When my pastor asked our class a difficult question about the life of Jesus, my hand shot up. I had just read the story, so I knew this one. And I wanted the others in the room to know that I knew it too. After all, I’m a Bible teacher. How embarrassing it would be to be stumped in front of them! Now I was embarrassed by my fear of embarrassment. So I lowered my hand. Am I this insecure?
John the Baptist shows a better way. When his disciples complained that people were beginning to leave him and follow Jesus, John said he was glad to hear it. He was merely the messenger. “I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him. . . . He must become greater; I must become less” (3:28–30). John realized the point of his existence was Jesus. He is “the one who comes from heaven” and “is above all” (v. 31)—the divine Son who gave His life for us. He must receive all the glory and fame.
Any attention drawn to ourselves distracts from God. And since He is our only Savior and the only hope for the world, any credit we steal from Him ends up hurting us.
Let’s resolve to step out of the picture—to stop photobombing Jesus. It’s best for Him, for the world, and for us.
Heavenly Father, help us understand that our task is to direct everyone’s attention to Your Son, so that He increasingly fills up the frame. Help us see that we must decrease and He must increase.
In John 1, John the Baptist announced that it was another, not himself, who would be the sent one—emphasizing this by saying he wasn’t even worthy to untie Jesus’ sandals! (v. 27). Then, the day after baptizing Jesus, John pointed two of his own disciples to Jesus, the Lamb of God. These two (Andrew and, apparently, John the beloved) immediately left John and followed Jesus. These clear examples of John deferring to Jesus display his commitment that “[Jesus] must become greater; I must become less” (3:30).