Scripture Reading:
Matt. 3:1-11; 11:2-19; 14:3-12; Mark 2:18

“He must increase, but I must decrease”(John 3:30)
john the baptist and his disciples – the dangers of self-exaltation

Still on the subject of discipleship, let us take a closer look at the experience of John the Baptist. In Matthew 3:11, John the Baptist begins his work of preparing the way for the Lord. He was quite humble at first, and even considered himself unworthy of carrying Jesus’ sandals. Little by little, however, some of his admirers who began following him became his disciples.

While his commission was to lead people to Christ by baptizing them unto repentance, John the Baptist ended up making disciples for himself. Eventually, when the Lord came, there was even conflict between the disciples of Jesus and those of John the Baptist. On a certain occasion, John’s disciples even joined the Pharisees in questioning the Lord Jesus and His disciples about fasting (Mark 2:18).

John the Baptist was eventually arrested (Matt. 14:3-4). While keeping his parallel discipleship, he was certain that the Lord would free him. God’s commission and charge for John the Baptist was to make straight the Lord’s path, and nothing more. In the end, during a celebration held by Herod, John the Baptist was beheaded by request of Herodias’s daughter (vv. 6-12).

The end of John the Baptist shows us that, except for the Lord Jesus Himself, no one should have disciples. Our fallen human nature, however, desires to be exalted and admired by others. This is not the Lord’s way. Paul was allowed to escape Damascus, that he might leave behind the apostleship he had created there. In Jerusalem, Tarsus and Antioch, he learned to serve alongside others and became eve more useful to the Lord.

Key Point:
Avoiding exaltation and following only the Lord.
What important lesson can we learn from the end of John the Baptist?