Show-stealing, glorying-thieving human nature always wants to be the best, the brightest, the most spectacular and the hero. The flesh wants to rise up and be seen, heard and known. The flesh competes with Jesus for the spotlight. How often we lose sight of the fact that we are but specks of dust reflecting His glory. We have no glory of our own. All our springs; the sources of life, blessings and everything good is in the Lord.
John knew. His mission was to boldly foretell and proclaim the coming of the Messiah. He lived his whole life to this end. He humbly, obediently, served the Lord his God as a way-maker and path-forger, heralding the news of the coming Messiah. John was chosen by God to introduce Jesus as the Messiah to the world and to baptize him and yet he didn’t see himself worth to carry his sandals.
John 3:26-30 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to who you bore witness – look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” John answered, “A person cannot receive one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, “I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him. The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore, this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Imagine this scene playing out on stage. John introduces Jesus to the audience and positions Him center stage. John baptizes Jesus and then he steps out of the spotlight. The light on John fades to dark as the spotlight shines brighter on Jesus. John does not aspire to share the stage of fame with Jesus. As he said to his followers, “He must increase, but I must decrease.
Followers of John were concerned that Jesus was stealing his ministry. John knew if people were to follow Jesus they could not follow him. As John explained to his followers, he who has the bride is the bridegroom. The best man is not in competition with the bridegroom. John was not in competition with Jesus. Instead of rivalry there is joy in the heart of the best man as he witnesses the marriage of the bride and bridegroom. John’s joy was complete. The best man steps aside still pointing to the bridegroom calling attention to him. John must step aside as the Messiah moves forward.
Remind us Lord that our hope and significance lie in Jesus, the one who lived for our righteousness and died for our sin. Jesus, name above all names in heaven and in all the earth is the bright and morning star. We can never outshine You! When we compete with You for glory and attention, humble our heart with the reminder of who we are compared to who You are. Give us the grace and humility to submit to You in the process of becoming less as you become more as we are a people not worthy to carry your sandals.
More of Him, less of me!