voice crying in the wilderness; voice calling in the desert; voice in the wilderness

a lone person trying to warn others, often ignored by them
Josh feels like a voice crying in the wilderness when he tells his friends about the dangers of smoking.

Under Persian rule, many of the Jews returned to the Promised Land, rebuilding Jerusalem and the temple. But lasting peace had not yet arrived, nor had the eternal king come from God to bring freedom. Instead, the land of Israel was taken over first by the Greeks and then by the Romans.

It was during the time of the Roman Empire that a new prophet came with a new message: John the Baptist no longer said that the king would come some day. He said that the king was already there. When some Jewish authorities came from Jerusalem to ask him who he was, John replied,

I am the voice of one shouting in the wilderness [voice of one crying in the wilderness], “Make straight the way for the Lord,” as Isaiah the prophet said. (John 1:23)

John was quoting a prophecy made by Isaiah many years earlier:

A voice cries out,

“In the wilderness [The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness] clear a way for the Lord;

construct in the desert a road for our God.

Every valley must be elevated,

and every mountain and hill leveled.

The rough terrain will become a level plain,

the rugged landscape a wide valley.

The splendor of the Lord will be revealed,

and all people will see it at the same time.

For the Lord has decreed it.” (Isaiah 40:3-5)

Later in Isaiah 40, the prophet writes about the weakness of man and the greatness of God. He asks who has measured the oceans and sky, who has held the earth’s dust in a basket, and who has weighed the mountains and hills. The implied answer is “only God.” Isaiah then adds,

Look, the nations are like a drop in a bucket [drop of a bucket];

they are regarded as dust on the scales.

He lifts the coastlands as if they were dust. (Isaiah 40:15)

Drop of a bucket first appeared here in the Wycliffe Bible. Over time, drop of a bucket became, drop in the bucket and took the meaning of “something small that is insignificant when compared to the full amount of which it is a part.”

John the Baptist was announcing that the God who had created the earth had sent Jesus to save the people, calling Jesus “the son of God” and “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

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