WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
DECEMBER 14, 2020
TOPIC: PASTOR, YOU’RE THE BEST MAN, NOT THE BRIDEGROOM
BY T. O. BANSO
“It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the best man is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success” (John 3:29 New Living Translation).
In John 1, John the Baptist had told the Jews who came to ask who he was that he was “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the LORD’” (verse 23 New King James Version). He said there was one coming after him who is preferred before him and whose sandal strap he was not worthy to loose.
Jesus later came to Jesus, and despite his initial reluctance to baptize him, he did (John 3:13-17). Thereafter Jesus began his ministry and began to baptize people also, apparently pooling more crowd than John! John’s disciples were not comfortable with the development. “And they came to John and said to him, ‘Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified — behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!’” (John 3:26 New King James Version).
John replied to them as a man who had heaven’s perspective. He understood who he was and who Jesus was. He was not into any competition with Him. John told them that a man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. He reminded them that he had told them that he was not the Christ, but had been sent before him (verses 27-28).
John went further: “It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the best man is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success” (John 3:29 New Living Translation). In other words, John was the best man, the bridegroom’s friend, not the bridegroom. Therefore he had no problem that the bridegroom was being given all the attention then. He had received attention before because as a friend of the bridegroom, he was preparing the way for Him. He wasn’t Jesus’ rival.
Pastors, and I mean everyone leading God’s people in every assembly, must be careful not to assume the role God has not given them. They must never, by their actions, give the impression that they’re competing with Christ or they’ve become his rival! No pastor died for any Christian!
The Bible describes the church as the bride of Christ. Ephesians 5:25-27 says Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. Verse 32 says the union between Christ and the church is a mystery.
Apostles, prophet, evangelists, pastors, teachers, bishops or archbishops, etc. must not come between Christ and His church. They must never demand or receive from the bride the honour or attention that is due only to the bridegroom.
This is important because it seems that some church leaders are envious of Christ and seek that the people give to them the honour or attention that is due to Christ alone! Christ is the bridegroom; church leaders are just His friends. Yes, because of the groom, the bride gives them some honour, but they must never demand that which is rightly due to the groom, Christ.
In Judges 14, Samson, in anger, left without taking the wife he had come to marry. The wife’s father gave the wife to his best man in marriage. When he came back much later for the wife, he was told his wife had been given in marriage to his companion, who had been his best man (verse 20). I don’t know their culture, but I wonder what kind of friend he was.
Obviously, Samson didn’t know his friend had married his bride, otherwise, he wouldn’t have come back to his in-law to take her. Did his friend feel he was saving the day by marrying Samson’s wife? Or could it be that Samson’s wife and his friend fell in love during the aborted ceremony? In addition, could it be the father’s idea after the botched marriage ceremony? He told Samson, “I really thought that you thoroughly hated her; therefore I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister better than she? Please, take her instead” (Judges 15:2 New King James Version).
Jesus Christ has not abandoned His bride. He is coming back for His bride, the church. The bridegroom may delay, but He is coming (Matthew 25:1-13). Revelation 19:7-9 says, “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, ‘Write: Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’And he said to me, ‘These are the true sayings of God’” (New King James Version).
Pastors must not flirt with the bride of Christ! Paul said to the Corinthian church, “For I have a very great care for you: because you have been married by me to one husband, and it is my desire to give you completely holy to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:2 Bible in Basic English).
Church leaders must point people’s attention to Christ, not to themselves. They should prepare the bride of Christ for His coming. They should encourage the bride of Christ to love Him and have intimate fellowship with Him. They should tell believers to worship Him, not to worship them. They must make themselves of no reputation. They must decrease and Christ must increase.
John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease. He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.
“The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides” (John 3:30-36 New King James Version).
The church doesn’t belong to anyone. It is the church of Christ. No leader should arrogate to himself the authority Jesus has not given him.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me not to overstep my bounds as I lead the church of Christ. Don’t let me try to take the place of God in people’s lives. Help all our church leaders not to arrogate to themselves the authority Jesus Christ has not given them.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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