John the Baptist had a powerful ministry. People were coming from all around Judea to hear him speak and to be baptized by him for the repentance of sins. When Jesus comes to him to be baptized, John recognizes that He is the messiah, the savior of the world. John’s baptism of Jesus would mark the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.
After this Jesus began to grow in popularity. People began flocking to Him, even those who had once followed John. In John 3, John’s disciples come to him and exclaim to him that all are going after Jesus. John’s reply speaks volumes. “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
In the midst of life, it is easy to feel threatened by someone else’s popularity or success. John was and is known as “the Baptist”, yet here we see Jesus baptizing people. John does not let his ego oppose what God is doing, even in the midst of his disciple’s dismay. John saw and understood the purposes and plans of the Lord. He knew Jesus was the messiah, and that his purpose was to prepare the way for Jesus. As Jesus’ ministry started, John’s had to wind down. John accepted this with great humility. During our life, and our life’s work and ministry, we should always strive to see and understand what the Lord is doing. Sometimes it is necessary to take our eyes and concerns off of what we are doing, and recognize the blessing of the Lord on someone else; even if that means we must step into the background. God does not set people against each other, or send people to compete with each other, but He sends workers to complement the work of the Lord, and to carry it forward. John had to defer to Jesus, the Messiah; a minister with a greater authority and a greater responsibility. A true servant is able to humble himself before the Lord and help those around him or her to achieve the call of God on their life, and to defer to leaders and those in authority. God has not called us to our own success and glory, but to fulfill His will, and bring glory to His son, Jesus Christ. Today, may ego, pride, and any focus on our own success and popularity decrease, and may it be overwhelmed by a joy to see the will of God achieved by all those around you.