When John the Baptist was born to his parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth, we are told that he was the one who was going to prepare the way for Jesus (Lk.1:11-18, 1:68-80; cf. Isa. 40:3; Mal. 3:1, 4:5). John would get the hearts of Israel ready to receive her king. His primary focus was on calling Israel to repentance and then baptizing them for the forgiveness of their sins (Matt. 3:2; Mark 1:4).
In addition to baptizing people John said some powerful things about Jesus. John was exceptional at directing people to Jesus and away from himself. John makes three statements that need to regularly be on the lips of Christians. While we are not forerunners in the same way he was, we do have a responsibility to point people to Jesus and not to ourselves. Every Christian should repeat after John and magnify the Lord with our lips and our lives like he did. Here are the three statements we should all regularly repeat:
1. “I am not the Christ” (John 1:20)
This admission that John makes is a relief. People confused John with the Messiah and he quickly alerted them to their mistake. He was working for the Messiah, but he was not the Savior of the world. We should remind ourselves of our place in the world. There’s only one messiah and judge and we’re not him (James 4:12). We do not own all the world’s problems or have to solve them all, but we can direct people to the one who can.
2. “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)
John realized that Jesus was the sacrifice from heaven that came to heal the sins of those on earth. John described Jesus as the lamb of God meaning that God provided what we could not provide for ourselves. He also highlighted that he takes care of the sins of the entire world (1 Jn. 2:2). We should regularly be asking our friends, family members, and neighbors to look at Jesus and behold him (John 1:36). Jesus came and did what no one else could do.
3. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
As Jesus’ ministry grew and John’s diminished, he was not jealous because he knew that was exactly how things should go. We need to repeat this phrase to ourselves often and rehearse it continually. Christianity is about the increase of God’s glory and not ours (Psalm 115:1). We should desire that Jesus’ glory be magnified and ours minimized because that is the way it’s supposed to be (Gal. 1:3-5).