All four gospel writers gave accounts of John the Baptist but the writer John referred to him only as John. John the Baptist was a unique and interesting character on a hallowed mission for God. He would introduce the world to Jesus Christ – the Lamb of God – the Savior of the world.
In Chapter 3 a group came to inform John the Baptist that the one whom he had baptized and gave witness to, Jesus Christ, was baptizing and all men were following him. It seems probable that John’s informants were aiming to stir up contention or envy within John the Baptist. It failed! Unshakably John the Baptist quietly explained his position and that of Jesus Christ.
In his defense John the Baptist spoke a short but profound statement in explaining the positions of himself and Jesus Christ. He said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” What a powerful admission. Of Jesus Christ John said, “He must increase” and of himself, “I must decrease.” Jesus must become more preeminent with Christians and they less self-important. That is an unfailing formula for Christian growth.
The single pursuit for Christians should be making Jesus Christ number one in our lives. We should seek to glorify Jesus in our every word and deed. True, it is a difficult order but that should be our desire. Yes, we will fail at times but we must “not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9
When we were lost we did not and could not give Jesus increase because we wanted it. We were the only one who counted. When we became saved we necessarily and gladly gave increase to Christ and decreased self. We may not have understood it that way then but that is what happened. Giving increase to Christ while decreasing self, ought to be a lifelong aspiration for Christians.
The question could be asked, Must a Christian decrease self first in order for Jesus to have increase or is it by increasing Christ that we experience decrease of self? I think a statement of Jesus in Matthew suggests the answer. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
I believe any increase we are able to afford Jesus Christ will come from an honest and diligent effort to know and serve Him. Accordingly, the decrease of self will be directly proportionate to the effort we apply to knowing Jesus Christ. Increase or decrease – more or less? Let us ask ourselves, Are we more of self and less of Jesus or are we more of Jesus and less of self?