Ellen G. White Writings

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Humble Hero, Page 54

“What then? Are you Elijah?”

“I am not.”

“Are you the Prophet?”

“No.”

“Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?”

“I am ‘the voice of one crying in the wilderness: “‘Make straight the way of the Lord,”” as the prophet Isaiah said.”

Anciently, when a king traveled through his realm, men were sent ahead to level the steep places and fill up the hollows so that the king could travel safely. The prophet Isaiah used this custom to illustrate the work of the gospel. “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low.” Isaiah 40:4. When the Spirit of God touches the heart, it brings human pride low. The person sees that worldly pleasure, position, and power are worthless. Then only humility and self-sacrificing love are exalted as having any value. This is the work of the gospel, of which John’s message was a part.

The rabbis continued their questioning: “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” The words “the Prophet” referred to Moses. When the Baptist began his ministry, many thought he might be Moses risen from the dead.

Many people also believed that before the Messiah came, Elijah would personally appear. John denied this expectation, but later Jesus said, referring to John, “And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come.” Matthew 11:14. John came in the spirit and power of Elijah, to do a work like Elijah did. But the Jews did not receive his message. To them he was not Elijah.

Many Today Fail to “See” Christ

Many of those gathered at the Jordan had been present at Jesus’ baptism, but only a few among them were aware of the sign then given. During the preceding months of John’s ministry, many had refused to obey the call to repentance. So when Heaven bore testimony to Jesus at His baptism, they did not perceive it. Eyes that had never turned in faith to Him did not behold the revelation of the glory of God. Ears that had never listened to His voice did not hear the words of witness. It is still this way now. Often Christ and ministering angels make their presence felt in the assemblies of the people, yet many do not know it. They detect nothing unusual. But to some the Savior’s presence is revealed. They are comforted, encouraged, and blessed.

The deputies from Jerusalem had demanded of John, “Why then do you baptize?” and they were waiting for his answer. Suddenly, as his glance swept over the crowd, his face lighted up, and his whole being was stirred with deep emotion. With outstretched hands he cried, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.”

The message was distinct and unmistakable, to be carried back to the Sanhedrin. The Messiah was among them! In amazement, priests and rulers gazed around them, but among

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