I had the privilege of preaching from Mark 1:1-8 on Sunday. As you may know, in these opening verses Mark introduces the ministry of John the Baptist to shed light on the glory of Christ. I love the way John thinks of himself in relation to the Lord. Consider, for example, Mark 1:7-8:
And he [John] preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
John may be the greatest of the prophets, but Jesus is greater still. Indeed, John says this Jesus is so great that he is not even worthy to stoop down and untie his sandals—a humble service performed by slaves for masters.
Upon considering this I cannot help but go to John 3:25-30. Here we see another beautiful picture of John’s heart:
Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 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. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
John’s ministry had fulfilled its purpose. He now found himself in the “twilight” of his ministry career. And John was going out exactly as he should. The Bridegroom had come for His bride, the church. Therefore, John’s profile was to decrease and Christ’s increase.
Am I about the decrease of self and the increase of Christ? Are you? We need to be. God help us.