John – the one we know as “the Baptist” – had followers.
We don’t think about that, considering that he was a plain-speaking, rough-dressed, wilderness-living kind of guy. He’s the kind of guy that is interesting to visit, but “you wouldn’t want to live there.”
I think we don’t really understand John or his time.
His character attracted attention. His message, that the Kingdom was near, attracted hearts. People were not happy with their lives, not happy with trying to measure up to religious rules. He offered hope, wrapped in a lack of pretense.
Of course he had followers.
One day Jesus walks by. John has two disciples with him, learning, watching, listening. John points at Jesus and says, “there is the Lamb of God.”
The two disciples walk away from John and toward Jesus.
It feels peculiar. It seems like they should have been more loyal, that they should have stuck around.
But John’s whole message is “I’m here to point out the Light, the Lamb, the One.” When these two followers left, they were giving John the opportunity to live what he said he believed.
We worry about followers. We want people to listen to us, to pay attention to us. We want to be noticed, to matter. It’s a human thing.
But Jesus invites us to point people toward him.
It’s a funny thing, fame is, especially for people talking about Jesus. We (and I am one of those people) want to be clear, to be fresh. We want to help people understand Jesus. But then, when we are noticed, we can think that the attention is about us. If we work hard to attract more attention, it is about us.
John offers another way. Don’t worry about getting attention, just point toward the Lamb. That’s why we’re here.