For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, "A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’’’ Matthew 3:3 (Full context: Matthew 3, Luke 1:57-80)
Making predictions can be difficult. Even with advanced technologies and years of history to guide us, we humans are still struggling to forecast things as simple as what the weather will be like in a few days. The prophet Isaiah is, however, a completely different story. With God’s guidance, he was able to accurately predict the coming of our Messiah, Jesus Christ, approximately 700 years before it actually happened. This is just a glimpse into God’s amazing timelessness and wisdom.
In Matthew we can see the fulfillment of one of Isaiah’s prophecies from Isaiah 40:3. John the Baptist, the man from yesterday’s reading who began preaching for repentance and the coming of one far greater than himself, would be “the voice” calling in the wilderness. We can see this a few verses earlier in Matthew 3:1. The prophecy given by Isaiah is simply God reassuring us that He has always had a plan. God had already dreamed of John the Baptist centuries before he took his first breath and passed on that vision. He knew exactly where he would come from and what his importance would be. John would prepare the way for his Son Jesus. God knew that He would send Jesus to this world to die for us because He loves each one of us and doesn’t want to be apart from us. He knew the exact moment and the exact location His son needed to come. Think about how perfect a moment in history it was. The Roman Empire provided a way for Jesus’ message to be spread quickly, across many cultures and groups of people, and be recorded in a reliable manner that allows us to be sure today, without a doubt, that Jesus is who the Bible says he was. Can you imagine having to wait centuries to give the best Christmas present ever without telling someone about it? God must have been so excited for us to meet Jesus that he couldn’t help but tell Isaiah and John a bit about it.
This is just a little reminder of God’s control and power. Even though this Christmas season may feel a little bit different than normal, it is important for us to remember that God’s perfectly crafted plan is still unfolding. We need to be patient, trust in Him, and listen for his instruction. If you are willing to trust the unreliable weatherman who tells you that you won’t need to bring an umbrella, then why not put your faith in a God who has never been wrong?