The power to overcome jealousy
Text: John 3: 22-36
Focus: John 3: 26
The exchange between John’s followers and the Jew is about putting John before Jesus. They see it as a type of competition and the reality was that many of John’s followers were joining Jesus. Moreover, the place where Jesus ministered was not far from John.
John stifles this potential conflict and jealousy by pointing out that he is not against Christ, but with Him. On the contrary, John presents himself as less than Jesus in verse 30.
In this we see that John knew his place because he knew Jesus’ place.
Jealousy can drive us apart so easily. It causes us to lose perspective of the true mission we are pursuing. As a result, relationships and churches are falling apart. A big reason behind this jealousy is the fact that our ambition and honour become our driving force.
For example, you may feel that people have more respect for your colleague than for you. The temptation can be great to harm that person and tear them down just so that you can look better. You don’t want to make him more effective or help people respect him more at the expense of your own honour.
John was convinced of two things – two important matters in which we must also have peace so as to drive jealousy out of our hearts.
John knows that God gives authority
John was convinced that God was in control and gives people authority as He wills. That is why he says: “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven.” (John 3:27).
Jesus’ authority comes from Above and that is why John accepted it as such.
He is convinced of his calling
After Jesus began his ministry, John did not stop working even though his disciples began to follow Jesus. He was still faithful to his calling because he was convinced that his calling came from God. John testifies to this calling when he says: “I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.” (John 3:28)
John was pleased with the calling that was bestowed upon him, even though it meant that people were not following him but following Jesus.
In Christ we have so much more reason than John to stifle jealousy because:
We have received the greatest honour in Him
We easily become jealous because we want honour. Therefore, it is important to understand what our salvation in Christ means.
Jesus, the Almighty, was willing to become human and to be humiliated – and this for our sake. When our calling implies that we do not always get the honour we would like, then we need to think about what Jesus has done for us. In Him we receive the greatest honour: To be children of God.
We are called in Christ
Furthermore, jealousy is often associated with the pain of rejection. Therefore, we must also remember that Jesus was willing to go through a painful, humiliating process for our sake.
The humiliation and pain of his calling raised us up. Therefore, for us, it should not be about who is behind us, but about Jesus who is before us. We must obey Him.
Therefore, it will not matter to us how many people accept our opinions, but what is important is that Jesus accepted us completely, and so we will only want to obey Him.
Be faithful to your calling, even if it sometimes involves pain and suffering because in so doing, you also follow Jesus’ example.