In John 3:27-28 Jesus had begun His ministry and was baptizing people. John the Baptist was also baptizing people, just in a different location…and John’s baptism was different-by his own admission.
Some of John’s disciples freaked out because here was this new preacher and “everybody was going to see Him”. John’s first response is very interesting. “No one can receive anything unless it was given to him from heaven”. Kind of sounds like one of Jesus’ parables. This is one of those sentences in the Bible that I think the Holy Spirit throws in there just to make us do a double take and think. I am sure that what John said had to do with his disciples at the time, but it also has a much deeper meaning for all of us. When John said that “no one can receive anything unless is comes from heaven”, does that mean the good as well as the bad? It is easy to recognize the blessings in our lives as coming from heaven (easier still to forget that is where they came from). But should we also recognize the challenges? John said “no one can receive anything”. Did he really mean anything? Or do I get to say “that is taking this verse out of context” and not consider that the difficulties in life, while not sent by God to punish, are allowed by God for a host of reasons we may not know. That is a thought worth pondering as it may force me to change the way I look at life.
The other great part of this section is the second sentence in John’s response. John was in effect saying “You guys know I am not the Christ. I am not the One we have been waiting for. In fact, you have told other people this same thing. You should be rejoicing that He is here!” John’s was consistent in his ministry. It was always to point people to Jesus and let it go from there. He was clear in it. He was focused on it. And he did not allow himself to be caught up in distractions. May it ever be so.