He must become greater; I must become less


He must become greater, I must become less

John 3 22-36

John the Baptist’s Testimony About Jesus

22After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized. 24(This was before John was put in prison.) 25An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jewi over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26They 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—well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”

27To this John replied, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. 28You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christj but am sent ahead of him.’ 29The 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. 30He must become greater; I must become less.

31“The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for Godk gives the Spirit without limit. 35The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”l

Footnotes:

a 3 Or born from above; also in verse 7

b 6 Or but spirit

c 7 The Greek is plural.

d 13 Some manuscripts Man, who is in heaven

e 15 Or believes may have eternal life in him

f 16 Or his only begotten Son

g 18 Or God’s only begotten Son

h 21 Some interpreters end the quotation after verse 15.

i 25 Some manuscripts and certain Jews

j 28 Or Messiah

k 34 Greek he

l 36 Some interpreters end the quotation after verse 30.

Was there ever a more grounded individual than John the Baptist?  We might use the phrase, “He was a man who knew his place,” to describe him.  John knew he was on this earth to prepare people for the coming of the Lord.  He knew he was a man of this earth, and as such, could only receive so much knowledge from heaven.  I love vs. 29 that says his joy is in being the friend who attends the bridegroom–not in being the bridegroom, but merely being the attendant–and that joy is now complete.

John continually pointed his followers toward the One to come, and clearly stated that Jesus was the Son of God and that God had placed everything into His hands.  John shows none of the human characteristics of jealousy or envy but instead joyfully points to Jesus as the One for whom the people had longed–the Messiah.

Would that we could be so generous in dealing with those among us whose gifts and callings seem to be greater than ours.  Would that we could understand that our gifts and callings are from God to suit His purpose, to bring about His holy outcome, and that each gift and calling is important.

John finishes by saying whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.  Take the faith God has given you, and if it is small faith, ask that it be increased.  If you have water-walking faith, ask for a body of water that your faith may be utilized.  Pray each day that you would decrease so that Jesus might be increased.


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