Thursday, January 28, 2021

Heaven and Earth: Jesus and John the Baptist (John 3:22-36)

 This particular situation might be confusing: two unique people, who seem to have truth from God are both preaching and baptizing. John the Baptist notices that people seem to be more drawn to Jesus. John's disciples notice, too. John the Baptist reminds them and us that he is not the Messiah, but that he was given the task of proclaiming His coming. He uses the analogy of a wedding. In our terms, John the Baptist is saying that he is the best man. The best man's job is to celebrate his friend, the groom, and to do whatever he can to help the guests celebrate and enjoy the wedding. Our culture isn't much different than theirs in this. The best man is usually the closest friend that the man getting married has in the world. Any solid best man will be thrilled for his buddy, and once it's over, his job is done. That's exactly what John the Baptist is saying.

There is a fair amount of discussion about whether verses 31 through 36 is still John the Baptist talking, or whether St. John is explaining what we just read or heard. There are no quotation marks in the original Greek. In these cultures, the people didn't use them. They are given to us as a help, because we live in a written culture, and we quote people who say things, especially if they are being reported to us by someone else.

In any case, this part is a contrast between John the Baptist, and Jesus. St. John wants us to know that Jesus comes from above, and John the Baptist is from below. It doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with John the Baptist; it simply means that Jesus is going to reveal things about the Father that no one else would be able to know. Friendship with God, and to be in the family of God, is beyond the power that we have in ourselves. God can give us the power, but we must ask. It is our destiny to be in God's family. Anything less is a waste of our lives.

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