Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part II: Presentation Of The Messenger Of Salvation
B. Christ's Credential Exposed Unto Men
5. Christ's Credibility Condoned By His Overshadowing His Yielding, Godly Prophet
(John 3:22-36)
  1. Introduction
    1. If Jesus is the Messiah, we should expect a true prophet of the Old Testament to submit to His leadership.
    2. This fact is witnessed by the testimony of John in his response to Jesus' ministry that overshadowed his own, in John 3:22-36. It offers us lessons on Christ's credibility and the proper role of ministers today:
  2. Christ's Credibility Condoned By His Overshadowing His Yielding, Godly Prophet, John 3:22-36.
    1. As we discovered in John 1:19-39, John the Baptizer was a credible, Old Testament prophet:
      1. We learned that John was above the reproach of the most critical Jewish authorities in John 1:19,24.
      2. We learned that his unusually selfless ministry claims indicated a credible character of humility, 1:26-30.
      3. We learned that John identified Jesus as Messiah entirely of divine leading, not his own, Jn. 1:29-34.
      4. We learned that John's credibility led some of his own disciples to follow Jesus at his witness, 1:35-39.
    2. Well, in time, Jesus began to attract more of a following than did John, and that led to jealousy and a selfish ambitious attitude among John's followers about being upstaged by Jesus , John 3:22-26:
      1. Jesus' ministry involved baptizing in the area of Judaea while John baptized up near Salim, possibly just east of Samaria in the Jordan River, John 3:22-24 and Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, ftn. to John 3:23.
      2. This ministry by Jesus came to create a challenge to John's disciples, John 3:25-26:
        1. John's disciples found themselves in a disadvantaged position when they got into an argument with some Jews over whether they should be baptized by John, B.K.C., N.T., p. 282-283. (Jn. 3:25)
        2. Since the Jews had their own baptisms, they wondered why they should be baptized by John, Ibid.
        3. When John's disciples revealed the need for a baptism unto repentence that John taught (cf. Mk. 1:4), these Jews responded that Jesus preached the same message with His baptism (cf. Mk. 1:15), and that Jesus had more followers than did JOHN, John 3:26, Ibid. If so, they wondered why be baptised by John, and to this the disciples of John had no response!
    3. Thus, John's disciples sought an explanation from John as what to do about Jesus' minstry, John 3:26.
    4. John responded by admitting that Jesus' ministry was to increase and his decrease in greatness, showing Jesus was rightly exalted by this credible prophet as it should be by any credible minister, 3:27-30:
      1. In response, John stated that no man could have his ministry expand unless God had blessed, indicating that Jesus' expanded ministry indicated that it was blessed and credited by God, 3:27.
      2. John reminded his men that he had said that he, John was not the Messiah -- only His forerunner, 3:28.
      3. As that forerunner, John likened himself to the friend of the bridegroom who starts the ceremonies, but whose role diminished markedly once the bridegroom enters the scene, John 3:29.
      4. In like manner, John's ministry was to diminish but Christ's expand as He was the bridegroom, Jn. 3:30.
    5. The writer, John the Apostle, followed up John's words by further exalting the ministry of Jesus, 3:31-36:
      1. Since Jesus had come from above, His words surpassed those of any earthly teacher like John, 3:31-32a.
      2. Yet, men remarkably had not received Jesus' testimony of His witness of the Father, John 3:32b.
      3. However, if one did receive Christ's words, He attested that God is true as Jesus was from God, 3:33.
      4. Besides, Jesus was given the full measure of the Holy Spirit's gifts and empowering and authority unlike any other Old Testament messenger like John the Baptizer, John, 3:34-35.
      5. Accordingly, men who believe on Jesus have eternal life; those who do not believe on him will not see such life, but the wrath of God abides on them for that rejection, John 3:36.
Lesson: Both the credible Old Testament prophet, John the Baptizer and John the Apostle clearly supported Christ's overshadowing of John's ministry as he claimed Jesus was the Messiah. This testimony by this credible prophet supports the credibili ty of Jesus' identity as God's Son and Messiah.

Application: A CREDIBLE minister today will NOT tolerate people exalting him in place of Christ! By the same token, credible worship is of Christ alone, not of His ministers like John the Baptizer!