According to the Scripture | Mark 1:2–3
“As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,
‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way,
3 the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,” ’ ”
A popular pastor recently plunged himself into controversy for saying that Christianity is not built on the back of the Bible. He also said that the Bible is not relevant in today’s unbelieving world—Christians can read the Bible, but the secular unbelievers of our culture need something more than, “The Bible says.” He also said that we may need to apologize to the Jews for make their Scriptures part of our own.
Mark, writing to a Roman audience completely divorced from Jewish Scriptures, opens with the words, “As it is written.” This phrase is used by New Testament writers when they cite Scripture, and demonstrates an attitude 180 degrees from what that pastor said. The tense of the verb indicates something completely written in the past with present-day effects that continue into the future. The definitiveness of this means we can translate it, “As it stands written.”
Mark says that it’s written in “Isaiah the prophet,” simply meaning that Isaiah represents key Messianic prophecy in Scripture. In this case, the prophecy comes from both Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3. It wasn’t uncommon for Jewish writers to combine citations to highlight certain themes (Paul does it in 2 Cor 6:14–7:1). Even so, all four Gospels cite Isaiah 40:3, agreeing with Mark here that John the Baptist’s ministry fulfills this prophecy. They all saw the same truth from the Old Testament.
Did you know that all of the writers of Scripture have a high view of God’s Word? They all believe that prophecies would come true. They take the commands and the promises of Scripture seriously. They looked with expectation, and they called others to do the same.
Let me challenge you to not only read the Bible today, but to believe it. Observe what it says, pray over it, and apply it to your life. If there is a promise, trust it. If there is a command, obey it. Dig deep into God’s Word and allow it to direct your life, that your heart would be prepared and straight before the Lord.
And, finally, share it with unbelievers. Let the lion out of the cage!