John the Baptist

“John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. 27 It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.”

                                                              John 1:26


You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’  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.  He must increase, but I must decrease

                                                            John 3:28-30


I have been reading the book of John, enjoined to do so after Pastor Ray invited us all to do during this Lenten season. John the Baptist is mentioned in the first and third chapters, and we gain a glimpse of his character as we read about him (and we fill out more of it with the help of other gospels). We know from the gospel of Luke that he was preordained to “go before Him (the Lord) in the spirit and power of Elijah, to ‘turn the hearts of the fathers to the children’ (Malachi 4:5-6), and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make read a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:16-17). We remember from our childhood Sunday School lessons that he was the guy who ate locusts and honey, and wore camel’s hair and a leather belt (as we read in Mark 1).


Mark also tells us that John “preached a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4), and that as he baptized Jesus, he got to experience the divine in seeing the heavens part, and the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus like a dove, and hearing God’s declaration of Jesus as His beloved Son.

So here is this almost larger-than-life character (at least to me), the one of whom Isaiah prophesied as the Lord’s messenger telling Israel about Jesus, the one who is sought out by people from afar to have him baptize them, the one who has his own disciples. It was these disciples, we read in John 3, who come to him, chagrined at the thought of people going to Jesus to be baptized instead of going to John. It was John’s ultimate response that caused me pause when I read it: “…he who is the bridegroom…rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.” (vv 29b-30). When I read the last part of the verse, I knew I’d read that concept before, but attributed it to Paul, as it sounds very Pauline in nature. John’s humility is overwhelming, and a fairly atypical response from your average person.


John knew his purpose for being alive. He knew his Savior, and he knew who he was in Him. He also knew that the time had come for him to step out of the spotlight, and actively shine said spotlight on Jesus, the Messiah.


May it be so with us as well.


Prayer Requests

  • For our country, and for government leaders around the world
  • For civility and a seeking to understand as political debates continue
  • Praise for the new families and visitors the Lord has been sending us lately
  • For our pastor search committee
  • For us to truly discern His will for His church, and for us to be obedient


You may see decals on car windows that say “He > i”. This, my friends, is a reference to verse 30 from above: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” He is greater than i.



“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”


“The fact that there’s a highway to hell and only a stairway to heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers.”