Isaiah was an amazing prophet. He prophesied of Jesus about 700 years before He was birthed as the Son of Man. He saw His commissioning before the fall of man (Isaiah 6:8). He had insight concerning the Lord’s birth (Isaiah 9:6), His hidden years of ministry (Isaiah 49:2-4), His suffering upon the cross on our behalf (Isaiah 53:5), as well as becoming the bridegroom for the church (Isaiah 62:4-5).
Isaiah also had insights into the life of John the Baptist. Who was John the Baptist and why should we take note of his life? The following verse helps to shed more light on his ministry.
Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people. (Isaiah 62:10, KJV)
John had a unique mandate in preparing the way for the 1st Coming of the Lord. His method and message were unconventional. His was a solitary yet powerful voice as he proclaimed the soon arrival of Christ. What was his message and how can it be applied today?
1. Prepare the Highway
Have you ever been around a highway where some important dignitary is about to arrive? The security forces clear the path and seek to deal with any potential form of violence. John the Baptist cleared the path for the arrival of Jesus as He was about to enter into the fullness of His earthly ministry. John brought an awareness to Christ by elevating His standard for the people. Is there a highway being paved for the 2nd Coming of Christ in your life? Is that voice and standard being proclaimed from our pulpits?
2. Every Valley Shall be Exalted
This message should serve as an encouragement to those who are undergoing “valley” type experiences. God has many promises for people who can embrace the reality of the low place.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. (1 Peter 5:6)
The above verse is known but how many willingly subject themselves to the disciplines of humility? God is faithful and His timing is always perfect.
3. Every Mountain made Low
This portion of the verse can be looked at in a few ways. As believers, we enjoy mountain-top experiences. Pride can enter into our hearts if we are not careful. To effectively see mountains removed in our city and nations, it first must be addressed in our own lives. Are there mountains or strongholds lurking within you? Let the message of John speak to those inner mountains that bind and hinder us from moving forward. We can then become the John the Baptists to our generation as we see mountains removed by His grace, for His glory.
So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts. ‘Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone With shouts of “Grace, grace to it! (Zechariah 4:6-7)
4. The Crooked made Straight, Rough Places Plain
The message of John put people into one of two categories. Either one would listen and respond to the message, or they would oppose it. John was able to discern the true intent of men. Consider the following verses when several came to John to be baptized.
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, (Matthew 3:7-8)
John did not hold back with the pretenders. His message cut right to the heart. Do you not see similarities to our day? Who will be the people or the churches that will faithfully lift up a standard in preparing the highway for our King? This message will not be popular, but it’s a message that is surely needed. It is time to repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 3:1).
Next week we will look at John the Baptist as seen in the New Testament. We will also consider his being linked to Elijah.
Monday: Luke 1:80
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.
Tuesday: Amos 7:7-8
Thus He showed me: Behold, the Lord stood on a wall made with a plumb line, with a plumb line in His hand. And the LORD said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said: “Behold, I am setting a plumb line In the midst of My people Israel; I will not pass by them anymore.
Wednesday: John 3:30
He must increase, but I must decrease.
Thursday: John 1:6-7
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.
Friday: Psalm 43:3
Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill And to Your tabernacle.
Saturday: Proverbs 11:3
The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.
Sunday: Luke 1:17
He will also 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.”
All scriptures are quoted from the New King James Version (NKJV).
By Pastor Tim O’Connell