Scripture Reading — John 3:22-30
“The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.”
—John 3:29 —
What is your idea of John the Baptist? Do you see a fun-loving, entertaining speaker? Or does he seem more like a fierce, gloomy prophet?
We might expect John to be gloomy because his career was going down the river. His cousin Jesus was taking over. Jesus had begun teaching and baptizing, and his disciples reported in alarm, “Everyone is going to him.”
But John was “full of joy.” Why? Because he knew his place in God’s coming salvation. He saw himself as a “best man” at a wedding. His job was to focus on the “bridegroom,” not on himself. The “friend who attends the bridegroom” was delighted if things went well and the bridal couple were enjoying their special day.
John, who jumped for joy in his mother’s womb when Elizabeth met Mary, pregnant with Jesus (Luke 1:44), sensed joy again as Jesus’ ministry began to grow. It was never about John, but about the one who came after him. So John said, with amazing humility, “He must become greater; I must become less.”
John wanted the ministry of Jesus to advance. That was his purpose and his complete joy.
Can you and I find such joy if we remember who and what is central?
Lord Jesus, this Advent season should be about you. There are so many distractions this month and year-round. Help us to keep you front and center. Amen.