What the Lord wants to tell us…
What contributes to the origin of jealousy? How do people motivated by rivalries proceed? What bad behaviours could jealousy lead us to? Do you believe in such things as benign versus unhealthy and malignant jealousy? Can you give some examples? What about us? Do you battle with jealousy? In what areas? We are all vulnerable at being victims of jealousy.
v. 22 – 24 The incident that concerns us today is from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. It was the beginning of the discoveries of the identity and mission of the Master by a handful of followers. The passage begins with “After this”, to what incident is it referring? Jesus leaves the city of Jerusalem and goes to the nearby regions. What type of ministry was he doing during this time? What other distinguished leader was carrying out a similar task?
v. 25 – 26 Something sparked the discomfort of John’s disciples, what was it? It’s possible that this approach was what triggered their anger, since, was there a relationship between that which initiated the dispute and what they expressed to John? What was it that really bothered John’s disciples? In what way was the ministry of Jesus a threat to them? Have you ever been in a similar situation where you felt displaced by someone else? How did you react?
v. 27 – 29 What was John trying to communicate with that he expressed in verse 27? What is he trying to remind his followers about the nature of the mission he came to accomplish?
Note. Although it’s possible that John the Baptist wasn’t aware of the tragic and imminent future that awaited him (his imprisonment and beheading), he knew that the purpose of his ministry was to prepare the way for the Messiah. Jesus had already manifested himself publicly and John anticipated that his ministry was next to finish. Obviously, his followers hadn’t grasped the temporality of his labour.
Now, imagine that John the Baptist had never been a man of such a grand personality and spiritual profile. How could he have reacted?
John’s response puts into manifest an absolute certainty and acceptance that his identity and mission were determined by God. How would we apply to our situations the principle that “No one can receive anything unless God gives it”? In what way does this ratify the certainty of his mission? Subsequently, it illustrates that his affirmation appeals to an analogy. With whom does John identify in this figure? What produces such profound joy in John?
v. 30 The last words of this portion (verse 30) give testimony of John the Baptist’s godliness. In what ways does his attitude set an example and inspiration for us? This proves why the Lord said of him “I say to you that among the mortals there is no one greater than John”
The jealousies and the rivalries that appear and battle in our hearts point to our desires of ennobling ourselves and defending our rights. This biblical incident teaches a principle of God’s kingdon that is the antipode of the values that our society cultivates and the desires that our hearts demand. In what way does God call me to apply this principle of conduct in my life? In what situation of competition and rivalry does the Lord want us to apply the example of John the Baptist?
Posted in Study - Let Him In.