18 John’s disciples informed him about all these things. John called two of his disciples 19 and sent them to the Lord. They were to ask him, “Are you the one who is coming, or should we look for someone else?”
20 When they reached Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you. He asks, ‘Are you the one who is coming, or should we look for someone else?’”
21 Right then, Jesus healed many of their diseases, illnesses, and evil spirits, and he gave sight to a number of blind people. 22 Then he replied to John’s disciples, “Go, report to John what you have seen and heard. Those who were blind are able to see. Those who were crippled now walk. People with skin diseases are cleansed. Those who were deaf now hear. Those who were dead are raised up. And good news is preached to the poor. 23 Happy is anyone who doesn’t stumble along the way because of me.”
24 After John’s messengers were gone, Jesus spoke to the crowds about John. “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A stalk blowing in the wind? 25 What did you go out to see? A man dressed up in refined clothes? Look, those who dress in fashionable clothes and live in luxury are in royal palaces. 26 What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 He is the one of whom it’s written: Look, I’m sending my messenger before you, who will prepare your way before you. 28 I tell you that no greater human being has ever been born than John. Yet whoever is least in God’s kingdom is greater than he.”
In any situation, it’s important to know your role.
I often think about it in terms of music. There’s a phenomenon, which tends to be more pronounced among really good musicians, of overplaying. It’s when we’re tempted by the idea that more is always better, and that because I can, I should. Maybe the drummer gets fancy and fills more of the space than needed. Or the bassist might get so busy underneath that the groove gets muddled. And of course the guitarist, not to be outdone, turns up a bit and suddenly a tune that should be kind of quiet has zero dynamics.
When I used to lead a praise band, the way I dealt with this was to remind everyone that we were there to serve the song, and that by serving the song we were serving the Lord. When you get your ego out of it to let the lyrics and arrangement shine through, you keep yourself from standing in the way of people’s worship.
But to serve the song, everyone’s got to know their role. Each person has a specific job to support and serve the song that God’s singing right now.
This is the overarching message of John the Baptist’s life – know your role and serve the song. He understood that his job was incredibly important, but that he was only the forerunner of things to come. Someone with a bigger ego might not have understood that, have overplayed, and found themselves in competition with Jesus. John’s genius was that he knew his role and served the song with humility, grace, and passion.
For Pondering & Prayer
Do you struggle more with overplaying or underplaying? Is there a situation going on right now where God is calling you to step out, or maybe to step back?
How can you help people around you to set ego aside and re-focus on serving the song today?