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Spotlight on Jesus
by Karen Burkhart
Today's reading is a continuation of a conversation between John the Baptist and his disciples. If you've been tracking through the Gospel of John with us, you'll remember John’s disciples had come to him concerned that everyone was bypassing John in order to be baptized by Jesus. The disciples may have expected their observation to stir some envy or jealousy, but John was unmoved. John knew his role as forerunner and best man, not as ribbon-breaker or vow-maker. John was determined to joyfully shine the spotlight on Jesus and fade deeper into His shadow: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
We pick up today with John putting those words into practice by expounding on the greatness of Christ while lowering himself. In so doing, John widened the gap between him and Christ, rather than narrowed it like most of us are inclined to do. John's mini-sermon reminded the disciples of his down-to-earth place in the Kingdom of God, lest they miss the real Heavenly Star. Perhaps John also preached these words to himself to keep any seedlings of pride from breaking through the earth and inching their way heavenward. Anyone who has been given a measure of power or influence surely needs regular reality checks--and it's always better to give those to yourself than wait for someone else to do it!
Tucked in today’s Scripture is another sobering reality—though Christ is above all, practically no one receives His testimony of what He has seen and heard! Jesus is, in fact, the ONLY expert witness to what God is like, yet He’s dismissed by most. It’s almost like there is a spiritual force that is working behind the scenes to blind people to the Truth…oh wait…there is:
'The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.' [2 Corinthians 4:4]
This rejection of the testimony of Jesus most reminds me that spiritual safety is not found in numbers. In fact, if we find our picture of God resembles the portrait of God most widely accepted, it’s probably time to go back to the drawing board—the Word of God. Only when we agree with the testimony of Jesus does God seal His claim on us.
So today, if we find our eyes fixed on earthly prophets or ourselves, or our ears tuned to earthly ideas about what God is like...let's pause and put the spotlight back on Jesus. In the end, He is the only One that matters.
Listen to this song, Only Jesus, and make the chorus your prayer to the Lord:
I don't want to leave a legacy
I don't care if they remember me--only Jesus
I've got only one life to live
I'll let every second point to him--only Jesus