At the end of John 3 (verses 19-36), we are first reminded of our need for repentance and salvation and then John the Baptist declares his final testimony that Jesus is the Messiah.
What I love about this portion of scripture is the example John set for us of humbleness. John and his disciples and Jesus and his were all in the same region and both were baptizing people. Then John’s disciples came to him and said, “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 3:26). John’s disciples were concerned that people were going to Jesus instead of John to be baptized.
Rather than taking the bait of jealousy and contempt, John remained confident in his identity as the one who came before the Messiah to bear witness to his coming. Now that Jesus had begun his ministry, the need for John to bear witness was lessening and would soon become moot.
Here is John’s response to his disciples:
“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 3:27-30
John had gained fame throughout Israel for his ministry and now he was becoming irrelevant. Not because his ministry wasn’t important, because it was, but because his job was complete. For many, including myself, this would be hard to accept. Pride and fear would leave us fighting to remain relevant. However, John knew how he was and what his role was in relation to the Messiah, and he gladly and humbly accepted it.
The Church can learn a lot from John’s humbleness. Perhaps if we were as confident as John in what our role is in God’s plan and okay with being made irrelevant once our job is finished, then maybe the Church would be more healthy and less tainted by the sin of pride.