As I've been reading the gospel of John the apostle,I've tried to see its accounts of people and events through new eyes. Chapter three jumps from the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus to a description of John the baptizer.
While Nicodemus played cloak and dagger, John (the baptizer) was loud and proud about the need for repentance, for the forgiveness only God can give. But it was only the message he shared that was proud.
When some of John's disciples can to him about Jesus's growing number of followers, he wasn't bothered in the least.
26 Then they came to John and said, “Teacher, remember the man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan River? He is the one you were telling everyone about. He is also baptizing people, and many are going to him.” 27 John answered, “A person can receive only what God gives. 28 You yourselves heard me say, ‘I am not the Messiah. I am only the one God sent to prepare the way for him.’
John 3:26-28 ERV
It used to be John's apparent arrogance that I found intriguing. Now I understand it to be confidence, single-mindedness. His fervor for his God-given mission seem only matched by his humility.
The only bow John the baptizer seemed interested in taking was in deference to his Savior:
29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
John 29-30 NASB