22 After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. 24 (This was before John was put in prison.) 25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” 27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 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. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.”
As I read this I am pretty impressed and also quite challenged by John’s humility. We see here that John’s followers have come to him with a complaint that people are following Jesus and being baptised by Him rather than by John.
What a temptation for John to follow pride and ego, and to get on board with these guys to vie for status and recognition as a premier prophet of the day.
Instead John chooses the opposite spirit – “He must become greater; I must become less.” This statement must be one of the most succinct and profound statements uttered by someone other than Jesus in the whole of the Bible.
How often do I vie for personal status and recognition as a deep motivation rather than seeking to give the glory to the One who deserves it?
Today I remember – He must become greater and I must become less.
Written by Shelley Witt