This is this coming Wednesday’s sermon, October 10th, 2007 in our Wednesday night sermon series on the book of John. ALT stands for the Analytical, Literal Translation.

JOHN PART 9
John the Baptist exalts Jesus
John 3:22-36

John 3:22-36 ALT – After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He was staying with them and was baptizing. (23) But John was also baptizing in Aenon, near to Salim, because [there] was many waters [or, much water] in that place. And they were coming and were being baptized- (24) for John had not yet been cast into the prison. (25) Therefore, [there] occurred a dispute from the disciples of John with the Jews concerning purification [rites]. (26) And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, [He] who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, look!, this One is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!” (27) John answered and said, “A person is not able to be receiving anything unless it has been given him from heaven. (28) “_You*_ yourselves testify that I said, ‘I myself am not the Christ’, _but_ ‘I have been sent before that One.’ (29) “The one having the bride is [the] bridegroom, but the friend of the bridegroom, the one standing and hearing him, rejoices with joy because of the voice of the bridegroom. Therefore, [in] this my joy has been fulfilled. (30) “It is necessary [for] that One to be increasing, but [for] me to becoming less. (31) “The One coming from above is above all; the one being from the earth is from the earth and speaks from the earth; the One coming from heaven is above all. (32) “And what He has seen and heard, this He testifies, and no one receives His testimony. (33) “The one receiving His testimony [has] certified that God is true. (34) “For [He] whom God sent speaks the sayings of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. (35) “The Father loves the Son and has given all [things] into His hand. (36) “The one believing [or, trusting] in the Son has eternal life, but the one refusing to believe the Son will not see life, _but_ the wrath of God abides on him.”

INTRO: Last week we saw Jesus and His conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus explains to Nicodemus, a Pharisee that he must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God. It was a hard saying to Nicodemus to accept. Jesus goes on and explains His ministry and mission.

Now the story shifts from Nicodemus back to John the Baptist. He has a great testimony here concerning his humility, plus the way he exalts Jesus Christ. There are some great lessons to learn from John here. Let’s look.

1. The parallel ministries of Jesus and John the Baptist.

John 3:22-24 ALT – After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He was staying with them and was baptizing. (23) But John was also baptizing in Aenon, near to Salim, because [there] was many waters [or, much water] in that place. And they were coming and were being baptized- (24) for John had not yet been cast into the prison.

Prior to this time, Jesus and His disciples have been at Jerusalem, attending the feast of Passover. It has here that Jesus cleansed, or cleared the Temple. And it was probably around the area of Jerusalem that He talked with Nicodemus.
Jesus and His disciples go land of Judea and was baptizing more than likely, at or even around the Jordan River.

John also was baptizing during this time, not any longer in the Jordan River, but at the place called, “Aenon near Salim.” Aenon means, “a place of many springs.” So more than likely, John at this time is baptizing in springs, instead of the Jordan. This also happened before John was put into prison.

Now here we see two parts of the ministry of Jesus taking place found in verse 22. He was spending time with His disciples, staying or remaining with them. This was the inward ministry of Jesus. It was the ministry to the few. It was quality time that Jesus spent in developing the character of the men who had chosen to follow Him. Baptizing: This is a reference to the outward ministry of Jesus. It is the ministry to the many. Though it seems that Jesus is doing the baptizing, in reality it was the disciples, not Jesus who did the baptizing.

John 4:2 NKJV – Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples…

2. Conflict breaks out.

John 3:25-26 ALT – Therefore, [there] occurred a dispute from the disciples of John with the Jews concerning purification [rites]. (26) And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, [He] who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, look, this One is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!”

As is often the case in ministry, a conflict breaks out. It happened with Paul, there is some type of conflict in just about every letter, plus the book of Acts with Barnabas and John Mark, it happened with Peter on a few occasions, and here it happens with the disciples of John and some Jews concerning purification rights.

Most Bibles say, purification, but the ALT says, purification rites. This more than likely had to do with the ceremonial washings that was prescribed by Moses. You see, originally, this act of ceremonial washing, which Baptism actually comes from was established by God as an act of humility, but in this time of the Pharisees, it had become an act of human effort. It was about serving God anymore, it but basically dotting all the eyes and crossing all the tees. It was completely works based for them. And along comes John, and I felt that since they didn’t accept John, these Jews told John’s disciples about Jesus and His disciples now baptizing, and to encourage envy, and jealousy. So John’s disciples goes to John and tells them this.

