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John the Baptist's Final Witness to Jesus

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Text:  John 3:22-36


            A person’s testimony stands or falls upon the integrity of their character.  Courtrooms drive this point to the wall.  Lawyers spend whatever time is necessary at the beginning of a testimony of a witness to establish the validity of their testimony.  Discovery of the truth and nothing but the truth depends upon the integrity of witness.  If need be, lawyers will even bring in secondary witnesses to establish the character of a primary witness.          

Our text contains John the Baptist’s final testimony about Jesus.  Though they are not his final words recorded, they do contain clarification about John’s baptism and Jesus’ baptism.  They contain words about the authenticity of Jesus’ testimony, and by what authority He speaks.  John has already established who he is.  He was sent by God to prepare the way of the Messiah, and preach a baptism of repentance.  Now John testifies to the validity of the One that he was sent to prepare the way.  Read Text.

In our last lesson, the Apostle John established through Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus that rebirth is essential to entering the Kingdom of Heaven (3:5).  That rebirth is both inward and outward.  It is inward by the working and cleansing of God through the blood of Jesus Christ that makes us like a newborn in the eyes of God.  Water baptism is the outward sign the believer submits to that reflects what Jesus does to the soul (putting to death the old sinful nature, Rom. 6:3-4, washing clean our conscience, 1 Pet. 3:21, wash away our sins, Acts 22:16, clothe us with Christ, Gal. 3:27, buried with Christ, Col. 2:12, regeneration of the soul and renew the Holy Spirit in us, Titus 3:5, Acts 2:38, sanctified us, Eph. 5:26).

1.      What point do you think John had in mind when after Nicodemus’ conversation with Jesus that he records the fact that Jesus and His disciples were baptizing in Judea?  (3:22, 26 – It wasn’t just words, Jesus backed it up with action; to show us that the rebirth indeed does include baptism.)

2.      Do you think Jesus baptized His disciples and then delegated it to them to do to others?  (3:22, 26; 4:2)

3.      After Jesus left with His disciples to baptize in Judea, John was still baptizing all those who came to him in Aenon near Salim.  A discussion begins between John’s disciples and a Jew that was passing by, about purification.  What did the Jews teach about purification that would have been a part of this discussion?  (It was done either by sprinkling blood or water from the basin in the Temple.  Purification wasn’t usually practiced apart from the Temple setting.) 

4.      John was baptizing for repentance, and he stated that the One coming after him would baptize with the Spirit and with fire.  Even though Jesus was now in Judea baptizing, what else needed to take place for this baptism with Spirit and fire to take place?  (Endowment with the Holy Spirit could not be a full reality until Jesus made His sacrifice on the cross {it is a fruit of His redemption}, and Pentecost was yet to come {the fire}.  Jesus baptism in Judea was therefore a guarantee of greater blessings to come.).

5.      In verse 26 it seems this Jew is probing John to see whether he is upset that Jesus is also baptizing in another place.  What’s John’s response in verse 27 telling you about John’s feelings about Jesus baptizing also?  (Jesus wouldn’t be doing this except that He is authorized to do so from Heaven.)

6.      What does verse 29 have to relate to the conversation, especially verse 28?  (John’s purpose was to go before the Christ, like the groomsman dispatched to make the final preparations for a wedding.)     After the wedding takes place, what becomes of the groomsman?  (He retires into obscurity when his task is finished.)

7.      What’s John saying in the last sentence of verse 29?  (He has played his role as the groomsman {the forerunner} preparing for the wedding, his task is done, and he couldn’t be happier.)

8.      What does verse 30 tell you about how John felt about this transition and shift of attention and disciples?  Ps. 72:17-19; Isa. 9:7; Rev. 11:15; Col. 1:18; Heb. 3:1-3

9.      From verse 31, we can understand that the one from above is above all.  That’s Jesus from Heaven, and indeed He is above all.  But what does “he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth” refer to?  (John makes reference to himself, that he is from earth and is forced to use the language of earth.  He is unable to speak of heavenly things like Jesus can because of His first-hand knowledge.)    

10.  What do the following verses teach us about Jesus’ first-hand knowledge of Heaven?  Jn 14:9; Mat. 25:31-33; Jn. 17:5; Mat. 18:10; Mk. 13:31-32; Lk. 10:18; 12:33; 15:7

11.  Does the end of verse 32 sound familiar?  Look at 1:11.  What is there about Jesus’ message that makes it hard for some to accept?     What can we do for them in the mean time?  (Ask the Holy Spirit to soften their heart.  Ask God to put a burdening call in their soul.  Ask God to make their pursuit of the world to leave them empty.)

12.  So John has established that Jesus came from Heaven.  But what does 3:34 add to validate that Jesus is the Messiah?  (He speaks the very words of God, and God gave Jesus the fullness of the Holy Spirit, without measure.)

13.  Would you say that to have Christ in our heart is to have all that He had, in us?  Eph. 3:8; 4:7

14.  How does John wrap it up in verse 36 as to what it means to have Christ?

15.  According to Jesus in 3:36, what is the ultimate outcome of those who reject Him?     Is this consistent with Scripture elsewhere?  Rom. 1:18-21; 2:5-6; Mat. 7:21-27; Heb. 10:26-29; 2 Pet. 2:9-12; Rev. 10:12-15


            John’s final witness shows us that indeed Jesus is the One sent from Heaven and His message can’t be ignored.  When confronted with the Gospel, we must make a choice…who’s side do you stand on?  It’s really a clear choice…Heaven or Hell…blessing or wrath.  Yet people push aside that choice daily, thinking they don’t want to give up some of the “fun” things they get to do in the darkness if they choose to walk into the Light.  For those who might still be hesitant, what is your perspective on what you gave up versus what you gained when you made that step?

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