John the Baptist’s followers have expressed concern that Jesus is now getting all of John’s followers. John’s ministry is fading as Jesus’ ministry skyrockets. John has told them that this is of the Lord. He now addresses their concerns by expressing what is on his own heart.
John is not the Christ
John emphasizes that he has always maintained that he is not the Christ. He is not the person they are supposed to follow. John was sent to make people follow Jesus Who is the Christ.
John rejoices in Jesus receiving all the attention
John gives the illustration of a wedding ceremony. Jesus is the groom, and John is the groomsman. The wedding is about the groom, not the groomsman. The groomsman rejoices to see his friend getting married. John is here saying that everything is not about him. It has always been about pointing people to Jesus. John rejoices to see more and more people following Jesus and giving Him their attention.
Jesus must increase
John is not desirous to run his own ministry into the ground. Instead what he is saying is that the whole point of his ministry is to point people to Jesus. His whole purpose in life is to make much of Jesus. He desires to see everyone follow Jesus. That is the why John preaches.
John must decrease
John desires to have even less of a following than he has presently. Nothing would make John happier than to have no one to preach to because they were all following Jesus. John is telling his disciples that he wants his ministry to get smaller and smaller, not bigger and bigger. He is in effect telling his disciples that if they left him to follow Jesus he would be happier than if they stayed and followed him.
Are you willing to decrease so that Jesus might increase?