Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
Few Bible characters are so strangely fascinating to the devout reader as that of John the Baptist. In the wilderness God came to him; in the wilderness he was equipped for public service; from the wilderness he began his missionary work. This fact suggests three ideas of practical importance.
I. THE NATURE OF WILDERNESS LIFE.
II. THE LESSONS OF WILDERNESS LIFE. What John was taught in the wilderness gave him his regal manhood, viz., the high moral lessons of —
3. Courage for what is true and holy.
"Separate from the world, his breast
Did deeply take and strongly keep
The print of heaven."
III. THE REASON OF GOD'S VISITATION IN THE WILDERNESS. The "word" was a call to active endeavour in the busy world. The wilderness had done its work, that is, had made John a fit person in the sight of God to be called to the important work of heralding the ministry of Christ. That same "word of God " is constantly coming to us all in all the great and little wildernesses of life. In all ages notable instances of such visitations have been recorded. Moses, Luther, Wordsworth, amongst the hills and vales of his native Westmoreland; Carlyle, who, in the wilderness of Craigenputtock, heard and obeyed a call to preach in his books repentance as the first and last need of his age. If we would be true to our higher nature we must cultivate the love of solitude.
"Morn is the time to act, noon to endure,
But O! if thou wouldst keep thy spirit pure,
Turn from the beaten path by worldlings trod,
Go forth at eventide in heart to walk with God."
And if to solitude there be added suffering in our wilderness, let us despise it not. Though often dreary, it has its charms, its blessings. God may be found there.
(J. McGavin Sloan.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.