The first interaction we see between Jesus and John is when Jesus came to John to be baptized by him in the Jordan (Matt. 3:13). Later, Jesus would say that there was no one born of women greater than John, the Baptist (Matt. 11:11). We have studied about John in previous lessons. Still, there is another characteristic of John that needs to be observed, his humility.
From the first time we see John interacting with Jesus, John’s humility is a prominent feature of this greatest of all the prophets (Luke 7:28). He had already been preaching that he was the forerunner of the Greater One to follow (Matt. 3:11). The One John was sent to announce was so far above him that he wasn’t even worthy to carry that One’s sandals! When Jesus came to be baptized by him in the Jordan, John tried to prevent Him, saying it was Jesus who should be baptizing John (Matt. 3:13). He knew who Jesus was, the sinless Son of God! He always exalted the Savior, never himself. His message was always, “He must increase, I must decrease” (Jn. 3:30). His popularity was never about him!
He had the entire region coming out to hear his message. He was baptizing multitudes of people. His popularity was so great that people even asked him if he was the Messiah (Luke 3:15; Jn. 2:19, 20). “No,” was his answer! He could have turned his popularity into his own religious movement. If not as the Messianic fulfillment himself, then as a great prophet to be followed above all others (Jn. 1:21). But, again, his answer was “no.” He was the forerunner of the truly great One, for Whom he would prepare them and to Whom he would send them.
John was the very pattern of a humble preacher of the gospel! He always knew it wasn’t about him. All his work, his energy, and even his life was given to glorify the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” (Jn. 1:29). If we would be faithful evangelists for the Savior, we must follow John’s example of humility. It isn’t about us! No matter how popular we may be, no matter how many people we have the privilege to teach, baptize, and disciple, it must never be about us. No one will go to heaven because we made them our disciples! (cf. 1 Cor. 1:10-13). The only way to get people to heaven is by being humble messengers of Christ and following John’s example of “He must increase, I must decrease.”