So today as I was reading on in John 1 I was thinking still about what it must have been like for John the Baptist to know he was spoken of exclusively in a prophecy from Isaiah. I can’t fully imagine what life would be like if I was in his spot.
It must have been at least a little bit of a struggle not to become proud. I mean, that’s no small honor John was given. When I look at the text here in John 1 it looks like he was gaining quite a following. So many people were coming to him to be baptised. He even had his own disciples! Add to that having the hypocritical religious leaders of the Jews snooping around, and it would be hard for me not to think more highly of myself then I ought to.
Well it seems like John did a pretty good job of keeping his ego in check. When people wondered if he was the Messiah, he quickly responded with humility.
And we see something special from John in 1:35-36. These disciples of his, these followers, were obviously supporting John in his work. And with all the Jews around there, John certainly had his work cut out for him. Two of them were down by the water with him as he was baptising the people. John had already declared that Jesus was the Messiah. He fulfilled a major part of his task, though much work was left to be done. And Jesus, he didn’t make any indication to John that He needed any help. So I imagine if I was John I’d still be wanting all the help I could get.
But I’m not John. And instead of seeing John as a man scared to lose his disciples, we see John as a man eager to give God the glory. When Jesus comes walking by the water again, he tells his disciples “Hey look, that’s Him! That’s the Lamb of God!” And with the way these two disciples so quickly turn and follow Jesus, it’s clear that John had lifted Christ up properly. We see no questions from John’s disciples, and we don’t see John dishing out advice to them like it’s his kids leaving home for good. They just go. And John just watches…
Christ has called all Christians to do likewise. If you are a Christian, and not all who claim to be are, you must remember that you have given your life to Him. You have committed putting yourself on a cross, and going out into the world with the purpose of bringing the world to Him.
Looking back at my life, I’m saddened to see how often I’ve failed to follow the example John set. Instead of pointing to God, I have often pointed to myself. I sometimes even start with the intentions of pointing to Christ, but instead I get to focused on how good of a person I am and how good of a Christian I am. If I saw the truth of it, I would know that I’m not as good as I think.
Is this true for you? Do you get so worried about what people think of you that you forget your mission? Your mission, not to simply look good, but to declare with your actions that God is good? If so, read over the accounts of John the baptist and ask God for understanding. Look at how John always seemed to take the focus off of himself and shift it towards Christ. You will find encouragement and insight on how to do the same. If God has called you to a work, believe He will provide what is needed for that work!
And your work is to point to Him.