Journeying through the Christmas Story – Day 2
Sam Scarpino

December 2

Isaiah 40:3-5

A voice of one calling:

“In the wilderness prepare
    the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
    a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
    every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
    the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
    and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Malachi 3:1

“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.

The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®

Devotional – Sam Scarpino (Youth Leader/Connect Group Studies Writer)
Whether Christian or not one of the most recognisable Bible figures aside from Jesus is John the Baptist. The rugged man, the lone voice in the wilderness, the messenger, the role model for the modern day evangelist. So significant was the life of John the Baptist that his works were prophesied 700 years earlier in the book of Isaiah:

[3] A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
[4] Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
[5] And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 40:3–5 ESV)

John the Baptist the first prophet of the New Testament mentioned in the last book of the Old Testament 400 years earlier:

[1] “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:1 ESV)

John the Baptist’s lineage goes back to Aaron of the Old Testament, the same Aaron who blindly led God’s people to worshipping the idol of a golden calf whilst Moses was away with God. Many centuries later John the Baptist the last high priest foretold the coming of Jesus, who in a way through blind faith told those around him of Jesus.

Yet despite the prophecy of John the Baptist, the significance of his life, he still found himself in prison and doubting whether Jesus was truly the Messiah given the situation John found himself in. ‘Are you the one who is to come or should we expect another?’ was John’s message from a prison cell. If I was in John’s position I’m sure I would’ve reacted with much more fear and anger — “Are you serious Jesus? I’ve prophesied in your name, I’ve devoted my whole life to you, I’ve given you everything, I’ve given you all of me yet I’m still in prison?! Is this some type of joke or are you really not who you say you are??”

Whether we’re in prison or not we as Christian’s react this way when things don’t go our way. It may be missing a promotion, a relationship breakdown, a rough marriage, a battle with a physical or mental illness, the grips of addiction on the life of a family member or friend. When things don’t go our way our reaction usually is, “God are you serious?! I serve you, I give to you, I worship you, why me?”

The prophecy of John’s life detailed the great work that John had which was to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus yet notice the point – Isaiah 40:5a And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, the point was always the glory of God not John. The call for the Christian isn’t a popular one, Matthew 7:13 calls it a narrow gate, however how great it is to be able to play a small part in God’s big picture. Whilst God doesn’t promise a life free of problems, John 16:33 indicates that it’s quite the opposite, he does promise to never leave or forsake us whereby when trouble comes we can rest in the knowledge that God is working things for His glory which ultimately is the best thing for us, I know I want to be part of that story!