“Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, God is true.” John 3:33
There is a lot of talk these days about “building your brand” and expanding your platform. The race is on to gain likes, followers, fans and subscribers, so we can become influencers and leaders… or celebrities. Even if our ambitions are not quite so lofty, we are still more acutely aware of our “personal brand” than ever before.
While “branding” had more to do with cattle than people in Jesus’ day, the concept of a personal seal carries a very similar meaning. Every household, dignitary, ruler and king would have his own personal seal. This seal, would be brandished on important documents, or as a form of identification to attest to the validity and truth of a message. In other words, when sending a message, or identifying something as your own, you would mark it with your own personal seal.
There was no greater spiritual celebrity than the charismatic and enigmatic preacher in the wilderness, John the Baptist. His follows were soaring through the roof and he was trending on twitter. Thousands were coming to him to hear his teaching and be baptized. John was ready to release his new book, had signed on to speak on a mega-conference tour and was preparing to launch his own clothing line (Camel & Leather) and food brand (JtB’s Locust & Honey mix). Then… Jesus showed up.
The first time John the Baptist saw Jesus, he proclaimed, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29. People left John and began following Jesus. The next day, John saw Jesus and again said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” (36) and more people left John to follow Jesus. Soon after, Jesus insisted on being baptized by John, and as He came out of the water, the Spirit of God descended upon Jesus like a dove and a voice from heaven spoke out audibly saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17. Large crowds left John to follow Jesus.
With Jesus’ ministry up and running at full speed, John was still baptizing in a neighboring town (to a much smaller audience), when an argument arose between John’s followers and a traditional Jew over the nature of Jesus’ ministry and baptism. This was an opportunity for John to dismiss or discredit Jesus’ burgeoning ministry… but instead, John put himself and everyone else in their place. John made it clear, “I am not the Christ.” John 3:28. He went on to say, at best, he is “a friend of the bridegroom.” In John’s mind, Jesus was “above all” because He was not of this world, but from heaven. In light of this, John understood his purpose and position in relation to Jesus- “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30
In a culture focused on personal brand building, John says, “forget your brand, make your name small and make Jesus’s name big.” Use size 6 font for your name and 6,000 for Jesus. In fact, get rid of your brand altogether and adopt Jesus’ brand as your own.Warren Mainard
In a culture focused on personal brand building, John says, “forget your brand, make your name small and make Jesus’s name big.” Use size 6 font for your name and 6,000 for Jesus. In fact, get rid of your brand altogether and adopt Jesus’ brand as your own. This is what John meant when he said, “Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal tho this, that God is true.” John 3:33. The “seal” was your brand, your identity, your reputation, and your source of power and authority. John surrendered all that so that he could take on the seal of Jesus’ testimony. Why would John give up the fame, adulation, praise and power he had spent years building? He knew his eternal life depended upon it- “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” John 3:36
To enter into eternal life requires that we lose our finite life (our pride, power and position), so that we can receive Christ’s eternal life (His forgiveness, peace, love and grace) (John 12:25). Will you scrap your brand and set your seal on Jesus Christ?