Hannah has provided today’s notes.
I wouldn’t say I’m a massive sports fan but there’s a select few I really enjoy. One of my favourites is tennis, more specifically Wimbledon. I remember the first year I was working full-time I was horrified that everyone just carries on working during Wimbledon as if nothing’s happening. My favourite thing is when someone hits the winning shot and their face says it all. Some players have a really intense expression for the whole match, they’re oozing determination and as soon as it’s finished they have this huge smile. It’s an amazing transformation.
In this passage John sees his mission coming to a close, he knows he has done what he needed to do and he’s full of joy. What a feeling that must be.
John’s disciples are concerned that their leader is threatened by Jesus’ growing popularity. The two (Jesus and John) only had a very short space of time where they were both baptising people, John would be thrown into prison soon (notice John the apostle points out that he hadn’t ‘yet’ been put in prison, it sounds imminent). John’s ministry had been to baptise people and another baptiser had come along, John’s disciples were understandably worried. John however, has his eyes on the prize. He knows that he has prepared the way, he knows God’s plan is bigger than his disciples realise and he knows that his part in it is coming to fulfilment.
We could really learn from John here, he hasn’t pinned his identity on his ministry, he is pleased to see God’s plan at work, even if that means he’s not at centre stage. The disciples’ concern that “everyone is going to him!” is not one that John shares.
John’s simple sentence ‘He must become greater; I must become less’ is like an arrow to my heart. In my life, in the way that I do things, He must become greater and I must become less. It’s a challenge for us because we love recognition. I often start ranting about a lack of encouragement in today’s church, I sound off about a culture of assumptions and no-one stepping forward to say thank you or that it’s appreciated. Inevitably, whenever I get on my soap box about it, someone says “well you’re not doing it for them” and every time it hits me harder. It’s so easy to say and so difficult to accept.
Pete Hodge said, when he preached at Eb a few weeks ago, sometimes we can be so busy with doing things for the Kingdom that we lose sight of the King. I want to be more like John, living to glorify God and believing, wholeheartedly, that that’s enough.
“Take my life, let it be everything, all of me,
Here I am, use me for Your glory.
In everything I say and do, let my life honour You.
Here I am living for Your glory.”
(Tim Hughes, Living for Your Glory)