John 3:28 (John the Baptist said to his disciples) 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.”
Here John uses a metaphor to describe Jesus as the bridegroom who has the bride, which is the church – the community of disciples. John is the friend of the bridegroom who “rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice”. Then John offers an important prophetic insight, “He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease”.
As you know, John was the primary leader of the community of disciples at that time, but he understood there would come a day when Jesus would assume the leadership role. What is not clear is whether John understood precisely HOW that leadership transition would take place. I doubt he imagined what was to come, that he would be put in prison and ultimately decapitated. Would it have made a difference had John known how events would unfold? I doubt it, but one never knows. Life is that way, isn’t it? Even if we have an idea of the direction we’re heading, life unfolds in unpredictable ways. This is particularly true with respect to our response to the call of God.
In our Old Testament passage for today we read the story of David and Goliath. David had no business taking on any warrior, much less a giant like Goliath, because he had no weapons of war or military training. I seriously doubt that David ever expected to assume the role he played in this drama. He was a lowly shepherd boy. But in God’s hands, this shepherd boy became a warrior and then King of all Israel.
David became a king. John became a martyr. Both were following God’s call.
Truth is we cannot know in advance what life as a Christian will bring. Victory. Pain. Promotion. Death. All of the above. As I enter into a new day I have to be prepared for any of these and more. My life is not my own, but belongs to God. Lord, give me grace to say yes to the path you have for today. May all things be to your glory. Amen.