Monday – February 15, 2016
Day 6 – John 3:22-36
Focus: vs. 30
30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
I alluded to this passage in an earlier devotional and want to give further information regarding the phrase found in verse 30 of chapter 3 in John’s Gospel. Earlier, in chapter one John characterizes himself as a “voice crying in the wilderness” and now speaks of himself in other terms. He is having another confrontation with the Pharisees and in this he goes further in distancing himself from any idea that he is the Messiah/Christ. He plainly states that he is simply a forerunner, one who is sent before. Then he characterizes himself as the friend of the bridegroom. It is clear in this teaching that Jesus is the bridegroom who has the bride (The bride is the church according to later scriptures.) and when the friend of the bridegroom hears the bridegroom’s voice he is made joyful. John is referring to the reports about Jesus and His disciples baptizing somewhere across the Jordan River. John’s questioners, by implication, are attempting to drive a wedge between Jesus and John and his disciples. Jesus’ stature among the people was apparently rising and it is quite apparent that these disciples of John and a certain Jew over the matter of purification. The practice of baptism is somehow tied to the idea of purification here. In the history of the Jews all this is quite ceremonial in nature and is based more on the act than the heart involved in the act; i.e., going through the motions with no real change taking place.
When John uses the phrase, “He must increase, but I must decrease,” it is in the context of the bridegroom’s friend being joyful over hearing the voice of the bridegroom. John states that hearing that voice, makes his joy complete. He is joyful over the marriage of the bridegroom with the bride. He is not just happy but is joyful. Happy is quite blasé in comparison to joy. Remember that John has already said that the One of whom he is speaking is the Son of God. He states in verse 31b that, “He who comes from heaven is above all.” John knew what it was to put Christ first. He meant every word and knew his place in God’s plan.
What about you? Do you allow Christ to increase while you decrease? Do you put Christ first or do you just sort of slot Him in there somewhere in your life? What kind of commitment is it if He isn’t absolutely first? Have you become lukewarm in your relationship with your Bridegroom as the Church at Laodicea had become in Revelation 3:16? A real marriage is a picture of the relationship between Christ and His Bride, the Church. He has already made a total commitment to His Bride but sometimes we, as part of the Bride (the Church), have not made that same total commitment. Isn’t it time you made it clear to yourself and to others that you belong completely to Christ?
Prayer Focus: Lord Jesus, I have not been as faithful to you as I should be. I confess that I have often put other things, even myself ahead of You. Please forgive me and extend Your mercy toward me at this time as I confess this sin before you. Help me to be totally committed to you. I cannot do this on my own and only You can help me. Thank you for Your faithfulness to me. Thank You for forgiveness. AMEN