We touched on this section of verses yesterday, but we will focus on them today. Again, this is John the Baptist speaking about his own ministry and the work of Christ.
Previously, John's very loyal followers were bothered by the fact that John is isolated in a less accessible area and that Jesus had taken over the "territory" of Judea, and was baptizing and drawing great crowds. They are jealous for John the Baptist. They are perhaps trying to provoke him to recognize that he is being slighted and they want him to defend his stature and his place.
There is another occasion of a humble man in this situation, in the Old Testament. In Numbers 11, a similar thing happened to Moses. When Israel was being led by Moses through the wilderness, two men in the camp began to prophesy. The Spirit rested upon them, which is to say that they had God's blessing on what they were doing and saying.
Wow! All of a sudden, two guys show up and have the Holy Spirit resting upon them, and they start preaching! So a young man ran and told Moses that Eldad and Medad are preaching in the camp. (Not predicting the future . . . prophesying here means that they were preaching.)
So the young man tells Moses of the competing preachers. At least, we can figure that might be what he said . . . perhaps he is so loyal to Moses that he thinks these two men are in competition with him. (Sound familiar? Like John's followers?)
So the young man tells Moses, "We need to stop them -- you're the man."
Listen to Moses' response in verse 29:
But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” Then Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp. Numbers 11:29-30Moses was not about to be caught up in jealousy. This is the principle of humility that all of us need to internalize.
In verse 27 in our previous study, John told them, "A man can receive nothing unless it's been given him from heaven." Whether it's a ministry or a particular blessing, or a boatload of blessings, these aren't things that we deserve; they are not things that we earn; we aren't somehow worthy of them. These are gifts from heaven -- and that is a thought that will keep us humble!
These verses today tell us Who we are serving . . .
- He comes from heaven
- He is above all others
- He has the Spirit without measure
- The Father loves Him
- The Father has placed all things in His hands
- Whoever believes in Him has eternal life