John 3:30 – “He must increase, but I must decrease.” ESV
In Acts Chapter 3, the first sixteen verses we find the account of Peter and John going to the Temple at the ninth hour. A man, they possibly had seen numerous times was sitting there begging. The man was lame and had been lame for a long time. Peter was moved with compassion and instructed the lame man to look upon them. He then made the incredible declaration, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”
The result of that miracle was the people wanted to make Peter and John gods and worship them. Peter resisted and began his powerful message to the captive audience regarding Jesus, his life, death, burial, and resurrection. Peter was empty of self and filled with the presence and power of Jesus! He and John had just demonstrated the validity of Jesus’ commission in Matthew 28.
The text in John 3 is incredibly powerful. John said that in order for Jesus to be manifest in His fullness and in the manner needful, “I must decrease.” For Jesus to receive the proper recognition and be elevated to His place of Lordship, “I must decrease.” In order for the Kingdom to come and the will of God to be done, “I must decrease.” Unfortunately, too often, rather than decreasing we elevate ourselves, our desires, and our preferences.
I ask that you consider this truth – John had a successful ministry with a large following. He was highly regarded by everyone, even kings respected and possibly feared him. Everywhere he goes, the crowds gather, and people are in awe of his ministry and his message. This strange man is a prophet in the eyes of the people. Even those who despised him acknowledged his impact.
In today’s world, most ministers would be doing everything they could to increase their ministry, their following, their offerings, etc. They would be scheduling more and larger crusades. They would hire a marketing team and be seeking book deals and developing tele-blogs to increase their popularity and seeming impact. The natural world would be crying – “More, John. More, larger, bigger!” John said, “I must decrease!”
Remember what Jesus said in John 12:32? He said, “And I when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” That should be our focus, lifting up Jesus not building our own kingdom, advancing our ministry, enlarging our visibility. That might be well for business but not for Kingdom ministry. His increase requires our decrease!
A Natural Law teaches us that for any vessel to be filled with one thing it must be emptied of another. For a room to be filled with light it must be emptied of darkness. For a vessel to be filled with water it must be emptied of air. An increase produces a decrease. For a room to be filled with hot it must be emptied of cold. It is a Natural Law!
The increase of Jesus begins with a decrease. Flesh cannot glory in His presence. John understood with whom the Hope of Life rested. He knew that he (John) was only a voice, a messenger, not the message. He was the introduction, the prelude. He was temporary, the forerunner, not the star or the message.
He (Jesus) must increase and for Him to increase I must decrease. He is the one depended upon for Salvation. He is the All-Powerful One. He alone has the power to save. I on the other hand am the one in need. I am weak and frail. I need salvation. I am a vessel and a voice – He is the Message!
Jesus is the Hope of Humanity! He is the solution to every problem. He is the remedy. But, for Him to become who He is, we must decrease and lift Him up, and then He draws people to Him. I can save no one! I can only point to the one who saves to the uttermost! Therefore, I must decrease!
I want to take this a step or two further and will do that in the next devotional. Until then, go with God and He will go with you.
May the blessings of the LORD flow to your powerfully today!