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Think of the last wedding you attended. Remember the joy?


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Bible passage John 3:22–36


John the Baptist's Testimony About Jesus
 22After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized. 24(This was before John was put in prison.) 25An argument developed between some of John's disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26They came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him."

 27To this John replied, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. 28You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.' 29The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30He must become greater; I must become less.

 31"The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 35The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


Audio Bible passage


The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


Explore the Bible


Who to follow?
Today we see different responses to the start of Jesus’ ministry: humility and pride, joy and jealousy.

John the Baptist was a powerful preacher. See how Jesus referred to him in Matthew 11:11. But John knew Jesus was God in person, far superior to himself, and he continually told his disciples this (John 1:20,21). Yet when they saw the crowds flocking to Jesus, they became jealous. They had yet to understand what John had been saying all along. Jesus was the world’s Messiah, not John.

Time for change
When John’s disciples came to tell him of Jesus’ flourishing ministry, he knew that although his own ministry would continue for a little longer, his mission was drawing to an end (3:30). He had been called to go ahead of the Messiah and prepare people for his coming. The Messiah had come. Now it was time for people to look away from John and focus on Jesus.

See how John uses a wedding ceremony to illustrate his point (v 29). He refers to the people as the bride. She ‘belongs to the bridegroom’. He refers to himself as the bridegroom’s friend, full of joy as he hands over the bride to the groom, his task complete.


Respond


In Matthew 23:12, Jesus says those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Into which category do you fit? Read Proverbs 27:2 for some good advice.

Shirley Corder


Deeper Bible study


John’s testimony about Jesus’ supremacy is described wonderfully in verses 22–30. For a while, both John and Jesus appear to have been baptising people, until John’s arrest. John’s disciples are concerned by the growing success of Jesus’ ministry, but John is unperturbed and even rejoices. We learn from 1:35–37 that John even urges his disciples to go over to Jesus’ side. Why does he do this? How can he? John knows that he is merely the friend of the bridegroom, not the Bridegroom himself; he has to decrease while Jesus has to increase.

John knows his mission and his own position in relation to Jesus: Jesus is pre-eminent. It is a lifelong challenge for us to decrease so that Jesus can increase. Our interests, our ministry, our reputation should be subordinate to Jesus. Do we have the desire that Jesus would grow in us, at the expense of our own ambitions and dreams? Paul puts it this way, ‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me’ (Galatians 2:20).

John the Baptist’s assertion of Jesus’ supremacy over him is so astounding that it leads John the Gospel author to declare Jesus’ supremacy over everything (vs 31–36). This assertion is in keeping with his worldview that sharply distinguishes between the realities of the world ‘above’ and the world ‘below’. The world does not like polarised thinking. Right or wrong, black or white are seen as extreme categories. While many life situations are not black and white, when it comes to God there are in effect only two options – accepting or rejecting Jesus – and each choice has its own consequences. John is uncompromising. Let us embrace Jesus and acknowledge that he is Lord of all.

Cornelis Bennema


Bible in a year


Read the Bible in a year.

Genesis 22,23

Psalms 5,6
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Audio


  • Song: To God be the Glory
  • Composer: Lyrics: Crosby , Music: Fellingham
  • Album: Step into the Light
  • Copyright: Copyright © 2010 Thank you Music
  • Buy this and other great worship songs here


Song: Your words are life
Composer: Noel Richard and Tim Sherrington
Copyright: Copyright © 2008 Thank you Music
Buy this and other great worship songs here


Comments
  • Rachael Hampton | Tuesday, 10 January 2017

    V13 in Amp. And yet no one has ever gone up to Heaven, but there is One Who has come down from Heaven. - the Son of Man. Bible Gateway is a very good App for quickly comparing versions of Scripture.

  • Rachael Hampton | Tuesday, 10 January 2017

    Thank you for the updates and sharing, THELMA, JOAN and others. It strengthens our faith to hear of answered prayer and helps keep us on the job! Glad you are much better PETER. THELMA, I understand your concerns. We also think of SHONA and her mum Christine, JULIE, MAL's friend Cindy, and BRENDA of course.

