(This is a continuation of an earlier post on John 3:30 – “He must increase, but I must decrease”.
Dear PRCW members and readers: John the Baptist’s humility is striking. “The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete” (John 3:29, 30).
It was mentioned before that a friend of the groom is like a ‘best man’ in a wedding, except more important. William Barclay says: “he acted as the liaison between the bride and the bridegroom; he arranged the wedding; he took out the invitations; he presided at the wedding feast….. When he heard the bridegroom’s voice he let him in and went away rejoicing, for his task was completed and the lovers were together.”
We see here the consuming passion that John had for Christ’s glory as the Saviour that everyone else was to follow. “He must increase, but I must decrease”. That same passion is also what the Bride, His church, is to have for Christ. He is, after all, the Saviour that people need. They don’t need us, no matter how prominent or gifted you might be. For we so often get in His way.
A bride prepares herself for the coming of the groom. She gets ready for His return. So the church is to be constantly growing spiritually and walking in the Spirit and not the flesh. Part of that is: desiring the increase of Christ’s glory and the decrease of any personal glory.
Here’s a great example of that in Charles Spurgeon, the popular preacher in the 19th century in London, England: “Spurgeon was a great servant of Christ not by being popular – he was often despised as much as admired – but by being faithful as a witness to the gospel of Christ. The story is told of a group of American Christians who were visiting London for just a week. Their friends wanted them to hear the city’s two famous preachers and bring back a report. On Sunday morning they went to hear Joseph Parker, a man famed for his eloquent oratory. As they departed from the service, one of them exclaimed, ‘I do declare, it must be said, for there is no doubt, that Joseph Parker is the greatest preacher that ever was!’ The group longed to come back to hear Parker in the evening, but they remember that friends would ask them about Spurgeon as well. So that night, the attended the Metropolitan Tabernacle, where Spurgeon was preaching. And as they departed, they spoke in marveling terms, “I do declare it must be said, for there is no doubt, that Jesus Christ is the greatest Savior that ever there was!’” [Richard D. Phillips, John, p. 205f.]
May that also be our passion as preachers or laymen – not personal fame or glory – but that others would see the glory of Christ in us and say “What a great Saviour!”
In Christ, Pastor Rich Anjema