"He must increase, while I must decrease." —John 3:30
"A controversy about purification arose between John's disciples and a certain Jew" (Jn 3:25), but John the Baptizer did not join in the dispute because he was committed to living so that Jesus would increase.
John was losing his popularity to Jesus. When this was brought to his attention, John was completely joyful (Jn 3:29), for he wanted Jesus to increase.
John was thrown into prison for stating the truth about the adultery of Herod and Herodias (Jn 3:24; see also Mk 6:17ff). However, John was not intimidated or manipulated, but willingly laid down his life for truth and purity. Jesus would increase by the decrease of John to the point of death.
As disciples of Jesus, our constant commitment must be that Jesus will increase. We will give up our time, energy, money, and plans so that Jesus' Church will grow in numbers, holiness, influence, and power. We will gladly have nothing so that Jesus will have everything He wills.
On this second last day of Christmas, let us decide to live no longer for ourselves but for Him Who for our sakes died and was raised (2 Cor 5:15). May the year 2004 be the year of Jesus' increase and our decrease.
Prayer: Father, may I rejoice greatly at the Bridegroom's voice, the voice of Jesus (Jn 3:29).
Promise: "We know, too, that the Son of God has come and has given us discernment to recognize the One Who is true. And we are in the One Who is true, for we are in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life." —1 Jn 5:20
Praise: Praying that Jesus would increase was a common prayer among a group of strong, committed Christians who were responsible for hosting a major religious event.
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert A. Stricker, June 23, 2003
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 2003