John Knows What's Up
“Then Jesus and his disciples went out for a length of time into the Judean countryside where they baptized the people. 23 At this time John was still baptizing people at Aenon, near Salim, where there was plenty of water. And the people kept coming for John to baptize them. 24 (This was before John was thrown into prison.) 25 An argument then developed between John’s disciples and a particular Jewish man about baptism. 26 So they went to John and asked him, “Teacher, are you aware that the One you told us about at the crossing place—he’s now baptizing everyone with larger crowds than yours. People are flocking to him! What do you think about that?”27 John answered them, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless God bestows it. 28 You heard me tell you before that I am not the Messiah, but certainly I am the messenger sent ahead of him. 29 He is the Bridegroom, and the bride belongs to him. I am the friend of the Bridegroom who stands nearby and listens with great joy to the Bridegroom’s voice. And because of his words my joy is complete and overflows! 30 So it’s necessary for him to increase and for me to be diminished.” (John 3:22-30)
Just A Thought
Have you ever desired popularity or recognition? I think we all have to some degree. It seems natural to want acknowledgement for each accomplishment. There’s especially a hunger within some leaders to be the best and the greatest at what they or their company does. We rarely say it but most of us crave the affirmation of our peers and, at times, even use it to fuel our productivity. Although the desire for recognition and excellence isn’t a sin, it serves us best to realize we were created to bring God glory.
How To Grow
In the passage above, John’s disciples warned him of Jesus’ ever increasing popularity. They were John’s support team, trying to keep his popularity count high. In response to their concerns, John threw a curveball: “He is the Bridegroom, and the bride belongs to him. I am the friend of the Bridegroom who stands nearby and listens with great joy to the Bridegroom’s voice. And because of his words my joy is complete and overflows! 30 So it’s necessary for him to increase and for me to be diminished.” John’s disciples must have been pretty shocked at his response, but John caught a hold of something that will greatly benefit us all in our cultural social media frenzy. John’s response to his disciples proved that he had discovered two things:
Why he was alive
Who he was alive for
Why are you here?
John knew that the voice everyone was listening for and in desperate need of was the voice of Jesus, the bridegroom. John had previously described himself as a voice (John 1:23), but here in chapter three he realizes that the real voice of freedom and salvation is the one of the bridegroom. How often do we sit back, look at our social media accounts and the many platforms of influence we hold in the world around us and ask “am I adding to the noise?” Personally, I want to be the one that is willing to shut up in order to allow the voice of Jesus to speak into someone’s life rather than my foolish opinions and frivolous posts. As Christians, it is so important that we don’t mindlessly add our two cents into a bucket full of change, but instead give our words to the countercultural voicing of Jesus.
Who are you living for?
John also realized he was alive to make Jesus famous. The bible says in Psalm 75 that promotion doesn’t come from anywhere else but God. He alone brings down and exalts (Psalm 75:6-7). I am quickly learning the allure of self-promotion in a “me” centered culture. It’s so easy to forget about promoting Jesus every chance I get and desire to promote myself and my brand instead. However, when it came to Jesus, John said it was necessary that he be diminished so Jesus could be exalted. What would our lives look like if every decision we made began with “will Jesus be increased in this?”
It’s beautiful to be able to see the ordinary, screwed up people of the Bible, make decisions that changed history and brought God glory. Each of us can do the same if we’re willing to daily ask ourselves “am I adding to the noise?” and “will Jesus be increased in this?”, knowing that this life has never been and will never be all about us. It’s always been about Jesus.