Getting out of the Way
Once Jesus arrived on the scene, John the Baptist continued baptizing for awhile, until he was thrown into prison. While he was still baptizing, his followers were confused about whom to follow. John the Baptist’s followers were telling John that Jesus was competing with him in other places. His response to them, I am sure, was surprising. What he said was that his ministry must decrease while Jesus’ ministry must increase. In other words, he was working himself out of a job.
Jesus was the reason John’s ministry existed. John was the witness to the fact that Jesus was the Messiah, come to save the world.
However, John’s followers on some level thought Jesus was John’s protégé. They complained to John that Jesus was out there baptizing and people were following Him instead of John. They were not convinced that it was Jesus’ job to perform the rites of purification.
John’s response to them must have been disconcerting for his response was to say that it was Jesus, and not John, who was the main event.
John reminded his followers that he had come to announce Jesus. He also said now that Jesus was here, John’s ministry was complete.
He reiterated the offices of Christ as prophet, priest, and king, and told the people that Christ was the very Son of God who came to bring eternal life to those who believe. Those who don’t believe, said John, remain with the wrath of God upon them.
How many of us look to people instead of Jesus for our blessings. How many of us forget why Jesus came. It is through Jesus and nothing else that we can be saved from the condemned world…who are you trusting in today for your salvation?
Questions: Read John 3:22-36
1. Read verse 26, and 4:1-2. Who was baptizing? Was it Jesus or His disciples?
2. Why is baptism necessary? What does it symbolize?
3. What are some issues today that get in the way of believing in Jesus?
4. Why do people believe these things?
5 .What can you say to these people?
6. Who are some ministers today that throngs of people follow?
7. Why do you think people follow them?
8. Comparing some of these teachers, who points to Jesus, and who points to themselves?
9. What do you think people are looking for by following these teachers?
10. Is this good or bad? Discuss.