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The Scriptorium

John's Final Witness

We can learn much from John the Baptist.

The Gospel of John: John 3.22-36

Read and meditate on John 3.22-36.

John the Baptist is a study in discipleship. His boldness, courage, honesty, faithfulness, humility, and love for God and men teaches us all how we must take up the work of following Jesus and making Him known.

                             22Now some time after this
came Jesus to the land of Judah, His
disciples being with Him. They remained
there, and together baptized all who came
to them. 23Now John was also baptizing
in Aenon, near Salim, because there being
much water there, and people came and were 
baptized by him. 24(And this occurred before
John was imprisoned.) 25Then an argument 
arose, involving John’s disciples and
some Jews, concerning baptism. 26They came
to John and said, “The Man, the very same
One Who beyond the Jordan was with you –  
concerning Whom you testified – He, too,
is baptizing, and all are coming to
Him!” 27John replied, “What would you have me do?
A man receives what comes to him from heaven,
and nothing more. 28The witness I have given,
as you well know, is that I am not He,
the Christ, but I was sent before Him. 29He
Who has the bride the bridegroom is; His friend
rejoices greatly at His voice, and stands
and hears Him. Thus my joy is full. 30He must
increase, and I must decrease, as I trust.
31He Who from heaven comes is over all;
he who is earthly, speaks of earth. But all
are subject to the One Who comes from heaven.
32What He has seen and heard, this He has given
to us as testimony; and yet none
receives His Word. 33They prove God true, each one
who has received His testimony. 34For
the One Whom God has sent proclaims His Word,
for God His Spirit parcels without measure. 
35The Father loves the Son, and in His pleasure,
bestows all things into His hand. 36And all
who come to Him, and on His mercy call,
believing in Him, shall not come to strife,
but have the gift of everlasting life.
And they shall not see life, but know the grim
abiding wrath of God, who do not Him

- John 3.22-36

1.  John the Baptist bows out of the Gospel story. He will shortly be arrested and detained, and will ultimately die a martyr’s death for his faith. In what ways does John speak to you about what it means to follow Jesus? Complete this prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the witness of John the Baptist, from whom I’ve learned…

2.  John’s witness reminds us that in this world there are only two kinds of people. How would you define these? Lord, I know that in my life are many people who…

3.  John’s humility and grace stand out in this situation. Where other recognized leaders might have tried to shore up their position, lock in their followers, and perhaps cast aspersions on those who were challenging their position, John did nothing of the sort. His focus and desire were not on himself, but elsewhere. What can church leaders learn from John? I pray for the leaders of our church, Lord, that…

4.  John was cast into prison because he exposed the sin of a pagan king in the light of the Law of God (cf. Matt. 14.1-12). How does the Law of God expose sin? Should some reference to the Law be part of our witness for Christ? Explain. Lord, let me say with the psalmist, “O how I love Your Law!”, because…

5.  John said that Jesus must increase but he must decrease. Apply that to your own walk with and work for the Lord. What should that look like in your life? In your relationships, roles, and responsibilities? What plan are you following for that to come about? Bring together into one prayer the prayers you composed for questions 1-4.

“But we must not think that even a right belief in Father, Son and Holy Spirit is all there is to salvation … for our [faith] also has need of a good life and conversation. Knowing then that the greater part are not moved so much by the promise of good, as by the threat of punishment, he concludes, ‘But he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him.’ … And he does not say ‘in him’ but ‘on him,’ meaning that the wrath will never depart from him. And for the same reason he says, ‘shall not see life,’ that is, to show that he did not mean only a temporal death!” John Chrysostom (344-407 AD)

John’s life and witness in some ways outlines the life and witness of our Lord Jesus Christ, as well as our own life and witness as His followers. Explain.

Closing Prayer
The Lord is at Your right hand;
He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath.
He shall judge among the nations,
He shall fill the places with dead bodies,
He shall execute the heads of many countries.
He shall drink of the brook by the wayside;
Therefore He shall lift up the head.

Psalm 110.5-7

Psalm 110.5-7(Aurelia: The Church’s One Foundation)
The Lord at Your right hand, Lord, in wrath shall shatter kings,
When judgment by His strong Word He to the nations brings.
Then, all His foes defeated, He takes His hard-won rest,
In glorious triumph seated with us, redeemed and blessed!

T. M. Moore

Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course, One in Twelve: Introduction to Christian Worldview, can show you how Jesus is central to all aspects of life in the world – and beyond! Our course is free, and you can study at your own pace, watching videos and using the free materials provided.

We are happy to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in our series on the Gospel of John by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV a and b: John, edited by Joel C. Elowsky, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006. Verse translation of John by T. M. Moore.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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