From Promise to Fulfilment
John the Baptist had attracted disciples (pupils) who had been impressed with his message and were looking forward to meeting God’s Messiah. The day after Jesus’ baptism, when John the Baptist announced Him as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), Jesus was back at the River Jordan. John pointed Him out to two of his disciples giving Him the same title, ‘Lamb of God’. Having identified Jesus, the two men left John to follow Jesus.
When Jesus saw them following Him, He asked them what they were looking for. By replying that they would like to know where He lived, they were effectively saying “Jesus, we want you; we want to be with you and live with you.” And so Jesus invited them to spend the day with Him. John the Baptist was not in the least concerned that people had stopped following him to follow Jesus because that was the whole purpose of his ministry. He had not come to make a name for himself, but to announce Jesus as the Saviour. He knew that his role had a single purpose and when Jesus was revealed, his work was done.
In an age when style often triumphs over substance, and where celebrities dominate the media, it is important to realise that no Christian is here to make a name for himself or herself. (That was the fundamental arrogant sin which led to God’s displeasure about the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:4). When servants of God enjoy being celebrities they have lost the plot; they have forgotten that their task is to point people to Jesus. However important is the work of the evangelist, it is only Jesus who can save people; the preacher is only a messenger – salvation power is found in Christ alone. So whatever gifts God has given to us, we should follow the Apostle Paul’s instruction in Romans 12:3, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” Or, as John the Baptist said, “He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30)
© Dr Paul Adams