Choosing To Decrease

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.’ ”Matthew 3:3 (NKJV)

John the Baptist’s ministry was huge — people had gathered from Jerusalem, Judea, and the whole region of the Jordan to come here him speak and to be baptized.  His message was to“Repent,”and, “Prepare the way for the Lord” (Matt. 3:1-3).  John was the Billy Graham of his day, and the people new of his fame.

In the Book of Matthew chapter 3, we see John in full swing, preaching and baptizing, doing what he was called to do, when Jesus comes up to be baptized.  This was a big test for John.  Would he revel in the moment of baptizing Jesus and possibly use this to boost his position as a spiritual leader even more?  Actually, it was completely the opposite — he responds to Jesus’ request to be baptized by saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” (Matt. 3:14)

Jesus didn’t need to be baptized for forgiveness of sin, because He had never sinned.  He did it to fulfill the plan of his Father, to affirm John’s ministry and his message to repent — to identify with all of us who are baptized, and to illustrate the holy Trinity perfectly, as we see the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus as the Father speaks from Heaven.

But put yourself in John’s position for a moment; what would you do?  For example — What if Jesus came over and dropped in on Thanksgiving as you were about to serve dinner?  He looks over and asks you to pray for the meal, and then He thanks you for giving Him something to eat.  I don’t know about you, but that would blow my mind!  Who am I to pray for Him, and why would He possibly thank me for giving Him food?

I’d have to think that this is pretty much what John was thinking as Jesus came to him to be baptized. But John passed the test completely.  He was obedient to Jesus’ request to baptize Him, and willing to hand over his disciples, who would now follow Jesus.  Now that Jesus’ ministry had officially started, John was obedient to God’s plan for him. 

John illustrated a profound truth in stepping aside when Jesus came to him, and he would soon say something critically essential for every Christian life once they have made that profession of faith, and it is recorded in John 3:30.

He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30 (NKJV)

As I see John laying down his life to usher in the life of our Savior, it makes me think of my own personal life as a Christian. I don’t have to be John the Baptist to make a great difference in this world.  I just need to be aware that I will be tested daily as to whether I will lay down my life, my wants, and my desires for the benefit of others.  I think it starts with my willingness to allow Jesus to increase while I choose daily to decrease.  For me, this simply means that I need to be more like Jesus, and less like Scott.  

STUDY QUESTION: What great wisdom did John the Baptist give us in John 3:3?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Are you willing to let Jesus increase more in your life, or are you hanging on to what you want to do in the flesh?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Sell out for Jesus!  Do what John did; be used in the greatest capacity possible for the Lord.  Whatever He has called you to do, to say, or to be today, do it unto Him, and do it with all of your heart.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:Father, Thank You for people like John the Baptist to show us how we can make a difference.  Thank You for the lessons that You have given us in Your Word.  Help me to understand and implement everything that You want me to know from reading it.  In Jesus precious name, amen…


Blessings, Pastor Scott


Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000