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 Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. 26 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.” 27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 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. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”
31 He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. 33 Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
Personal Reflection and Discussion
- When in your life were you a part of a group in which there was at least one other person who did more than you?
- We hear from John the Baptist in this passage.
Underline words—phrases—concepts that you find important in these 14 verses.
A common thread through this passage is….
- How did John the Baptist understand his ministry?
How did he demonstrate that he understood his ministry?
- What is your understanding of verse 30 and verses 34-36?
- John the Baptist had a good understanding of his role in God’s plan.
What is your understanding of your role?
1 Corinthians 12:7
Ephesians 4:1 & 16
1 Timothy 4:14
2 Timothy 1:6-7
- What do we know about the lifestyle of John the Baptist that emphasizes the value of John’s mission of making himself less?
- Who in your life might say that you make Christ greater than yourself? Who would say otherwise?
Jesus, I am humbled every time I read this passage. I truly want You to be great in the eyes and hearts of all people. My problem is all too often I want to be seen as great right along with You. In my desire and efforts to be seen as great, I can get in the way of people seeing and meeting You. Jesus help me to get out of the way in order that people might see You. Help me to be more like John the Baptist who always pointed people away from himself to You. God include me in the rest of your matter ‘til I don’t matter anymore.
Greek Word of the Day
English Word: Purification | Transliterated Word: Katharismos
A washing off, to make clean. Particularly of the Jewish washings before meals (Jn. 2:6) so that someone can accept other blessings without harming the food (blessing). More specifically in these verses, baptism as a rite of purification from sin.
Family Engagement Activity
Make outlines of each family member with sidewalk chalk. We hope to eventually form at least one cross. You can do this by having dad’s cross on top of mom’s cross and then kids as arms (if you have a family of 4) or have each family member spread their arms out like a cross. Write the names of different people who lived a “more of Jesus, less of them” lifestyle in your life in each of the chalk bodies and then fill in the bodies and make a cross-shaped figure.
Have time to do more? You can put stained glass windows around your crosses to give them some style (Google Search: Stained Glass Window Chalk Designs) or just a regular cross. Be Creative. It will also serve as a great witness to the neighborhood of Christ!
REMEMBER TO PUT THIS ON FACEBOOK (#hclcmj) or send them to Holy Cross (email@example.com) . Consider tagging the people whom you thought of that exemplifies a “more of Jesus, less of them” lifestyle!
OR, if you don’t have chalk,
Do the same thing on paper! Each family member draws an outline (smaller, naturally) and puts the different names in the outlined figure, then takes a picture, you can then take those papers and make a cross out of them and put it on a window for all to see.
Today. If anyone thanks you, boast in Christ rather than yourself. Instead of “thank you’, throw in an “it’s because of Jesus!”