Saturday after the Epiphany
1 John 5:14-21, Psalm 149:1-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b, & John 3:22-30
The Gospel narrative for today is one where we find both Jesus and John ministering and baptizing. Jesus is in Judea and John farther north along the Jordan River near Salim and just before John was thrown into prison. We know it was not Jesus who administered the rite of baptism but rather His disciples following His instructions. During that time, a debate occurred over which one had the greater purifying ability. It seems that John's disciples were Jealous of Jesus and concerned about the decreasing popularity of their beloved leader.
John was quick to tell them that all ministry and blessings come from God, so there is no room for competition. He had no right to claim importance other than what God gave him. Even today, it is easy to get caught up in competition and comparison when two popular preachers are involved in a similar work in the same area. John says that he is not the Messiah, but the one sent to prepare the way for Him.
Friends, John uses a beautiful illustration that compares Jesus to the bridegroom and himself to the best man. According to the Old Testament, Israel was the bride, and Jehovah was the bridegroom, and once the bridegroom and the bride are brought together, the best man's work is completed. It would be foolish for the best man to try to take the bride away from the bridegroom. At this point, John said, "He must increase; I must decrease." He means that God's Son comes from heaven and is above all others. John the Baptist was a faithful servant of God.
Question of the Day: Do you recognize and how will you decrease acts of jealousy in your life?
Prayer: "The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen. Alleluia, alleluia."