Ellen G. White Writings

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Humble Hero, Page 76

a messenger between the engaged parties, preparing the way for the marriage. When the bridegroom had received his bride, the mission of the friend was completed. He rejoiced in the happiness of the couple whose union he had promoted. In the same way, it was John’s joy to witness the success of the Savior’s work. He said, “Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Looking in faith to the Redeemer, John had risen to the height of selfdenial. He had been only a voice, a cry in the wilderness. Now with joy he accepted silence and obscurity, so that everyone might turn their eyes to the Light of life.

John’s soul was emptied of self but was filled with the light of God. John said, “He who comes from above is above all. ... For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.” Christ could say, “I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” John 5:30.

It is the same way with the followers of Christ. We can receive Heaven’s light only as we are willing to be emptied of self and consent to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. God gives the Holy Spirit beyond measure to all who do this.

The success of Christ’s work, which the Baptist had received with joy, was reported also to the authorities at Jerusalem. The priests and rabbis had been jealous of John’s influence as they saw the people leaving the synagogues and flocking to the wilderness. But here was One who had even greater power to attract the crowds. Those leaders in Israel were not willing to say with John, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Christ’s Example of Avoiding Misunderstanding

Jesus knew that the storm was building that would sweep away one of the greatest prophets ever given to the world. Wanting to avoid all occasion for conflict, He quietly left for Galilee. We also, while remaining loyal to the truth, should try to avoid everything that may lead to misunderstanding. Whenever circumstances threaten to cause division, we should follow the example of Jesus and of John the Baptist.

God had called John to lead out as a reformer. But his work was not sufficient to lay the foundation of the Christian church. Another work had to be done, which his testimony could not accomplish. His disciples did not understand this. When they saw Christ coming in to take the work, they were jealous.

The same dangers still exist. God calls someone to do a certain work, and when he has carried it as far as he is qualified, the Lord brings in others to carry it further. But many feel that the success of the work depends on the first laborer. Jealousy comes in, and the work of God is marred. The one wrongly honored is tempted to cherish self-confidence. The people rely on the human instrument for guidance and are led away from God.

Happy are those who are willing for self to be humbled, who can say with John the Baptist, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

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