“He must increase, but I must decrease.” – John 3:30
It is not surprising that the followers of John wondered about things when Jesus launched his work. While some people had responded to John, a far greater buzz surrounded Jesus. John’s disciples didn’t like it that Jesus’ popularity had surpassed John’s. It must have bothered them that John had been preaching before Jesus, but now Jesus was getting all the attention.
The followers may have wondered about all of this, but neither Jesus nor John did. They did not view each other as competitors. Instead, they recognized that each of them was advancing God’s plan. John expressed to his followers that Jesus’ rising popularity was actually a good thing, a God-directed thing. “He must increase, but I must decrease,” John said in beautiful humility. John told his followers that Jesus was the bridegroom, and he was merely the best man. He knew Jesus to be the Christ, and he understood himself to be the prophet preparing his way.
This saying by John is not merely an expression of humility from the Baptizer, it is also an expression of the essence of coming to faith in Christ. Entering into a saving relationship with our Lord requires us to subjugate our will to the greater will of God. And as we grow in grace, we daily find that Christ’s presence grows stronger in our lives. We are simply transformed by Christ’s presence and power, and we become more like him every day. “He must increase,” each of us confesses, “but I must decrease.”
Lord, I want to be like Jesus in my heart. Amen.
a Bible study devotional by Gorman Houston