30He must increase, but I must decrease. [simple_tooltip content=’22 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 3:22-36)[/simple_tooltip]


Jesus said in Luke 7:28, “Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist.” I believe the story of John shows us the main reason Jesus called him the greatest prophet that ever lived.

John the Baptist spent thirty years in preparation for his ministry. He didn’t enjoy the normal benefits of childhood or adolescence. He lived out in the desert, away from people and separated unto God. (Luke 1:80.) Then finally, for approximately six months he enjoyed success in ministry like no other man ever had. The multitudes flocked to the wilderness to hear him preach. He became the most influential man in Israel and was known to the Roman rulers.

Then one day he baptized Jesus in the Jordan River and proclaimed Him the Messiah (Matt. 3:13-17; John 1:29). From that moment on, the multitudes and even his own disciples began to follow Jesus in ever-increasing numbers. This would have destroyed most men; but when he was questioned about it, John replied, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” Shortly after that he was imprisoned (Matt. 4:12), and after one-and-a-half years in a dark cell, he was beheaded.

John’s greatness didn’t lie in his own success but in the success of another. Jesus owed much of His success to the preparatory work of John. In our celebrity-conscious society, few people want to be the backup singer or the stage manager. We have adopted a mentality that unless we are in the limelight we are nothing. That’s not the way Jesus sees things! He taught in Matthew 23:11, “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant.”

Surely John the Baptist was the greatest prophet because he was a great servant to Jesus. His life and Jesus’ commendation for him is all you need to inspire you to be a great servant to Jesus and everyone you meet today.