By Collin Haddock, College and Career Pastor.
I recently picked up a commentary by Matthew Henry. It was on sale, and I figured I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Here’s the thing about this commentary, other than it is really, really good: the font is very tiny. I have to use a magnifying glass to see it (this is not a joke either. It is really that small.)
As I looked at these tiny words, I started to realize something. Magnification makes things larger, it brings them closer into focus. The question that popped into my mind is simple: “What does my life magnify?” It’s a hard question to think on, despite its simplicity. Much the same as I have to with these words, Christians are commanded to magnify Christ in our lives. We are to make Christ great in our lives.
Christ is great, first and foremost. We are not adding anything new to His already existing glory. He already was, already is, and always will be great. That’s the bottom line. This is all centered around pointing out His greatness. To magnify Jesus means to find our peace, our satisfaction, and our total purpose in Jesus. It is not making what is small large, or making what is large larger, it is returning to our purposed place. To magnify Jesus means we ultimately must minimize ourselves.
In John 3:28-30, John the Baptist teaches his followers about magnifying Jesus after some of his group is more than a little put out over Jesus’s group gaining traction-more traction than John’s group: “You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.” (Emphasis mine.)
John got it. Jesus must increase, we must minimize. What we tend to do is couple Jesus to something else. It is Jesus Plus something else that stands co-equal. That plus always seems to point back to us, however. Does our joy come from just how people think of us? How we think of ourselves? How do we minimize? By finding our total joy, total satisfaction, total purpose in Jesus. That means understanding that our joy, satisfaction, and purpose are found in Jesus and not in us. He is our Savior, and He is our King. Magnifying Him means that in the hardest times of life, we find our joy and our happiness in the Cross. That means in our most joyous times understanding that He is a greater joy than even that. How do we get to that point? By digging into the Bible, by prayer, by redirecting our attention and adoration to Him, purposefully. Making Him our total joy is done by these things and by God Himself
Our total joy is founded, established, and located in Christ, as Peter reminds us in his first epistle, writing, “though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.” (1st Peter 1:8) Christian, your joy is not in this world. Your joy is found in Christ, so as you live on this earth, magnify Christ in what you do and what you love, magnify Christ by loving Him and finding your joy in Him.
Who do you magnify? The fact of the matter is that we are all magnifying something in one form or another. It has been asked somewhere in history, “what is the chief end of man? What is mankind’s purpose?” The answer, summed up nicely is “Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”* You have been saved by and through Him, but do not forget to enjoy Him. Magnify Him and let us minimize ourselves, because in the end, He will be glorified above all.
All scripture quoted from the English Standard Version.
*Quoted from the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Question One.