June 4

John 3:28-30 28You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.' 29The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30He must become greater; I must become less.

One of John the Baptist's disciples asked him if he was concerned about Jesus surpassing him in popularity. John answered that a man can have only what God gives him. If God gives a man favor or anointing, the Sovereign God of all allowed that. Who are we to question it?

John reminded them that his message had always been that of the forerunner. He was there only to announce the coming of the Messiah. Then John gave them an illustration from the marriage customs of that day. When a groom went to receive his bride, he would take his bride into her house where she was conceived and consummate the marriage. The friend of the groom (best man) would wait outside the door of the home for the voice of the groom to announce that the marriage was consummated. Then the friend would announce to the waiting crowd that the marriage was complete, and the weeklong party could begin. It was a tremendously joyous occasion.

John the Baptist was saying that he is like that friend of the groom. The bride, the people of God, belong to the Messiah, not to the friend. He is not sorrowful that Jesus had become more popular than himself. It was like hearing the voice of the groom saying the marriage is complete. John is calling out that it is time for a party, not whining about losing the limelight. John the Baptist's joy was complete in knowing that people were coming to Jesus. It was a necessity that John's ministry wind down, and that Jesus' ministry take off and surpass that of John's.

Sometimes we forget that our work for Jesus is not about our popularity but about His. People may be attracted to our ministry, but if that does not send them on to Jesus, we have lost sight of what is most important. He must increase in the eyes of those we minister to, and in doing so we will naturally decrease. That is not a sad thing. It should be the completion of our joy.

Consider: Are the people you are influencing focused on you or Jesus?