Bible Society of South Africa

Putting Jesus first – 2 March 2021

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

30He must become more important while I become less important.”

He who Comes from Heaven

31He who comes from above is greater than all. He who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly matters, but he who comes from heaven is above all.

John 3:30-31GNBOpen in Bible reader

It’s hard to be the insignificant one in a world full of important people, but nestling in humility is God’s heart. In God’s grand scheme of things, He frequently chooses to work through those who hold on lightly to their own importance and depend on Him to accomplish His call on their life without getting in His way.

This spirit was evident in John the Baptist, who, when asked by the priests to identify himself, replied “I am the voice of someone shouting in the desert…” (John 1:23). This fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy and reinforced what Paul wrote: “He chose what the world looks down on and despises and thinks is nothing, in order to destroy what the world thinks is important.”
(1 Corinthians 1:28)

John was the last prophet to prepare the way for this divine coming. His radical words called the people to repentance and changed hearts, which birthed a new spirit of hope:
Do you have enough? Then share your food and belongings with those who don’t. Tax collectors, collect only what is legal – no more. Soldiers, be content with your wages. Don’t use your uniform to intimidate the people you are protecting – be honourable. (Luke 3:11-14) Does this resonate with us?

Because John prepared the way for Jesus by directly addressing sin, this made the people wonder if he was the Messiah. But John, keenly aware of the sharp contrast between the greatness of the one to come and his own humble position, said plainly, “I baptise you with water, but someone is coming who is much greater than I am. I am not good enough even to untie his sandals. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Luke 3:16)

We can learn much from John’s humble, visionary approach which is so different to what many important people on a mission use. His inspiration was obedience to God and not attention for himself. By acknowledging his human limitations and putting the spotlight on Jesus, he underscored His immense power as the Messiah. Yet Jesus said of this humble prophet, “Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist.” (Matthew 11:11)

John pointed the people of that time to the importance of Jesus then and he points us to His importance today. Where are we in the big picture? Have we put Jesus in His rightful place in our lives too so that we too may point to His importance?

Putting Jesus first is life changing!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, there is no-one greater than Jesus, Your Son. Help me to understand the need for humility in myself so that, like John the Baptist, my life will be submitted to You and I may accomplish the work You set me on earth to glorify Him. I ask this in Jesus’ Name. Amen

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