Eclipsed by Jesus (13-07-22)
Pause for thought
As we pause today, let us join with the praise of all God's people in these words from Psalm 9.
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a place of safety in times of trouble.
Those who know you, Lord, will trust you; you do not abandon anyone who comes to you.
Sing praise to the Lord, who rules in Zion! Tell every nation what he has done!
Bible Reading: John 1:29-30, 32-34
The next day John saw Jesus coming to him, and said,
"There is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
This is the one I was talking about when I said, 'A man is coming after me, but he is greater than I am, because he existed before I was born.'
I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven and stay on him.
I still did not know that he was the one,
but God, who sent me to baptize with water, had said to me,
'You will see the Spirit come down and stay on a man;
he is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'
I have seen it," said John, "and I tell you that he is the Son of God."
The beginning of John’s gospel marks the transition from the Old Covenant, as witnessed by John the Baptist, and the beginning of the New Covenant as announced by Jesus.
Succession planning, whether in life, in work or in ministry is never easy. Some people hang on to roles and responsibilities too long and the work suffers, others move on too soon, before the work is complete. John knew that his work was done and that it was time for him to hand over to Jesus. It seems he had been unsure as to who the Messiah, but God had told him how to recognise him.
Are there important decisions that you need to make, whether it is laying down a role or picking one up? Will you trust God to guide you to make the right choices?
John handed over the reins of God’s salvation plan to Jesus, knowing that Jesus’ ministry would eclipse his own. He was never-the-less content that he had fulfilled the role marked out to him. It may be that those who follow us will appear more successful that us. But I don’t think God is concerned about success, I think he is concerned about faithfulness. Let us seek to be faithful with all that God has entrusted to us and let us pray for rich blessings on those who follow us.
The different ministries of John and of Jesus are marked by different baptisms. God sent John to baptize with water, while he sent Jesus to baptise with the Holy Spirit. The baptism of water deals with the past; it marks our cleansing from sin by the blood of Jesus. In contrast the baptism of the Holy Spirit is for our future, anointing us to do God’s will in our lives, not in our own strength, but in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Thank you Lord Jesus that you cleanse me from sin through the waters of baptism.
Fill me now with your Holy Spirit, that I might serve you with your anointing. Amen
Behold the Lamb