Jesus above all others, John the Baptist steps aside, John 3:26 - 35
John 3: 26 - 36
They came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan-the one you testified about-well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him." To this John replied, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.' The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less. The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."
My name is John the Baptist. I was surprised when my disciples were upset that so many people were leaving us to follow Jesus. Perhaps they thought that our baptism and teaching was better because we were first; or maybe they just liked being part of the larger movement. I thought they understood that this was what I was hoping for. They had been there when I publically declared that Jesus was greater than I would ever be. They had heard me preach about the kingdom of heaven and knew I was preparing the way for the Messiah. It was only natural that once Jesus was baptized, my ministry would soon reach its end. As he became greater, I would become less. I was not disappointed, but overjoyed. I had been waiting for Jesus all my life.
Since I was a young boy, I knew I was special. I had heard the story of my miraculous birth and the words the angel had told my father more times than I could count. I spent most of my life in the desert learning to know God. With the Holy Spirit to instruct me, I grew to be the man I was destined to be; the voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Make way for the Lord”. I taught the people to repent, to turn from their selfish lifestyles. I urged them to choose a different path, a path of righteousness with hearts prepared for the coming Messiah. Their baptisms showed they understood their need for forgiveness and wanted to make things right with their God.
When people were drawn to Jesus, I knew I had done my job. The satisfaction was immense. I was like the best man at a wedding, happy for the groom as he claimed his bride. There was no jealousy, no desire for glory, just the joy of a job well done. And what a job it was! It was my privilege to be the one to announce the coming Messiah! Our people had been waiting for the Christ for a very long time and I was the one who got to prepare their hearts for his arrival. Soon they would realize that I was only human but Jesus is the Son of God! He is above everything. My words, thoughts and actions were those of a mortal man who could only speak of earthly things, but Jesus was from heaven. How I longed for everyone to listen to him, to understand that he was testifying to what he knew from heaven. So many would reject his testimony, but if they would only believe it, they would see that God is truthful. The Father loves his Son so much, everything is in his hands. If they would just believe in him, they would have eternal life. How could I be upset that people were leaving me to follow him? I had nothing to offer, but he held the world in his hands.
Finish up John Chapter 3 by reading the short story Mary be Good, an illustration of verse 36. Thank you!