He must increase, I must decrease

by FLL Editorial Team

若望福音 3:22-30

John the Baptist by rcleetus on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)




Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea, where he spent some time with them baptizing. John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was an abundance of water there, and people came to be baptized, for John had not yet been imprisoned. Now a dispute arose between the disciples of John and a Jew
about ceremonial washings. So they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him.”

John answered and said, “No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Christ, but that I was sent before him. The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man, who stands and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. So this joy of mine has been made complete. He must increase; I must decrease.”
John 3:22-30

"He must increase, but I must decrease." What does this mean? God neither increases nor decreases. For if He increases, He is not perfect; if He decreases, He is not God. This is a great mystery! Before the Lord Jesus came, men were glorifying themselves; the Word came as a man, to lessen man's pride and glory, and to increase the glory of God. He came to forgive sin when man confesses. For man's confession is man's humility: God's pity is God's glory. Therefore, let man acknowledge his own lowliness by repenting his sins and let God show His pity. "He must increase, but I must decrease:" that is, God must be glorified, but I must confess. This truth, Christ and John signified by their deaths. For John was lessened by the Head: Christ was exalted on the cross.

May the glory of God then increase in us, and our own glory decrease, that in the end our glory may increase in God! For the more you understand God, He seems to be growing in you; but God Himself does not grow, being perfect. You understood a little yesterday; you understand more today, and will understand much more tomorrow. It is as if one's eyes were being cured of blindness, and begin to see a little glimmer of light, and the following days see more and more: the light would seem to grow; yet the light does not change whether one sees it or not. It is also true with our spiritual life: we makes progress in God, and God seems to be increasing in us; yet we ourselves decrease as we conform to God's will, that we may fall from human pride and glory, and rise into the glory of God.

(Editor's Note: If you haven't this Christmas season, give God glory with a contrite heart! Examine your conscience and go to confession. One cannot maintain a presence of God in one's life with sin in the way.)

參考 References:
Catena Aurea (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Tractate 14 on the Gospel of John (St. Augustine)