Sunday, January 10, 2016

John 3:30 (NRSV): Let Jesus Increase

John 3:30 (NRSV): Let Jesus Increase
“He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)

In chapter 3 of John’s gospel, John the Baptist is confronted by a member of the Jewish community who has a question about baptism.  He asks why Jesus is baptizing nearby when it is John’s ministry to baptize (see John 3:25-30).  John the Baptist says something that highlights the humility he witnesses to the world: “He must increase, and I must decrease.”

Humility is a shining witness to Christ in the world, and when we look around, expressions of humility warm our hearts. Nelson Mandela, for instance, was one of the most humble world leaders. When staying at fancy hotels around the world, Nelson Mandela insisted on making his own bed. And when he visited Shanghai, China, a place where it was an insult to the staff if someone did not allow them to clean and take care of their guest, he arranged a meeting and sat down with the cleaning staff.  Mandela took the time to explain why it was necessary for him to make his own bed, and he emphasized that he did not want them to be offended by this. According to his friend Jesse Duarte, “[Nelson] didn’t ever want to hurt people’s feelings. He never really cared about what great big people [thought] of him, but he did care about what small people thought of him.”

As faithful Christians, we are ambassadors of Christ.  Our witness in the world points others to and makes clear the path of Jesus (Isaiah 40:3). When people notice anything about us that is right, good, and humble, our response should be that of John’s: Jesus’ presence makes our hearts leap with joy (see John 3:29 and Luke 1:44). Jesus wants to be the focus and goal of our every moment. In order to increase Christ in our hearts, self-will and self-focus must die.  When we focus on loving God and neighbor, Jesus increases in who we are, what we do, and how we influence those around us.

Let us keep each other and our special intentions in prayer this week.  

May you all be blessed and encouraged in the love and peace of Christ.  

Stan