Now, it’s not in doubt that John the Baptist was a bit of a legend.
This was a guy who emerged from the desert, munching locusts and wild honey whilst relentlessly preaching about the kingdom of God. He had no fear and really didn’t care what people thought of him. He told it as it was and didn’t just say what people wanted to hear.
Politicians of 2015 take note!
But, what was all the more remarkable was what he said about Jesus and after listening to our minister Mike speaking on this yesterday, it’s really struck home with me.
J the B was a guy whose popularity was impressive. He had a whole host of disciples who hung on his every word, were devoted to what he said and told everyone they knew about him.
John was their hero.
So they were a bit miffed when Jesus came along and started taking attention away from John. Not only that but Jesus was actually doing Johns key thing, baptising people in the river Jordan. It couldn’t have been more clear (or so it seemed) that Jesus was muscling in on Johns territory and frankly it wasn’t on.
After all, John was being talked about. He had status and clout. What he said mattered. The government sent committees to listen to him and talk with him. People came from miles around just to hear him speak. With Jesus around, all that was under threat and John’s disciples weren’t impressed.
But what about John himself?
Well, here’s the remarkable thing. Rather than get frustrated about losing his status, rather than kick up a fuss and storm over to Jesus to have a word, rather than try even harder to get noticed and win back his followers, John accepted it.
In fact, way more than that, he said that was the only reason he’d come. It didn’t matter that people weren’t listening to him as much anymore, his sole purpose was to point people to Jesus. What did his status matter when the King of creation was in the neighbourhood.
“Go listen to Jesus!” he said. “My job is just to point you in his direction.”
Even as Christians, it’s so easy to get caught up chasing our own status, our own glory, our own reputation. Even with t his blog, I could fall into the trap of making everything all about me.
But it’s not. There’s one who is far more important than me, than the election, than anyone else who has ever lived and his name is Jesus. He’s the one it should all be about, because he’s the one who made it.
Johns phrase is telling – “He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease.”
If we as Christians truly lived like this, it would transform our lives and communities. It’s massively challenging to me and hopefully to anyone one else who read the account in the book of John chapter 3.
But I want to live that kind of life…and that’s my prayer for us this week.