My heart remains involved and entangled in John 3:30, where John the Baptist said, “He must become greater, I must become less.” It seems like such an elementary concept, more Jesus in our lives, less us. Less me. But to leave it there, a concept undeveloped changes nothing in my life.
Less of me. Well, I could use less of me physically and given that I am an amputee to a degree there is less of me. But, I know, as surely you do, John the Baptist wasn’t talking about physical appearance. So what was he talking about?
As my understanding of it is, John the Baptist, was Jesus’ cousin, Mary’s cousin Elizabeth’s son born after Elizabeth’s childbearing years. When Mary visited Elizabeth before telling Joseph she was expecting the Messiah, John leapt in his mother’s womb when Mary came in with Jesus in her womb. John recognized Jesus as the Messiah before either were born! John was older than Jesus by a few months I believe. When John grew up it is said he lived primarily in the desert eating locusts and wild honey and dressed in animal skins. A wild man to some degree. Not your image of the one to herald Jesus’ “coming out” when Jesus would reveal who He was to anyone.
Jesus sought John out so John could baptize Him and John consented, though he felt unworthy, because Jesus asked. John the Baptist was not an arrogant man, neither did he indulge in gathering the things of earth that would make him esteemed among men. John spent years telling people Jesus was coming, then that He was here and eventually losing his head for speaking the truth and two women’s need for revenge. How much “less” could a man be?
John said these words when those who followed him pointed out that now Jesus was baptizing people, although it was actually the disciples baptizing, not Jesus. John recognized his role in Jesus’ life was shifting. Jesus was here now, He could speak and act for Himself. But that didn’t mean John the Baptist no longer had a ministry just that the ministry shifted.
Now exactly how it shifted I don’t know but I imagine John began to point people to Jesus for discipleship and to hear, see, and learn from Jesus Himself who He was in relation to Scripture and mankind.
John the Baptist never stopped preaching and I don’t believe he stopped baptizing either. He certainly never lost his zeal for truth! So how did he become less so Jesus could become more?
My goodness, compared to John the Baptist there are multiple ways I could become less if my goal was to imitate John. But that’s not my goal.
My goal is to imitate Christ. For spiritually my life to become more about pointing others to Jesus than about my works, my ministry, my roles as wife and mother, sister, aunt, blogger, author, artist…it’s about laying me down and holding Christ up.
That is not easy.
That is not simple.
That is not without cost.
That is no elementary concept.
This is not something to give mere lip service to. This is where the ” rubber hits the road”.
“O Lamb of God, Change me! Change me!”*
Quote from poem Change Me by d.f.a.v., published on fvbf 8/26/13. All rights reserved.