Confusion About The New Birth

Irish novelist and playwright Samuel Beckett, received great recognition for his work-but not everyone savored his accomplishments. Beckett’s marriage in fact, was soured by his wife’s jealousy of his growing fame and success as a writer. One day in 1969, his wife Suzanne answere … More

Jealousy

In these verses we find both Jesus and John ministering and baptizing (vv. 22-23); Jesus in Judea and John farther north along the Jordan River near Salim. This was before John was thrown into prison (v. 24). We know it was not Jesus Himself who administered the rite of baptism but His disciples who did it following His instructions (4:2). During this time a debate erupted over which one had the greater purifying ability (v. 25). It seems that John’s disciples were jealous of Jesus and concerned about the decreasing popularity of their leader (v. 26).

John was quick to tell them that all ministry and blessing comes from God so there is no room for competition (v. 27). He had no right to claim any importance other than what God gave him. It is true even today that it is easy for both friends and enemies to get caught up in competition and comparison when two popular preachers are involved in a similar work in the same area. John says that he is not the Messiah but the one sent to prepare the way for Him (v. 28).

John uses a beautiful illustration which compares Jesus to the bridegroom and himself to the best man (v. 29). According to the Old Testament, Israel was the bride and Jehovah was the bridegroom and once the bridegroom and the bride had been brought together, the work of the best man was completed. It would be very foolish for the best man to try to take the bride away from the bridegroom. At this point John said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (v. 30). God’s son comes from heaven and is above all others.

Application

I need to ask myself how I feel when someone else is recognized as greater while I become lesser.  I need to have a plan for dealing with jealousy in my life.

John 3:22-30 (English Standard Version)

After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing. John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized (for John had not yet been put in prison). Now a discussion arose between some of John's disciples and a Jew over purification. And they came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness--look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him." John answered, "A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, 'I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.' The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease."

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