John 3:26-30 NLT
John’s disciples came to him and said, “Teacher, the man you met on the other side of the Jordan River, the one you said was the Messiah, is also baptizing people. And everybody is going over there instead of coming here to us.” 27 John replied, “God in heaven appoints each person’s work. 28 You yourselves know how plainly I told you that I am not the Messiah. I am here to prepare the way for him–that is all. 29 The bride will go where the bridegroom is. A bridegroom’s friend rejoices with him. I am the bridegroom’s friend, and I am filled with joy at his success. 30 He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.
Abbott & Costello’s ‘Who’s On First’ shtick is pretty well known among Americans of all ages (it’s even on YouTube). But the line ‘Who’s on First’ came to mind from today’s passage because in it we see someone who isn’t claiming first place.
Some followers of John the baptizer report the loss of their crowds to Jesus. In John’s conversation with these friends we see a Spirit-enabled “IN encounter.” Read the text again and consider the Spirit-enabled humility of John. No whining. No trying to “position” himself for more recognition. Instead, a joy filled recognition of God at work in and through the other.
Please don’t try this on your own! John was Spirit filled from before birth; a proper UP is essential to a proper IN or OUT! But when you are in right relationship with God through Jesus by His Spirit, this is what life will look like IN your marriage, IN your home, IN His church. How does your conduct match up? Do you seek to be the focus of attention? Do you always want ‘the last word?’ Or do you encourage others to walk in all God has for them – even if it means fewer people notice you? John models here the “attitude adjustment” that can be worked in us by the Spirit, if we “let” Him work! “Let each esteem others better than himself.” (Philippians 2:3)
Heavenly Father, I open my innermost being to Your work within: Cause me to live out a heart given over to You, actively pursuing Your best for others as I interact with those closest to me. May my attitude, words, and deeds be such that Jesus becomes more highly regarded.
Dialog discuss: Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young. J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix