He must become greater; I must become less.
A few years ago, PB and I went to a James Taylor concert. It was magic. Thousands of us (most of us in our fifties) sang along with JT to the soundtrack of our teenage years. We were all best friends by the end of the show.
Taylor is 72 years old and hitting the concert circuit again this summer. Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt are traveling with him as his opening acts. I’m sure both artists put on a good show in their own right, but when you buy a ticket to a James Taylor concert, there’s only one person you want to hear: James Taylor. The warm-up act is supposed to be good, but shouldn’t outshine the headliner. Its primary job is to let people know they should get to their seats because the main attraction is coming.
J the B (John the Baptist) was the opening warm-up act, not the headliner. He came to tip everyone off that the real star of the show was coming. His role was crucial in getting the crowd ready for the main event, but he understood that his time in the spotlight was limited. When his set-list was done, his job was to get backstage, and stay there.
I’ve always felt a little sorry for John. He didn’t get to be a disciple. He wasn’t asked to come over and hang out at Jesus’ place. He missed out on all the miracles. Then he got involved in politics and was beheaded.
Yet, J the B was full of joy because he knew two things:
who he was
who Jesus was.
Keeping those two things straight kept him on track.
It does the same for us.
So in all things Jesus has first place.
Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
This week’s reading: John 3 (deeper study on 3:27-35)
Next week’s reading: John 4 (deeper study on 4:1-10)