GENTRY “After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized. For John was not yet cast into prison.Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying. And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou bearest witness, behold,the same baptizeth,and all men come to him.John answered and said,A man can receive nothing,except it be given him from heaven.Ye yourselves bear me witness,that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” John 3:22-36
Both the disciples of Jesus and John the Baptist were baptizing people with a “baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4) in the region of the Jordan. John, until his arrest and execution by Herod, continued calling upon all to repent and believe in God’s promised Messiah and Savior. Though we do not know the details of the question which arose between the Jews and some of John’s disciples, it likely was related to the fact that Jesus and His disciples were also baptizing, and all the people were coming to Jesus rather than to John the Baptist.
While most men would be grieved to see their own work and ministry waning and people going to another, John rejoiced because the people were going to see and hear Jesus. He reminded his disciples that he had told them he was not the Christ (the promised Messiah and Savior). In fact, John had pointed his disciples to Jesus, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). John told his disciples, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (v. 30).
Jesus is the Son of God come down from heaven. John was only a man sent by God to testify of God’s Son. Jesus testified to those things He had seen and heard in heaven. John could only testify to the words revealed to him on earth by the Holy Spirit. Jesus came and testified to the truth about sinful man and to the way of salvation God was providing in His Son. Yet people did not accept Jesus’ testimony.
Even today, Jesus’ Word sounds forth, testifying to the truth that all men are sinful in thoughts, desires, words and deeds - that the very thoughts and intents of man’s heart are evil from his youth (cf. Genesis 6:5; 8:21). Jesus testifies that only in Him - for the sake of His holy life in our stead and for the sake of His innocent sufferings and death on the cross for the sins of the world - is there forgiveness of sins and life everlasting!
But people do not believe His testimony, even though He is God the Son come down to earth in human flesh, even though He died for them and rose again. But those who, by the gracious working of the Holy Spirit, believe His testimony are assured that God is true. They are assured that indeed their sins are forgiven of God and that they do have the eternal joys of heaven awaiting them.
John the Baptist told his disciples that the Father loves the Son and has committed all things into His hands. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (v. 36).
These words of John remain true even today! Do you have life in the Son?
Dearest Jesus, I am a sinner through and through. Wash away my sins in Your shed blood and create in me a right spirit. Amen.
For The Record, Pages 4 on 12/09/2009
Print Headline: WEEKLY DEVOTION Do You Trust the Son?