John 3:22-30 (NIV) 22 After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized. 24 (This was before John was put in prison.) 25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 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–well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” 27 To this John replied, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. 29 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. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.
On verses 22-30: I absolutely love and admire the humility of John the Baptist. Instead of envying Jesus because Jesus was baptizing more people than he was and becoming more popular than he was (v26), John the Baptist displays incredible humility. First, John says, “A man can only receive what has been given to him from heaven.” (v27) In other words, instead of worrying about he didn’t have, John the Baptist simply focused on what he did have because of God’s grace and was thankful for it. Likewise, may you not worry and fret about what you don’t have but be thankful for what you do have.
Second, John the Baptist reminds his disciples of something he had been saying all along: “I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.” (v28). In other words, John the Baptist recognized that he had a different calling than Jesus, and that in fact he was sent ahead of Jesus to prepare the way for Jesus. Then to describe more vividly what he means, John the Baptist uses a picture from a wedding. He describes Jesus as the groom, the people who are going to Jesus as the bride, and himself as the best man of the groom (v29). When John the Baptist says, “the bride belongs to the bridegroom”, he is saying that the people don’t belong to him but to Jesus.
When John the Baptist says:
“…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.” (v29)
John the Baptist is saying that his only role as best man to the groom is to serve the groom until he has his bride, and that now that Jesus has his bride, he is overjoyed.
Finally, John the Baptist says, “He must become greater and I must become less.” (v30) You will not find a humbler person than John. Because John was so humble and secure in his calling, John had joy that insecure people could never have. I pray that we would be like John the Baptist: humble, secure in our calling, realizing that we exist not for our own fame but to point people to Jesus, and happy as long as Jesus gets the glory.
John 3:31-36 (NIV) 31 “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. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”
On verses 31-36: In these verses John the Baptist is quoted as saying a number of things that reiterate the truths we have already heard from Jesus himself earlier in John chapter 3, including the following:
– Jesus is from heaven whereas all other teachers are from earth. Thus Jesus has greater authority than any earthly teacher (“The one who comes from heaven is above all” – v31).
– Despite Jesus being who he is, he would be rejected by most (v32).
– To accept and affirm what Jesus says is to affirm that God is true (v33).
– We also see here in verses 34-35 the dynamic relationship between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
– Believe in Jesus, and you will have eternal life and escape God’s wrath. Reject Jesus and you will miss eternal life and incur God’s wrath (v36).
Heavenly Father, I praise You for John the Baptist’s example of humility. I pray that like John the Baptist, I would not fret about what I don’t have but focus and give thanks for what heaven has already given to me. I pray that like John the Baptist I would be so secure in Your love for me and Your calling and role for my life. May I not play the comparison game but simply be happy to point others to Jesus, because it’s not about me; it’s about Him. May I live to see Jesus’ name lifted up, not my own. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!