“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30
Another way for Jesus to become more popular where we live is to REJOICE IN ATTRACTING OTHERS TO JESUS EVEN AT OUR OWN EXPENSE. When John’s the Baptist’s disciples were jealous of Jesus’ growing popularity, John said to them, “You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.” (John 3:28). John explains to his disciples that he was only a forerunner, not the Messiah himself. God’s plan for John was to prepare people for Jesus’ ministry. It was God’s plan now for Jesus to increase in prominence and for John to decrease in prominence. Jesus’ growing popularity was in part due to John doing his job so well. Rather than seek the limelight for himself, John was content to be an instrument to glorify Christ.
“He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.” (John 3:29). In the first century, the friend of the bridegroom was an assistant, not the main participant in a wedding. He was responsible for making wedding arrangements and waiting for the groom to return with his bride to the groom’s house for the wedding banquet. The friend of the bridegroom did not expect to take center stage. With this comparison in mind, John rejoiced fully in Jesus’ success. John was simply the “friend of the bridegroom,” but Jesus is “the bridegroom.” In effect John says, “When I see crowds of people leaving me and going to Jesus, I am thrilled because Jesus can do for them what I could never do. For their sakes and His, I rejoice!” He says, “It fills my heart with joy to see them leaving me and going to Jesus.” And a heart full of joy has no room for jealousy.
John then says, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30). Some have misunderstood this verse to mean that you must die to yourself and that there be less and less of you so that there can be more and more of Christ in you. But in the context, what John means here is that Jesus “must increase” in popularity and he “must decrease” in popularity. After all, John was the forerunner; Christ was the Messiah-God. If he was preparing the way for the Messiah, then surely the Messiah would need to be better known than the forerunner.
Don’t you want to see this where you live? Don’t you want to see Christ grow in popularity in your community? Don’t you want to see more people in your community talking about Jesus Christ and what He is doing in and through your church? Don’t you want to hear your neighbors and co-workers talking more about Jesus? Are you willing to set aside your own preferences to attract more unbelievers to Jesus? With God, all things are possible.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, this planet is Your stage to show Your grace and truth off. Please forgive me for wanting the attention that belongs only to You. Thank You for the grace that continues to heal the deep wounds of my soul so that my need for attention is much less than it used to be. I am merely a voice, but You are the living Word Who changes peoples’ lives. Nothing thrills me more than to see people come to You in faith for Your gift of everlasting life. I pray that my family, my friends, my neighbors, my church, my acquaintances, and even my enemies will begin to focus more on You and talk more about You, Jesus, than anyone or anything else. You are the Real Deal. You can do far more for them than I ever could. For this I am eternally grateful. In Jesus’ name. Amen.