Summary: John’s disciples are jealous of Jesus and His disciples. -AND- Jesus goes to Galilee. This is the area where He grew up, because Nazareth is there. Also, Capernaum is by the Sea of Galilee, and He has made that city His home base.
Harmony of the Gospels
Co-Ministry with John
After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. And John also was baptizing in Aenen near to Salem, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized. For John was not yet cast into prison. (John 3:22-24)
“After these things”, is after the things that are written in the previous verses, and Jesus has just finished His interview with Nicodemus. Here it says that Jesus was baptizing, and later on it will be reported that His disciples were baptizing. John the Baptist was close by and he was also baptizing, “because there was much water there.” This is one of the passages that I believe proves that immersion is the proper mode of baptism. If they were sprinkling, why would they need much water? The record of the baptism of Jesus and the Ethiopian eunuch, also point to immersion. For example, the gospel writer says of Jesus’ baptism, that “He came up out of the water.” Also, immersion is a better picture of the death and resurrection of Christ. It is my opinion that scripture teaches that immersion is the proper mode of baptism.
At this time, John was still able to preach, “…..the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). But, Herod will soon imprison him.
Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying. And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou bearest witness, behold, the same baptizes, and all men come to him. (John 3:25-26)
It sounds like John’s disciples are jealous of Jesus and His disciples. Evidentially, they are baptizing more people and drawing bigger crowds. They suggest to John that perhaps it would have been better if he had not born witness to Him, and that he should stop mentioning His name. They are worried that John might lose his following.
John was never jealous of Jesus and he made that clear when he responded to his disciples.
John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:27-30)
I love this man.
“A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.” Again and again, we will come across this truth. Jesus said, “No man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my father” (John 6:65). Jesus is talking about the work of the Holy Spirit, in salvation. He is the one that draws a person and works on the heart to bring about “saving faith.”
John the Baptist is a friend of the bridegroom, and Jesus is the bridegroom. If Jesus is the bridegroom, who is the bride? It is the church. And now John says that Christ must increase, and he must decrease. His ministry is now coming to an end.