A humbled and open heart is fertile soil for God’s seeds of wisdom. Establishing deeper roots requires analyzing God’s word to discover truths, values, and lessons for application to our lives. Periodically, a scripture or passage calls for further exploration, like John 3:25-30.
An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The 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. He must become greater; I must become less.”John 3:25-30 NIV
The book of John is one of the Gospels. The book contains much of Jesus’ earthly ministry from the perspective of the apostle John. A portion of the third chapter in the book of John highlights John the Baptist. He had been baptizing believers and teaching about salvation and repentance. Verses 25 through 30 center on a conversation between John the Baptist and his disciples. There is a pearl of refined wisdom in the response that is applicable to how we navigate seasons of transition.
The passage begins with a dispute between John’s followers and a Jew about purification. They took their question straight to the source and were met with a powerful response. John’s reply highlighted that Jesus’ success is because of God. He reasserts the prophecy that his father Zechariah had at his birth, that he was the forerunner of Christ; sent to prepare the way. John the Baptist then goes on to share a story of the groom and bridegroom to help the disciples understand a spiritual lesson. John likened himself to the best man at a wedding between Jesus and the church. His joy is at the arrival of the groom, not being the center of attention. This statement highlights the selflessness and spiritual maturation that John had about his God-given mission on this earth.
Do you have that level of maturity and selflessness? To submit to the will of God… despite the world’s perception of status? There is a certain level of self-denial that one must have to follow God’s commands. Releasing personal desires to obey God causes us to die to ourselves and serve the greater purpose. This principle of placing our wishes beneath God’s desires is echoed throughout the New Testament (see Mark 8:34 and Luke 9:23). When God calls for seasons to change, John the Baptist teaches our best response is to release control, because the greater purpose will always prevail.
Are you willing to mature spiritually through the testing of your submission to God’s will?
As we transition into the Advent season, we have the perfect chance to get reconnected with Jesus Christ and God’s will for our lives. We can learn from John the Baptist to humble ourselves, be joyful when seasons end, and to cheer others on, knowing that their success is allowed by the Lord. We can continue to position ourselves to be used by God to accomplish great things for the kingdom.