John the Baptist shares the Gospel today – his own followers saw Jesus baptizing people (which was John’s gig) and thought he would be upset. John’s answer points to Jesus as the giver of eternal life. All we have to do is receive the gift of life which Jesus offers…
31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
Earlier in John’s book, John the Baptist identified Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. That statement links Jesus directly to the celebration of Passover. His comments identify Jesus as the unblemished lamb chosen to be the sacrifice to save the people from the angel of death which swept through Egypt when Israel escaped.
John the Baptist was then asked by his disciples what he thought about Jesus, who had started baptizing people at the same time as John. We saw John’s answer, “he must become greater; I must become less,” and can apply it directly to our own lives. Today, John explains further, and we can understand the Gospel according to John the Baptist.
John contrasts that which is from heaven with that which is from earth. The one from heaven, Jesus, is above all and John shares that Jesus speaks the words of God because he has the Spirit without limit. God gives the Spirit without limit.
As a result of being sent from heaven to speak the words of God, the Father in heaven has placed everything in his hands. And here’s where John gets to the essence of the Gospel: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”
Consistent with Jesus’ own words to Nicodemus, John proclaims that mankind is under God’s wrath already. Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world. The world was already condemned. Jesus didn’t come to bring God’s wrath. He came to bring God’s love. And when we accept him, we receive eternal life. When we reject him, we remain as we are – headed for wrath in eternity.
Which brings me back to you and me…
No one likes to hear about wrath and judgment. In fact, many prefer to believe that Jesus never said any of the things Christians say Jesus said. John 3 is the truth. Jesus says it. John the Baptist says it. And I believe it.
Jesus came to bring God’s love, to speak God’s truth, and to die for the world which had separated itself from God. Receive God’s gift through Jesus today!