Today's Gospel in Art - Jesus must grow greater, I must grow smaller

Adoration of The Child Jesus by St John the Baptist,  by Lucas Cranach the Elder 1535 © Museo Lázaro Galdiano, Madrid

Adoration of The Child Jesus by St John the Baptist, by Lucas Cranach the Elder 1535 © Museo Lázaro Galdiano, Madrid

Gospel of 11th January 2020 - John 3:22-30

Jesus went with his disciples into the Judaean countryside and stayed with them there and baptised. At the same time John was baptising at Aenon near Salim, where there was plenty of water, and people were going there to be baptised. This was before John had been put in prison.

Now some of John's disciples had opened a discussion with a Jew about purification, so they went to John and said, 'Rabbi, the man who was with you on the far side of the Jordan, the man to whom you bore witness, is baptising now; and everyone is going to him.'

John replied: 'A man can lay claim only to what is given him from heaven.

'You yourselves can bear me out: I said: I myself am not the Christ; I am the one who has been sent in front of him. 'The bride is only for the bridegroom; and yet the bridegroom's friend, who stands there and listens, is glad when he hears the bridegroom's voice. This same joy I feel, and now it is complete.

He must grow greater, I must grow smaller.'

Reflection on the Painting

Today's Gospel reading ends with the last words spoken by John the Baptist: 'He must grow greater, I must grow smaller'. After this he is imprisoned and gets beheaded, his martyrdom. John knew that his role was nearly completed and that from now on he had to 'decrease' and that Jesus' ministry which was starting had to 'increase'. Yes this is the period where John and Jesus' ministries were overlapping. John said those words, humbling himself and exalting Christ. The time had come for Jesus to burst into ministry. When reading our Gospel of today, we can also feel a sense of joy when John is saying those last words of him getting smaller and Jesus getting bigger.

Yes, when Jesus increases, joy increases! Ok, but in order for Christ to become greater and for us to become smaller, we must have an understanding about who Christ truly is.... To read on see:

Tags: Christian Art Today, Patrick van der Vorst, Cranach

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