October 18, 2019

John 3:25-30 KJV

[25] Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying. [26] And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him. [27] John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. [28] Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. [29] He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. [30] He must increase, but I must decrease.

Verse 25 begins with an argument between John’s disciples and “The Jews” about purifying, or as we know it baptism. Jesus was also now baptizing people, and Jesus’ popularity was now exceeding that of John the Baptist. Even to the point that some of John’s disciples were starting to follow Jesus. “All men come to Him” they said. This was a point of contention for John’s disciples. In their eyes Jesus owed a large portion of His popularity and success to John. After all John had been the forerunner of Christ, he had paved the way for him. Jesus, in their eyes was just reaping the benefits of all of John’s hard work. It just didn’t seem fair. John was being overlooked, he was being forgotten, cast aside. Wow, that sure does sound like us sometimes doesn’t it? We didn’t get mentioned for something we did around the church, or no one noticed all of my hard work, someone else got credit for what I did, or how about this one, I didn’t like that song we did as a congregation, or I disagree with the pastor on that decision. If we aren’t careful it can even spill over into looking at someone else’s ministry and being jealous because of the success another pastor (or youth pastor) has….OUCH that stepped on my toes a little!! Look at the attitude John the Baptist had, vs 27 John answers his disciples. “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.” Big truth bomb from John. Really puts the disciples in their place. He goes on to say in vs 30 that well known phrase (and our pastor’s life verse) “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John the Baptist had performed the work he was sent to do. It was to promote Jesus, pave the way for Him. This life, in his eyes was never about him anyway. How ironic and fitting that this is the last words recorded of John the Baptist as a free man before his arrest, imprisonment, and eventual martyrdom. Are we practicing humility? Is this life about us or Jesus? Our relationship with Jesus is the only thing I know of that in order to grow we must shrink.

Frank Newsome