Matthew 3, 1-3
Something to read
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.
King James Version
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’
This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, ‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."’
New Revised Standard Version
Something to think about
The ‘voice in the desert’ has become a bit of a cliché in our society: it is that lone voice speaking truth in the boardroom, the living room, or a church meeting. We often wish to ignore it because it is the voice of some uncomfortable truth which we do not want to comprehend; yet comprehend and contemplate it we must.
It would not be a ‘voice in the wilderness’ to us if we did not recognise within it that seed of truth. John the Baptist has a difficult task, one that would cost him his head: tell the uncomfortable truth that the order of things as we know it is about to change. Repent! Confront your own uncomfortable truths!
The writer of Matthew makes this connexion with Isaiah 40:3, identifying John’s lone voice in the desert as the voice in the wilderness. But isn’t it interesting that Isaiah uses the plural ‘paths’? Perhaps we should also realize, as we confront our uncomfortable truths, that the answers we seek may be many, and like paths, can converge and diverge and yet still, as individual paths, be straight.
The voice of truth might not always be to our liking or even seem like a truth to us without prayerful contemplation.
Something to do
You have shied away from being a voice in the wilderness at some point. Today, identify one of your uncomfortable truths and advocate it.
Something to pray
You reveal to us voices in the wilderness which hold your truths;
sometimes you guide us to be the voice.
Grant us the reflective energy to receive those truths,
The courage to speak your truths when you call us to do so,
And the strength to act upon them.
Today’s contributor is Ryan Simons, a student training for ministry with the United Reformed Church at Westminster College, Cambridge