“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. He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:29-30) John the Baptist describes his ministry as that of a member of a wedding party. Those within a wedding party are there because of the role they’ve played in the lives of both the bride and groom. And often that role has a direct impact that has brought the bride and groom to their place of covenant.
The experience of those within the wedding party is a unique one. They must now willingly minimize their involvement in the lives of both the bride and groom so as to promote the exclusivity of the marriage relationship. And if the marriage covenant is infringed upon by another person, it becomes the responsibility of those within the wedding party to protect the sanctity of the marriage they witnessed. It is a position of absolute selflessness. The best man, or maid of honor accept that they cannot be a greater, or even comparatively similar in influence, than the bride or groom are to each other.
In fact, if either bride or groom begin to doubt their mate, or relationship, those within the wedding party are mantled with a ministry of heralding the beauty of their marriage. “…That is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:19) In this verse, it is clearly communicated that God has laid on us the mantle of ministry that declares His wonderful work of reconciliation. But notice verse 18 just above it… “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation…” We see a role reversal within these two statements. That, in verse 18 we are recipients of reconciliation to the Father, expressed in the phrase “given us,” but in verse 19 we are consigned to minister reconciliation. What an interesting contrast, that the fulfilment of our salvation makes us both bride, and matron of honor.
Many Christians stand well in the place of bride; the focus and pursuit of the groom. But the self sacrifice that it takes to become matron is foregone. Yet John tells us that those who understand well the role of the wedding party take joy in the voice of the bridegroom calling to His intended bride. And this is what our fast will accomplish: To lay down our concern for our own daily appetites, and to turn our focus to seizing the attention of this broken world, that our Savior calls to. To concern ourselves with His concern. To take joy in the lost, recognizing His call. We give ourselves over to decrease, silencing the cries of our flesh; and there, in this silence, His voice is clearer. And the focus on Him increases.
Personal Prayer Point:
“Father, let this fast not be a segment of my life that temporarily redirected my focus to Your purpose. But let it be a turning point. That by the time this fast ends, whatever was in me that fed a self-driven life would die. Let me decrease, so that You may increase.”
Scripture to Stand On:
(John 3:30 — Psalm 71:18 — Isaiah 44:26)
Corporate Prayer Point:
“Father, create in us, as a body of believers, a joy to see the lost hear the voice of the Bridegroom. Let the focus of this church be only to draw the attention of the Inland Empire to the call of the Savior.”
Scripture to Stand On:
(John 12:32 — John 3:14 — John 5:25)