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Humility and Joy

Lent 2022

Read John 3:22-36

22 After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing. 23 John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized 24 (for John had not yet been put in prison).

25 Now a discussion arose between some of John's disciples and a Jew over purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

31 He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. 33 Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

John the Baptist is an example of proper humility for all who follow Christ. John’s disciples seem to be envious over the fact that Jesus is now baptizing and everyone is going to Him (John 4:2 informs us that Jesus’ disciples were the ones doing the actual baptizing.). However, John has the proper perspective. He knows, and always knew, that it is not about him, but about Christ. This is exactly what he desired. Knowing that Jesus is the one sent by God, John rejoices that now people are going to Christ for baptism.

We live in a time that celebrates moving to the beat of our own drum, making sure that we are our own person, and that our voices are heard. Because of that, even though God has invited us to be a part of His ongoing mission in the world, we often get in the way of others being drawn to the voice of Christ. But in John the Baptist, sets a good example. He was sent to be “the voice calling in the wilderness” but is ready to set aside his own voice so that people would hear the one who has the words of eternal life. It seems simple to say, but we easily forget: It’s not about me, it’s about Jesus. When our words or actions cause people to look right past us because they see Christ and hear His words of reconciliation and redemption, we (like John the Baptist) can rejoice greatly and say, “My joy is complete.”

Prayer: Holy Spirit, grant me true humility, that I may be a faithful witness to Christ. Amen.

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