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14: Jesus Returns to Galilee and John is Imprisoned

May 14, 2009

Major Text: John 3:22-4:4; Luke 3:19-20; Matt. 4:12

Harmony Texts:
Matt. 4:12       Mark 1:14        Luke 4:14

Key Verses: John 3:31-36

Outline:

  1. Jesus Increases; John Decreases                           John 3:23-30
  2. John’s Final Proclamation                                    John 3:31-36
  3. Jesus leaves for Galilee; John goes to Prison    John 4:1-4; Luke 3:19-20; Matt. 4:12

Context/Discussion/Comments:

Right away we have the formation of religious unrest and civil unrest.  The Jewish leaders are concerned about the message and miracles of Jesus.  Herod and his wife Herodias are concerned about John’s preaching concerning their sin.

Jesus takes His disciples into the Judean countryside and begins to teach them personally and to baptize them.  This is probably the five [John, James, Peter, Andrew, and Nathaniel] but there could have been more.  Perhaps Nicodemus was among them.  John is also continuing to teach and to baptize.  Many pilgrims attending the Passover celebration in Jerusalem have been sensitized of their need for forgiveness and are seeking out John and Jesus.  John’s disciples are being challenged by another Jew about the validity of his baptism and they begin to complain that more people are running to hear Jesus than to hear John.  Indirectly they are asking John to do something about it but John responds that forgiveness is between God and man and that he is not the Christ.  He is just biding his time until Jesus begins His ministry in earnest so John can retire.

John continues to testify that Christ comes from heaven and is above all men whereas John is from the earth.  Jesus testifies about God because He has seen God and heard God.  Unfortunately, nobody believes Him.  God has placed the continuation of John’s work and the work of redemption into the hands of the Christ, Jesus.  He, Jesus Christ, alone has the power to grant eternal life.  Those who reject Jesus as the Christ will have to face the wrath of God.

Jesus begins attracting the attention of the Pharisees more so than John so Jesus departs for Galilee.  John ends up on the bad side of Herodias, Herod’s wife, and ends up in prison.

Lessons/Applications:

  1. Never stop bolding proclaiming Jesus as Messiah, the Christ, our Lord and Savior. He must increase.
  2. Never put yourself above Jesus Christ. You must decrease.
  3. It was unpopular then and it is unpopular now to declare that faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to attain eternal life. Truth goes against the grain of society. We tend to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. Therefore if you have put your faith and trust in Jesus, expect persecution. But also recognize that you have the assurance and hope of life eternal.
  4. Rejection of Jesus will bring the wrath of God.
  5. God’s will sometimes requires us to move to a different place, even prison.

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