Today’s passage: John 3:22–36
Focus verse: “He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30)
We live in a world that wants more. We desire more money. We seek more possessions. The newest of this and the best of that. And regardless of where we fit into society, we want more power and wish for more prestige.
How much is enough? The answer is always the same: just a bit more. There’s nothing wrong with setting goals and wanting to improve our life, but we must keep things in perspective—God’s perspective. More isn’t always better.
Consider John the Baptist.
John has a successful ministry. He calls people to repent. Next, he baptizes them as a public display of their commitment.
Though he doesn’t want to, he baptizes Jesus too—even though Jesus doesn’t need to repent of one single sin or undergo baptism. But by embracing baptism, the Holy Spirit anoints Jesus and prepares him for ministry.
Jesus now invites people to follow him as his disciples, even taking two of John’s followers. Jesus begins his ministry, and he baptizes people too.
John’s remaining disciples see this and become indignant for him, worried that Jesus is taking away from John’s ministry. “Look!” they complain. “Jesus—the one you baptized—is now baptizing people too. Everyone’s following him instead of you.”
“I can only do what God has called me to do,” John says. “Don’t you remember? I told you I am not the Messiah. My role is to prepare the way for him.
He is like the groom at the wedding, and I am his attendant. I’ve waited for him and listened for him. Hearing his voice fills me with much joy—complete joy. Now that he has arrived, he must become more, and I must become less. Don’t be jealous on my account. This is how it should be.”
John doesn’t want more. He is content to become less. This is an example we can follow. As we point people to Jesus, we do so for his glory and not ours.
More of him and less of us. Never forget that.
- How can you adopt God’s perspective as your own?
- How well are you at doing what God has called you to do?
- How might you take an ungodly pride in the ministry roles God has given you?
- What can you do to elevate Jesus, even if it means you become less?
- How can you bring glory to Jesus?
Discover more about another of Jesus’s followers, Paul, and how he views his ministry in 1 Corinthians 9:18, 2 Corinthians 4:5, Ephesians 3:8, and Philippians 1:15–18. What insights can you glean from these passages?
Tips: Check out our tips to use this online Bible study for your church, small group, Sunday school class, or family discussion. It’s also ideal for personal study. Come back each Monday for a new lesson.
Read more in Peter’s new book, Living Water: 40 Reflections on Jesus’s Life and Love from the Gospel of John, available everywhere in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.