54. JESUS MUST INCREASE, I MUST DECREASE
Felix Ngunjiri Gichuri
John the Baptist Came to Prepare the way for Christ (Messiah) and then Decrease
John the Baptist explained to his followers that his role was to prepare the way for the Lord, to prepare them to receive the coming Messiah who had already arrived. “And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:26-30 ESV2011) With this statement, John acknowledged that it was by design that Jesus should become more prominent and that John’s own ministry should decrease. Malachi had prophesied of a forerunner to the Messiah when he said that “See, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. Then the Lord you seek will suddenly come to His temple, the Messenger of the covenant you desire — see, He is coming,’ says the LORD of Hosts” (Mal 3:1 [HCSB]).
Jesus confirmed to the crowds who came to Him that “John was that forerunner” (Matthew 11:10). It is natural that the forerunner—the one who goes before—or the messenger of the Messiah, would step out of the way once Jesus began to fulfill His own ministry. That is exactly what John was doing, and he gently helped his own disciples understand that. “John did not refuse to answer, but spoke out openly and clearly, saying: “I am not the Messiah” (John 1:20 Good News Translation). John disowns himself to be the Christ, who was now expected and waited for and directs his disciples to follow Jesus. “The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples and when John saw Jesus walking by, he told them to, “Look (and see), the Lamb of God! The two disciples heard him say this, and they (stopped following John the Baptist and) followed Jesus” (John 1:35-37, Berean Study Bible). Moses promised that God would send another prophet like him and urged the Israelites to listen to Him. “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me [Moses] from among you, from your countrymen (brothers, brethren). You shall listen to him” (Deuteronomy 18:15).
John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah, but he was not the person of Elijah. John was not that prophet whom Moses said the Lord would raise up to them of their brethren. Jesus came as the prophesied prophet sent by the Lord God Almighty who would rescue them, not from the oppressive Roman rule as they expected, but from the bondage of sin. “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and told His disciples to “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 New International Version).
John the Baptist Had to Decrease Personally and His Ministry to Pave Way for Christ to Increase in the World
People from all walks of life came to John the Baptist – fishermen, soldiers, publicans (tax collectors), and even many of the Pharisees and the Sadducees (the religious elite of Israel). And as their appreciation of John the Baptist and his powerful preaching and baptizing ministry increased, some of them willingly attached themselves to him and became his devoted disciples!
To them, John was the prophetic voice of God who had finally broken a long silence of about 400 years. But some of them took their devotion to this prophet to an extreme. They blindly believed that the ministry of John the Baptist must increase by all means like all other men!
But God’s plan was that John gathers a group of people to be his followers and then send them to Jesus. “The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.” (John 1:35-37 [ESV2011]). John’s ambition was to prepare the way of the Lord by exhorting all to repent (Acts 13:24) and him to decrease so as to give way for the Messiah to increase in our lives and in the whole world.
Jesus Was Destined for Greatness
Isaiah prophesied in 735 BC about a coming Messiah who would descend here on earth humbly as a little baby to be born in a manger who will be a powerful King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Mighty God who was destined to increase, and concerning the increase of His government, it shall have no end. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this” (Isa 9:6-7 [KJV]).
Daniel got a revelation from God concerning a dream king Nebuchadnezzar had and interpreted it for him of what shall be in the latter days. “As you looked (O king), a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” (Dan 2:34-35 [ESV2011]) A remarkable thing happened, and is happening even now. The stone that had smitten the image on the feet, so that it fell and became as dust, now grows apace, overtopping the utmost height the image had attained, overtopping the mountain from which it had been cut. Not only did it grow in height, but, as it increased in height, its base broadened till the whole earth was filled with it. There seems to be a reference here to Isaiah 2:2 which says that “The mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.” “In the days of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever” (Daniel 2:44 NASB95).
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever” (Rev 11:15).
Jesus Brought the Kingdom of God Here On Earth, a Kingdom That Would Have No End
Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she had been chosen as mother of Jesus, the Christ; the very Son of God and that the Lord God will give to Him the throne of his father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” “And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:30-33 [ESV2011])
Our Desire Should Be to Decrease for Christ to Increase in Our Lives
Much as human nature’s desire is to increase while we are here on earth, God warns us against aspiring to increase. Men all over the world selfishly believe in increasing at the expense of others so as to lord over them. But Jesus Christ cautioned us against trying to increase to gain the whole world. Jesus asked His followers, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37 [KJV]) “For when they die, they take nothing with them. Their wealth will not follow them into the grave.” (Psalm 49:17, New Living Translation) God wants us to decrease. Nature also wants us to decrease. We are by nature destined to decrease from the day one is born. If we do not deliberately decrease, the world is set up to decrease us until we return to the ground— “because out of it were you taken. For dust you are, and to dust you shall return” (Gen 3:19). If we do not heed the dictum to decrease for Jesus to increase in our lives, the world has various mechanisms put in place to decrease us, namely sicknesses, fellow human beings, wild animals, passing away of time and ultimately we get felled by the sting of death.
