Jesus Increases Images







Jesus Increases As We Decrease

Jesus Is Above All

John 3.22–36

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • September 16, In the year of our Lord, 2018


  1. What does the best man do at a wedding?
    1. Does he attract attention to himself?
    2. No, he does everything for the groom.
      1. To the best man the wedding is all about the groom and his bride.
      2. The best man does what he can to magnify the two lovers.
  2. John the Baptizer was the best man to the Groom.
    1. When the Groom started gathering His bride to Himself, John rejoiced.
    2. The groom is Jesus of Nazareth.
    3. The bride is the church.


  1. John 3.22–24 | Baptizing

    22 After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized. 24 For John had not yet been thrown into prison (John 3.22–24).

    1. Jesus and His disciples had traveled to Jerusalem.
      1. While there, He drove the merchandizers from the temple grounds and
      2. had a discussion with a Pharisee.
    2. After that, He was on the move again.
      1. He left Jerusalem and went into the land of Judea.
      2. He left the city and went into the country.
    3. He remained in the land of Judea and
      1. started baptizing.
      2. His movement was growing.
    4. John the Baptizer was along the Jordan River
      1. somewhere between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea,
      2. baptizing there because there was plenty of water, since
        1. baptism is immersion in water.
        2. You cannot baptize people in a cupful of water.
    5. Jesus and His disciples went to John and were baptized.
      1. These things happened before John had been thrown into prison.
      2. Herod later put John into prison because
        1. John told Herod that he broke God’s law by marrying his sister-in-law.
        2. John was popular but
          1. Herod and his woman
          2. stopped the work of God’s man.
  2. John 3.25–26 | Jesus’ Popularity Grew

    25 Then there arose a dispute between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!” (John 3.25–26).

    1. The disciples of John and the Jews disputed over purification.
      1. In the context, this dispute must have been about baptism.
        1. People still dispute baptism today.
        2. Some say baptism purifies and others say it does not.
          1. What does the Bible say?
          2. Did John or Jesus make a connection between the two?
            1. Luke 3 answers the question for us.
            2. There was a connection between
              1. John’s baptism and purification and
              2. the same connection remains with the baptism of Jesus,

                3 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins (Luke 3.3).

                1. If someone rejected the baptism of John,
                2. that person’s sin remained upon him.
      2. Acts 2 shows that connection for baptism in Jesus,

        38 “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2.38).
      3. Have you been baptized?
    2. John’s disciples and the Jews approached John, reporting on Jesus’ popularity.
      1. They said that Jesus also baptized and
      2. that all were going to Him.
        1. The numbers tipped in favor of Jesus.
        2. What would happen to John and his movement?
          1. Jesus did the same thing as John and gathered larger crowds.
          2. Yet, John’s disciples confessed that John had testified of Jesus.
            1. They showed that what John confessed about this Man
            2. held true in that everyone was going to Him.
              1. He is the Lamb of God,
              2. all should go to Him.
    3. Have you gone to Jesus?
      1. Do you know who He is?
      2. If you knew who baptized in those days,
        1. you would want to have the same baptism rendered to you.
        2. Yes, you can have the baptism of Christ, for
          1. it is not having Him take your body and submerge it,
            1. anyone can do that for Him, but
          2. as someone baptizes you He cleanses your spirit.
            1. Do you want to be purified?
            2. Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
  3. John 3.27–36 | Jesus Must Increase

    27 John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

    31 He who comes from above is above all;
    he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth.
    He who comes from heaven is above all.
    32 And what He has seen and heard,
    that He testifies;
    and no one receives His testimony.
    33 He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true.
    34 For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God,
    for God does not give the Spirit by measure.
    35 The Father loves the Son,
    and has given all things into His hand.
    36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life;
    and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life,
    but the wrath of God abides on him.”
    (John 3.22–36).

    1. Did you hear the preaching of John the Baptizer?
      1. Later, found in Luke 7, Jesus made a spectacular confession about John.
      2. Jesus praised John higher than all the prophets.
        1. After hearing what John had said in the text we just read,
        2. I am not surprised to hear Jesus say,

          28 “For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist…” (Luke 7.28).

