#174 John 1:19-23 I Am the Voice of One Calling in the Wilderness

Joy:
Episode #174 John 1:19-23

Welcome

Amy:
Welcome to The Christgazing Podcast. We are so glad you are here! I’m Amy Burgin.

Joy:
I’m Joy Burgin.

Amy:
Christgazing, kind of like stargazing, is the act of looking steadily and intently at Jesus. If you are anything like us, you desire to fix your eyes on Jesus amid the distractions and troubles of this world. This podcast makes room for us to do that. Amid a world of many words, we slow down here and make space for the God-breathed Words, the best words, the ones that rightly comfort, correct, and lead us. Each week, we read a portion of scripture several times and create stillness after each reading so we might also be still and know God more. This week, we start a new series that takes us through the book of John.

Pour Out Your Heart to God

Amy:
Before we read, take time to share your heart with God. Maybe you have a list of questions for which you need answers—or a heart filled with grief, joy, desire, gratitude, anger, peace, or a mix of some of these things and more—whatever is on your mind, name it, and bring it to God in the next minute.

[Pause and pour out your heart to God]

What Does This Passage Say About God?

Joy:
As I read today’s passage, consider the question: What does this say about God?

John 1:19-23 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.”
    21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”
    He said, “I am not.”
    “Are you the Prophet?”
    He answered, “No.”
    22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
    23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ ”

Again?

John 1:19-23 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.”
    21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”
    He said, “I am not.”
    “Are you the Prophet?”
    He answered, “No.”
    22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
    23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ ”

Take the next few minutes to consider what this says about God.

[Pause and know]

What Does This Passage Say About People?

Joy:
As I read the passage again, consider the question, what does this say about people?

John 1:19-23 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.”
    21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”
    He said, “I am not.”
    “Are you the Prophet?”
    He answered, “No.”
    22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
    23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ ”

Take a minute to consider what this says about people.

[Pause and know]

Lord, What Would You Have Me Know Or Do Today?

Joy:
As I read for the last time, ask God, “Lord, what would you have me know or do today in response to this passage?” 

John 1:19-23 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.”
    21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”
    He said, “I am not.”
    “Are you the Prophet?”
    He answered, “No.”
    22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
    23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ ”

Take a minute to ask God, “Lord, what would you have me know or do today?”

[Pause and listen]

Blessing

Joy:
Christgazer, the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. And may you keep your face turned toward Jesus today and know him more.

One Response

Amy:
John spoke from Isaiah 40, specifically verse 3. I’ll close today by reading the first and last five verses from Isaiah 40 with some thoughts in between.

The first five verses of Isaiah 40:

Comfort, comfort my people,
    says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
    and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
    that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the LORD’s hand
    double for all her sins.
3 A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
   the way for the LORD;
make straight in the desert
    a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be raised up,
    every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
    the rugged places a plain.
5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
    and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

I’ve read John’s reply to the religious leaders many times in my life. John said, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’  But I’ve never ever thought about the mandate given in Isaiah 40, verse 3.  It says, “In the wilderness, prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”  John preached from the wilderness as a demonstration of the mandate given in Isaiah. When you are in the wilderness, prepare the way for the LORD. 

It seems we are all navigating some sort of wilderness. The wilderness of mental health issues, addiction. hurts, grief, cancer, overwhelm, pain in our relationships, unforgiveness, bitterness, the list goes on and on.

The wilderness is wild, unknown, harsh, uncomfortable, rugged, difficult, inhospitable, uncultivated, uninhabited, neglected or abandoned. How do we prepare the way for the Lord? A voice in the wilderness calls for reform.

Reform: It means to repair, correct, improve, and change to a better state. It means to turn from our ways of doing things and turn to God’s way of doing things. It means to live out Proverbs 3:5-6. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 

Reform in the wilderness of our relationships calls for the cultivation of love. 

How do we prepare the way for the Lord in our wilderness? How do we make a straight highway for our God in our desert? We step into obedience to him. In John 15:12, God said, “My command is this: love each other as I have loved you.” 

When we step into obedience, we open the door for blessing and joy. It is in the place of submission to God that God raises up every valley and makes every mountain and hill low. When we step into obedience, we make room for God to make the rough ground level.

Now, let us close with the last five verses of Isaiah 40. They encouraged me so much during this difficult week.

27 Why do you complain, Jacob?
    Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD;
    my cause is disregarded by my God”?
28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

This is the Word of the Lord.

Closing

Amy:
You can find a transcript of this episode and all our episodes at amyburgin.com. Joy and I will be back next week to go Christgazing together. Until then, don’t forget, when you put your trust in Christyou are one in whom he dwells and delightsa dearly loved child of God. You are royalty in his strong and unshakeable kingdom. Though trouble abounds, Christ prevails, and so do you.

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