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!

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Are you an expert?

In today’s world we are constantly bombarded by the “expert” opinions of this panel or that scientist. We erect colleges, bestow degrees, acquire years of experience all in the name of knowledge. People dedicate their entire lives to the studying of a thing, and for this they become respected, renowned, and even revered.

In all this, do we examine our limitedness? Do we even know that much? What is the wisdom of the wisest man compared to God? What is the knowledge of the most astute intellectual compared to God? We scoff a the experts of  20 years past, and they scoff at those 20 years more. We seek after knowledge, and we do find it, but does our search ever bring us to truth, or simply another facet of man’s ever shifting flawed perspective on the world?

There was a man who was a leader of the Pharisees who visited Jesus by night. He wanted to learn from Christ so that He could find truth. At one point in the conversation, Jesus exclaims, “Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?”

Nicodemus was the expert of his day. He was in charge of the religious system, and He didn’t know some basic spiritual ideas. Jesus even chided him for rejecting the testimony of people who had spoke of Jesus’ ministry’s power saying, “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” John 3:12

The idea that I’m trying to share, is that no matter how much you have studied, or learned, or how you may be at the forefront of your field, there is always more to learn, and there is always someone to learn from. Nicodemus was an expert, and compared to the wisdom of Christ, he didn’t know very  much at all.

In 1 Corinthians 8, we are told, “Knowledge puffeth up,” When we are rich in earthly knowledge, it can become easy to be enticed by pride. We become so involved in our good opinion of ourselves we forget the God who deserves all the praise and honor and glory.

I would invite you, no matter how much you may be an ‘expert’ don’t allow your experience, knowledge, or education to bring you to pride. You may know much compared to those around you, but you know nothing compared to an all wise God. Remember that.

Imagine hearing truth from Hitler

What if I told you that you should be kind to other people? Would you take that as something to be listened to? Would you take it to heart?

Now imagine your most hated enemy. Or perhaps it’s someone that hates you. Think of someone you hate the most, from history or from current times. Think of Hitler, Stalin, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, a terrorist who wants to kill you. What if they were here, and they told you to be kind to other people? How would you receive it?

In John 4, a woman is confronted by a similar situation. The Jews and the Samaritans had an old hateful relationship. The Jews resented the Samaritans because they were “half-breeds” with the Assyrians. And the Samaritans hated the Jews right back. There was a lot of animosity, and they were not on speaking terms.

So in the story in John 4, Jesus asks a Samaritan woman for a drink of water. Immediately she is on guard, and she asks him, why he is talking to her. As the conversation continues, Jesus reveals himself as the Messiah and He changes the woman’s life. She in turn goes back to the town and invites all them men to meet Christ and know His transforming power.

Now I ask you, what if that woman couldn’t see past Jesus’ Jewish heritage? Where would she have gone? How would her story had ended? She opened her heart, even though Jesus was a Jew. She chose to see past the hate.

I would like to pose the idea to you, that God has many ways of teaching us. He may want to teach us through our pastor or trusted friends, or He may use someone we don’t like. Sometimes God brings people in our lives to teach us things and these people we may not especially like. I challenge you, look past the outer shell and see the person on inside. Don’t let hate, bigotry, or stereotypes determine how you treat someone or whether you listen to them.

God uses everyone, don’t ever let your views of other people limit God’s working in your life.

For the Samaritan woman, looking past her feelings about Jews totally changed her life. She had a special talk with Christ, and it left her different. Imagine how God might speak to you if you listened for His leading despite the source.