Isaiah's prophecy of “The voice of one crying in the wilderness...,” is directly connected to the promise of comfort in Isaiah 40. Today's message will show that link by noting a few passages which show that the fulfilment of the one was John the baptist, and the fulfilment of the other was Jesus Christ.
First, we will consider the testimony of Dr. Luke. He writes, “...[T]he word of God came to John [the baptist] the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying: 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough ways smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”’” (Luke 3.2-6). It is stated in just so many words that Isaiah 40.3-5 was fulfilled in John.
Secondly, we will consider the testimony of the man himself, John the baptist. “He said: 'I am “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the LORD,”' as the prophet Isaiah said.” (John 1.23). These two passages, when coupled with the fact that each of the other writers of the gospel record (Matthew and Mark) make similar statements about John and the prophecies of Isaiah, leave no room for controversy; John the baptist fulfilled Isaiah's predictions that a messenger would go before the Lord's Messiah to prepare the way for Him.
But what of Jesus? Did He in fact bring comfort? How could a man who was so beset by controversy and physical abuse bring comfort to others? It certainly is not a stretch to understand that the voices of the angels on the night in which Jesus was born heralded His mission of comfort when they said, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2.14). Likewise consider the following: “And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation [Comfort] of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: 'Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.'” (Luke 2.25-32).
Jesus did not come to bring physical comfort to the masses. While it is true that he healed many people and fed thousands that were hungry, this type of physical comfort was not His primary mission. Rather, He came to grant access to the greatest of all comforts, freedom from sin and its guilt! Note the following passage: “And He [Jesus] was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: 'The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.' Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, 'Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.'” (Luke 3.17-21). Jesus – the God of all comfort – came to grant spiritual comfort to those who allowed Him access to their hearts!
1. What role did John have in preparing the way for Messiah?
2. For what was Simeon waiting? What promise had been made to him regarding the Lord's Christ?
3. What captives did Jesus set free?
4. What comfort do believer's have? What comforts will unbelievers have in eternity?
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