
Shine forth, and let Thy light restore
Earth's own true loveliness once more.
4. All praise, eternal Son, to Thee,
Whose advent sets Thy people free;
Whom with the Father we adore
And Holy Ghost forever more.
--Charles Coffin, 18th century
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.
4 They shall build up the ancient ruins,
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.
5 Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks,
foreigners shall till your land and dress your vines;
6 but you shall be called priests of the Lord,
you shall be named ministers of our God;
you shall enjoy the wealth of the nations,
and in their riches you shall glory.
7 Because their[a] shame was double,
and dishonor was proclaimed as their lot,
therefore they shall possess a double portion;
everlasting joy shall be theirs.
8 For I the Lord love justice,
I hate robbery and wrongdoing;[b]
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
9 Their descendants shall be known among the nations,
and their offspring among the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge
that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed.
10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
my whole being shall exult in my God;
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to spring up before all the nations.