JOHN the Baptist
“You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:28-30
[NOTE: John, one of the 12 disciples, is telling this story…it includes a story of John the Baptist (JB), and his (JB’s) encounter with Jesus near the beginning of Jesus’ formal ministry on earth.)
John the Baptist knew who he was. Before he was even born, his mother Elizabeth, with John in her womb, had been not only Mary’s aunt, but an unlikely mentor to her. Both miracle baby boys, cousins, had “met” before they were born…still in their mothers’ wombs. John became a famous prophet, a one-of-a-kind proclaimer of the long-awaited Messiah, Jesus. John courageously, fearlessly spoke of the Messiah’s arrival on earth. He grabbed his world’s attention, announcing the One Who had stepped onto this planet to fulfill the Plan God had set into motion “in the Beginning.”
John understood who Jesus was. He also knew who he was, and lived out his part in the Plan that was unfolding before his eyes. John embraced his assigned work with his whole heart, mind and strength. John also understood and embraced his role of being the “friend of the Bridegroom.” Though he had drawn many followers through his powerful message, John was waiting and listening for Him [the Messiah]… the Bridegroom who was about to step into the spotlight.
Then came the day when Jesus asked John to be His “Baptiser”, as John had been for all who had heard and believed his message to repent and turn to God. John baptized Jesus. The Holy Spirit of God visited the event, appearing as a dove, announcing that Jesus was God’s ‘beloved Son, in whom He was very pleased.’ John had always known who Jesus really was. But in that moment, God’s audible Announcement began the turning point of John’s life.
Jesus, the Bridegroom, had come. John had been waiting … listening…and preparing. At that moment in time, John stepped into the role of “Friend of the Bridegroom,” and embraced it with great joy. There was no sense of resentment, competition, jealousy, or disappointment. John embraced his role, stepping into the background to watch the Groom bring His Bride to Himself.
John proved to be the perfect “Friend of the Bridegroom”….stepping aside, out of the limelight of the spiritual fame he had been given throughout Israel. John had been worthy of God’s choice of being “friend of the bridegroom.” He had the Bridegroom’s trust, as he had powerfully prepared the way for the hearts of the people – “The Bride” – to turn to the Bridegroom when He came on the scene. John had faithfully set the stage for the Bridegroom to arrive and gather His Bride.
When that moment came, John gracefully and intentionally moved into the shadows as Bridegroom Jesus stepped onto the Stage of Earth with the Good News that He was ready to take His Bride into the Kingdom of God, paid for by His own Blood, laying down His life for His Beloved.
Are you a Friend of the Bridegroom? Has He entrusted His heart…His commitment, His Love to be communicated to His Bride through your life? It is a precious responsibility He has entrusted to mere mortals to be His trusted friends. As the Wedding Day approaches, are we listening intently, staying near to the Bridegroom, and actively involved in relaying His Heart to His Bride?
May we, the Bride of Christ, be ready – “without spot or wrinkle” – when our Bridegroom comes for us. He has been preparing our Home…..His coming could be at any moment.