disappearing into greatness
"I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals on His feet." —Acts 13:25
The meaning of John the Baptizer's life is like the meaning of the lives of Mary, the canonized saints, and ourselves. We exist for Jesus. Therefore, everything about John is not primarily about John but about Jesus. John was conceived in relation to Jesus' conception (see Lk 1:36). John was filled with the Holy Spirit in the womb of Elizabeth (Lk 1:15) because Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary (Lk 1:35). John's birthday points to Jesus' birthday. John was a Nazirite (see Lk 1:15) to prepare for Jesus, the Nazorean (see Mt 2:23). John was like Elijah (Lk 1:17) because Jesus is the Messiah for Whom Elijah was to prepare. John preached the baptism of repentance because Jesus, the Lamb of God (see Jn 1:29), offers us Baptism to take away sins and also to give us a new nature (see Mk 1:8). John had disciples so he could send them to Jesus (Jn 1:29, 36-37). John is the voice (Lk 3:4) because Jesus is the Word (Jn 1:1, 14).
John's life was about decreasing to the point (see Jn 3:30) that he had nothing to say for himself and everything to say for Jesus. In losing his life, John found his life (Lk 9:24; Gal 2:20) and became one of the greatest people who has ever lived (see Lk 1:15). Be like John.
Prayer: Jesus, my Life! (see Jn 14:6)
Promise: "Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, yet my reward is with the Lord." —Is 49:4
Praise: St. John went "before the Lord to prepare straight paths for Him, giving His people a knowledge of salvation, in freedom from their sins" (Lk 1:76-77).
Reference: (Lose your life into Jesus by helping others through the Bible. For encouragement, order our series on Biblical Counseling on audio AV 13A-1, AV 13A-3, AV 13B-1 or video starting with V-13A.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert A. Stricker, December 13, 2003
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 18, 2003