Verse 22 says that after Jesus finished teaching Nicodemus, He and his disciples went to Judea. They tarried there for a while and people were baptized. John was also baptizing. In other words, John’s ministry was still in full swing during the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry. John was pointing people to Jesus Christ. They were taught to put their trust in Jesus Christ who was the Lamb of God. I want to make you aware of the fact that when two popular ministries are working at the same time, there could be competition and comparison between the two.
Since this was going on, a question arose between some of John’s disciples and the Jews on purifying. This was a doctrinal matter. The subject of purifying was important to the Jews. Mark 7:1-23. Under the Old Testament Law, it was necessary for them to keep themselves ceremonially clean if they were to serve God and please Him. The Pharisees added so much to this law that it became a burden to be obedient to it. It started here, but it got personal. John’s disciples placed John into a situation of competing against Jesus. They said, “All men come to Him!” http://ref.ly/Jn3.26 It is interesting to note that there were four of the greatest men in the Bible experienced the problem of comparison and competition.
These individuals came to John. They called him “rabbi” which means “teacher.” They told John that the man he had testified was the Christ was also baptizing. Many were following him. It should be noted this was what John wanted to happen. This takes us back to http://ref.ly/Jn1.7. This verse refers to the fact that John the Baptist was a witness of the Light, which was to come. John responded wisely to their inquiry. He said that nothing could be given to a man unless God gives it. He reminds them of his witness. He said that he was not the Christ, which was to come. Then he speaks of the bridegroom.
John gives a wonderful illustration concerning Jesus as the bridegroom and himself as the best man. http://ref.ly/Jn3.29 Once the bridegroom and bride were brought together, the work of the best man was complete. It would be foolish for the best man to try to “upstage” the bridegroom and take his place. [Butler Commentary] It was a joy for John to hear the bridegroom’s voice, and He had claimed His bride.
Before his birth, John the Baptist rejoiced in the Lord http://ref.ly/Lk1.44. John was glad to be the voice announcing Jesus to be the Word http://ref.ly/Jn1.23. Jesus was the Light, and John the Baptist was the witness pointing to the Light http://ref.ly/Jn1.6-8.
I have decided to continue the illustration of the bridegroom and the bride in another lesson. I hope you will continue to enjoy these series of lessons from the Gospel of John.