Judges 19:1-20:48; John 3:22-4:3; Psalm 104:24-35; Proverbs 14:22-24
He Must Increase, I Must Decrease
The disciples of John the Baptist were very upset because people were going to Jesus to be baptized. They did not like the fact that their teacher was taking a “back seat” to the “new man on the block.” But John does not agree with his disciples and reminds them that he is not the Christ, but the one who was given the task from God to prepare the way for the Messiah. He goes even further and gives his disciples a teaching lesson when he says that God has given each and every person a job to do that is fit just for that person.
John also tells his disciples that without God no one can do anything unless God allows it to happen. Remember how Jesus later said a similar thing to Pilate (19:11)? Pilate could do only that which God allowed him to do. John had answered God’s call. He did the work God gave him to do: preach repentance, baptize, and tell of the coming of the Messiah. John knew that his days were numbered. John also knew his time to take the “back seat” was also near. He needed to decrease so Jesus could increase and do the job his heavenly Father had given him to do: preach the good news, give us hope, and save us from our sins. John knew that Jesus was the Messiah, and for this reason John was ready to step aside for Jesus.
What about us today? Are we willing to step aside and allow someone else to do the job we once did? Whether it is cooking a meal for the youth group at our church, training the acolytes on Sunday morning, or allowing someone else to teach the adult Bible class on Wednesday nights, are we willing to put our pride on the “back burner,” and say, “He must increase, I must decrease”?
Rev. Susan M. McCaffrey
Grace Episcopal Church
Port Orange, FL