“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. So this joy of mine has been made full.” (John 3:29)
John the Baptist knew that his own ministry was on the wane, and that more and more people were coming instead to Jesus. And others were noticing it. They said to him in :26 “all are coming to Him.” But John wasn’t jealous; instead he rejoiced. And he explained his attituude with the analogy of “the friend of the bridegroom.”
John said that the friend of a bridegroom “rejoices greatly” when he hears the bridegroom is coming. In this picture, Jesus is “the bridegroom” and John himself is “the friend of the bridegroom.” John said the friend of the bridegroom doesn’t become jealous when others come to his friend; rather he rejoices in it. John’s selfless picture here should challenge those of us who consider ourselves to be Jesus’ followers today:
— First of all, J0hn’s analogy here gives us good description of a genuine disciple: he calls him “the friend of the bridegroom.” ARE you “the friend of the bridegroom”? Does that accurately describe your relation to the Lord?
— And one way to tell whether that is truly so, is that the genuine friend of the Bridegroom REJOICES when he sees people coming to Him, and His kingdom expanded. The true friend of the Bridegroom doesn’t care if this happens through HIM or not; because like John he knows it is not about HIM (the friend) but about the BRIDEGROOM. Genuine friends of the Bridegroom rejoice to see the success of His kingdom, wherever and through whomever it may come. Is that true of YOU? Are you glad to see the Kingdom of God expand — even when it does not come through you, or church, or your ministry?
John the Baptist rejoiced when he saw the Kingdom of His Lord advancing — even as his own ministry was dimishing. He was a true “friend of the Bridegroom.” Are YOU?