John, who came to be known as John the Baptist, had been faithfully fulfilling the mission that the Lord had placed on his life: John called people to “prepare the way of the Lord…to make the paths straight for the Lord” (Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:3). John raised his voice to teach people to acknowledge their sins, repent of those sins, and be baptized as a way to prepare themselves, their minds, hearts, and lives for the coming of the Lord, the long-awaited Messiah of God.
And Jesus did come. And, with His coming, there came a time for John’s role as the preparer of the way to diminish. There came a time for the people to recognize that all that John did – all of the amazing, powerful, life-changing ministry that John had done – was all, and had always been, intended only to point people to Jesus. Never to himself.
John knew this. And he had the wise humility and holy passion to accomplish the purpose for which the Living God had chosen him: To direct people’s attention, and bring honor and glory to Christ – the Messiah of the Lord. And in doing this, John knew great purpose and great joy.
John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them 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…He must become greater: I must become less.” – John 3:27-30
Every one of us, who has put our faith in Jesus as our Savior and Lord, has been sealed as a child of God for all eternity! This powerful, freeing, grace-filled truth should, in itself, bring us full joy! And every one of us, who has put our faith in Jesus as our Savior and Lord, has been given the task of being an ambassador of Christ in this world. We are given the task of living out and sharing the hope we have in Jesus. We are called to be living messages of the very real, tangible, unconditional, unselfish, and unfailing love of our Lord Jesus Christ to all those around us. This is what we have received. This is what we are to give.
May each one of us more fully receive, and remember, God’s full message of love that came to us through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is nothing that kept Jesus back from receiving the punishment of the cross that should have been ours or from conquering the power of the grave and giving us eternal life! Jesus did all of this out of love – out of His crazy, outrageous, humble, and powerful love – for each one of us so that we could live lives that are transformed and set free by the fullness of His joy.
May each one of us know the same full joy that John did as we choose to let our lives humbly, wisely, and powerfully reflect less of us and more and more and more of Jesus – in every way we think, speak, act, react, and interact! Every day of our lives!
To Jesus Christ alone be all honor and glory! This is God’s full joy. And ours. Amen!