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He Must Increase

by Joshua Arnold, 2021 Graduate

John 3:22-30 (ESV)

John the Baptist was the forerunner of the Messiah that was foretold by the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 40:3-5). The circumstances of his life were certainly unique; he was the miracle child of Zechariah and Elizabeth in their old age, and ever since he was in the womb, he was full of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:41-45, 80). John’s preaching caught the attention of many, and as many as believed his words were baptized by him. And yet, when he was inquired by the priests and the Levites concerning his identity, he did not hesitate to admit that he was not the Messiah. His role was merely to prepare the hearts of the people for Jesus’ coming, and he did just that; John never

wasted an opportunity to proclaim Jesus as the “Lamb of God” to his disciples (John 1:29, 35).

Inevitably, the time came when Jesus’ own ministry began to surpass that of John’s, and many of John’s followers began to follow after Jesus. Some of those who remained noticed this, and they expressed their concerns to John. However, his response was not that of distress but of joy; this was the plan all along. He knew there would eventually come a time when Jesus’ fame would surpass his own, because Jesus was greater than he was (Mark 1:7-8). As a result, John was content to stand by and watch as the crowds forsook him and followed after Jesus. He concludes his discussion with his disciples with a remarkable declaration: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

John the Baptist was an exceptional model of humility. He had several opportunities over the course of his ministry to exalt himself, and yet he never missed a chance to point others to Christ. We too, must strive for humility, living our lives in such a way that diverts people’s attention away from ourselves and instead toward our Lord and Savior, who is worthy of all honor and praise.

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