Our Bible verse this week centers on John the Baptist preaching of the coming of Jesus. The people were asking if he was the messiah, and John declared he was but a lowly messenger. Throughout the Bible we find examples of prophets telling of what is to come. Jesus, the disciples, and New Testament writers consistently reached back to the Old Testament to add authentication to bridge the known past to the present and future.
In Isaiah Chapter 7, 735 years before Christ’s birth, Isaiah provides prophecy that (7:14) “The Lord Himself will give you a sign, Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, …name him Immanuel.” The child was a sign that God could rescue King Ahaz from his enemies. The virgin was a foreshadow of the Virgin Mary. The child was “God with Us” to help save the remnants of the soon to be exiled Israel nation. The reference in Isaiah and language is repeated in the gospels to describe the birth of Jesus as the Messiah who was God with Us. The difference in that Jesus was the final fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy 700 years later. Jesus fulfilled the prophecy that now God was with everyone, not just the Israel nation.
The son referenced in Isaiah is described to “eat curds and honey” and lived off the land in the desert. Much of the symbolism tends to parallel what we know about John the Baptist. John is depicted as living on curds, honey and insects, having minimal clothing and possessions, and living off the land in the wilderness. In Isaiah 40 the son is described as “clearing the way for the Lord in the wilderness”. This same reference is given to John the Baptist in the 4 gospels (Matt 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4; John 1:33).
Isaiah’s son, just as John the Baptist, was sent ahead to clear the way, prepare the people, and prepare the leaders for the coming of a new leader, and in the later the Messiah. The direct tie to Isaiah 40 is provided in Luke 3:4-6 “Make smooth the desert…Valleys lifted up…mountains smoothed….rough ground plain,…rugged to a smooth valley”. Just as Isaiah’s son was to foretell the saving of the remnants of the Israel nation, John the Baptist foretold how Jesus would Baptize with the Holy Spirit and save everyone.
Questions for Reflection:
- Are you a John the Baptist? Do you share your story of Jesus Christ in your life? Do you live your life as a model to others of what it is to be a Christian? Can we all be a little bit prophetic in our own lives?
- John the Baptist gave witness to the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy 700 years later. Is it our time 2000 years later to bear witness of the Advent and Lenten stories? Jesus is the Messiah, God’s son, God with Us, who came to show us how to live as a person of God and gave His life so our sins are forgiven.
Most gracious and merciful Father, As we reflect on Your great gift of sending your Son Jesus Christ to teach, inspire and model a Christian life in Your grace, help us to be models and witnesses to others. Give us the words to share His story of love, peace and humility. In Christ Jesus we pray, Amen