JOHN 3:22-36 (NIV – UK)
John testifies again about Jesus
22 After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptised. 23 Now John also was baptising at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptised. 24 (This was before John was put in prison.) 25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They 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 – look, he is baptising, and everyone is going to him.’
27 To this John replied, ‘A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, “I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.” 29 The 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. 30 He 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. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
EVERYTHING IN JESUS’ HANDS
Many people had been and were still coming to John the Baptist to be baptised – he is a truly great prophet – yet despite this he knows his place is not to be centre stage. John the Baptist is more like ‘The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice’ (v. 29). And now that Jesus, the Bridegroom, is here for his Church, the Bride, John the Baptist is full of joy that Jesus is to take centre stage – just as a bridegroom does on his wedding day. Imagine a wedding where the friend was on centre stage and the bridegroom was left in the background – something would seem quite wrong. This is why John the Baptist says: ‘He must become greater; I must become less’ (v. 30).
John goes on to speak of Jesus as ‘the one who is above all’ (v. 31). In Jesus we find all truth and his testimony is trustworthy – he has come from heaven and testifies to what he has seen and heard (v. 32). Do you certify that God is truthful by accepting Jesus’ testimony (v. 33)?
The chapter ends with a statement of great depth: ‘The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them’ (v. 35-36). This is the heart of the Gospel – the Son is loved and cherished by the Father and, like a Bridegroom, the Father has gifted the Son a Bride – the Church. The Son holds everything in his hands – all life, truth and judgement – and we must go to him to receive life. There is no life without the Son – everything is found in him – he is the only safe haven (v. 36).
Question: Have you accepted Jesus’ testimony? How does it make you feel to know that everything is in Jesus hands?