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By: Larry Shaffer
The beautiful state of Washington
“Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself? He said, ‘I am a voice of one crying in the Wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”
The text transitions here from the prologue to the narrative. This section begins, “This is the testimony of John.” The other gospels refer to him as John the Baptist to distinguish him from John the apostle. In this case, John the apostle is the author and never refers to himself throughout the book. So, he just calls John the Baptist, John.
John’s ministry in the desert was stirring up interest. The buzz about his preaching and bold claims about the coming Messiah reached the High Priest in Jerusalem. Representatives from the High Priest made the trek out to the desert to find out firsthand what was going on.
They asked, “are you the Christ?” “Are you Elijah?” “Are you one of the prophets?” John the Baptist denied that he had any position of prominence. Instead he quoted Isaiah 40 and said, “I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord, as Isaiah the prophet said” vserse 23.
John considered his call to ministry as coming from Isaiah 40. Let’s consider it as a call (or our call) to ministry and service to God. What might God teach us about our service to Him? Perhaps there is guidance for us to apply day-by-day as we go about our regular lives encountering people that God brings in our paths. Or, perhaps we will sense a deeper call that enlightens us to consider a ‘life ministry’; a higher purpose for our lives; or a “big picture” calling to a passion that God places on our hearts???
I’m not referring to full-time vocational ministry, per se, but a focused effort long-term mission toward a burden or passion that God gives us. Is it evangelism of a certain group? Is it saving orphans, ministering to the homeless, prisoners or others in need? Is it discipling a small group of men or women? Is it giving sacrificially? Is it serving a particular country or other demographic area or neighborhood? Is it focused toward a particular people-group? Is it spreading the love of Christ and His gospel through feeding the poor?
Is there a calling upon your life? Are you listening? Are you obeying? John the Baptist was inspired by the words of Isaiah 40. Let’s see what God might teach us from Isaiah 40. More next time.
Lord, perhaps you will inspire within us the reality that there is a calling upon our lives. We seek purpose and meaning in our lives and You alone are the fullness of our purpose. Help us to be reflective; to be listening; ultimately to be obedient. Our lives here are brief. May we live them with purpose and meaning that comes from following and serving You. Amen.