Diseases want to incubate in our bodies and increase in us thereby causing major threats to our lives. If you happen to fall sick, the nature of sickness is to increase inside of you by eating you up, reducing you, destroying you, disabling you and eventually triumph over you and kill you. The devil uses sicknesses to kill you, but according to God’s will for our lives, if we happen to get sick, He has promised to heal us if we cry to Him on condition that we obey Him because He wants to be glorified. God told the Israelites and is telling us now that “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer” (Exodus 15:26 [ESV2011]). Healing is a preserve of God Himself. No one can heal except God for He is the Lord our Healer. Sicknesses are not unto death, but are for the glory of God so that the Son of God might be glorified thereof. “Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick) Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom you love is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby” (John 11:1-4 [KJV]). Though Lazarus had been dead out of sickness for four days, Jesus Christ brought him back to life so that God be glorified.
God heals us to display His power of healing in us so that He alone gets the glory. “As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works/miracles of God might be displayed in him. Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight” (John 9:1-3, 6-11 [ESV2011]).
When you decrease before our Lord Jesus, He increases in you. When Christ increases in your life, your sins decrease inversely as He gives you power to master them. Sicknesses, poverties, curses and bondages decrease until they disappear if Jesus increases in your life. If you allow Jesus to be Lord of your life, you are allowing Him to become greater in your life. 2 Corinthians 4:5 states, “For we do not preach ourselves, but we preach Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for His sake.”
When Jesus Christ Is in You, He Will Increase in You and Fill You with Himself
When Jesus Christ is in you, demons will recognize Him and flee from you. “Jesus laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, ‘Thou art Christ the Son of God.’ And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: For they knew that he was Christ.” (Luke 4:40b-41) Jesus promised His disciples that “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name. They will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues;” (Mark 16:17) The “must to decrease” of John 3 verse 30 is very important. This is God’s must. It’s the must of a divine plan. When you decrease before Him, He will lift you up. “Humble yourselves [with an attitude of repentance and insignificance] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. He will lift you up” (James 4:10). The more you humble yourself before Him and preach Him, the more He rubs Himself in your body, and the more He smears Himself all over you by anointing you with His Holy Spirit.
Jesus Said that the Kingdom of Heaven Shall Be Preached to the Uttermost Parts of the Earth
“Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God” (Mark 1:14-15). Speaking of the end times, Jesus said that “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt 24:14 [KJV]) He commissioned His disciples to make God known to all the nations before His second coming. And during the generation of the apostles, Paul says that they did their part in making God known among the nations. Paul gives all the glory to God for the revelation of who Jesus is by saying “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:” (Romans 16:25-26 KJV)
God wants us to allow Christ to increase in our lives and preach Him to the nations. When you preach Christ to the nations, you are making Him not only to increase in your life but also in the world as you and the world become less.
Jesus must be magnified in our lives like never before because we have been commissioned to take His Gospel to the world. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8 [KJV]).
John was “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” (Mark 1:3); and we must tell the same message to the world today to prepare them for the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
John the Baptist was a single voice declaring the Gospel in purity and truth and telling of its power to make people into new creations; but today, we are many voices. The Lord needs to add every voice He can get to that number, and He needs them to be full of truth and without one discord.
Winning souls makes the Lord very happy, and all of heaven shouts over every soul whose name gets written in the Book of Life. “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents” (Luke 15:10).
Jesus was a soul winner, and all of the works He did when He was on earth were magnificent. He said that if we continue in His word and preach His gospel to the nations, He shall give us power to do greater miracles than the ones He did. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works (or miracles) than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father” (John 14:12). The first church enjoyed performing greater miracles because they were anointed with the Holy Spirit. The person of the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost with the sound of a mighty wind and anointed each of the apostles in the upper room. He appeared as a tongue of flame sitting upon each one present. “When the day of Pentecost was being celebrated, all of them were together in one place. Suddenly, a sound like the roar of a mighty windstorm came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw tongues like flames of fire that separated, and one rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in foreign languages as the Spirit gave them that ability” (Acts 2:1-4). “Many signs and wonders were being done among the people through the hands of the apostles” (Acts 5:12 [HCSB]).
Peter’s shadow healed the sick. “Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed” (Acts 5:12-16 [ESV2011]).
