Scripture: John 3:22-36 (NIV)
After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. (This was before John was put in prison.)
An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”
To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.”
The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
There’s not a lot of prophecy and foreseeing in the original trilogy. Perhaps Luke’s vision of his friends on Dagobah, perhaps Yoda’s reference that “there is another”, but it feels like the prequels, for all their faults, tend to be where we can get into some interesting discussions about things hoped for.
Qui-Gon Jinn was, in some ways, Star Wars’s John the Baptist, recognizing a power greater than himself and doing all he could to increase its acceptance. Qui-Gon argued for Anakin’s training in a conventional manner and even was willing to defy the Jedi Council to take him as a padawan when the council was going to turn him away. Even Qui-Gon’s last words went to this, as he gasped out instructions for Obi-Wan Kenobi to “train the boy”–the boy who Qui-Gon believed to be the fulfillment of prophecy, the one to bring balance to the Force. There is no doubt that Qui-Gon believed Anakin to be the chosen one, the one all things pointed to.
John the Baptist recognized Jesus as the one he’d been preparing the way for with his ministry and with his testimony. When it was time for Jesus to take His place upon the stage, John had no hesitation in ceding the spotlight. While he continued to do his job, to point people to Christ, he knew that “I must become less” for Christ to increase. Much like the Jedi Council, the ruling religious leaders did not want to hear this message, but John persisted in his belief and his teaching in face of this disapproval. Christ was the reason he had come and no one was going to sway him from that path.
We must have the same dedication. It may not require our physical lives, as it did with John and Qui-Gon, but we must turn over our spiritual lives to Christ, allowing Him to live within us and push our selfish actions, our less than charitable impulses, our flat-out evil into smaller and smaller quantities. While we are never likely to be fully rid of them on this earth, we can strive that way as John Wesley said. We can be a herald for Christ every day we draw breath!