One of my favorite characters in the New Testament is John the Baptist. John was set apart from birth to perform a great service for God. John had the privilege and honor of announcing the arrival of Jesus. He was literally the fulfillment of a 700 year old prophecy, “I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, “Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!” (Isaiah 40:3, John 1:23). John’s ministry was a message of repentance and preparation as he baptized people day by day in the Jordan River, patiently waiting on God to reveal His Messiah.
After John baptized Jesus, a controversy arose among followers of John and Jesus, trying to set up a competition between the two. But John clearly pointed everyone to Jesus.
“John replied, “No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven. You yourselves know how plainly I told you, ‘I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for him.’ It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the best man is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” (John 3:27-03)
I love how John points us back to an understanding that this is all about God. It’s His story. God is the one who assigns places and tasks. John clearly understood his place, and was completely comfortable with his own role. Great happiness comes from being open and willing to fulfill whatever task God has designed for our lives. Too often we make ourselves unhappy because we want to be something different than what God wants for us. John was “simply glad to stand with Him”. What incredible words! One of the many lessons of John’s life is the blessings of peace and fulfillment that comes from allowing ourselves to be exactly who God planned for us to be. John is clearly a model of the true power and strength that comes from humble submission to God’s will.