John 3:18-30

Today's message has two parts. The first half is a meditation on how our shame and guilt tempt us to hide in shadows and darkness from our Father. Drawing on a childhood memory, the Pastor beckons all who are listening to believe that what is lost to us by lurking in spiritual darkness is far more than what is gained by our "night life." Then, in the second half, we learn about John the Baptist's response to the growing popularity of Jesus. And we find those profound words: "[Jesus] must become greater; I must become less." One of the greatest errors of contemporary Christian teaching is that Jesus makes MORE of us; that He increases us so that we can give to Him from the surplus. That sounds true, but it isn't. In Truth, we are called to give to Jesus, not from a surplus He provides, but from ourselves, to our own loss and deprecation. As we lay lesser claim to our own lives - our time, talents, resources and recognition - Jesus is elevated in our lives. John the Baptist had to walk off the stage of his own life in order for Jesus to get His due. We have to do the same.