Jesus left Jerusalem with His disciples, going out into the countryside of Judea to spend time with His disciples and baptize people who came to Him.  John, too, was baptizing near Salim, where there was abundant water and a steady stream of those wishing to receive baptism.

Some of John’s disciples came to him, saying, “Teacher, the man you met on the other side of Jordan, the one you said is the Messiah, is now baptizing people. Everybody is going to Him instead of to us.”

John replied, ‘No one can receive anything unless God gives it from Heaven. You yourselves know how plainly I told you ‘I am not the Messiah; I am only here to prepare the way for Him.’ It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the best man is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at His success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” John 3:27-30 NLT

From John the Baptist, we have heard the preaching of repentance, the reformation of our lives, and the coming judgment. His manner of life was rough, and in his preaching he spared no one’s feelings. He had no tolerance for hypocrisy.

It is therefore the more beautiful to see here the picture of John’s submission, his loyalty, and his love. As John neared the end of his own mission and his life, he saw Jesus, the one chosen by God and confirmed to John by a personal sign, the descending of the Holy Spirit upon Him. He saw Jesus, attracting more and more people (including many of his own disciples) away from himself; and his response was that he was filled with joy. He, John, had pointed Israel to the Messiah; he had faithfully delivered the message to prepare for  the coming of Jesus; and as Jesus became greater and greater, John was contented and joyful to become less and less.

 

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