The Gospel calls us to do things, that seem very counterintuitive. Things that do not make much sense in this world, in this culture. We are told in our world that we are what matters. That our plans, our goals, our potential, our glory, that is what matters.
The notion of humility and service, they are not things that are often encouraged or lifted up as virtues. As I heard it said last week, in our culture (though not in the Bible) self-expression, not self-denial is a “virtue.”
Contrast that with what we read today in John 3: 27-30:
27John answered, ‘No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven. 28You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, “I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.” 29He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. 30He must increase, but I must decrease.’
John the Baptist is one of the premier religious leaders of his day. He has a large group of followers. He is baptizing religious leaders. He is making a big difference in his culture.
But yet when he sees Jesus look at what he says in verse 30. He must increase, but I must decrease. John knows this. It’s not about him. It’s about Jesus.
John chose to humble himself and lift up Jesus. Because he knew that in doing that, he was living out his purpose, living out the very thing that God had created him far. While it didn’t like the “right” thing to do, even according to his disciples, he knew it was the right thing to do.
Because it pointed other people to Jesus.
Today, that’s our calling. To lift up Jesus. Point others to Jesus. To decrease and allow Him to increase. Because when He is lifted up, He will draw all to Himself.
Today, let’s lift up the cross. Let’s lift up the resurrection. Let’s lift up Jesus. Because in doing that, not only do we help others find life, but we find lift ourselves.
When we decrease and He increases, we find life.