John 3:22-36 The Priority And Authority Of Jesus

by | Apr 29, 2024 | John, New Testament

I. We Must Decrease, Jesus Must Increase Vs. 22-30

A. The Natural Tendency Towards Wanting To Belong Vs. 22-27

1. V. 26– A situation arose that caused John’s disciples to notice and comment that people were leaving from following John, and following Jesus.

a. This is a natural thing. People want to belong to something. They want to attach to people. They want to find and maintain significance through their various affiliations and accomplishments.
b. These disciples must have been very impressed with John, and felt that it was a radical thing to follow him.
c. John was a radical, extreme guy. It probably took courage to be associated with him.
d. Following John may have been the most exciting thing these men had ever done.
e. Spiritually speaking, it was very right. They were looking for Messiah.
f. But either they were blind to the nature of John’s true mission, or they became wrongly attached to John.

2. V. 27– John recognized that God sovereignly gives to people their sphere of influence and responsibility. He was content and joyful to be who God made him to be.

a. Psalm 127:1 Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.

B. The Right Attitude About Who Should Be Center Stage Vs. 28-30

1. V. 26– John’s disciples displayed (apparent) jealousy that John was losing his popularity
2. V. 28– John reminded them about what he had told them previously. (John 1:19-27)
3. Vs. 29, 30– John explained his relationship to Jesus.

a. At a wedding the main focus is upon the bride and the bridegroom.
b. The best man is there to assist the bridegroom and to stand with him as he takes his bride to himself. How wrong it would be for the bride to stay with the best man!
c. John understood his God ordained position in life, and he was happy to fulfill it.
d. John did not feel the need to strive to be more than what God had called him to.
e. John knew that his ministry was to point people to Jesus, and then to fade away.
f. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled– What seemed like bad news to John’s disciples was the best news that John could have received.

4. Observation- It seems a universal tendency among people to be noticed, to have the attention and admiration of others, and to be a part of the “in” crowd.

a. John the Baptist was very powerful and charismatic personality.
b. He was intense, committed, & not afraid of the government of the religious system.
c. It is easy for us to live vicariously through people. Modern heroes prove that.
d. It can become a mixture of a spiritual and a fleshly attraction.
e. Their mission becomes our mission; their passion becomes our passion, etc.
f. We find ourselves attached to something bigger than ourselves, and in the case of John the Baptist, it is a God ordained something bigger than ourselves.
g. The temptation is to hang on to that something, to perpetuate it, to identify with it, to protect it, to criticize others that criticize it, and to miss anything else that God might want to do.
h. Our identity as Christians should not be so closely attached to other things resulting in us being shaken in our faith should those things end.

5. The Christian life is not about our church, our movement, our ministry, our friends, our missions, our small groups, our corporate meetings, etc.
6. The Christian life needs to be built around Jesus, and all that He is.
7. V. 30– Literally, He must go on increasing, and I must go on decreasing.
8. William Carey, (the father of modern missions)as he was dying– “When I am gone, don’t talk about William Carey; talk about William Carey’s Savior”.
9. We are not to live our lives vicariously through others, or through their ministries, but it should be Jesus living in and through us.
10. We are not to seek to gain recognition from men, but only approval from God.

II. The Pre-Eminence Of Jesus Vs. 31-36

A. His Qualifications Vs. 31-35

1. V. 31- One reason that Jesus is pre-eminent is that He came down from heaven. His origin was not earth, but Heaven.

a. That was one reason that those disciples should leave John and follow Jesus.
b. There was nothing corrupt or tainted in the words of Jesus; not true with man.

2. V. 32– Jesus told the perfect truth, and the masses tended to not believe Him.
3. V. 33- Those who did and do receive Jesus’ testimony are agreeing with God.
4. V. 34– The apostles/prophets had a measure of God’s Spirit as they spoke divine truth, but Jesus was filled without measure with the Holy Spirit. His words were perfect
5. V. 35– All things were given to Jesus by the Father. Another reason He’s pre-eminent.

a. All judgment is given to the Son. In the age to come, He will judge.

6. V. 36– Because of the pre-eminence f Jesus, His words are the final words needed.

a. We cannot admire Jesus for His teaching but reject His message of needed salvation
b. We cannot assign to Him the title of “great teacher” or “wonderful example”, and ignore what he said about Himself being the Savior and Judge.

B. The Final Word V. 36

1. V. 36- When one believes on Jesus, he immediately has everlasting life.

a. Literally- The one who continues to believe had everlasting life…
b. Literally- he who does not obey.
c. To not believe means that you do not obey, you do not take Jesus at His word.

2. V. 36– If one doesn’t believe on Jesus, the judgment of God remains on that person.

a. Abides- This does away with the idea of annihilation: ceasing to exist.
b. The wrath of God continues on the Christ rejecting soul.