Wednesday after Quasimodogeniti
Scripture: St. John 3:22-36 (NKJV)
3:22 After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized. 24 For John had not yet been thrown into prison. 25 Then there arose a dispute between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!”
27 John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
31 “He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. 33 He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. 34 For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. 35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. 36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
John the Baptist was a faithful shepherd. His faithfulness was shown in many ways, not the least of which was his humility. He wasn’t a preacher because he craved followers or fame. He was a preacher because God had sent him to point people to Christ. He knew that Christ was the heavenly Bridegroom who came to sanctify and cleanse His Church with the washing of water by the word, to shed His blood for her, to make her His bride. That meant that John—and every pastor after him—was not the Bridegroom, but only the friend of the Bridegroom. “He must increase, I must decrease.”
Still, what a privilege to be a friend of this Bridegroom! What an honor to be called to point sinners to Him for cleansing!
The faithful pastor does just that. He doesn’t preach himself. He doesn’t preach to get people to like him or to follow him. He preaches Christ Jesus and Him crucified. If his popularity wanes, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that he fulfills whatever role, great or small, that the Lord has for him in directing people to the only One who can shelter them from God’s wrath. The motivation of a faithful pastor is love for Christ and love for souls, for the wrath of God abides on all who don’t believe in Christ, as John says. And as Paul says in Romans 10, “How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?”
We pray: O Lord Jesus, bless Your Church with humble pastors who are devoted to pointing sinners to You, who loved us and gave Yourself for us to save us from wrath and punishment! Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.