He must increase, but I must decrease


John 3:28-30 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’  The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.  He must increase, but I must decrease.” 

John Piper, in a sermon “He Must Increase, I Must Decrease”

Look how verse 29 emphasizes John the Baptist’s joy: “The friend [that’s John] of the bridegroom [that’s Jesus], who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.” Those are strong words: “rejoices greatly” and “this joy of mine is now complete.” Great joy. Complete joy. All owing to what?

bride.groomThe Bridegroom is getting all the attention. The cameras are flashing all in that direction. The rice is all flying in that direction. The honeymoon is in that direction. And nobody glances back at the silenced voice sitting on the church steps. The voice of the Bridegroom, the voice of the Shepherd, has replaced the voice crying in the wilderness. And in a few months, the sword of Herod will absolutely silence John’s voice (cf. verse 24). And John’s response to this—to this diminishing, this decreasing? This great joy of mine is now complete (verse 29).

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