Short Meditations in John 3: 25. Misguided Jealousy
Jn 3:26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan–the one you testified about–well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”
We usually assume that the ‘They’ that starts this verse were John’s disciples. An alternative might be the ‘other Jews’ who had come disputing with John’s disciples. When it spoke previously about ‘ceremonial washing’ we take it to mean baptism and if that is so then the dispute that arose would have been about the efficacy or effect of the rite depending upon the one who carried it out. John had clearly come as a prophet in the wilderness and the fact that large numbers came to him, clearly indicated that he was God’s man for the hour. However, now there was this other Rabbi, Jesus, who had come and the crowds were now following him and fewer people were coming to John. The trouble was that Jesus was moving around the country and put more emphasis on teaching and healing rather then on baptism. Both those who came and argued and John’s disciples who argued with them, had a problem with this. They were into ritual and saw it as all important.
So his disciples, those still with him, come to him to ask him about these things. They focus their question on Jesus, “that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan–the one you testified about.” Now that is interesting! They had been with John when Jesus came and they had clearly heard John teach about Jesus – and yet they had not gone and followed Jesus, even though John had clearly made Jesus out to be one who was much greater than he.
These disciples had clearly heard the teaching but had got stuck in the ministry which had run its time and had been for the past. The word had clearly gone around the countryside about Jesus and he was there for all to go and hear if they wanted, and yet these disciples of John preferred to remain loyal to the man they had been with; they were after all John’s disciples.
Do you see the immense danger here? You can be a part of a move of God but when He moves on you can fail to move on with Him because you want to hang on to the past experience. There are those who refer back to the “Toronto Blessing” even though it was a move of God well over ten years ago. There are older people who tell the stories of the blessings they have received through the charismatic renewal at the back end of the 20th century, or talk about the days of blessing with John Wimber, but the truth is that the Lord has moved on and our call is to go with Him and enter into whatever it is He is doing TODAY, otherwise we will miss the blessing He desires to bring us.