Peter Barnes: Jesus and John The Baptist: Increasing and Decreasing, John 3:22-30 (Sunday 5 July 2020
Evening Service, 6.00 p.m.)
Moses is described as the gentlest of men (Num.12:3), and John the Baptist is portrayed as the humblest of men. Contra J. C. Ryle, this was probably not quite Christian baptism in the name of the Trinity (as in Matt.28:19-20), but like John the Baptist’s baptism of repentance.
John the Gospel writer assumes that his readers know more than this Gospel reveals on the imprisonment (Mark 14:57-59 too assumes John 2:19-21). A dispute breaks out with an unnamed Jew – 3:25-26.
1. John recognises the sovereignty of God.
– 3:27. God is sovereign. God chose John to be what he turned out to be – Luke 1:16-17. After John was born, Zechariah prophesied – Luke 1:67, 76-80.
– 1 Cor.4:7. Hence Phil.2:3.
2. John recognises his place in God’s world.
– 3:28. There is nothing new here – John 1:19-23. John is the voice; Jesus is the Word. John prepares for Jesus who is the Lord. For us, see Rom.12:3 and Ps.131:1.
– 3:29. He rejoices with joy, meaning he rejoices greatly.
– the bridegroom in the Old Testament is Yahweh Himself – Isa.54:5; Jer.2:2; 3:20; Hos.2:19-20. In the New Testament it is the Messiah – Mark 2:19; 2 Cor.11:2; Eph.5:22-33; Rev.21:2, 9; 22:17. Christ is spoken of in the same terms as is God, which implies He is divine.
3. John seeks to exalt Christ.
– read 3:30. Note John 1:6-8. James Denney: ‘No man can bear witness to Christ and himself at the same time. No man can at once give the impression that he is clever and that Christ is mighty to save.’