By Pst. Dr. Shana Wise
All of us have been given God-given influence and purpose, but what matters is how we use it for Christ’s sake. John the Baptist had disciples of his own (followers) but he was able to transition them to follow Christ and not him. The body of Christ to adhere to this powerful lesson from John, which is not “building a name for the local church”, or seeing how many followers we can get, rather it’s about getting others to follow Christ. We must be able to disciple others, but our role in their lives is to be the support system (church, community, fellowship) with their walk and relationship with Christ. Let us examine how John was able to be all that God called him to be and lead others to Christ.
The First Disciples
John 1:35-42, Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. 36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour). 40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone).
Have you ever shared testimony to your peers, and they ended up following Christ? Or, have you had a circle of influence, followers, loyal friends, or family and because of your word you got them to focus less on you and your relationship and more on Christ?
That’s what John the Baptist did in this passage of scripture. John publicly,
unashamed, and with excitement, announced that Jesus was the Lamb of God. By John’s word alone, it caused others to immediately follow Christ.
John’s testimony should have us examine our testimony and witness for Christ. Are people leaving everything and following Christ immediately based on your witness?
John was the one called to “prepare a way” (prophet, mouthpiece for God) for Christ the Messiah. In the way he chose to live his life, teach, and preach; John’s focus and mission was getting the people’s heart’s ready to receive Christ. He was teaching people to repent of their sins and be baptized by water. Yet, the other part of John’s teaching was that one was coming that would take away the sins of the world. When John saw Jesus he knew that his ministry role was changing from “preparing the people” to getting them to follow Christ.
“Behold the Lamb of God!” This was John’s testimony of Christ. He used the word, “behold” and this means to shift your focus on what currently has your attention and put it on a focal point. John was adamant that the ones around him see the Lamb of God. Like John, we need to master the art of our testimony which is being able to shift others' focus to The Lamb of God. It only took five words of testimony to get John’s disciples to follow Christ. How amazingly simple, right?! It can be that simple for us if, like John, we are beholding Christ in every area of our lives.
What does it look like to you to “behold Christ”?
John the Baptist Exalts Christ
John 3:22-36, After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized. 24 For John had not yet been thrown into prison. 25 Then there arose a dispute between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!” 27 John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore, this joy of mine is fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease. 31 He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. 33 He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. 34 For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. 36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
John was intentional in the way that he responded to his disciples. He was able to respond to questions and disputes amongst his disciples by turning them into teachable moments.
Isn’t it interesting that that argument that arose between John’s disciples and the Jews was about purification? Why should purification even have been an argument? The answer is Jesus’ ministry had started and a shift was taking place. Unfortunately, John’s disciples and the Jews didn’t get this memo, so John chose to tell them exactly what was happening. John began to testify, again, who Jesus was, and John’s role in Jesus’ ministry.
It bought John joy that Jesus’ earthly ministry was going forth. Due to this fact, John recognized that it was time for him (his works, ministry, and following) to decrease and for Christ to increase. John knew the assignment that God sent him to do (prepare the way), was coming to an end. I also believe John knew that his time on earth was coming to an end as well.
John knew that it was important that his disciple's focus shifted from the work they had done together to now following Jesus. In a sense, John was saying, “Hey guys, all this work that we have done up to this point has now completed the purpose that it was sent for. Now the Christ that I have always taught and preached about is here! It is time for you to move from me and the work God called me to do and follow Christ!” “He is the Messiah, the Chosen One, the Lamb of God, God in the flesh; follow Him!”
The lesson we must get from this passage of scripture is that, like John, we must recognize when it is time to shift our ministry works and followers for the sake of Christ. There will come a time we will no longer continue to do the same ministry works; we need to be able to change direction. Part of this is receiving and releasing people within the local church without hesitation as John did with his disciples. We also need to be able to change our current methods of ministry to get more people to follow Christ.
I challenge you this week to examine your life and see what areas you need to decrease in so that Christ can increase.
Examine your testimony, is it leading others to want to follow Christ? If not, what can you do differently to reach people?
If you are a ministry leader or have any type of leadership role, are you being sensitive to the Holy Spirit regarding the ones you are leading? Are there ones that you have not released yet (promoted, sent away to follow someone else, and/or join or start another ministry)? What is hindering you from shifting for Christ?
About the Author
Dr. Shana Wise is an ordained Pastor and CEO of Wise Choice Ministries (est. 2016). She is the founder of The Well Christian Women’s Network formally known as Christian Women Preachers United. Dr. Wise is the author of women’s devotional, Acts of Intercession, The Impact of Your Election, and co-author of Basic Ministry Training Manual (available on Amazon) and Chief Women Arise. She received a Doctor of Divinity degree in 2019 from St. Thomas Christian University. Her passion is to teach and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, equip others to apply the Word to their lives, and demonstrate the Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. She is a televangelist that appears on social media outlets. Shana is married to Deacon Ron Wise and is the mother of four children.
For speaking engagements email: email@example.com.
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Acts of Intercession
The Impact of Your Election
Basic Ministry Training Manual
Chief Women Arise
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