In the dust of the Rabbi- Day 29

Title: The witness of John the Baptist

Scriptures to Read: Read John 3:22-36


The reason that John moves to Salim to baptize

Verse 23 says: “John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized.” Again, Jews only practice immersion. If he were practicing sprinkling or pouring, he wouldn’t have to move. His ministry is primarily at the southern end of the Jordan River where it runs into the Dead Sea. Towards the end of the summer months before the rainy season begins the water gets rather shallow. It is always possible to sprinkle and to pour, but not always possible to immerse. So he goes up north near to Salim, which is not too far from where the river exits the Sea of Galilee, and there it is always deep enough to immerse. This again shows how important immersion was in the Jewish context.

John once again witnesses to the truth that he is not the Messiah

John’s disciples observed the discipleship movement of Jesus and became a bit jealous for John’s sake, but John says there is no need to be jealous. How does John respond to his question? In essence he says this is God’s plan, I am not the Christ, but I am the forerunner of the Messiah.

The bride, the bridegroom, and the friend of the bridegroom

In verses 29-31 John continues to speak about his relationship to the Messiah. Notice the three terms he uses in verse 29: the bride, the bridegroom, and the friend of the bridegroom. As the New Testament teaches, the bridegroom is the Messiah, the bride will be the church, and the friends of the bridegroom are the Old Testament saints. Old Testament saints are not part of the church. The church only began in Acts chapter 2. And John says in verse 30 that his joy has been made full at the coming of the bridegroom. Like the friend of the bridegroom, he is rejoicing at the coming of the one who comes from heaven and is above all.

He gives the Spirit without measure

He goes on to say several things about the Messiah and he points out in verse 34: “He gives the Spirit without measure”. The Messiah was given the Spirit without measure. This is a fulfilment of Isaiah 11:2. All of us receive the Spirit in measure, and therefore we have different callings, different gifts, and things of that nature. God gives us all that we need to fulfil his calling in our lives. In the case of Jesus, he has no limitations; he has the seven-fold fullness of the Spirit of Isaiah 11:1-2 (See also Matthew 12:18; Luke 4:14; Acts 10:38).


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