Make straight the way of the Lord
The Jewish people expected the person of Elias to return from heaven. They probably observed his character, doctrine and baptism then thought he was dropped from heaven. John the Baptist made it clear that he was not Elias (the prophet in the Old Testament). They were probably thinking of the verse in Malachi. "Behold, I will send you E - li'jah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:" Malachi 4:5. This verse is for the future seven year tribulation period. John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elias. There is obviously a difference. "And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." Luke 1:17. Another verse that would be relevant to this passage is, "And if ye will receive it, this is E - li' jah, which was for to come." Matthew 11:14. John the Baptist was the Elias that God had promised not the Elijah that these Jewish people dreamed of for their lifetime. In like manner we need to check our thoughts and responses and make sure they are in line with the Word of God. If it is our imagination that will lead into foolish speculations.
It is interesting that these Jewish people did not know who John was because Matthew says, "But I say unto you, That Elijah is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them." Matthew 17:12. Wow not only did they not know who John the Baptist was but they were also going to put Jesus Christ under a persecution. Do not think that history changes because the same thing is going on today. People have these conjured up misconceptions in their mind that are not biblical and will try and do everything to make righteous people suffer in this world. If you do not believe me just read the book of Revelation.
These Jewish people desired John the Baptist to be this man to be a prophet to interpose in public affairs and rescue them from under the Roman yoke. I am all for freedom but not at the expense of believing a lie.
(21) And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elijah? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. (22) Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? (23) He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the LORD, as said the prophet I - sa'iah. (24) And they which were sent were of the Phar'i - sees.
It is obvious that a group of higher authority sent the Pharisees to press John as to who he was from the backdrop of the Old Testament. John the Baptist may not have been the man they desired but they knew he would answer in an honest way in line with the truth. He replied I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness. He quoted the Bible to explain who he was in regard to the Old Testament. He was humble and self - denying. That is a good lesion for us as Christians because that is the way we should respond to other people. He went back to Scripture in a meek way and said he was merely a voice. The words of John the Baptist was to alarm and instruct. Remember we are messengers for God so our words need to be in keeping with the Bible. To warn against sin and teach the Bible is a very rare message in our world today.
The voice of John was a man crying which means he was earnest for the truth. He preached an open publication of the doctrine from God and always pointed to Jesus Christ. A wilderness tends to be silent and a place of solitude so his message was not tainted by the hustle and loud tone of life. When he preached make straight the way of the Lord John obviously received the call from God to rectify the mistakes of people concerning the ways of God because the scribes and Pharisees had made them crooked. This preacher's role was to call people to return to the original rule. If there is a group of false teachers God will always raise up a truthful messenger. Our responsibility is to listen to the truth in line with the word of God. Today I see a multitude of Christians following false teachers.
I said a couple of articles ago that my writings would be shorter because many people have busy schedules so hopefully we might be able to post more frequently to meet the needs of everybody. One thing I found out is it is hard to please everyone but we will try and meet the spiritual needs of this internet audience. In this case God has called me to review every phrase in the book of John. Much to be learned in the 4th book of the New Testament.
If you do not know the Lord in a personal way remember what John the Baptist said which would be … "Make straight the way of the Lord" John 1:23. Isaiah wrote of this when he said, "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God." Isaiah 40:3. Jesus Christ Himself said, "Je'sus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me." John 14:6. The true Messiah desires to come into your heart so if you want to be redeemed through the shed blood of Jesus Christ then accept Him as your Savior and Lord by repenting of all your sins and invite Jesus into your life. Live for Him and be careful who you listen to because just as this passage says the scribes and Pharisees had the wrong message and many people followed them and their false message. John the Baptist pointed to Jesus Christ and preached repentance. We should be abiding in the Son of God every day and repenting of our sins on a consistent basis because we were all called to live clean before God. The false teachers had their own preconceptions and for all practical purposes threw the Word of God out and were deceived and mislead other people. God Bless you. Bob D.