DAY 8 – BETHANY BEYOND THE JORDAN
Read John 3:23-30
Who was the last of the Old Testament prophets? We might say it was John the Baptist. When he was asked about his identity, John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah: “‘I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!’” (John 1:23 NLT). Like many other Old Testament prophets, John’s responsibility was to point people to the coming Messiah.
John’s life was characterized by the eccentric, even the supernatural. His birth was announced by an angel to elderly and surprised parents. Because of unbelief, Zacharias, his father, was unable to speak until he gave John his name at birth. John lived in the desert, wore clothes made of camel’s hair and ate locusts and wild honey. He was a fiery preacher who proclaimed the message of repentance, attracted great crowds to his ministry, and baptized people in Bethany beyond the Jordan.
Finally, he came face-to-face with the Messiah and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 NLT). For the rest of his life, John had one primary message: “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” (John 3:30 NLT). That should be the same desire of every Christ-follower. The influence of Jesus in us should become greater and greater.
When he wrote to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul said, “…With all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:20b-21 KJV). What does it mean to magnify something? It means to make it bigger! When people look at us – the character of Jesus should be more and more evident. They should see Him above anything else. Can you say that’s the heartbeat of your life? It was for John!.
Truth is … if we live to magnify the Lord Jesus, life may not be easy. It may be filled with challenges, hardships, even martyrdom. But there is no greater privilege in life than to magnify the Lord “whether by life or by death.”
Prayer of reflection: Lord Jesus, would you be magnified in my life today so that people see more of you and less of me?