There have been a few posts missed for technical reasons. Please accept my apologies. I am re-posting the three blog posts that some people have missed over the next three days. Michael Ross-Watson
Bible Reading: John 3:22-36
John the Baptist was facing two issues. The first was a theological argument over the issue of purification [v.25]. Can you imagine the foolishness of people arguing over purity? The second issue was in some ways more sinister. It was a complaint from the disciples of John the Baptist who were concerned that people were coming to Jesus instead of John [v.26]. In both of these cases John the Baptist responded by pointing to Jesus. The best way to handle such issues is always to point to Jesus and focus on Him.
John refused to be drawn into unnecessary and unhelpful arguments that cause division and unrest. It is helpful to see how John the Baptist focussed on Jesus.
He made a clear statement about the person of Jesus. He called Him the Bridegroom [v.29]. This was very meaningful to the Jews, because Israel was frequently depicted as God’s bride in the Old Testament. The Jewish understanding was that the Bridegroom was the Messiah!
John is not interested in being popular. His passion is that he should decrease but that Jesus should increase. What a cure for the temptation to become proud. Jesus as being above all [v.31], and John the Baptist recognised this. Writing to the Colossians Paul says that Jesus is far above all powers and principalities [Colossians 2:15], and that He has the pre-eminence in all things [Colossians 1:18].
Although Jesus has come in human form, He is heavenly, in that He has come from heaven [v.31]. Literally, He is above all because He comes from heaven. Because Jesus has come from heaven He has experienced what he is speaking about [v.32]. John is referring to Jesus’ eternal existence in heaven and of His infinite knowledge of God’s nature and character.
Because Jesus has the Holy Spirit without measure He speaks the words of God [v.34]. At a later date the Jews marvelled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?” Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me” [John 7:15-16].
The Father has placed all things in Jesus’ hands [v.36], and has delegated to Jesus authority over the whole created universe. Jesus alone is the source of eternal life for all who believe [v.36]. If a person does not believe on Jesus they shall not see life, and they remain under God’s judgment.
What a remarkable answer to those who get tied up in the knots of theological arguments, jealousy and self-aggrandisement. It reminds me of words spoken to Philip, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus” [John 12:21].
What can we learn about the way John the Baptist faces controversies and jealousy? Why is it always important to avoid controversy and instead point people to Jesus?