Context: Jesus continues his discourse with Nicodemus and explains the gospel in more specific detail. The most-quoted verse in the Gospels is in it (John 3:16): ‘For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son …’ you can probably finish saying it!! Jesus also explains that people love darkness more than light and those that refuse to believe stand apart and separated from God because of their sin. The chapter concludes with Jesus leaving Jerusalem but remaining in the Judean countryside not far from it and close to where John the Baptist was still preaching and baptizing. Some of his disciples approached John and complained that many were leaving him and starting to follow Jesus. John gives one of the most humble responses in all of the Scriptures, recognizing that he only has what he received from heaven, that Jesus is the bridegroom, and John only the bridegroom’s friend.
Observations: Why would these words of Jesus be disruptive to a Jewish Pharisee? Why do we so easily embrace John 3:16, but have a much harder time embracing the reality of John 3:18 and 3:36 (read them carefully!). John’s ministry is winding down and soon he will be imprisoned. What do his statements reveal about his faith? His humility? How does the entirety of John Chapter 3 challenge our pride and self-sufficiency?
Application: How can you ‘choose’ to be humble today? Consider John the Baptist and what’s been revealed so far in the book of John: what can we learn from his example about humility? Is a humble person necessarily weak, timid and passive? How would you either define or describe true humility?
Prayer: Ask God for opportunities for you to experience presence in your life through humility and faith. Ask the Lord to help everyone @ Evergreen have the mindset of John the Baptist: ‘Jesus must increase, I must decrease.’ Consider how God would bless us and multiply our ministry with THAT kind of perspective put it into action!