“The Father loves the Son and has placed all things under his authority. The one who believes in the Son has eternal life. The one who rejects the Son will not see life, but God’s wrath remains on him.” –John 3:35–36
I’ve never been great at group projects. Whenever I was in school and we were paired with other students to do a project, I groaned. I knew what would happen: there would be one student who contributed absolutely nothing, one who wanted to boss everyone around, one who only wanted to do the work that would make them look the best, and one who would do more work than necessary to make sure the project was actually turned in on time.
That’s who I was, because some part of me refused to give another student control over my grades. The saying, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself” comes to mind. And honestly, I never minded the work. What always bothered me was that one student who wanted all the credit for the work I had done to set them up for success.
As we read our verses in John’s Gospel today it’s interesting to see that what I felt in school was pretty similar to what John the Baptist’s followers had felt. John had worked to prepare the way for Jesus (a role he played even as his mother, Elizabeth, became pregnant slightly before Mary so they could walk that journey together), and now He was baptizing and discipling people on the other side of the Jordan River. Who was this person taking all the credit and all the followers away from John the Baptist?
John reminded his followers that they, themselves, had said that John was not the Messiah, and they had heard him talk about his role in preparing the way for the Lord. They knew who John was but they did not yet know who Jesus was. All they saw was someone who was threatening the position and influence of the man they had chosen to follow.
Are we threatened by the news of Jesus?
Do we believe the claims?
Do we believe He is who He says He is?
John knew that Jesus was the Son of God, and he embraced the role God has asked him to play in this part of Jesus’ ministry. Like a bridesmaid or groomsman who celebrates with their friends on the day of their wedding, John was there to serve God and celebrate Jesus. Because John knew who Jesus was and believed that He was the Son of God, he had no reason to be threatened by his presence. Instead, he declared truth to his followers and humbled himself so that Jesus would become greater and he would become less.
Like John, our purpose is not to receive the glory but to point others to Jesus so He can be glorified. When we know the truth about who Jesus is and believe that He is the Son of God who came to give up His life so that we could live forever with Him in heaven, we should want to share Him with others!
Are we willing to give up our positions and influence to make sure people know who they really need to follow? Are we willing to give up our desire to receive all the credit and instead give credit where it’s due, to God?
Jesus was not some person baptizing people, incorrectly claiming authority and stealing followers from John. He was not only a carpenter’s son, a good speaker, a compelling teacher, or an observant friend. He was and is and always will be the Son of God and the only way to eternal life.
May we be women who love God greatly as we chose to become less so Jesus can become more.
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