The Friend of the Bridegroom

Text: John 3:29
He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. (NRSV)

In our culture it is sometimes hard to rejoice in someone else’s success.  Instead, it is not uncommon for jealousy to arise when we see someone obtain a level of success that we have only dreamed about.

I whish I could say that this does not occur in Christianity but, I could tell you some stories of pastors who have said some pretty nasty things about other pastors simply because they were jealous of the other’s successful ministry which has led to being appointed to larger churches or obtaining higher positions within the denominational structure.

I have also heard and read horrible gossip born out of jealousy coming from those who proudly count themselves among the disciples of Jesus Christ.  John certainly could have acted this way as Jesus came into the picture.  John had gathered a large number of disciples but, he knew that he was not the “bridegroom”.  John knew that he had been called to the ministry of preparation so that Jesus’ ministry would be received and flourish as God intended.  John will soon say the words, “He must increase, but I must decrease.

There is nothing wrong with being the “friend of the bridegroom”.  Our goal in life is not to be popular, or successful by the world’s standards.  Our goal is to be obedient to the call of God as we work together to build the Kingdom of God on earth.  

When we are where we know God wants us to be, it is so much easier to rejoice at the success of others.  There is no sense of jealousy because we understand that our success is not measured by God against the success of another.  Our success is measured against our personal obedience to the life and ministry God has chosen for us.

So, rejoice when you see others who are accomplishing the tasks that God has given them.  Be glad when others achieve great things for the building up of the Kingdom of God.  Because none of us are really the “Bridegroom”, we are all here to give our selves to the service of Jesus, and it is at his voice at the end of the age in which we will all rejoice together.

Pray with me:

God, forgive me when I forget the importance of who I am in your Kingdom.  Forgive me when I start to measure myself against others, instead of against my faithfulness to you and the life and ministry you have given me.  Help me to rejoice in the success of others so that we might all rejoice together when we hear your voice at the end of the age.  AMEN.

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