Summary: We come to this passage immediately following the conversation in chapter 3 between Jesus and Nicodemus. You remember Jesus told Nicodemus that he needed to be born again.
“Moving from Good to Great”
Several years ago Jim Collins wrote a book titled “Good to Great.” It is the story of how effective leaders can take a business that is already doing well and take it to the next level. I believe that is a dream for most of us. To not only do something that is good in quality but rather to do something that is exceptional. To not only be good at something but to be great at something as well. That is a topic that gets my attention because I happen to believe that if we have the choice of building a good church or a great church, a good business or a great business, a good marriage or a great marriage then we would all choose doing something great.
It is definitely a subject that the Bible addresses. Listen to what God’s words says.
John 3:22-30. Now don’t let this scripture confuse you…in other words don’t look for a message that is different from what is obvious here. Because it means exactly what it says.
This is what is happening here. John, the forerunner of Jesus had come forth to introduce Jesus. He began to build a following; he began to baptize. These disciples not fully understanding yet who Jesus was said to John, “that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan ----the one you testified about (Jesus) well, he is baptizing and everyone is going to him.” They must have thought that John and Jesus were competing for people to baptize…. To see who could baptize the most people. John had a following…Jesus had a following. So there were John’s disciples and there were Jesus’ disciples. It was early in the ministry of Jesus and they didn’t understand fully where john was leading them. So John gives a great answer, a simple answer…here it is… Jesus must become greater; I must become less. He must increase, I must decrease. If you and I want to be truly great there are 3 principles to follow here...
* if you really want to be something then you must become nothing.
* If you want to go up in life then you must learn to come down.
* If you want more of God then there must be less of you.
This is the model we find in the lifestyle of Jesus. Paul said that Jesus, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” The Bible makes it clear that Jesus came “down” into the world and not only did He come down, he came down from the very top.
* He was God, yet he became man and would suffer from much pain on the cross.
* He owned everything, the cattle on a thousand hills yet while here on earth, He had no place to lay his head
* He was the King of Kings but He became a servant
He did all of this for at least 4 reasons. (1) He did it to accomplish God’s purpose. (2) He did it to pay the price of our sin debt. (3) He did it to demonstrate God’s love for us. (4) He did it to show us how to be truly great in God’s eyes.
We come to this passage immediately following the conversation in chapter 3 between Jesus and Nicodemus. You remember Jesus told Nicodemus that he needed to be born again. Following that conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus and His disciples traveled about 50 miles to an area called Salim which is located along the Jordan River. As I have already stated, John (the Baptist) was at the same place and was baptizing people on the other side of the Jordan River. It was at that point that an argument developed between some of the disciples of John and they said to him, John, “that man (that man was Jesus!) who was with you on the other side of the Jordan, He is baptizing and EVERYONE is going to Him.” Sounds almost like a child to me. You know Mama, Daddy, I want a pair of 200 dollar shoes ... everyone’s buying them. I want to go to the party this weekend at the beach ...Everybody is going and everybody’s parents are letting them stay out really late. And then as parents we say well if everyone is jumping off the Sunshine Skyway Bridge do you want to also? Because we all know everyone’s not doing it.
These men were loyal followers of John the Baptist. Now this new fellow comes into town and to them it was almost as though there was now competition. If you’ve got the only place in town where someone can get a certain item then you don’t get very excited when competition comes to town.