Monday, December 8, 2014

The Voice

It is a phenomena I have noticed many times in restaurants, waiting rooms, and other places where people gather.  Most likely it is something universally observed.  In a crowded place people are carrying on many different conversations.  At each table lunch partners are conversing.  No one really notices anyone except the person on the other side of the quiet conversation happening across the table.  And then, midst the soft murmur of conversation rises this one voice which leaves the air of one table and permeates the air above every table in the room.   Quiet conversations heard only by a lunch partner are hushed by the loud, overpowering, room-filling voice of a single person.  And no matter how we might want the turn the volume down, it is impossible.  It is a voice that demands to be heard even by those who have no intention or interest in listening to it. 
There is only one person in Scripture who might appropriately be given the name, "the Voice."  We know Matthew as the tax collector, Peter as the Rock, Philip as the evangelist, and John the Baptist as the voice.  This name came to him long centuries before his birth to Zechariah and Elizabeth.   Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the prophet Isaiah spoke, "A voice cries out, 'In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low." (Isaiah 40:3)  Here is an obvious announcement of God doing something radical.

When we read the New Testament, there is little doubt that John the Baptist is the one spoken of the prophet as the voice.  John's voice may or may not have been the kind that overpowers the room, but it is obvious that when he spoke people found themselves forced to listen.  Some were given hope by his voice, some were threatened, but all seemed compelled to listen to the voice from God that proclaimed a message that God was about to do something more radical than anything the world had ever seen.  It would be something which would take people off the fence.  Some response would be required and the response would be the difference between light and darkness, life and death.

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