Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”
He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”
And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?”
He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
And he answered, “No.”
Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?”
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 1:19-23 NKJV]
I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness is John the Baptist’s answer to his inquisitors’ “Who are you?” The quotation, we are told, is from the prophet Isaiah and from chapter 40, where Isaiah begins to unfold his prophecy of the coming Messiah.
“Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” Says your God.
“Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the LORD'S hand double for all her sins.”
The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth;
The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
[Isaiah 40:1-5 NKJV]
John the Baptist in this way declares the fulfilment of that prophecy, and this moment is stated in all four gospels, no matter to whom they were speaking. (Matthew was writing to the Jews; Mark to the Romans; Luke spoke to the Greeks, while John wrote to everyone regardless of their ethnicity.) This moment is the first heralding that this was the hour of The Christ’s manifestation.
He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed is effectively stating three times (not just for emphasis, but to state the complete truth of the assertion), that he, John, was not The Christ that he was proclaiming, but that he was the herald also foretold by Isaiah — the lone voice shouting God’s message to the lost and the sinful that their salvation was approaching.
If you have not yet discovered Michael Card, he is well worth listening to. Milady and I went to a concert of his when we lived in Ireland and he was amazing. Deeply felt lyrics and a spiritual understanding pointing to a great faith in The Lord making for a very uplifting experience.
Reserve gives us an air of aloofness, and though it may start with being outward only, it will slowly and surely eat its way into the heart and result in a base form of self-centredness.