Why was John baptizing, after Jesus started?

John the Baptist was a great man. He was used of God to do many wonderful things, and turn many hearts toward their Savior. At one point in time, John the Baptist was even chosen by God to baptize Jesus. The scripture seems to suggest that John was a figure in the bible who would call out to people to prepare the way for the Lord.

So in John 3, we find that Jesus has begun his ministry and has begun to baptize people. John, however, is still baptizing. And in this snapshot of time, we see John’s heart, and the perspective a true co-laborer with God should have.

You see, John’s ministry didn’t stop when Jesus’ began. God still had a specific calling on his life. I feel like it could have been easy for John to simply say, “Well, God’s here, I can go home now.” But he didn’t take that attitude. He continued to serve.

Some of his followers even came to him, and they basically asked, (I’m paraphrasing) “What’s with this other guy who’s baptizing?”

John’s reply is perfect.

“Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him . . .  He must increase, but I must decrease.”

John knew his place. He was there to serve. He was not to gain glory for himself. He wasn’t there because no one else could do the job, or because God “needed” him. He was simply in the role of a servant, doing the service appointed to him.

I feel like we can become discouraged sometimes. Maybe someone else seems “better” at ministry than we are. Maybe we feel like we’re not needed. Or we question our place because we know God could do it all on His own.

Let me exhort you, be the person God has called you to be. And seek out to do the ministry God has for you. It doesn’t matter how you think you measure up, or how much you may think God doesn’t need you to do His work. God chose you for a specific purpose. The ministry He has for you was given to you with the purpose of glorifying Him. So take your place in bringing glory to Him, with all your heart!

Would you be ashamed?

While we walk through this world, we are being watched. And our actions speak. As believers, we must learn to be consistent and live by the standards we claim. We bear the name of God, and what we do glorifies Him, or gives the heathen a reason to blaspheme.

In the book of Ezra, the king (Artaxerxes of Persia) commissions Ezra to rebuild the house of God. The king gives Ezra authority, permissions, and a lot of gold. As Ezra goes about to rebuild the temple, he realizes that he needs some Levites to come with him to do the temple work. Ezra sends out messengers to get some Levites, and when the need is fulfilled, he gives God the glory for the provision.

A short time later, Ezra was faced with a greater need. He’s traveling through enemy filled territory with provisions, children, and probably a huge amount of gold. He needs protection. Many people in this situation, would go and ask the king for help, but Ezra didn’t.

He decided to fast and pray instead. He said, “For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.” – Ezra 8:22

He wanted to show consistency, and he was ashamed to ask the king for help because that would almost be like telling the king that his God wasn’t what He had claimed. Ezra and those with Him, fasted and prayed, and God showed them a safe path.

I challenge you to be consistent like Ezra. God is glorified through us when we decide to act in faith. If you find yourself with a need, go to God first. Many times we claim that our God is great and provides for our needs, but then we worry and fret, and spend time stress-fully scheming instead of seeking Him. In every area of our lives, let us strive to live consistently. Let’s not quote the Bible and then fail to live by it.

Ezra took a stand to seek God for his provision, and I hope you will too. Let’s live consistent lives.