Later in the ministry of Jesus, we still see the refusal of the chief priest and the scribes to accept the baptism of John the Baptist.
Luke 20:1-8 NKJV – 1 Now it happened on one of those days, as He taught the people in the temple and preached the gospel, that the chief priests and the scribes, together with the elders, confronted Him 2 and spoke to Him, saying, “Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?”
3 But He answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, and answer Me: 4 The baptism of John—was it from heaven or from men?”
5 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 6 But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us, for they are persuaded that John was a prophet.” 7 So they answered that they did not know where it was from.
8 And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

3. The wisdom of John the Baptist.

John 3:27-30 ALT – John answered and said, “A person is not able to be receiving anything unless it has been given him from heaven. (28) “_You*_ yourselves testify that I said, ‘I myself am not the Christ’, _but_ ‘I have been sent before that One.’ (29) “The one having the bride is [the] bridegroom, but the friend of the bridegroom, the one standing and hearing him, rejoices with joy because of the voice of the bridegroom. Therefore, [in] this my joy has been fulfilled. (30) “It is necessary [for] that One to be increasing, but [for] me to becoming less.

John’s answer to the attacks of these Jews that I believe were brought up by his disciples is very wise and it tells us a lot about the character of John. His answer is in four points.
Both John and Jesus received their calling up heaven (v. 27). This is a very profound statement that John makes. John new that a person is not able to do anything unless it has been given to them by God. If people were coming to Christ, and if Jesus ministry is expanding, then it must be God’s plan. Likewise when we hear of God truly working in other’s lives over our own, we shouldn’t become envious and jealous, but we should rejoice at the work that God is doing. John was trusting in the Sovereignty of God here. He knew that God was in control, not him. Paul says something very similar when people tried to bring contention between he and Apollos.

1 Corinthians 3:5-6 NKJV – 5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.

John again declares that he is not the Christ (v. 28). These disciples were there to hear John make that statement before. He is reminding them of what he said. (1) An illustration of the Bridegroom (v. 29). The bridegroom in this passage refers to Jesus. John is the friend, or best man, or the bridegroom here. John is not jealous, but rejoices because he has heard the voice of the bridegroom. He declares his joy is complete of fulfilled in this. (2) Because of this, John is happy to decrease so that Jesus Christ might increase (v. 30). We can miss it, but this is still in reference to the bridegroom and the friend of the bridegroom. At the beginning of the wedding arrangements, the friend of the bridegroom held a very important place during the proceedings. However, once the groom and the bride have been brought together, then the importance of the friend decreases. He is not the center of the marriage feast, but he rejoices at what is taking place none the less. That is the way that John feels about himself and Jesus.

4. The witness from above.

John 3:31-36 ALT – “The One coming from above is above all; the one being from the earth is from the earth and speaks from the earth; the One coming from heaven is above all. (32) “And what He has seen and heard, this He testifies, and no one receives His testimony. (33) “The one receiving His testimony [has] certified that God is true. (34) “For [He] whom God sent speaks the sayings of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. (35) “The Father loves the Son and has given all [things] into His hand. (36) “The one believing [or, trusting] in the Son has eternal life, but the one refusing to believe the Son will not see life, _but_ the wrath of God abides on him.”

John has just said that Jesus must increase while John must decrease. Now, he gives the reason for this. 9It is because the One who comes from heaven is greater than the one who is of earth (v. 31).

A witness given (v. 32). Throughout John’s Gospel, he emphasized the fact that Jesus spoke what he had seen and heard from the Father (8:14-30)/

The witness rejected (v. 32b). Why do people ultimately reject the Gospel message of Jesus? I think it is because it is a message of man’s helplessness. The gospel teaches that man is lost and that he has no way in which he can help himself. That is not a very popular message. The Gospel is not a message that glorifies men. But it is a message that glorifies God.

Receiving His testimony (v. 33). That word, certified, means, “to seal.” A seal in the ancient world was very significant. When a ruler wished to authenticate a document, he would take a small bit of hot wax and drip it onto the document. Then while it was cooling, he would press his signet ring onto the wax, leaving its engraved impression there. This seal served to authenticate that document, proving that it was original and true. The point that John is making here is that when a person believes the witness of Jesus, he is believing that the promises of God concerning Him have come true. The Apostle John says something very similar.

1 John 5:10a NKJV – He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself…

A witness from God (v. 34a). This is an anknowledgement of God sending Jesus and that He says the sayings of God.

A Spiritual Witness (v. 34b). Or another way of translating this is, “God does not give the Spirit without measure.

v. 34b Phillips – …there can be no measuring of the Spirit given to Him.

There is no limit to the Spirit that God gave to Jesus.

A witness of love (v. 35). Not only has Jesus been given God’s message, and not only has Jesus been given the Spirit without measure, but He has also been given all things. Everything that Jesus gave up to come to earth and suffer and die has been given back to Him.

A witness for a decision (v. 36). John uses present tense here. If you are believing in the Son, you have eternal life. It is your present position. You have it right now. But there is also another present tense in this verse. It describes the one who does not obey the Son. The wrath of God abides on that person.

CONCL: We live in that present tense. The past cannot be recovered. And we cannot see the future yet. But we are in the present. And, right now, you either have eternal life, or else the wrath of God abides on you. There is no third choice.

Next time we will look at Chapter four and begin looking at the woman at the well.

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