Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
The events of the first verse, as compared with the events recorded in the second, are of the most trifling importance. In the first instance there is a list of govern. mental personalities and districts, and in the second verse there is the solemn fact that the word of God came unto the forerunner of our Lord. This juxtaposition of events is remarkably suggestive as bearing upon what is current in our own day. The world has a large list of its own appointments, regulations, and authorities, which reads most imposingly: on the other hand there are single sentences bearing upon spiritual life and work which totally eclipse the pomp of royal nomenclature and dominion. Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate, Herod, Philip, and Lysanias, are names which will perish from the roll of the highest factors of human history and service; but the name of John will be remembered and reverenced as the highest name known amongst men before the building up of the distinctive kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. The word of God came unto John. This is a most remarkable expression, showing that John did not run before he was sent, and showing also that God knows where to find men when He wants them for any work in the world. John in the wilderness is nobody, but the word of God entering into this same John kindles him into a light that is seen afar. The true minister of God is charged with the word of Heaven. That which he speaks he speaks not of himself, he simply pronounces and proclaims with earnestness and persistency the truth which has been breathed into his own heart by the Spirit of God. The sword in the scabbard is a useless weapon, but when grasped by the hand of the trained soldier carries with it alike death and victory. It is, indeed, possible to have received the word of God as a commandment to go forth, and yet to have stifled the great conviction. There are men who are silent to-day in the Church, who, if faithful to their convictions, would be heard in loud protest against evil, and vehement proclamations as the apostles of Christian truth. -Grieve not the Spirit! Quench not the Spirit! We do not begin by quenching the Spirit; the deadly work begins by grieving the sacred presence. It is to be noted that John was in the wilderness when the word of God came unto him. Time spent in solitude is not misspent if the ear be bent towards God, and our love be listening for the coming of His word.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.