Straight From the Source
Read John 3:31-36 (ESV)
He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
According to John the Baptist, why is Jesus greater than he is?
One of my three boys can relay a message from me and it carries quite a bit of weight with them. I can tell one of my sons to tell his brothers to clean their rooms and then he’ll go to them and say, “Dad said to clean your rooms.”
My sons would be wise to listen to their brother and get it done. But my sons could say, “Who are you to tell us what Dad said? How do we know you are telling us the truth?” But if I go directly to them and tell them face to face, they have little excuse for not listening because they heard my words straight from the source.
In today’s passage, the apostle John continued quoting John the Baptist’s declaration that Jesus is superior to him. Yesterday, we read John the Baptist’s words that Jesus must increase and he must decrease. Today, John the Baptist explained why Jesus is superior to Him—mainly because Jesus had firsthand knowledge of the things that He taught. He was the source, not just a messenger.
Hebrews 1:1 says, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets….” John the Baptist understood that he himself was just a prophet. God spoke to him and then he relayed the message to the people. But Hebrews 1:2 says, “...but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”
John understood that he needed to decrease in importance and the people needed to start listening directly to Jesus Himself. He said that Jesus is from heaven but he is from earth. Because Jesus is from heaven, He is above all and saw and heard the truth of God firsthand.
Even more significant, Jesus didn’t just reiterate the words that God said, He spoke the very words of God because He is God! So when Jesus spoke, the people were listening directly to God rather than hearing God’s words through a messenger. The Holy Spirit gave God’s words to all of the prophets and often powerfully worked miracles through mere humans, but with Jesus, there was no limit to the Holy Spirit’s power in Him!
Unfortunately, John the Baptist told us that many people will reject the testimony of Jesus Christ as true. Basically, God in the flesh speaks directly to us and some say, “Who are you to tell us what God says?” But not everyone rejects the words of Christ. John said that those who accept His teaching “sets his seal” that what Jesus says is the truth from God. That may not make much sense to us today, but setting a seal on something is like signing our approval on the dotted line. When we accept Christ, we publicly endorse Jesus’ words as God’s truth.
We all have a choice to make. Are we going to accept the words of Jesus as the words of God Himself, straight from the Source? Are we going to set our seal and sign on the dotted line that Jesus is from heaven so He has power, authority, and firsthand knowledge of the truth? Or are we going to reject the testimony of Jesus? The choice is ours but John the Baptist warned, “whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (v.36). I chose to believe the Son so I have the assurance of eternal life. I pray the same is true for you.
Jesus, I set my seal on this—that You are God in the flesh, You reign supreme over all, You have the power, authority, and firsthand knowledge of the truth of God. Your words are God’s words. I thank You and praise You for the hope of eternal life that I have in You! Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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