John 3:22-36 I Must Decrease

He must increase as I must decrease

We are peeking in again on John the Baptist. Today his disciples appear to be a little jealous of the crowds going to Jesus instead of to their favorite mentor, John the Baptizer. But John isn’t jealous at all.

Jesus has stepped into His ministry full time. He is apparently gathering followers and baptizing them as they join Him. I don’t know if Jesus was personally baptizing them or if His followers were doing so. I also don’t know if Jesus has called out the twelve from among the ranks yet. We do know though that John the Baptist hasn’t been arrested yet. That event takes place early on in Jesus’ ministry.

So it has been a long day for John and his disciples. We are told that at one point John’s disciples were arguing with a Jew over purification. My bible doesn’t specifically say they were arguing, but when someone says a “discussion arose between” two different groups, usually it is referring to an argument or a disagreement of some kind.

I wonder how John’s disciples fared in that “discussion.” Were they coming to John because they were bested by the man they were interacting with? Were they looking for confirmation that John was who they should have been following? We aren’t really told the answer to their motives.

John’s motives were pure though. When confronted by his disciples his answer was immediate and pointed. His disciples knew who John had pointed out as the one greater than himself. Now was his time to reinforce his belief in Him.

“The Christ is doing what He was sent from Heaven to do. I don’t envy Him even a little bit. He has the authority to speak of Heavenly things because He has seen them first hand. I have seen nothing but this earth. It is His turn now to shine in the spotlight. I have to decrease in presence and importance so that He can increase in both these areas. I am more than happy to watch Him move into the ministry God has placed in His life.”

John fully believed in Jesus mission and His authority. God Himself had prepared him in advance with what to look for to clearly identify the Messiah. There was no room for confusing who it was that was God’s choosing.

We know from our other stories that John the Baptist would doubt again near the end of his time, but today he is CONFIDENT that Jesus is the Christ. His joy was complete. This is what he had been waiting for.

I wonder if John would have continued his work if he wasn’t arrested. John needed to fade completely out of the scene before Jesus completed His work. God accomplished this a little later on and used evil men to keep His plan on track.

Father God, thank You for John’s witness. Thank You for making a way to transition the people into following Jesus rather than John. I really feel for John at the end of his life. I’m glad Jesus sent him proof one more time. You never leave the truly seeker without an answer; even those seeking in the wrong places. Thank You that John’s joy was fulfilled and mine to. Keep me always looking to the truth, YOU.

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4 Responses to “John 3:22-36 I Must Decrease”

  1. Aunt Vicky says:

    “…I must decrease.”

    My favorite Crucifix is the Benedictine Cross. Saint Benedict was a humble man who gained much notoriety for the sharing of his faith through works of mercy. At the cross-bar of the Benedictine Cross there is a Medal of St. Benedict – turned backward, so that his image is only seen by turning the Crucifix around. Every time I see it, it reminds me of John the Baptist’s words, “He must increase, and I must decrease.” Like John the Baptist, and like St. Benedict – my ultimate desire is to so be hidden behind the Cross of Jesus that those who would look at me, see Him, instead.

    • Annette Vincent says:

      Thank you for sharing that story. I would love to have that said of me too. My words remind me of a Mike Warnke joke though. He said he once got a button for being humble but then they took it back because he wore it.

      I definitely want Jesus to be seen in everything I do. Unfortunately not all my actions reflect Him.

      Please forgive me Lord for tarnishing Your name through my actions. Help me be more like You every day. Little by Little… But I really wouldn’t mind a quantum leap here and there too Father.

  2. Aunt Vicky says:

    I hear you! I struggle, also – but the goal remains. My life Scripture is Philippians 3:10-14…”That I may know Him…I press on toward the high mark of His calling.” (summarized) So, as my official “letter sign off” I use: Pressing onward, Victoria

    It is a lifetime commitment we’ve made…and it will take a lifetime to fulfill it.

    • Annette Vincent says:

      I was trolling through my trash and found your comment there. SO sorry!
      I like that signature line. I always think of the struggle where you take three steps forward and two steps back. Almost sounds like a dance. As long as the forward ones outweigh the backwards ones I’ll be happy. I pray that someday I will take a LOT less backwards ones.

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