You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ Only the bridegroom has the bride; but the friend of the bridegroom stands by and listens, and rejoices to hear the bridegroom’s voice. My joy is now full. It is necessary that he increase, but that I decrease.
“I have been sent before him.”
This gospel text offers a rare glimpse of Jesus from afar. In this case, some of John’s disciples are worried to hear that Jesus is stealing their master’s signature moves—that is, performing baptisms on his own. But John makes it clear he is not the main attraction but merely the “warm up act” for the one who is to come. Casting himself as the friend of the bridegroom, he is not disappointed to hear the news of Jesus. Instead, his joy is complete: “It is necessary that he increase, but that I decrease.”Here is a man whose concern is not with himself but with his mission—a mission that is larger than himself. Are we capable of a similar detachment about our projects and apostolates? Are we resentful when a cause or belief we have worked for is taken up by others—perhaps a new generation with their own way of doing things? Or is our joy now complete to know that other hands have taken up the work, perhaps seeing it to completion?John’s mission was not to proclaim himself, but another. And now that his mission is fulfilled, how can he not rejoice!
© Copyright Bible Diary 2019