He must increase, but I must decrease. ~John 3:30
In the daily grind of life, we face many priority challenges. Foremost in this is, “Who is most important and what is most important?” To a student, the most important challenge is to study well and graduate with honors. To a parent, it is to raise the children in the right way and place them on a path for success. For an employee, it is excelling in his job role and being an asset to the company he works for. To the owner of a company, it is to make a sizable profit and keep his employees well-paid and content. However, in the big picture of life, the question we must ask is, “Who is most important in my life?” This morning, we see how John the Baptist answered this question and encourages us in the same manner.
We see John and his reputation.
John was the bridge between the Old and New Testament. John quickly established himself as a prophet of God who stood in opposition to the hypocrisy and traditions of the Pharisees. He is called the Baptist because he established the ordinance of baptism. All who identified with his message were baptized to symbolically demonstrate their repentance to God and obedience to John’s message. Jesus called John greater than Elijah in his ministry. John developed a large following of disciples. There was the appearance that John was an uncompromising personality and a force to be reckoned with.
We see John and his reduction.
The religious leaders came to John to question him about another prophet that was contemporaneous with John: Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus' ministry had become more renowned than John’s. In fact, Jesus had baptized more disciples than John. The religious authorities saw John losing market share to Jesus and losing popularity. In coming to John about this, they were asking him if this was disturbing to him. John answered, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John told them he was happy and thankful that Jesus was increasing in popularity and disciples. John’s goal was that he would continue to decrease in scope and popularity and that Jesus would increase. He was pointing everyone he baptized to Jesus. He was placing all the focus of his ministry on Jesus. “He must increase, but I must decrease!” This must be the main emphasis for our lives as well. It’s not about us, but all about him!
We see John and his rejoicing.
“He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.” John’s ministry continued, but his fame was diminishing. However, what caused him great joy was the fact that Jesus was getting all the attention. He was thankful that he could be under Jesus' preaching and ministry. He was thankful that his own ministry paved the way for Jesus' start and success. Herein is one of the key secrets of the Christian life. Our greatest contentment and fulfillment is that the most important person in our life is Jesus! Jesus is more important than the numbers! Jesus is more important than who our disciples are! Jesus is more important than our perceived accomplishments. What counts most and matters most is that he is increasing and I am decreasing!
Who is most important in your life? As John said, “He that cometh from heaven is above all.” Take some time this morning to reassess how important Jesus is in your life. Who is the one getting the increase?
Have a Christ-centric God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Mark 12-13