John 3:27-33

John 3:27-33 has our writer talking about what eternal success looks like.  “John answered, It’s not possible for a person to succeed—I’m talking about eternal success—without heaven’s help. You yourselves were there when I made it public that I was not the Messiah but simply the one sent ahead of him to get things ready. The one who gets the bride is, by definition, the bridegroom. And the bridegroom’s friend, his ‘best man’—that’s me—in place at his side where he can hear every word, is genuinely happy. How could he be jealous when he knows that the wedding is finished and the marriage is off to a good start”?  John the Baptist makes it clear – we won’t reach eternal success by trying harder.

What is the eternal success John is speaking of?  The opportunity to spend eternity with God and Jesus Christ in heaven.  We cannot get there alone.  There is no way for us to live well enough, do good enough, be obedient enough, or earn our way to eternal success.  John the Baptist has been upfront all along – he is not the main event.  He is a messenger to get things ready for the Messiah’s coming, and now He is there.  John sees himself as the best man, the one who is right there by the side of the groom and is focused on making sure things get off to a good start.  That was his role, to announce the coming of the Messiah and introduce Him to those searching for eternal success.

John the Baptist doesn’t feel slighted by the role.  “That’s why my cup is running over. This is the assigned moment for him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines”.  He is a team player that knows he is to get out of the way and point to the true Messiah from the sidelines.  The focus is no longer on him.  He’s built a following of his own but now must point them to Christ who is the one and only Messiah of which he has been preaching.  John not only understands, but fully accepts his place in God’s plan for eternity.  Jesus is the way, and John is getting out of the way.

John the Baptist has been a force in sharing God’s truth, but certainly is humble about how that will now change.  “The One who comes from above is head and shoulders over other messengers from God. The earth born is earthbound and speaks earth language; the heaven born is in a league of his own. He sets out the evidence of what he saw and heard in heaven”.  Jesus is uniquely qualified as the only person to ever set foot on this earth after being with God in heaven.  John the Baptist knows that, and points to Christ as the true source of truth.  John has shared what he believed to be true – Jesus can share what He has seen and heard directly as a witness of God Himself.  That’s the difference in this transition!

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