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It Is Enough To Announce Jesus

John 3:27-30
To this John replied, ‘A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, “I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.” The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.’ (NIVUK)

John the Baptist’s disciples were concerned that John’s (and therefore their) popularity was decreasing while Jesus was attracting much greater crowds.  So, John had to explain again what he had already said: that he was not the Christ, but had been sent to announce Him to the world (John 1:19-27). That was the task he had received from God (Luke 1:16-17; Luke 1:76-79) and he knew it would be wrong to go beyond his commission. To do so would be to give out what he had not received: that ministry would be hollow and empty.

Using the analogy of a wedding, John said that those who assist the bridegroom have their special place; but they are not to be the centre of attention.  John likens himself to the ‘best man’ of the bridegroom, and all those who would follow Jesus as His Bride (Revelation 21:2).  It would be quite wrong for a ‘best man’ to lead a bride to himself and away from her husband.  However, the pride of being part of John’s reformation team, and their closeness to John the Baptist, had allowed them to become religiously proud, boastful of their ‘success’, and angrily envious of Jesus (John 3:25).  

But John said that he was delighted that Jesus was being recognised and followed.  By that, he knew his job had been done, his work was complete, and he was joyful about it.  John recognised that Jesus was superior to him in every way and therefore was glad when Jesus was seen to be a greater person and he was seen to be a lesser person.

Because we are all born as sinners (Psalm 51:5), our natural default attitude is self-centredness, pride, and competitive arrogance.  None of these qualities were in Jesus, nor do any of them achieve His purposes.  The reason for churches or ministries to want to make a name for themselves is usually simple.  Like those who built the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:4) it is self-centred, self-glorifying pride.  All those who love Jesus must resist this temptation, being willing to let God shape us and the churches.  Religious envy has no place in heaven and the best way to dispose of it is to let Jesus Christ be Lord.  Yet it is hard to fight against those sinful default characteristics which may have been with us a long time.  But we must deal with them because they will never glorify Jesus nor bless us.

Holy Lord. Thank You that Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and that nobody, including me, has the right to be more important than Him. I am sorry when I have set myself up as somebody special or have accepted others claiming that I am. Please help me to remember that because Jesus is my Redeemer He must become greater and I must become less important. Please give me great joy as I announce Him to my friends and the wider world. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams