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January 12, 2019

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book PNG2112Gospel: John 3:22-30
After this, Jesus went into the territory of Judea with  his  disciples.  He  stayed  there  with  them  and baptized. John was also baptizing in Aenon, near Salim, where water was plentiful; people came to him and were baptized. This happened before John was put in prison. Now John’s disciples had been questioned by a Jew about spiritual cleansing, so they came to John and said, “Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, and about whom you spoke favorably, is now baptizing, and all are going to him.”John answered, “No one can receive anything, except what has been given to him from heaven.

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

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