John 3:30 - Jesus Must Become Greater

John 3:30 - "He must become greater; I must become less." Scripture graphic from Journey Mercies.

John tells a story in chapter 3 of his Gospel account about John the Baptist (different guy than John the writer) and Jesus. At the beginning of Jesus' work, he and John the Baptist were both baptizing; but more people were going over to Jesus. John's disciples saw their following dwindling and went to John, complaining that "everyone is going to him" (John 3:26).

John responds with a statement - "He must become greater; I must become less" (v. 30).

This wasn't the first time John had "lost" followers to Jesus. In chapter 1, John was already telling his followers that Jesus was the one he'd been preaching about and preparing people for - the Lamb of God. John even says this is why he came, preaching and baptizing people - so that the Messiah would be revealed to everyone (John 1:31). And two of his disciples did just that - they left John and spent the day with Jesus (1:35-42). By evening, they were convinced that Jesus was the Savior they'd been looking for, and they became part of the Jesus' twelve closest followers. 

John's aim in ministry was not to increase his tribe, make followers for himself, or create his own loyal crew - it was to show the world who Jesus was.

As followers of Jesus today, all of life is meant to point to Jesus. We were never meant to make our own followers who will be loyal to us alone. The whole reason we have a ministry is so others can see Jesus and follow him. The disciples in John 1:35-42 saw John pointing to Jesus as the Messiah and knew they had to follow him. Their hearts had been prepared by John's ministry, so that when Jesus walked on the scene, they were ready to receive him.

I admit that often, I make ministry about me. How can I do all the right activities, so people think I'm a good Christian-wife-mom-writer-missionary-woman? What if someone doesn't agree 100% with everything I believe about Jesus? Should I try to change their minds so they line up with what I think is correct? How does this commitment look to outsiders? What will people think about me if I actually say/write that publicly?

But my life is not about me - it's about Jesus. It's not about building my own reputation, my name, or making people think well of me. It's about making people think well of - no, crave and long for - the God of the Gospel. It's being concerned more with how my words and actions reflect on the reputation of Jesus to the world, instead of how it reflects on my own status.

John's statement is my desire for my own life - that Jesus would become greater, and I would become less. John recognized that "a man {or woman} can receive only what is given him from heaven" (John 3:27). He knew that Jesus was - is - above all others on earth - including himself - because only Jesus can give eternal life. I can never do that, and thank God I don't have to try to earn eternal life on my own. I have nothing to give to world except what God has given me - and those gifts are to be used for his purposes, not my own.

My prayer for myself - and for you - is that we would learn how to make much of Jesus in our words, our lifestyles, and our actions - and not ourselves. Only when Jesus becomes great can others be drawn to him because of our lives.

So let's encourage each other to make much of Jesus. I'd love to hear from you in the comments - how can you make this a reality in your own life?
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