John the Baptist’s witness
I love verse 23 — the voice crying out in the wilderness… Who has not been this? Can you hear the anguish and loneliness and pain? Can we just shout back “I am here, with you”?
John the Baptist is exhorting them to ‘make straight the way of the Lord.’ In one discussion, I learned how John was expecting fire and brimstone and judgment from Jesus, he was so surprised by what he got he had to send messengers from prison to inquire whether Jesus was the one to come or whether there would be another (Luke 7:18-20; Matthew 11:2-3). We cry out, we try to prepare ourselves and others but we have no idea what to expect. When we think we know what to expect, we’re often wrong. Even those of us sent by God with a specific task (v.33 the one who sent me).
I suppose it makes sense that this passage follows the questions of the Pharisee’s as to the identity of John the Baptist. Everyone is looking for God but no one has any idea what he will look like.
I find it interesting that John’s clue as to the Messiah will be the one on whom the Spirit descends and remains. What does this mean? We may have moments of feeling the Spirit, but they are fleeting? That certainly resonates with me as I struggle along, trying to hold onto the gift of the Spirit for longer and longer each time and feeling like a failure each time it departs.