“A voice cries in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’” Isaiah 40:3
Being the voice in the middle is difficult. There is a constant pull from both sides. Which side is the right side? Or could it be that both sides are both correct and corrupt?
There were 400 years of silence between the Old and New Testaments.* The final prophetic message to Israel in the Old Testament was a warning, “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.” (Malachi 4:5) With that, the prophets rested their case.
Then came John the Baptist.
John the Baptist was called to uphold the prophecies of the coming Messiah declared by Old Testament prophets. He was called to prepare his world for the promised Messiah. He preached repentance as a foretelling of his cousin, Jesus. John stood in the middle of God’s story between the years of warning from the Old Testament and the fulfilled promise found in the New.
Then, came Jesus.
While Jesus bridged the spiritual gap between man and God, John the Baptist bridged the informational gap between Old Testament prophecy and the Gospel message. It’s hard to stand in the middle. It’s hard to deliver a message of warning mixed with hope. It’s hard to stay focused on the job assigned without getting sidetracked by those who want to discredit you.
We need more middlemen and women. We need people who are willing to stand in the gap remaining focused despite public outcry. Yes, we need more people willing to take their places dead center. But we know what happened to John the Baptist in his “bridge work.” He stuck his neck out for Truth and his head was chopped off. Literally.
Standing in the middle is necessary to bridge one side to the other. Standing in the middle is painful because you will be squeezed from both sides. If we are truly called to the ministry of Christ, we are required to bridge gaps. And, let me tell you, it ain’t easy.
*The Protestant Bible does not include some books accepted by the Catholic Church. I am speaking as a Protestant when I talk about God’s silent years. I’ve read and understand the “missing books.” In fact, my grandson is named after one the books: Tobit (also called, “Tobias.”) Tobias was one of the last righteous men in Nineveh. My grandson is equally remarkable.