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 coming and being 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—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”
27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 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.”
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 Whoever 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 them.
The England national football (soccer) team didn’t fill their stadium for their last friendly with Norway. After an abysmal performance at the world cup people are not interested in paying a lot of money to see mediocre football (soccer). If Germany come into town things might change, their football is clinical and crisp. They have good individual skills but they are always extremely disciplined. When I moved to Chicago I became a Sox and a Fire fan. However, I didn’t become a Bears fan. I am a Vikings fan, but if the season opener is anything to go by people might start selling their season tickets and watching the games from home (if they bother at all). When our team is outperformed by other teams it is hard to keep up our support. Sometimes though it is the right thing to move on and change allegiance. In sports a geographic change might change perspective, in the passage the end of an era justifies the change.
Early in the gospels John prepares the way. That was his role. However, when Jesus begins his ministry in Galilee and Judea what is John’s role? John’s disciples are concerned that John is losing support, but John has a healthy perspective. It is time for his support to decline. There is a time to prepare for the Lord, there is a time to follow him.
We can learn the same thing about our attachment to ministers or family and friends. It is good when someone points us to Jesus, but Jesus should continually be exalted as the main thing. It is good when our ministry points to Jesus, but sometimes a ministry runs its course and should go away. Sometimes a minister becomes a distraction from Jesus. The sign obscures the road along which we should travel.
Jesus, may we ever point to you. Let us not be self-important and proud. Let us be more like John the Baptist. Also, let us not get obsessed with an individual in this life when the purpose of all existence is to point to you.
- Who has concerns?
- Who might the ‘certain Jew’ be?
- How is John a model for us here?
- How might you decrease?
- Who might you ‘decrease’ in your sphere of living so that Jesus might increase?