Handkerchiefs that Paul had touched healed the sick. “And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them” (Acts 19:11-12 [ESV2011]).
After Philip preached to the Ethiopian eunuch, he was flown by an angel of the Lord through the air to Azotus to preach Christ. “When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him any longer. But he went on his way rejoicing. Philip appeared in Azotus, and he was traveling and evangelizing all the towns until he came to Caesarea” (Acts 8:39-40 [HCSB]).
The Cornerstone Message
The message of the anointing was the message Jesus taught everywhere He went. He intended it to be the cornerstone message of the church. The anointing was the message of the early Church! Some people today wonder why there were very many miracles in the early Church. I can tell you it was because they preached the cornerstone message of the anointing. To anoint means to rub in, smear all over or fill with you with Himself so that you will be like the Anointed One, like Christ, with God smearing Himself all over you, rubbing Himself into your flesh and filling you with His Holy Spirit. Most Christians today would be shocked by that fact. They know nothing about the anointing because when the Bible was translated into English, the translators failed to translate the Greek word extensively as Christ the Messiah except in only one instance in the entire Bible in the book of John 1:40-41 [KJV] where it is written that “One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.” And because of it, the devil was able to steal a major revelation from the church. People began to use the word Christ as a title. Some even used it as if it was Jesus’ last name. But it is not. The word Christ is the English version of the Greek word Christos that is a translation of the Hebrew word Messiah. Translated into English, Christ or Messiah means Anointed or the Anointed One. It also refers to His anointing.
Jesus Was Anointed by The Holy Spirit to Preach the Good News of the Anointing
Jesus brought that anointing into our midst because He was anointed by the Holy Spirit at the beginning of His ministry to preach the good news of the anointing. “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he (John the Baptist) saw (witnessed) the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt 3:16-17 [KJV]). The Holy Spirit anointed Jesus Christ to empower Him to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God and destroy all powers of the enemy. “And He (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and as His custom was, He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto Him the book of Esaias (Isaiah). And when He had opened the book He found the place where it is written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and the recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord’. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And He began to say unto them, ‘This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.’
According to these scriptures, the message Jesus preached was this: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me…’ The good news of God anointing Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit to launch him in the ministry of preaching the power of God on humanity is the reason it is called The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ! Thus when the New Testament refers to the gospel of Christ, it is talking about the gospel of the anointing, the good news of the sin-annihilating, sickness-crushing, poverty-pulverizing, bondage-removing, yoke destroying power of God.
If you want to see how much this translation failure cost us, read through the New Testament and find out every time the word Christ is mentioned. (It will take a while because it is in there 341 times). In each instance, translate it into the Anointed One and His Anointing. Then meditate on the new meaning it gives each scripture. Believe me, as you do that, the New Testament will become a brand new book to you.
Take for example Colossians 1:27 “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Translate and meditate. “The Anointed One and His Anointing in you, the hope of glory.” Hallelujah, it is the anointing in us – the same yoke-destroying power that is on Jesus – that gives us the earnest, intensive expectation of experiencing the first church apostles. We could meditate on that all day.
What did Peter preach? Translate and meditate. He preached the Anointed One and His anointing. He preached “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38 [KJV]).
Apostles Obeyed the Great Commission to Preach Christ to The Nations
If you will read Acts 9, you will realize that it was that message of the yoke-destroying anointing the Apostle Paul preached from the very beginning of his ministry. Just a few days after he was baptized, he spent some days with the disciples who were at Damascus. It is easy to see what the disciples taught him during that time because after he left them, “Straight away he preached Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.” (Acts 9:20).You can find Philip preaching the anointing message in Acts 8: 5-8 “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them” (Translate and meditate: Philip preached the Anointed One and His anointing unto them) And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Phillip spoke, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying out with loud voice came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies (paralyzed), and those that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city.”
When You Are Full of Christ, You Will Want to Tell Others of His Goodness
When you love God with all of your heart, body, mind and strength, you will want to tell others of His goodness because you are full of Him, full of the Holy Spirit. The mystery of the kingdom that has been hidden over the ages is that if you accept Christ to be in you, the anointing of the Lord comes upon you together with the power of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Christ can be in you. All you need to do is accept Jesus Christ the Son of the living God in your heart and He will fill you with Himself. The anointing of the Lord will be in all who believe. The same yoke-destroying power that is on Jesus will be available to whoever believes in Him and one will then get saved from the burden and bondage of sin.
You can imagine the one who walked on water, calmed the stormy sea, cast out demons and raised the dead smeared all over you enabling you who is anointed to do even greater miracles than the ones he did while he was here on earth. Just because you decreased and allowed Him to increase in your life. Jesus said “Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:11-14 [KJV])