Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

John 3:25-30
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: John 3:25
v25: The Greek words used here tell us that John the Baptist’s disciples led this discussion. They intensely questioned a man whom the apostle John calls “a Jew,” meaning he was probably a Pharisee (Jn 4:1) or a religious leader from Jerusalem, about “purification.” The word “purification” might mean they debated over a technical aspect of Jewish ritual washing, but in light of the way John’s disciples reacted to this discussion, the man apparently had observed Jesus’ ministry and was reporting to them what he had seen. He must have told them about the growing number of people who were coming to Jesus and being baptized, and he may have told them that Jesus was teaching the meaning of baptism differently than John.

Monday: John 3:26
v26: Whatever he said, the man’s report seems to have shocked and angered John’s disciples. The crowds coming to John to be baptized must have been dwindling in size, and it appears that was the moment when they realized people were turning their attention to Jesus instead of John. Afterward they went to John and reported, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan (Jn 1:29-36) to whom you have borne witness, behold this man baptizes, and all are coming to Him” (literal). Clearly this had been new information to them, and judging from John’s reaction, they thought of Jesus as someone competing with them for influence.

Tuesday: John 3:27
v27: John’s response is one of the great statements of faith in the Bible. His words are full of humility and prophetic insight. He began by saying, “A man cannot receive anything unless it is something that has been given to him [from] out of heaven” (literal). In other words he recognized that God was the source of his ministry. It was God who was convicting people’s hearts and bringing them to be baptized. The amazing response that he and his disciples had been experiencing over the past years was not the product of human effort. They had been included in a miracle, and John recognized that if he tried to cling to a work God wanted to bring to an end he would be carrying on without God’s help.

Wednesday: John 3:27
v27 (continued): He fully understood that no human can force God to bless us or what we do. We can only align ourselves with what God chooses to give us from “out of heaven.” John was not being passive in the face of decline, nor was he unwilling to work harder if that’s what he needed to do to reach more people. John’s statement is an expression of the fact that he was prophetically aware that a spiritual change was taking place. He had known for awhile that the Messiah had already arrived (Jn 1:26, 30-34), but he may not have realized until that moment that the arrival of the Messiah meant his own ministry was coming to an end so soon. Yet he accepted that fact with no trace of jealousy or self-promotion. If “heaven” was now choosing to pour out its blessing on another, then he would gladly submit to the plan of God.

Thursday: John 3:28
v28: Then John reminded his frustrated disciples, “You yourselves are my witnesses that I said I am not the Messiah but that I have been sent [by God] before that One” (literal). In other words, “The goal of my ministry has never been to promote me. My assignment has always been to prepare the hearts of people to welcome the soon-coming Messiah.” He understood that the change that was taking place did not mean he had failed. In fact that opposite was the case. The response of the people to Jesus was proof that he had succeeded.

Friday: John 3:29
v29: Then John used an analogy to help his disciples understand the relationship between himself and Jesus. He compared that relationship to a marriage ceremony. At a wedding there is a bride, a groom, and a best man. His point was to show them how wrong it would be for the best man to keep the bride for himself. The “bride,” by which John meant the people, rightly belonged to the “groom” by which he meant the Messiah, and whom he now knew was Jesus. The proper role for the “friend of the bridegroom” was to help make the arrangements for a happy wedding. When the best man hears the grooms voice he must stand back and be glad, for now the wedding can take place. John then explained to his disciples that this was why he had felt joy rather than sadness at their report. People turning to the Messiah filled him with joy because it showed that he had played his part well.

Saturday: John 3:30
v30: John was able to spiritually perceive that the change taking place in people’s hearts was according to God’s plan. During his ministry he had remained vigilant, continually watching for the coming Messiah (Jn 1:31-34). So when Jesus came to be baptized, John discerned His true identity. He knew that the Savior, the divine Son of God, had arrived (Jn 3:31-36), so he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” Make no mistake, this had to have been a painful moment for John, yet he chose to handle it well. He refused self-pity. He refused to expect thanks or honor for his years of service. He refused to demand loyalty from the people as a reward for his faithfulness. To him people turning to the Messiah was a matter of life or death. If the result of his labor was that the people’s faith was focused on him, then he had failed, and they would perish. But if the people believed in Jesus then they would have eternal life (v36). 

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