“John answered, a person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.” – John 3:27
He was an unusual dude. He lived in the wilderness and made his own clothes out of camel hair. Sporting long hair and a beard, he was a man’s man. You’re not far off if you’re picturing Grizzly Adams, Jeremiah Johnson, or Hugh Glass from The Revenant. That was John the Baptist.
In Matthew 11, Jesus says no man was greater than John the Baptist. That’s pretty high praise coming from Jesus. At the time, John the Baptist was a leading man leading a very large ministry. People came from miles around to hear him speak and to be baptized. Throughout his ministry, John spoke about someone far greater who would be coming, the Messiah. Finally, at the height of John’s popularity and amid the crowds of people gathered, Jesus showed up to be baptized by John. Imagine that for a second. He was the one who got to baptize Jesus. The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove. A voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy ” Jesus’ baptism provided several things for the people. It confirmed his identity as God. His baptism also enabled Him to identify with people and marked the beginning of His public ministry. From this point on, John’s voice became less, and Jesus’ voice became greater.
The attention moves from John to Jesus. John’s followers see this and become concerned that they are losing their fame and popularity. They are concerned that they would lose their followers.
John does not get mad, frustrated, or combative because of Jesus’ rising popularity. He doesn’t frantically try to hold on to his fame. John recognizes his place in a much bigger story. He understood all along that this was never about him. He sees his story in light of God’s plan and glory. This is an illustration of meekness. John recognizes that God has given each of us a story, and the point of our story is to reveal His glory. The fact is, it has always been about God. Any fame or popularity that comes our way is all about His name, not ours.
God may be using your life for significant things, but when held up to the bigger story of God, they are not as significant as we may think. The extent of John’s humility is convicting. What about us? Do we acknowledge our unworthiness in light of Jesus’ greatness? This kind of humility changes our response to God, and to others. When we see who we are in light of who Jesus is, we ought to be filled with humility and moved to worship the One who alone is worthy of all glory and praise.
Meekness is an invitation to live for the story that matters most.
- What does it mean to be meek?
- What is the blessing of a God controlled life?