Good Morning! Today’s Bible Reading is – 22 Then Jesus and his disciples left Jerusalem and went into the Judean countryside. Jesus spent some time with them there, baptizing people.23 At this time John the Baptist was baptizing at Aenon, near Salim, because there was plenty of water there; and people kept coming to him for baptism.24 (This was before John was thrown into prison.)25 A debate broke out between John’s disciples and a certain Jew over ceremonial cleansing.26 So John’s disciples came to him and said, “Rabbi, the man you met on the other side of the Jordan River, the one you identified as the Messiah, is also baptizing people. And everybody is going to him instead of coming to us.”27 John replied, “No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven.28 You yourselves know how plainly I told you, ‘I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for him.’29 It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the best man is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success.30 He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less. John 3:22-30 (NLT)
John recognized who Jesus was at His baptism, yet John kept up his own ministry even though the One his ministry pointed to was there and working: John’s work ended when they cut his head from off his shoulders. The recent debate in our local paper on music showed me something I really didn’t want to see: they were arguing something that lost people couldn’t understand in front of the whole world and turning people off to faith in Christ. It wasn’t a competition between Jesus and John: both preached “Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” and both were busy baptizing people showing Jesus’ coming Death, Burial and Resurrection that would pay the debt owed to God for their and our sins. Churches tend to try to bum ready-made Christians from other churches when the idea is we are supposed to “Roll our own”. (Forgive the Prince Albert Reference). The point is John the Baptist understood that he and Christ were working together to reach more people than either one could reach alone. There are many denominations I don’t agree with their doctrine but as long as they preach Salvation by Grace through Faith in Christ: I will not enter into an open debate with them because it’s not a competition and their testimony can add people to the Kingdom just like mine. If they spread things that stand in the way of true Salvation and preach that works can save or any other thing than Christ’s payment for sins: I have to oppose it. “He must increase, but I must decrease” – all of us need to ponder John’s words and understand what he is saying: if Christ has saved your soul your work is about Him, not you; and your work should be pointing people to Him and glorifying Him… not you. Satan tries to distract from the real work of showing people the way to Christ and His Salvation by getting us involved in meaningless arguments with each other about things that don’t make a difference in the condition of people’s souls: save your strength for battling the devil and convincing his prisoners that Jesus is the Door out of Satan’s dungeon and into His fold. Jesus must increase, we must decrease.
Good Day and Godspeed!