Day 30: Joy of a Friend

John 3:22-30 : After these things, Jesus came with his disciples into the land of Judea. He stayed there with them, and baptized. John also was baptizing in Enon near Salim, because there was much water there. They came, and were baptized. For John was not yet thrown into prison. There arose therefore a questioning on the part of John’s disciples with some Jews about purification. They came to John, and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, the same baptizes, and everyone is coming to him.” John answered, “A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven. You yourselves testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. This, my joy, therefore is made full. He must increase, but I must decrease.

Here we find Jesus and His disciples baptizing in Judea and John the Baptist baptizing in Enon. Notice that this is another place to check Biblical geography. I can see by looking at the map that John the Baptist was baptizing up north of Samaria closer to Galilee where Jesus grew up. Evidently, Jesus and His disciples had traveled south to Judea and were baptizing there.

This part also mentions that John was to be thrown in prison. As I indicated in an earlier post, this story is provided detail in other historic accounts in the Bible. At this time, John was still free and baptizing. It is also mentioned that the Jewish leaders were still questioning John’s people about “purification”. I am not exactly sure what they were talking about in particular, but the issue of baptisms must have come up again because of what they ended up talking to John about. It became a concern among John’s disciples that Jesus was getting more publicity.

Again, as we have heard before, John explains that he is not the main attraction. He reasons with them about the fact that Jesus must become more popular because He is more important. He says that a man only gets what God gives him. John was only sent to announce Jesus. Then John uses wedding metaphor that becomes even more common later in the New Testament.

John describes Jesus as a bridegroom who has the bride. He describes himself as his friend who is happy enough just to hear his friend’s voice. Who is this bride? The Bible also says:

Ephesians 5:23 : For the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ also is the head of the assembly, being himself the savior of the body.

This verse indicates that the assembly or church (those who were to be saved) are his bride. That means you. John is saying that he is happy that we (Jesus and the church) are getting together. John was eager to submit himself to the one who was greater. Why did John not tell his disciples to go away? I think that it is because there were to be other friends of the bridegroom other than just John and they needed to realize what was given to them from God and be happy too. (see: Matthew 25:1-13)