Monday, March 21, 2011

John 3:22-36

John 3
 22 After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. 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 baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” 27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given 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.”[h]
 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 The person who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God[i] 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.

John really wants you to understand a few things, so he keeps returning to them...
1. Jesus is God - not just a human with a good message or great ideas about how to live life.  John says, “the one who comes from above is above all,” and just in case you didn’t get it, he repeats it.  There is no denying this claim in John’s gospel, no guessing, we’re dealing with God who (as we saw in the first chapter) moved into our neighborhood.
2. Eternal life comes to those who believe in him.  We saw this in yesterday’s reading and we’ll see it again in the future - John doesn’t want you to miss it.  Now this eternal life is also described as “new life” because he’s not simply talking about life after death (although that certainly is important).  No, John wants you to experience eternal life, starting now.  Life with God begins as we enter a relationship with Him through Jesus.

However, something else really stuck out to me in today’s text.  It made me think of how often I have had friends who were struggling but who I could not help.  I mentioned this in last Sunday’s sermon - I feel compelled to fix things.  I at the very least want to help.  When I can’t it’s very, very frustrating.  John’s perspective here is amazing to me.  He knows his role - he knows he is no savior.  Instead, his job is pointing.  He directs people to the Savior, he shows people the way.  That statement, “He must become greater, I must become less.”  Those are words I need to let sink in.  What really stuck out in this passage for you?

Take a few minutes to pray today...
God, help me to always be crystal clear about who you are.  Even when the things I read and people who are around me seem to doubt - open my eyes like John to know that you sent your Son for us - to know that you entered into our world.  
Father, sometimes I take the weight of the world on my own shoulders.  I think I need to “save people” and fix things.  Instead would you give me the right perspective about my role.  Would you help me point people to you?  And help me really live that out.  Prompt me, in the next day or two, to point to you in one of the conversations I have with a neighbor, friend, or family member.  And most of all, give me grace.

(Caz Minter)