Best Supporting Actor
John 1:6-8, 19-28
by Peter and Courtney Thompson
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
It’s all too easy for me to fall into the trap of believing I’m the main character in my story. After all, I literally view the world through my eyes. Maybe you struggle with that, too. We live in a time where self-promotion is encouraged and celebrated. In today’s passage, however, we are introduced to John the Baptist, a man who is remarkably confident in his role as a supporting actor.
John the Baptist is described as being “sent from God” (v. 6) for the purpose of being a witness to the “light”, Jesus (v. 7-8). He is not the light, and is eager to correct anyone who might think he is (v. 8, 20). Instead, John points to God’s Word, specifically Isaiah 40:3, where he lays out that he is there only to prepare the way for the coming savior. John’s fulfillment of this prophecy is huge! It’s specifically recorded in all four of the Gospels. And yet, he doesn’t see this as a reason for pride. When John’s ministry starts to pale in comparison to Jesus’ ministry, John isn’t worried or offended. Instead, he recognizes that he is just the “best friend” in this story, and that his role must decrease while Jesus’ must increase (John 3:29-30).
John’s confidence and hope came from God’s promised Messiah, not from within himself or his accomplishments. He recognized that he was created to fill a supporting role in the grand story of Jesus. Just like John the Baptist, we are also created to be supporting actors. Paul came to this realization after his salvation. He describes in Philippians 3 how his accomplishments before his conversion are garbage in comparison to knowing and being in relationship with Christ. His self-centered life could only find hope in itself, an empty proposition. After his conversion, he found much greater hope in the promises of Jesus. Like Paul, there’s still time to change your story, stepping out of the center of the frame and allowing Jesus to take that place.
Father, help me find my identity, purpose, and hope in your son, Jesus Christ. Remove any selfish pride in my heart. In His name,