Leadership and Contentment: John 3:19-36 is the topic that will be discussing today on RIOT Podcast, a Christian Discipleship Podcast
This week we are finishing up John chapter 3 by unpacking verses 19-36. In these verses, we will talk about “Light and Darkness”, how John the Baptist handles disputes, why Jesus is the bridegroom and lastly why Jesus as the “witness of the Father” is important.
Vs 19-21 Light and Darkness
Light and Darkness is one of the major images John uses in his gospel. We first talked about it in John 1. John answers the question why sinners will not come into the light, it’s because they love darkness!
Until John the Baptist was arrested by Herod and put into prison, his ministry overlapped with Jesus’ ministry. In our reading of John 3:22-30 we will see that John did not want anyone to follow him, he reminds people that his ministry is to “point people to the Lamb of God.” But we will also see a division amongst his followers; they get caught up in comparing John’s ministry with Jesus’ ministry. Let’s read and unpack these verses
Verses John 3:22-30
Verse 25 says “Now a discussion arose between some of John's disciples and a Jew over purification.” It appears that some of John’s disciples started the argument. It began as doctrinal grounds, the matter of purifying and then it moved on to personal grounds.
Who is the Jew? Could it be Nicodemus, we can’t say for sure but it is in context with Him.
Purification was important to the Jews, under the OT law they needed to keep themselves ceremonially clean.
Without realizing it John’s disciples were putting him into a situation of competing against Jesus. In 3:26 they said all men come to him.
How did John the Baptist handle the controversy? He first stated a conviction: He said in vs 27 All ministry and blessing come from God, so that there can be no competition. Paul said this as well in 1 Cor 3:1-9 where he said our gifts and opportunities come from God and He alone must get all the glory.
The next thing John did was paint a beautiful illustration. 3:29 He compared Jesus to the bridegroom and himself only to the best man. In essence he was saying once the bridegroom and bride had been brought together, the best man’s work is completed.
We never want to upstage the bridegroom; the church is Jesus’ bride. John was content in His ministry, he understood his role.
The image of the bridegroom would have been significant to the Jewish people. For Jehovah had a marriage covenant with the nation. We find that in Isa 54:5, Jer 2:2, Ezek 16:8, etc. We also find that God has said His people have been unfaithful to their vows and He has temporarily put her away.
John is saying that this is the beginning of a new covenant, his church, the Bridegroom and one day will come back for them.
The last verse in 3:30 where John says he must decrease and Jesus must increase, concludes the significance of this word “must” that is used 3 different times in this section. 3:7 the must of the sinner, in 3:14 the must of the Savior and here is 3:30 the must of the servant.
The last part of our reading today will be vs 31-36. Here we will see the emphasis on the word witness,(testimony). Keep in mind as we read this that the Greek word translated “witness or testimony” is used 47 times in his gospel. So why would we heed the witness of Christ, lets read and find out.
Veres John 3:31-36
Vs 31 tells us that we must heed Christs’ witness because he is from heaven and above all.
He was God and He came from heaven, he was above all Gods. No earthly messenger or profit came from above only Jesus, We can trust it and rely on his witness.
Vs 32-33 says that He testifies what the father has said first hand, what He says is truth because He has been with the father, we can rely on his witness)
In vs 34-35 we see again God gave Jesus the word, He gave him his spirit and he gave him all things. To reject the sons witness would be to rebel against the highest authority in the universe.
In vs 36 take notice that this is the only place in any of John’s epistles or his gospel that he uses the word wrath. In revelations he uses it 5 times but not in any of his writings. This verse parallels John 3:18 and makes it clear that there can be no neutrality when it comes to the witness of Jesus. Either we trust Him or we reject Him.
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