Main Verse: Mark 1:9
by Brian Phillips
What a contrast to today’s celebrities.
Here is John, dressed in ratty clothes, dieting on grasshoppers and honey. He’s preaching the need for people to turn from their past, seek forgiveness, leave their self-centered ways behind and follow God. He’s baptizing them in public, to show that they have chosen a new life with God at the center, rather than themselves. And, yet, as many lives as he helped change, and as many followers as he had, he still claimed that someone greater than himself was yet to come. He minimized His ministry, as dynamic as it was, by saying it was only a shadow of what his cousin’s would be (Jesus and John were related through their mothers).
Then, Jesus comes along. So unassuming that the crowds hardly noticed Him. John, in fact, had to cry out, “There He is!” (John 1:29) for anyone to notice. Yet, Jesus doesn’t stand up and push John aside and thank him for “preparing the way.” He doesn’t grab the microphone and wave His arms up and down to get the crowd pumped. He doesn’t even perform a snappy miracle just to grab their attention, and affirm what John had been saying about Him.
Nope, Jesus doesn’t take a posture of celebrity. He takes one of humility. He insists on being subservient to John, and receives John’s baptism before He launches into His historic ministry.
Taking a subservient role would be a theme throughout Jesus’ ministry. And, for that, God was “fully pleased.”
Food for Thought
I come from a rather famous family. But, I rarely talk about it because my side of the family went bankrupt and we never recovered the wealth. I only talk about it when asked to speak publicly, because it was through the loss of wealth that I came to realize I had a greater need: Jesus.
Recently, I met a well-to-do couple on an outreach trip. For some reason, I felt the need to impress them and revealed my somewhat infamous upbringings. They were very UN-impressed. I found out later they were billionaires.
During the week, however, we grew to appreciate the way we each served others. It was a lesson Jesus exemplified. Humility is always better than celebrity.
So What Now?
When was the last time you were tempted to take center stage? Why not look for a chance to serve someone without recognition?
God, so often I want to be noticed. To be the one getting all the attention. Help me look for people in need, and quietly serve them. In Jesus’ name. Amen.