In the third chapter of John, we find two baptizers, one named Jesus and the other named John the Baptist. Both had disciples and both were preaching justice as the way to love. A rabble rouser came up and challenged John the Baptist and his disciples, “Why is that guy Jesus over there baptizing more people than you are?”
Often when we participate in great movements of justice there are different types of questions that arise.
I love questions. I think that they are our chief tool in our pursuit of knowledge about our world and our self. I believe that there is nothing purer than an honest seeker. However, we also must be aware that there are questions that are not about seeking knowledge…these are the leading questions that seek to divide movements for justice.
These are the seeds of division.
The seeds of division ultimately ask us if we are going to care about ourselves more than the larger movement for justice.
The rabble rouser of Aenon was interested in dividing John the Baptist and Jesus by planting a seed of division and selfishness in the heart of John the Baptist.
It would be like someone asking you: Did you know that they are getting all the credit and you are doing all the work?
We must beware of such questions and questioners, because the seeds of division they sow can ultimately keep us from the justice we desperately want to achieve.
We’ve experienced tremendous victories for social justice as a church and larger community over the past few months.
We must beware of seeds of division.
The desire to make ourselves increase can keep us from achieving further victories for justice.
Ultimately, John the Baptist stands united with Jesus in his reply, “I must decrease so that Jesus can increase.” John the Baptist is saying that I must decrease so that justice can be achieved.
John the Baptist loved justice enough to shut up.
Do we love justice enough to shut up and let others get the credit for achieving it?