Over the past couple of months, I have been spending some time with John chapter 1 every day (or as often as I can). Today, we had our staff prayer time, and we focused on our youth ministry. I went to the teen room to pray. I sat down and read John 1 in light of Chris and Abbey’s ministry. As I read the “obscure beginnings of all things that have passed on to greatness” (as A.B. Bruce describes the opening chapter of this gospel), I noticed three movements that apply to everyone who considers themselves a minister of God.
1> Ministers know their role in relation to the Messiah. In verses 19-23, we see John approached by a group of religious leaders inquiring about the identity of John. “Who are you?” they ask him. John immediately replies, “I am not the Messiah!” The men keep prodding, “Are you Elijah?” – “Are you the Prophet we are expecting?” – “Then, who are you?” —- John’s answer is simple, “I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!”
John is humble and refuses any special recognition. All he desires is for the Way of Jesus to be cleared for – or (as another translation puts it) prepared for.
2> Ministers keep their focus on Jesus. In verses 29-37, we see the Baptist say twice “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” We know from this text that he is standing with a couple of disciples both times. There is this feeling that he doesn’t say it for their benefit so much as he cannot contain himself – when he sees Jesus, he must testify. And that is our role today as ministers. There is too much focus on the people we minister to and too little focus on Jesus. Example is the greatest way of teaching. If people can experience our being captivated and excited about the presence of God, then they will eventually, “follow Jesus” – as did the two disciples the second time John made his proclamation.
3> Ministers fade away un-noticed. In verses 38 – 51 you see John sort of fade away. Now, I had to read this about twenty times before I recognized it. He did it so quietly, in a stealth sort of fashion. All of the sudden, he is no where to be found. He ahd done his work (at least with those two disciples). Now they had gone over to Jesus. John’s work isn’t done – he quietly and peacefully leaves the two with their “Rabbi” and goes back about his business. He fades.