Anyone who reads this for the first time is probably going to think, “Huh? What did he say?” Let me explain. This chapter, as you look back, is about how to have a redeeming relationship with God. It’s not a matter of good behavior or the right birth, but a new nature that only God can give you. It’s not a matter of religion or being religious, but choosing a love relationship with God over doing everything yourself, in your own power, by your own nature, and in your own wisdom. Jesus didn’t come (this time) to condemn anyone, because in their inborn sin nature they’re already separated from God, separated from life, and therefore living in, well, separation (and therefore condemnation). I already explained it all in the previous studies.
From there we find Jesus out in the countryside. The way to God has been explained. Now, after making it more than clear what Jesus stands for, we’re going to hear that John the Baptist, a recognized prophet, says the same thing. Both Jesus and John are out and about, explaining the things of God and encouraging people to turn to Him. It’s not rivalry, but teamwork.
Of all things a discussion, or argument, arises about some religious technicality. Oh, religion rearing its ugly head again. Ceremonial washings, baptism, competition—ugh. People acting like, um, human beings. Stop. Learn to think differently. See with different eyes.
Here’s what John says: We each (Jesus and myself) are doing what God gave us to do. This is not a problem, people. You’ve heard me say that Jesus, not I, is supposed to be the focal point of all this. Have you ever been to a wedding? It’s not the guests, or even the wedding party who are the center of attention, but the wedding couple. We’re happy for them because they are in the spotlight. It’s their day. Well, this is Jesus’ day. For that matter, every day is Jesus’ day. We can’t possibly give him too much attention. He’s the one from heaven; He’s God in the flesh; He is the one sovereign over the whole earth. And yet he’s here walking around on earth with us. Isn’t it great that we get to witness this? It’s astounding that people don’t hang on his every word, because they should. It’s God’s truth. It’s God’s word. It’s God’s Son. Jesus is no mere human. Whatever you want to know about God, you look at Jesus. You’ll see it there. If you accept what I’m saying, you have a relationship with God and you are filled with Life. If you don’t accept it, um, there’s really no other hope for you. No one else can save you.