John the Baptist’s life was radical. He was radically dressed – in clothes made from camel’s hair; his diet was radical – locusts and wild honey; his message was radical – it challenged the lethargy and self-satisfaction of the people, and his attitude was radical – because he pointed people away from himself and towards Jesus.
In many ways John was an enigma. The people’s perception of God was holy and righteous. John was eccentric. They considered God far too aloof to be represented by a strange caveman look-alike. If God came to earth He would live in a palace and look like a prince. He would establish law and order in a similar way to the Romans but from a pro-Jewish perspective.
Yet there was something magnetic about this self-styled outcast. His bearing was authoritative and his preaching dynamic. People flocked to see and hear him, and yet he wasn’t building an army of resistance to Rome.
Indeed, there seemed to be a self-deprecation to all he did. He warned but he didn’t threaten. He expected allegiance; not to himself but to his God. He was passionate about the message but it was never for his benefit – it was always directed for the benefit of his listeners.
When Jesus appeared on the scene, John was the first to introduce Him as the Lamb of God and to encourage people to follow Him. When John’s disciples found Jesus was also baptising people and that some of John’s followers were already beginning to follow Jesus, John just replied that it was the natural course of events.
John recognised that he was not the centre of attraction; his job was just to point to the One who was the centre of attraction – Jesus. Indeed, John’s response was the eternal declaration of all true servants of Jesus Christ – He must become greater; I must become less.
Too often today we find people following a Christian super-star. Unfortunately, all Christian super-stars will eventually let you down. John had the wisdom to point people away from himself and on to Jesus.
The greatest privilege we have in our lives is to introduce people to Jesus. As I say to all my leaders – sooner or later I will let you down – Jesus never will – follow Him!
The Lord may give us a great teaching ministry, a great healing ministry, the privilege of leading a large number of people in worship or in a church fellowship, but we must never make the mistake that it is our doing. God will never give His glory to another.
It’s all about JESUS.