This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.' "
Antonio de Montesinos You're probably not familiar with this name. I was not until I recently read it in a book, "100 Bible Verses That Made America." Antonio was a Spanish missionary in the Dominican Republic in the early 1500 with the conquistadors. As a man of faith, he could not sit back idly while he saw the horrors the conquistadors were inflicting on the indigenous people. A Bold Message On Dec 21,1511 he took the pulpit and delivered a sermon that changed the course of history in the Americas. Here's an excerpt in which he quotes Matthew 3:3. "This is he who was spoken through the prophet Isaiah; 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way for the Lord and make straight paths for him.' " In order to make your sins against the Indians known to you I have come up on this pulpit, I am the voice of Christ crying in the wilderness of this island, and therefore it behooves you to listen, not with careless attention, but with all your heart and senses, so that you may hear it: for this is going to be the strangest voice that you ever heard, the harshest and hardest and most awful and most dangerous that you ever expected hear. This voice says that your are in mortal sin, that you live and die in it, for the cruelty and tyranny you use in dealing with those innocent people. Tell me, By what right or justice do you keep these Indians in such a cruel and horrible servitude. On what authority have you waged a detestable war against these people, who dwelt quietly and peacefully in their own land? Are these not men? Have they not rational souls? Are you not bound to love them as you love yourselves?" Not a Desired Response It would have been nice if everyone around him would have repented and turned from their ways. However, that's not what happened. De Montesinos saw sin in the world around him. He called it out according to God's word. And he was shipped back to Spain by other Christian men! But he didn't let that stop him from continuing to fight for what is right. He pleaded with the king of Spain and the Laws of Burgos were formed, the first ordinance in the Americas aimed at protecting the indigenous people. Wrong Made Right Like Antonio de Montesinos, we live in a world where sin is rampant. What is obviously wrong in the eyes of the Lord is made to be right by society at large and some Christians around us. My Prayer I pray that we can be men of Faith like de Montesinos. I pray that we can lovingly call out sin in the world around us. I pray that even when it's inconvenient or the consequences may be severe, we can continue to be the "voice in the wilderness."
Thad Hardin MD5 Lab Facilitator