Other than Jesus, I think John the Baptist is my favorite person from the Bible. He was rough around the edges. The religious people hated him. He was bold and straight forward, and did not care if you liked what he had to say. I am sure John never shrunk back from a challenge. John also know his role in what God was doing. Many people became disciples of John, and he kept pointing them to the One who is to come. It was never about John. When Jesus comes to be baptized John refuses out of a feeling of unworthiness. Yet Jesus insists and baptizes the Lord.
John himself said that he must decrease and Jesus must increase, but I think we miss something when we brush past John's ministry too quickly. Jesus was pardoning sins, healing the blind, lame and possessed, acting with great compassion and grace. John was doing the same, but with a different style and edge. If Jesus was the ultimate revival, as He is, then John is the the ultimate agent of God who quickens the souls of humanity to be ready for revival. John prepares the way. This is needed but difficult ministry. John knows it will be Jesus in the lights not him. John knows that the one who comes after him will be the one who reaps the harvest. Sowing the harvest is often much more difficult that reaping, especially when you know you will not be the one reaping your effort.
John is not slowed. He understands the role God has raised him up to play in the redemption of the world. I wonder if we are able to the same, or if we are seeking more recognition and fame?