John 3:26-36  The Exaltation of Jesus by John the Baptist”


John 3:26  And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all [men] come to him.


John’s disciples, having been in a heated debate with the Jews over purification, came to John with a concern.  They considered John to be an important person.  They called him “Rabbi”.  This is a term used by the Jews for a master or teacher.  They also recognized him to be a man of God not unlike Samuel or Elisha.  He was to be revered and held in high regard.  Even Jesus said: (Mat 11:11) Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least* in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.  (* i.e. “later” as in “comes after” Jesus is speaking of Himself here)  Jesus would teach His disciples that greatness in the Kingdom of Heaven is measured differently from the Kingdoms of the earth.  The one who is great is the servant of all.  John’s greatness is due to the servant’s attitude which he exhibited.  John’s disciples were confusing earthly fame and prestige and heavenly.  They were concerned at the drop in the number of followers of John and the increase in the number of followers of Jesus. 

Notice also that they did not call Jesus by name.  They said “he” and then they further identified him as to the place were they had seen him with John and by the words which John had used to describe him to them.  These men had been saved but seem to have little knowledge of Jesus.  They had spent their time following the ministry of John and had not chosen to follow instead the ministry of Jesus. 


John 3:27  John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.


John begins to explain to his disciples how things are suppose to be.  He will, with his words, explain the error in their thinking.  Men are given all things from heaven.  God has provided all good things for men.  A man does not receive salvation unless God gives it to him.  A man does not become a prophet unless God gives him that authority and calling.  Men do not deserve any good gift from God.   God gives us the privilege of serving Him and it must be always understood that it is a privilege to serve God.  John has been given the great privilege of being the forerunner of the Christ.  John will not allow pride to enter in and ruin this privileged calling.  He keeps his position in proper perspective.  God had dealt graciously with John.  John had done nothing to deserve this blessing and knowing this he would strive to execute his office as God directed. 


John 3:28  Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.


John never presumed to be something he was not.  He had always said that he was not the Christ.   He had told everyone plainly that he was but the forerunner of the Christ.  He was but a voice of one crying in the wilderness. These men knew that John was not the Christ.  They had heard him say that one greater than he was coming whose shoe laces he was not worthy to stoop down and unloose.  These men had been saved under the preaching of John the Baptist and they were loyal to him because of what he had done for them.  But all John had done for them was to tell them about Jesus.  It was Jesus who saved them.  Jesus is the savior.  I appreciate my parents for leading me to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ but it is Jesus Christ that I follow not my earthly father.  Brother Boots Madden once said that when he got to heaven and he went up to his mother to greet her that he expected that she would brush him aside saying son don’t bother me look at Jesus isn’t He wonderful.


John 3:29  He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.


The best man at a wedding is not sad because he is not the groom is he?  John is saying to his disciples that he is happy and more than content he is overjoyed to be a part of the coming of the Christ.  They need not be concerned for the feelings of John thinking that fewer followers would be discouraging to him.  Fewer followers is what he wanted provided they abandoned him to follow Jesus.

There a some who take verse 29 and make more of it than is right.  There is no lesson taught here that the church is the literal bride of Christ.  The Church has a bridal relationship in a figurative sense. In Revelation chapter 21 the glory bride of Christ is described.  Those who are written in the Lambs book of life are a part of the Glory bride of Christ.  Church membership is important it offers it’s members not only a place to serve God in accordance with His holy will but also protection from Satan and his desire to devour the children of God.  Don’t take church membership lightly.  It is vital for every child of God to be a member of one of His churches. 


John 3:30  He must increase, but I [must] decrease.


John now tells them that things are going according to the master’s plan.  Jesus must increase and John must decrease.  John will soon be killed by Harod.  John will be obedient to God’s calling even unto death.  Every child of God should decrease and in turn exalt Jesus Christ.  Don’t allow men to follow and praise you above Jesus.  Point them always to Jesus.  Give all glory and praise to the lamb that was slain who has born all our sins and has cleansed every stain.


John 3:31  He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.


Jesus has come from heaven above and has authority over every one and every thing.  He is God almighty.  John on the other hand is but and earthen vessel.  He is just a clay pot.  He is dust and will return to dust.  All he knows is what he has learned on the earth.  He has not seen heaven and will not see heaven until the day which would see the end of his short life.  He can only speak for heaven he can not speak from heaven.  Jesus is God and equal in all ways to the God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.


John 3:32  And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony.

John 3:33  He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.


Jesus is greater than John for Jesus comes testifying of heavenly things.  He comes teaching Kingdom lessons in parables.  The words He speaks are the words of the Father.  Verse 32 says that no man receiveth his testimony.  Yet in the next verse he says that some do receive his testimony.  The explanation of this is fairly simple.  In verse 32 he is saying that most men do not receive His testimony.  David Corresh came to Texas claiming to be sent from God but it would be fair to say that his testimony was not received by Texans.   Some did receive his testimony.  In the same sense the nation of Israel did not receive the testimony of Jesus but some Israelites did receive his testimony.  Those who did receive the testimony of Jesus put their seal of approval on Him saying that God is true.  By implication we can conclude that those who did not receive His testimony were calling God a liar.


John 3:34  For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure [unto him].


John says in this verse that God had sent Jesus into the World.  He did this because of His great love for man.  Jesus came speaking the words of the Father.  The father did not give to the son the Spirit by measure.  He had one hundred percent of the Spirit of God upon Him.  He did not give to Him limited revelation as He had done to the prophets of old.  The Apostle Paul said 1Co 13:12  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  Jesus knew all things and demonstrated this with the Nathanael in chapter one and with the Woman at the well in chapter four. 


John 3:35  The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.

John 3:36  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.


John concludes his words of comfort to his disciples with these wonderful words. The Father Loves the Son.  God the Father demonstrated His love for the Son by giving all things into His hand.  God the Father is pleased with the Son and when He saw the travail of His Soul He was satisfied. He that believeth on the Son as the savior of men has everlasting life.  He will always have everlasting life because he has believed on the Son.  Those who refuse to repent of sin and turn to Jesus Christ for Salvation shall not see life but the wrath of God rests upon him.  There are only 2 kinds of people; Those who have everlasting life and those who have hanging over their heads the wrath of God.  Which group do you belong to?  Take your sin to Jesus in prayer and ask Him to forgive you and to save your soul.  Ask Jesus to have mercy on you.  Jesus will replace the wrath of God with everlasting life.  You will not come into condemnation but will pass from death unto life.  Make that decision today.