Monday, May 16, 2016
“He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30 KJV).
In verses 22-24, Jesus and His disciples water baptized more people than John the Baptist. Verse 25 says Jewish religionists, operating under Satan’s influence, attempted to enrage John and make him envious by informing him: “Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him” (verse 26). Had John reacted in the flesh, he would have condemned Jesus by blurting out, “Jesus and His disciples have no right to distract people away from me! I should be having all the attention because I started my ministry first!” But—and here is a major “but!”—this is not how John responded. The Holy Spirit moved him to reply most fittingly.
Note the succeeding verses: “ John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.  Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.  He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.” John joyfully told them that he did not matter because he was not Christ/Messiah. Jesus mattered because HE was Christ! John knew he was not the issue. It did not matter that few were now coming to him to be baptized. His ministry was not to last indefinitely anyway.
Mark 1:2-4 says: “As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness….” John’s purpose was to simply identify Jesus as Messiah so Israel could see and trust Him (see John chapter 1); John was to “make ready a people prepared for the Lord,” not for himself (Luke 1:17). John had done what Father God had sent him to do (John 1:6-8,29-34). Now, he admitted he could fade away.