Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea,
where he spent some time with them baptizing.
John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim,
because there was an abundance of water there,
and people came to be baptized,
for John had not yet been imprisoned.
Now a dispute arose between the disciples of John and a Jew
about ceremonial washings.
So they came to John and said to him,
“Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan,
to whom you testified,
here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him.”
John answered and said,
“No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven.
You yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Christ,
but that I was sent before him.
The one who has the bride is the bridegroom;
the best man, who stands and listens for him,
rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice.
So this joy of mine has been made complete.
He must increase; I must decrease.”
John the Baptist had gathered many followers as many thought he might be the Messiah. But John was pointing them all to Jesus when He arrived. John’s disciples were confused when people started to go to Jesus started to baptize.
Notice they call John “Rabbi” or “teacher”. So John uses this moment to teach his followers more about Jesus. First John tells them that he can only do what has been given to him from above. It is God the Father who gave John the mission to prepare the way of the Lord, and he was faithfully fulfilling his mission. John was not the Messiah, but came to point everyone to Jesus.
John uses the beautiful analogy of the bride, bridegroom and best man. John is the best man, “who stands and listens for him” and “rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice”. Jesus is the bridegroom and the Church is the bride. Jesus has come to unite Himself with all of us, the Church, in order to lead us all back to the Father. That is the mission and you and I are a part of it!
John’s joy becomes complete when he sees Jesus and points him out as the Messiah. His mission is complete and now he fades into the background so that the Light of the world can shine. “He must increase; I must decrease.” What humility John shows us – he completes his mission and steps aside.
What is my mission in life?
Why did God create me?
Do I look for praise and glory or do I look to point others to Jesus?
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