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Tell the truth. Go to jail!
John 3.22-24 – After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he spent some time there with them and baptized. 23 John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim because water was abundant there; and people kept coming and were being baptized — John, of course, had not yet been thrown into prison.
Jesus described John the Baptist and said, “among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11.11). In the verses below we will see John’s humility and wisdom.
King Herod couldn’t match John’s wisdom and spiritual power, so he had him put in prison. Ultimately, he had John beheaded for the “crime” of speaking God’s truth.
It is crucial for God’s people to not be seduced by earthly power. Often, the powerful of this world are those who are opposed to God’s plans and purposes.
It is important for us to approach God in humble obedience. That is the source of godly wisdom and power.
Humility, wisdom and spiritual power
John 3.25-30 – Now a discussion about purification arose between John’s disciples and a Jew. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27 John answered, “No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven. 28 You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”
In yesterday’s article, Jake asked in a comment that I address humility a little more. It just happens that John the Baptist is a great example of humility. Three statements by John are the root of humility in his life.
Statement #1 – “No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven” (Verse 27). When we recognize that everything we have is a gift and a stewardship from God, our pride must give way and humility emerges. When we slip into self-sufficiency and self-will mode, pride emerges and humility fades.
Statement #2 – John was pleased to be simply “a friend of the bridegroom,” Jesus (Verse 29). Friendship with Jesus will genuinely transform us. There is no need to attempt false humility when we are Jesus’ friends. Living in a daily relationship with him will slowly, over time, mold us into his nature.
Statement #3 – “He must increase, but I must decrease” (Verse 30). When we recognize that everything we have comes from God and that Jesus is our friend, the logical result is a truthful embrace of Jesus increasing and our self-importance decreasing.
God can not trust us with spiritual wisdom and power until our lives are in proper alignment with him. God’s power and wisdom does not mix well with self-inflated egos.
Dear God, please help us to live in a friendship relationship with you. May Jesus increase more and more in our lives and may we serve you and others out of what we receive in that relationship.
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