Summary: The ministry of Jesus' ministry was starting up and becoming more successful than the ministry of John the Baptist. The Disciples of John were resentful and jealous of Jesus; John had no problem with it.
“WHEN ANOTHER MINISTRY IS MORE SUCCESSFUL”
(Message 8 on Gospel of John 2021)
Greenmount and O’Leary Churches of Christ
March 7, 2021
Sermon Link: https://youtu.be/JM_-uR0cqWA
1.) Everyone likes to have success, and that also includes in the ministry.
A.) Because of this even ministers, and churches can become jealous of those who are more successful in ministry.
B.) We envy churches with a higher attendance, more converts, a better music ministry, bigger youth groups, or whatever seems more successful when we look at others.
C.) Today as we open the word of God, the disciples of John the Baptist had a jealous resentment towards Jesus and his ministry.
I. AT THAT TIME THERE WERE TWO PARALLEL MINISTRIES.
1.) Jesus and his disciples were immersing in the Judean countryside. (3:22)
A.) In many ways Jesus and his disciples were carrying on a similar ministry to that of John the Baptist.
aa.) They were both ministering along the Jordan River preaching the Kingdom of God and baptizing.
ab.) At this point the account gets a bit interesting.
aba.) Notice the next phrase of our text:
2.) John was also baptizing. (3:23)
A.) “John was also baptizing at Aenon, near Salim. (3:23a.)”
aa.) Aenon is a name that means “The Springs and so the overflow from those springs (or Wadis) created a large amount of water.”
aaa.) Two or three places have been suggested where Aenon may have been but really, we are not certain.
.01) It seems to have been perhaps to the north of Jerusalem, and to the West of the Jordan River but beyond that we are not sure exactly where it was.
B.) There was a reason John was baptizing there.
ba.) “Because there was plenty of water there.” (3:23b.)
baa.) While meaning the same thing, I like the New American Standard which says there was “much water” there.
bab.) This is of significance because the literal translation of baptizing is without exception immersing.
.01) “Baptizing is a transliteration rather than a translation.
.011) What that means is translators gave an English spelling and pronunciation to a Greek word without translating it into our language.
C.) “and people were constantly coming to be baptized.” (3:23)
ca.) I want you to take note of this because John was carrying on a successful ministry.
caa.) In fact, both John and Jesus were carrying on successful and productive ministries.
.01) Scripture makes a point of telling us this was a regular and constant event.
.02) We do not often have baptisms but get excited when we do.
.021) The ministry of John was productive people were regularly coming to be immersed.
D.) “This was before John was put in prison.” (3:24)
da.) John perhaps gave this information to elaborate on a few details from Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
db.) The Synoptic Gospels suggest that John was put in prison immediately after the baptism and temptation of Jesus.
dba.) John’s Gospel shows us there was in fact a bit more time before John was arrested.
dbb.) His arrest would have been a few months after Jesus had begun his ministry.
dc.) This Judean ministry in John 3 was therefore earlier than the Galilean ministry the other writers speak of.
3.) Jealousy arose over the ministry of Jesus. (3:25-26)
A.) “An argument developed between some of John’s disciples, and a certain Jew.” (John 3:25a.)
aa.) We are not told who this Jew was, but only of their discussion.
B.) It was “Over the matter of ceremonial washing.” (3:25b.)
ba.) Certainly, there were ceremonial washings in the Jewish worship, but this was likely a discussion on baptism.
baa.) Some have even considered it might have been on whether the baptism of John or the baptism of Jesus was more effective and powerful, but really, we are not told the details.
bb.) What comes next is that John’s disciples went to report to John the Baptist how successful was the ministry of Jesus.
C.) John 3:26
ca.) “That man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan – the one you testified about” (3:26b.)
caa.) The question is, how do we take this statement?
cab.) We see the words, but not the emotion behind what was being said.
.01) It could be a statement in which they did not know Jesus so called him “That man”.
.02) It could also be a derogatory angry statement because Jesus was doing the same type of ministry as John the Baptist but with greater success.
.021) I think they were quite jealous and resentful of Jesus.
.022) “Well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” (3:26c.)
II. JOHN HAD NO JEALOUSY BECAUSE HE RECOGNIZED THE DIVINITY OF THE MESSIAH AND KNEW IT WAS THE WILL OF GOD. (3:27-29)
1.) “A man can only receive what has been given him from above.” (3:27.)