The Word and John
“There was a man sent from God whose name was John. (7) He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe through him. (8) He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light. (9) The true light that gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.” - John 1:6-9
“He must increase, but I must decrease." - John 3:30
Concept Summary – The second best man who ever lived.
The press, God bless them, were just as vitriolic and rumor-mongering during the Civil War as they are today. Two great Union generals felt the wrath of the press, and it came to a head after the Battle of Shiloh. The press went after General Grant, spreading a rumor that the first day’s disaster was due to his drunkenness. Previously, they’d been after General Sherman and actually accused him of insanity. Grant had stood by Sherman during that time and gave him command of a division to show his faith in him.
Sherman rallied to his friends’ defense in spite of the fact that associating with Grant put his own career in danger. These are his words: “He stood by me when I was crazy and I stood by him when he was drunk; and now, sir, we stand by each other always.” Their friendship, forged through great trial, made them an unbreakable team. Together, this winning team went on for three more years to win the war for the Union.
While Jesus and John the Baptist were actually cousins in the flesh (you can read about them in Luke 2), there’s a giant chasm separating them. John the Baptist knew his role from God was to act as a witness for Jesus, to act as a messenger introducing and preparing Israel to meet their divine King. He reveals his heart in the words of John 3:30 above; he never forgot that it was his joy to promote his Lord at every opportunity. Even to the diminishing of his ministry.
Further on in John 1, we can actually see John the Baptist promoting Christ to his followers. He sees Jesus approaching and tells Andrew and the apostle John, “Behold the Lamb of God!” They promptly left the Baptist and joined Christ, becoming part of His early team. The apostle John, who’s writing the account, even tells us it happened early in the morning.
Just as it was John the Baptist’s joy to introduce his followers to his King, we have the same opportunity this Christmas! When we gather with family and friends to celebrate the day, there’s no greater gift we can give them than to bring them all to “Behold the Lamb of God!” Start praying for God to work the soil of their hearts today!