In the book of John, chapter 3, the Bible records Nicodemus, a leader in Israel, going to Jesus at night to do some consultation. Jesus drops profound truths on him and I believe he goes away with a lot to think about given the novelty of the things he is told. I picture Nicodemus on his way back home wondering about this “must be born again” phrase Jesus used.
Shortly after this conversation, Jesus takes his disciples and He starts baptising people.
John the Baptist has been baptising people in that area for a while, so much so that he baptised Jesus not so long before this. John’s disciples see Jesus baptising too and run back to their master to report: “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptising, and everyone is going to him.”
From their tone, I suspect they expected John the Baptist to go confront Jesus or probably start doing a better job at advertising his baptism services to attract more people to himself. They probably had some adverts for the ministry in mind.
Some notable ads might have read “John the Baptist, one baptismal dip and your life will flip”, “Don’t be fleeced. Come to John, the Baptist”
Like every good teacher though, John the Baptist instead drops some profound truths on them.
All this is in John 3. Reading the chapter, I was really fascinated by how similar John the Baptist’s words were, almost word for word in some cases, to those Jesus used only a few verses earlier while schooling Nicodemus. Here’s a comparison:
|Message||Jesus’s words (John 3:1-21)||John the Baptist’s words (John 3:27-36)|
|Jesus is from heaven||No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man||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.|
|He was sent by God||For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.|
For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God,
I’ll add Nicodemus’s words here just for comparison on this particular one:John 3:2 “…we know that you are a teacher who has come from God“
|He testifies of things He has seen||Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen||He testifies to what he has seen and heard|
|No one believes Him!||..but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?||…but no one accepts his testimony.|
|Anyone who believes Him has eternal life||Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.||Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.|
I find it fascinating how both Jesus and John the Baptist had clarity on what’s up even though they didn’t have a meeting to discuss and agree on these things. While both were teaching in these passages, they drew from the same ultimate teacher – the Holy Spirit. There’s a certain clarity & unity in message that comes from a close union with the Holy Spirit.
Do you know your place in the Kingdom? When, like John the Baptist, you are presented with an opportunity to throw shade at another ministry [or maybe just to compare your christianity against someone else’s], do you speak based on revelation or based on emotions?
The Holy Spirit is a wonderful teacher. I pray you and I grow as students, seeing things the way He does, united and speaking the truth He reveals.