Bible Study Devotional: John 3:26-30. “A Man Can Receive Nothing, Except It Be Given Him From Heaven.”
26 And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.
When these disciples of John the Baptist and other Jews came to speak with John, they called him “rabbi.” If you remember, we have already seen that “rabbi” means “teacher” but it also literally means “my great one” or “my master teacher.” Jesus actually states in another place in the Gospels that we who follow him should call no person other than him “rabbi.”
This is found in Matthew 23:8 “But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.” This may or may not be speaking of the title “rabbi” but it is especially speaking of the equality of all believers and the supremacy of Christ as master and head over all. John no doubt saw Jesus as his own Rabbi in the strongest sense of the word, as his master teacher and his spiritual head and leader.
27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.
This is a tremendously important principle that rules over everything in our lives. A person cannot receive anything in their lives unless it comes from God. Every single thing that people get in their lives comes from God. It may be a spiritual insight or piece of wisdom that illumines a part of the Bible passage. It may be a financial blessing or something that deepens one’s relationship with a family member. It may be something as important as the gift of the Holy Spirit or a divine call to repentance. On the other hand, the thing granted to a person from the hand of God may be something seemingly small, like a meal or a sense of God’s presence.
No matter what, always remember that every single thing that you have been given, whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, is given to you by the hand of God. The more we realize that everything is a miracle and that everything is a gift from God, the further we will be led on the path of gratitude and blessings. To recognize blessings is to experience a blessed state and the active recognition of every possible gift from God also brings us into a deeper experience of the presence of God in every aspect of life.
28 Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.
John’s disciples and the rest of the Jewish people who had heard him speak knew that John did not do anything more than claim to be the one who preceded the Christ, the Messiah, and prepared the way for him.
29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.
John the Baptist likens himself to the best friend of the groom in a wedding, like his best man. Jesus is the groom and those who believe in and follow Jesus are the bride. John’s joy came from seeing the Son of God become the husband of the people of God.
30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
This statement harkens back to the role of John as the preparer of the way for the Messiah. It should also be the way that anyone who has a leadership or teaching role in the church thinks when it comes to their place in the body of Christ. On top of that, it should be the way that every single Christian thinks and lives their lives. We who believe that Jesus lives in us should allow him to take the place of our ego and our self-will. He must increase and live through us, but in order for that to happen, the ego within us must decrease. This only happens by our choice and through the help of the Spirit of God.
“For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.” – Proverbs 8:11
All Bible Verses are from the KJV Unless Otherwise Noted
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