The Voice of One Crying

by Dr. Paul Chappell

“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”

Matthew 3:1–3

John the Baptist was unmoved by the world but tried to move the world by pointing others to Christ.

The Danish philosopher, Kierkegaard, tells a parable of a theater where a variety show is proceeding. Each show is more fantastic than the last and is applauded by the audience. Suddenly the manager comes forward. He apologizes for the interruption, but the theater is on fire, and he begs his patrons to leave in an orderly fashion. The audience thought this was the most amusing turn of the evening and cheer thunderously. The manager again implores them to leave the burning building, and he is again applauded vigorously. At last he can do no more. The fire raced through the entire building and took the fun-loving audience with it. “And so,” concluded Kierkegaard, “will our age, I sometimes think, go down in fiery destruction to the applause of a crowded house of cheering spectators.”

Kierkegaard was right in his assessment of the human race. Too many people are focused on the entertainment and frivolity of life. They seek pleasure rather than peace. And in their search for pleasure, they have disregarded any thought of a Saviour who alone can save them from eternal punishment.

John the Baptist was sent before Christ to prepare the way for Him. His sole purpose on earth was to call others to repent of their sins and be ready for the coming Saviour. He wasn’t there to entertain people through great speaking or miracle-working. He wasn’t called to draw people through what he did but by pointing them to the Lord.

As Christians, our mission is much like John the Baptist’s mission. We are not called to be great orators or to even perform miracles. God does not expect us to draw people through entertainment. He calls us to be “the voice of one crying in the wilderness.” We are to be preparing the way for the second coming of the Lord.

Notice that John the Baptist wasn’t timid in his witness. He cried aloud, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:1). He knew who was coming and he wanted everyone to be ready.

As a child of God, the Lord desires that you would be bold in your witness. He desires that you would cry out to those around you and point them to Christ. Just as the man in our story tried to warn the audience of the fire, so God desires that you would warn others of the fires of eternal Hell. Some may listen and repent, others may put off a decision, and others may laugh and scorn; but God desires that no matter the response of others, you would be faithful in your warning to them.

Are you being a voice in the wilderness of this world? Look at the life of John the Baptist. He is a great role model for how the Lord would have us live—unmoved by the world but trying to move the world by pointing others to Christ. Ask God for boldness in witnessing and for opportunities to point others to Him today. Don’t become discouraged by the response of those you warn, but determine, by the grace of God, to be a voice in the wilderness that calls others to turn to Christ.

Daily Bible Reading
Numbers 1-2 • Mark 3:1-19

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