Tuesday, June 9, 2020
When I was a young boy I loved playing with our model train set. We had a locomotive that actually blew smoke. My brothers and I would play for hours setting up the track and all the accessories, and then running the train as fast as we could without it derailing. As I recall, we had a lot of fun, so long as the train stayed on the tracks.
Consider that concept of staying on track in the context of world events right now. It may appear like a major derailment. Yet if we were to poll each other, we might discover that very few of us feel that we are a part of the train wreck. In fact, most of us believe that if our ideas were implemented the problems would be solved. We tend to believe that we have the answers, and everything would stay on track if people would just listen to us.
In our Scripture passage from the Gospel of John this week, there was an attempt made to get John the Baptist off track. A debate was started about who’s ideas about baptism were more important. John the Baptist was confronted with an idea that he should begin to boost his own following because people were starting to follow Jesus. He probably felt tempted to get off track. But rather than give in to the temptation to protect his own position or popularity, he surrendered his following to the only One worthy of being followed.
John 3:28-30 “You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Read these words again – Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.
WOW! True joy comes from pointing people to Jesus, not from getting things done our way. We tend to believe that real joy is ours when people listen to us and follow us. We seek joy in self-affirmation by bringing other people into agreement with us. We think we will validate our value by building a following of our ideas. But John the Baptizer reveals to us that true joy is found only in fulfilling the purpose of Christ.
So many followers of Christ are off track today because we prioritize our political positions or agenda over the Gospel mission of redemption. The church of Jesus Christ is being derailed in the name of social conscience. We must get back on track and realize that only by pointing people to Jesus will any social reform take place. Anything less is nothing more than a band aid destined to fall off and reveal an ugly wound.
We, the followers of Jesus, must decrease in our need for personal recognition or validation, and we must point people to Jesus. He is the only source of healing for our land.