John the Baptist was baptizing people at Aenon in Judea and Jesus and His disciples were a little ways away from them and Jesus was also baptizing and teaching. A Jew had come to John’s disciples and they were discussing purification. (Baptism was originally a Jewish purification ritual.) Wherever this discussion went it made John’s disciples go to him and point out Jesus and the fact that more people were going to Him for baptism than to them.
It is a very common trait to compare ourselves to other people. That comparison rarely leads to anything good. Too often we aren’t evaluating with right motives. John’s disciples were feeling slighted and they wanted John to feel it as well. John’s disciples were upset about losing their glory and honor to someone else. But John set them straight.
First John pointed out that everything we have comes from God. Verse 27 reads,
“John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven”
This attitude is vital to keeping yourself from envy, jealousy, and judging. Everything you have, including your gifts and ministry are from God and for God. That leads you to praise, thank, and glorify God rather than yourself. It reminds you that believers have a common goal, we’re working to promote Jesus and share His love. We can be happy for each other and support one another.
John continues in verses 28-30
“You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”
It is Jesus not ourselves that should be the focus of our ministry and lives. John compared it to a wedding party and probably didn’t realize the complete prophetic impact of his words as they pointed to Jesus’ return to bring His bride, the church to the wedding feast.
John explained to his followers that it is Jesus who he follows and the people are meant to follow Jesus and not him. He was merely the voice announcing Jesus and now that Jesus was there, his job was complete. It was a joyous and wonderful thing that Jesus was there and that Jesus’ ministry was gaining steam.
He told them “He must increase, but I must decrease.” He let them know this was how it was supposed to be. His ministry had to lessen because Jesus glory was the objective of the entire thing.” And in each of us, Jesus must increase and we decrease. As His Spirit grows in us we look more and more like Him, while our flesh, our sin nature, and our old desires decrease.
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, The Word and the Light. He is King of kings. We are supposed to be exalting Him. Our life on this earth is not about looking good or making people think highly of us. It is supposed to be about directing the world to see Jesus, leading them to know Him and glorifying Him.
Who is the focus of your life? Is it you or Jesus? When you see other people’s success do you know that all good things come from Heaven and therefore you can praise God for it? Do you join with your fellow Believers in glorifying Jesus or do you envy their accomplishments and worry that their achievements will take away from yours?