John the Baptist is a fascinating character. In Luke 1 he was the baby that leapt in his mother’s womb when he heard the voice of Mary, the mother of his Savior. In Matthew 3 we learn that his clothes were woven of coarse camel hair, he wore a leather belt, and he ate locusts and wild honey. Mark 1 declares him to be a prophet crying out from the wilderness. John was rough around the edges; not called to inspire the elite but rather to proclaim truth to all. He called people away from religious piety and into total abandonment to their Creator. The beauty of his message was that relinquishment of self was not for the sake of captivity but rather for freedom. John proclaimed the truth and pointed people toward Jesus.

Israel had been awaiting their Messiah for centuries and John had the privilege of heralding Christ. He declared his coming and prepared the way. He knew what the arrival of Jesus meant therefore his message carried urgency and fiery passion.

In John 3:23-26, John’s disciples came to him concerned that people were starting to go to Jesus instead of John to be baptized. John responds with, “I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for him.” From before his birth, leaping for joy in his mother’s womb, he was about proclaiming his Lord. His goal was never to receive glory but only to point people toward Christ.

As I reflect on John’s motives, and on his heart’s passion, I am reminded of men and women who have paved the way for me to live out God’s calling in my own life. I am humbled by their willingness to step aside when they “deserved” the praise for their hard work in order to lift high the name of Jesus and encourage me to do the same. They were about making more disciples who were dedicated to serving God rather than just receiving credit for themselves. As I watch yet another generation rise up and proclaim Christ, I too am filled with joy as they live out God’s calling in their own lives.

As you proclaim the good news of Jesus do you do so with urgency? Do you look for opportunities to make disciples, encouraging others as they proclaim Jesus? In the depths of your soul are you crying out the words of John 3:30? “He must increase, but I must decrease.” When our hearts are genuinely for our Lord, our posture is that of relinquishment of self. Oh Lord, hear our cry, and may your name be lifted high!

Lynette Fuson
Care & Counseling Director

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