REFLECTION ON JOHN 3:28-29, DR. NOEL JACOBS, SAINT AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY EPISCOPAL CHURCH, OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA
You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, “I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him. He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. And so that joy of mine has been made full.”
John is speaking about Jesus after being told someone else is baptizing people the way he does and people are beginning to follow that guy ‘instead.’ And John knows exactly who they are talking about. The focus of their gossip- perhaps to urge jealousy? - gives him joy instead. How awesome is it to hear that the very purpose you have served is going according to plan because God, and not man, is in charge? John is humble, prepared, thankful for this opportunity to have been a part of the journey of redemption for this world.
Humility, recognition of the bigger picture and the part we each play in this grand story, is sometimes hard to practice. We live inside our own heads, with our own desire for significance, meaning, connection. Stresses, frustrations, perceived losses, can overwhelm us and make us feel small and unimportant. When I read John’s words and understand his message, I am strengthened, remembering that my job is his job. I am called to do my work in the world around me – through the people I meet – to help prepare them to know Jesus. And that is not small. It is huge. But I must make myself less to do it right. Knowing how much Jesus loves me, I have clarity knowing there is no more important job, and no better reason to remain humble and excited about what is to come.
Healer and Redeemer, our very lives can be the message of hope, love and redemption that lead people to You. Give us the deep understanding of John for our lifelong mission, and remind us in your gentle way that our humility is necessary for this work. Amen.
Submitted by Noel Jacobs, Saint Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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