John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.
Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before Him.
A quick review: My last post in John’s gospel was on Saturday the 28th. There was a debate, apparently, between John’s disciples and some Jews over the subject of purification. Then some of John’s disciples came to him and pointed out that lots of people were going to Jesus for baptism, instead of to John.
Here we have John’s reply: Everything he had was a gift of God, including those who responded to his ministry. People who responded to Jesus were to be received with thanksgiving, and not with criticism. John was completely clear that there was to be no division between his followers and the followers of Jesus.
John then reminded his loyal followers that he had told them before that he, himself, was not the Christ. He was the messenger, the forerunner, to proclaim that Christ was coming. He did not try to elevate himself above Christ; he did not, in false humility, deny the calling that God had put on his life. He simply went about doing the work he was called to do.
I’ve been thinking about John’s statement here for several days. If we would all simply do whatever it is that God has called us to do, not elevating ourselves or calling attention to ourselves, there wouldn’t be so much division and dispute among believers. We fuss and fume about things we just ought not to even be discussing. I’m not talking about points of doctrine here, or anything God’s Word very clearly defines.
I’m talking about the apparent need we have to raise ourselves above others in our service to Christ. Our tendency to follow the latest hue and cry that some famous preacher, speaker, or writer has been teaching, and raising that person (without his knowledge or consent) to a level far above most other believers.
After all, if he/she is famous and has thousands of loyal supporters, he/she must be right. Right? And we should get on the bandwagon. We tend to become groupies–to align ourselves with fame and power.
I’m not terribly fond of bandwagons. I’ve seen to many “greats” become full of pride and self, and come tumbling down from the heights to the depths of ignominy.
That won’t happen if we simply do what God has called us to do, and quit worrying about what someone else may be doing.
Am I saying that if we simply follow God’s call, we will never suffer? No, of course not. But we will not be pulled into the trap of money, fame, adulation and worldly praise. We’ll go about our work until Jesus comes, or God calls us home.