A voice crying in the wilderness
Isaiah 40:3 speaks of the prophetic voice that has continued for more than two thousand years. John the Baptist started his prophetic message calling people to repentance and seeking to lift any injustice from the oppressed. Herod and his associates made it hard for people, and under his rule there was much injustice and corruption.
Tax collectors behaved unjustly towards the farmers and workers by imposing high taxes. Also, scribes and Pharisees burdened the people with very literal interpretations of the commandments. The spiritual leaders became a hindrance to the people through their hypocrisy and through tithing everything even the “mint, dill, and cumin.” In doing so, Jesus said, they had forgotten the most profound features of the law, such as truth, mercy, and faith.
Even soldiers and the police officers acted unjustly towards people and with cruelty towards the poor, showing bias towards the rich. Furthermore, bribery penetrated all levels of society, while corruption and immorality increased. People cried out for freedom from bondage and the unjust regime.
Against this backdrop John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, seeking to bring about a change in people’s hearts and behavior (Matthew 7:3-11). Large crowds went out to the wilderness to listen to John. They were impacted by his looks and his ascetic lifestyle and began asking him how they should live (Luke 3:10-14).
We are in dire need of such a prophetic voice in our society. We need people who, like John, will pave the way, not only through words but also through actions. We need a good example to follow. We need a righteous soul and a strong, wise spirit that fears no one and that fears no accusations. We need people who will stir our conscience, calling out for repentance and eradicating injustice. We need people to prepare the way for the coming of our Lord Jesus. Yes, there is a real need for people who do not show off but rather seek to reveal God through their humility and actions. We have already received our reward for every act we perform that is accompanied by human kindness. But every act that is performed with a lack of genuine love is like a straw that is easily burnt. God is love, and whoever remains in God’s love, God will remain in him.