Summary of passage: After Jesus’ time with Nicodemus, he and his disciples began spreading the word of God in the Judean countryside and baptizing people. John the Baptist was also still baptizing people at this same time. An argument arose between the followers of John the Baptist and other Jews. They were saying Jesus is baptizing as well. John said that’s fine for Jesus is giving the same gift from heaven. Jesus is above John the Baptist since he came from heaven. He speaks the words of God and has been given everything by the Father. Whoever accepts Jesus will have eternal life.
13) Part personal Question. My answer: John said it’s fine Jesus is around and humbled himself by saying Jesus is greater than he since Jesus is from heaven. He is joyful at Jesus’ presence. The joy of others doing the same thing as you.
14) Part personal Question. My answer: John says Jesus if “the one who comes from above”, “The one whom God has sent”, “the one who comes from heaven”, “the one above all”, the Son of God, and the one to bring eternal life. The same.
Conclusions: John’s reaction to Jesus is what’s important here. He’s not jealous that people are going to Jesus instead of him. He’s joyful and happy. We should all be that way when our competitors in life do better than we do. It’s very hard to repress that selfishness that arises but John’s example is inspiring to do so.
End Notes: Notice John’s focus: Jesus’ work in Judea. The other gospels focus on Jesus’ work in Galilee. Map HERE of region.
Jesus is continuing the work of John the Baptist, who was doing the work God told him to do. Jesus baptized and preached repentance, the same as John. All we know is we’re in the region of Judea.
Where John was (Aenon near Salim) is disputed. Aenon means “springs”, which makes sense since you need water to baptize. Two locations are suggested: one is 7 miles south of Bethshan and the other near Shechem.
The details of the argument is unknown. What’s important is John’s reaction: joy! Jesus is here. Let him come!
John responds to his disciples: all I have is Jesus’, Jesus is the one who he’s announcing is coming and has come (his life’s purpose), and he’s just the best man–not the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom arranges many parts of the wedding for the groom and is there only to help, which is John the Baptist’s role. Saying Jesus is the bridegroom is saying he’s God. All would have recognized from the Old Testament that Israel is the bride of Yahweh.
John is happy that Jesus is winning disciples. That is John’s job–to bring them all to Jesus. He’s doing a good job at evangelism.
Jesus is greater; the servant is less. This John understood. He kept doing the job he was sent to do even if the crowds lessened. He’s still doing God’s work, which changes for us all.
Scholars debate whether verses 31-36 is John the Baptist still speaking or John the Apostle adding commentary.
Jesus is greater than everyone else and has first-hand knowledge of heaven since he’s from heaven. This who we trust: those who’ve been there and done that. Jesus is the only one who’s been to heaven and back to tell.
No one will believe John says. Jesus will be rejected. He is prophesizing here. This is relatively speaking. Some did believe but most did not.
The Spirit is given freely to us all (without measure).
“The one whom God has sent” is a key theme in John’s Gospel (John 4:34; John 17:3).
“Without limit” here is debated: is God giving the Spirit to only Jesus or to all believers?
“Has” means eternal life is a present possession, not something the believer will only obtain later.
Fun Fact: “The Father loves the Son” is used only twice in the book of John (again in 5:20). But a different Greek word is used in each case.
Using “the Son” to designate Jesus is a theme in this Gospel.
The wrath of God is brought upon man by himself. God doesn’t do it. Wrath is not a passion or an outburst. It’s God’s displeasure that sin brings. It’s God’s righteousness against unrighteousness. So many churches these days downplay God’s wrath. But without God’s wrath, there is no judgment, no morals, no values.
“God’s wrath” means that God is actively opposed to everything evil.
Fun Fact: This is the only time John uses “wrath” in his Gospel.
“Abides” or “remains” means God’s wrath is for eternity (total and permanent) unless you accept Jesus who takes God’s wrath.
Conclusions to Lesson 4 and John 3:
John 3 is a must read for any Christian and a great place to point unbelievers. It states:
You must be born again (John 3:7)
The Son of Man must be lifted up (John 3:14)
God must increase (John 3:30)
Man must decrease (John 3:30)