          1. John was the greatest prophet because
          2. he paved the way for God to be among His people.
            1. John could not magnify himself.
            2. He could only exalt the Lord.
              1. John 3.30 epitomized
                1. the response of John because
                2. it epitomized the life of John,

                  30 “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3.30).
    2. If Jesus is all that chapter 1 said that He is,
      1. then, yes, He must increase;
      2. all others must decrease.

        1 In the beginning was the Word,
        and the Word was with God,
        and God was the Word.
        2 He was in the beginning with God.
        3 All things were made through Him,
        and without Him nothing was made that was made.
        4 In Him was life,
        and the life was the light of men.
        (John 1.1–4)
    3. Verse 27 – A man can receive nothing
      1. unless it has been given to him from heaven.
        1. Whatever Jesus had and
        2. whatever He was,
          1. it came,
          2. He came,
            1. from heaven.
            2. Jesus is not of the earth.
    4. Verse 28 – John affirmed his previous witness.
      1. John let people know that he was not the Christ, but
      2. was sent before Him.
        1. John 1 showed the plain words of John.
        2. He did not want anyone thinking he was the Christ.
          1. Yet, John wanted all to know
          2. that he had a connection to the Christ,

            19 Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said. “I am

            ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
            Make straight the way of the LORD,’

            as the prophet Isaiah said” (John 1.19–23).

            1. Therefore, when John’s disciples reported on the progress of Jesus,
            2. John did not wince, but
              1. sought the increase of Jesus.
              2. John prepared the way of the Lord.
                1. So that the Lord could go to the people and
                2. the people could go to the Lord.
                  1. John succeeded at his work.
                  2. May God bless every preacher with such success!
    5. Verse 29 – John was merely the friend of the bridegroom.
      1. John was not the bridegroom.
      2. John did not have the bride.
        1. He did not seek a following, but
        2. sought a following for the bridegroom.
          1. The bride is the church and
          2. the church is the people.
            1. The people were gathering to the bridegroom,
            2. which was the doing of the groom’s friend.
      3. Therefore, John rejoiced greatly that the bridegroom had arrived.
      4. John wanted nothing more.
    6. Verse 30 – Jesus had to increase in popularity,
      1. which meant that John had to decrease in popularity.
        1. John 1.37 is the greatest commentary on the work of a preacher,

          37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus (John 1.37).
        2. That happened because of what the previous verse said.
        3. The greatest thing a preacher can say, John said,

          36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” (John 1.36).
      2. John 3.30 shows John continuing that kind of preaching,

        30 “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3.30).
    7. Verse 31 – Jesus is above all, but John was only of the earth.
      1. Jesus is everything.
      2. He is of heaven. The Book of Hebrews says:
        1. He is above prophets.
        2. He is above angels.
        3. He is above Moses.
        4. He is above Joshua.
        5. He is above Aaron.
      3. He is above everyone and everything.
    8. Verses 32–34 – Jesus had testified, but
      1. people were not receiving His testimony.
      2. All were going to Him, but
        1. how many truly heard and received
        2. the things that Jesus spoke?
      3. John said that those who did receive the testimony of Jesus
        1. showed God to be true.
        2. Rejecting the teachings of Jesus implies that God is false.
      4. John said that Jesus spoke by the Spirit of God, because
        1. Jesus had the full measure of the Spirit.
        2. Therefore, Jesus spoke
          1. the truth,
          2. the whole truth, and
          3. nothing but the truth.
    9. Verse 35 – The Father loves the Son, giving Him all things.
      1. All people went to Him.
      2. They loved the Son as the Father loves the Son.
    10. Verse 36 – These things being true,
      1. believing in the Son brings eternal life, but
      2. not believing Him
        1. that person shall not see life,
        2. having the wrath of God upon him.


  1. Do you not want to live forever?
    1. The way is easy.
    2. The burden is light.
  2. Take the necessary steps!
    1. Believe in Jesus as the Son of God.
    2. Now, submit to what those people in the land of Judea submitted.
    3. Be baptized in the name of Jesus of Nazareth.