  • Rachael Hampton | Tuesday, 10 January 2017

    Thank you for the updates and sharing, THELMA, JOAN and others. It strengthens our faith to hear of answered prayer and helps keep us on the job! Glad you are much better PETER. THELMA, I understand your concerns. We also think of SHONA and her mum Christine, JULIE, MAL's friend Cindy, and BRENDA of course.

  • Rachael Hampton | Tuesday, 10 January 2017

    Thank you for the updates and sharing, THELMA, JOAN and others. It strengthens our faith to hear of answered prayer and helps keep us on the job! Glad you are much better PETER. THELMA, I understand your concerns. We also think of SHONA and her mum Christine, JULIE, MAL's friend Cindy, and BRENDA of course.

  • Rachael Hampton | Tuesday, 10 January 2017

    Oops sorry!

  • Angela Munday | Wednesday, 11 January 2017

    In verse 36 the message is clear "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.......whoever rejects the Son will not see life." Accept JESUS or reject Him; everyone has a choice to make.

  • Thelma Edwards | Wednesday, 11 January 2017

    He must increase and I must decrease. This is a message many 'celebrity preachers and worship leaders' always have to keep in the front of their minds. Also those of us who share testimonies, pictures, words, or have been given ministeries to develop and exercise. Everything we do must always point to Jesus and not ourselves. Even in this posting, how can I check I have been a signpost and not a destination? All blessed things come from Him so I must take care only to pass on what I believe He has revealed to me. Treasure in earthen vessels. We are channels only.

  • Thelma Edwards | Wednesday, 11 January 2017

    Lift Jesus higher, lift Jesus higher, lift him up for the world to see. When Jesus is lifted up He will draw men unto Him. We do the lifting and He does the drawing.

  • Roger Hall | Wednesday, 11 January 2017

    God is TRUE!

  • Kath Prior | Wednesday, 11 January 2017

    A friend put this quote and someones testimony on Facebook this morning"...I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live... by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days..." ~Deuteronomy 30:19-20. It reminds us of what our passage and commentary say today, choose LIFE in Jesus.

  • David Rogers | Wednesday, 11 January 2017

    Love John the Baptist. Mt. 11v11 that Shirley refers to has blown my mind for years. John the Baptist no one greater born of woman, but least in Kingdom is greater than he......let that sink in.

  • Roger Hall | Wednesday, 11 January 2017

    It has dawned on me that perhaps John the Baptist had died before witnessing the full implications of the Cross, the resurrection, and the coming of the Holy Spirit. He will have caught up by now!

  • Martin Hobgen | Wednesday, 11 January 2017

    The declaration of Jesus' supremacy is marvelous, however it by John the Baptist and recorded by John the Apostle, not written by John the Apostle himself as the 'Deeper bible study' section asserts.

  • Shona McLennan | Wednesday, 11 January 2017

    Thank you, RACHAEL and everyone else, for your prayers. After a month in Scotland spending many hours with my mum I am now back in Argentina. She is in hospital and getting weaker and more tired day by day, but surrounded by family and friends and receiving excellent care. So far she has not put her faith in the Lord but I have been repeatedly encouraged by the Bible - and your comments - that He will do what we cannot, that His light will shine on those living in the land of the shadow of death, that.He will seek out his lost sheep, that He will answer our prayers.

  • Peter Oliver | Wednesday, 11 January 2017

    Shona im praying for your mum now

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Wednesday, 11 January 2017

    DAVID, I have mentioned that before on here but not had a comment so not sure how many pick it up. I was blown away by that truth first time I realised it.

  • Oakley Bookworm | Wednesday, 11 January 2017

    GILVIN I remember you saying that before. It is something that I know to be true (because Jesus said it) but which I find difficult to claim for myself. Even now, I am sometimes bound by the false teaching of 'Having to try and be good enough'. Which is not the Gospel at all.

  • Hilary Dale | Wednesday, 11 January 2017

    Hi Shona, I wonder if Lou fellingham's "God of mercy" song will help your prayers for your mum - I have used it in similar circumstances! May the Lord gently BUT SURELY draw her to himself and be the light to lead her home. Lord have mercy and draw this lady, who you know so well, and love so much, to your all loving, all powerful, beautiful self. Lord please strengthen, encourage and comfort Shona through these days!

  • Hilary Dale | Wednesday, 11 January 2017

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7l2znbdQA8A

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Thursday, 12 January 2017

    OAKLEY bless your for your honesty

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