Day 12

Day 12

You may have a hard time finding  Aenon on the map. It is believed to be about 8 miles south from the Sea of Galilee. This is a very important place, and we need to ask the question- Why was John the Baptist near Samaria? What was he doing there? Up until this time, he had spent his time preparing the way for the Messiah among the Jewish people, like a voice crying in the desert, making straight the path (Isa. 40:3). John had been focused on the Jews, so why is he here near Samaria? And by the way- why did John not leave his ministry of preparing the way and just follow after Jesus like he tells his disciples too? Well, Lets see what we can find out.

Read John 3:22-35

This is about 18 Months into Jesus’ full time ministry

Up to this point, What do you know about John the Baptist?

How would you describe Johns character?

What is John modeling for us?

What is Jesus modeling for us in John 3:22? In John 4:1-3?

Today we have two guys, Jesus and John, meeting at a river to talk about life and ministry. At this river, much of what we learn about Jesus is seen through the eyes of Jesus’ best friend. Did you miss that part? Okay, let me paint the picture- at least how I envision this meeting took place. I believe that after John identified Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:29), Jesus told John that he needed to continue to prepare the way and that John’s work was not yet done. So, Jesus sent John ahead of Him to keep doing what he was doing. This will become clearer tomorrow as we look at when Jesus comes to the Samaritan people. Jesus and John talk about the next steps in the movement of multiplication and Jesus leaves. As Jesus is walking away, John’s disciples come to him (vs. 26) and want to know why Jesus’ ministry is growing and John’s is shrinking. Wow! Go back and read verses 27-30 and discover the heart of a real man of God, a real disciple of Jesus. Go ahead!

Here are key points of a man of God from John the Baptist:

  1. John knew who he was and who Jesus was. John knew Jesus was the Messiah and that Jesus was the bridegroom. John knows who he is, the friend of the Bridegorrm. In fact, the best man. (What if  John the Baptist one day fulfills the role of Jesus’ best man in the great marriage feast of the Lamb in Rev. 19:7-9!)
  2. John had discovered the source of real joy and it did not lie in how the ministry was doing or the circumstances of life, but in being next to the Bridegroom and listening to His voice. Don’t miss this. John says, “the bride belongs to the bridegoom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete” (John 3:29). John’s joy was complete because he stood next to the Bridegroom and heard Him speak. Real joy is only found next to the Bridegroom, listening to his voice.
  3. John knew that after he heard Jesus speak, he could do nothing but obey. John knew that it was all about Jesus and not about him. It is all about being Jesus-centered and not me-centered. John says that he must become less so that Jesus can become more (John 3:30). It is all about dying to ourselves and becoming obedient to His will. John is one of the clearest pictures of a man who has learned to die to self and live to Christ. He found the source of real joy in Jesus.

Root number seven is the priority of being with Jesus and listening to His voice.

I cannot tell you how important this is if you are to grow as a true disciple to Jesus Christ, one who is able to make disciples. You must practice the presence of God. You must get before God, listen and obey no matter what. You must die to self and allow Jesus to live through you.

Take a few moments today and consider, what must decrease? What needs to be eliminated, or cut back on, so that Jesus can increase?

For some of you, I know, this is being practiced through fasting. I know several who are doing this study have chosen to fast on Mondays from breakfast and lunch in order to pray and depend on God.

Some of you are doing specific fasts, like a Sugar fast or  a Daniel Fast (Not sure what these are? Comment below or email for more information).

Nothing makes you pray like a hungry stomach! Maybe our "intake" needs to be curbed so we can grow spiritually.

Maybe our intake of Instagram or Facebook- or Tic Tok needs to decrease so that Jesus time can increase..

Maybe our TV time.... or hobby time.... or you name it... (The possibilities are limitless!)

Perhaps a good question to ask is, "What gets my time, energy, and effort?"

The key to overwhelming joy in this life is being with and listening to the voice of Jesus.

Do you need joy? Maybe its time for priorities to change! 


Denise - January 17th, 2023 at 7:38am

As Larry n I were going through this it wasn’t until you asked did you miss that part that I realized I totally missed it. Sad part is I even had it highlighted in my Bible.

God is speaking to me all the time through the word but am I hearing am I truly listening.

God help me to hear what the Spirit is saying to me to wait and listen for Him.

Amanda Welch - January 17th, 2023 at 8:11am

John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

This is my life verse! I tend to be so selfish, but his verse reshapes my heart every time I read it! It shrinks me back so God can take the wheel.

John was an expert at this! He got it! He lived it! And I have no doubt he is benefiting from his faithfulness now!

So thankful for his example.

Emily McCauley - January 17th, 2023 at 8:46am

Such a great reminder to put Jesus first by getting the things and stuff that have crowded Jesus out. We all need a refocus all the time.

Food is a huge distraction for us, social media, shopping and even ministry can be if we don’t let the Spirit lead and depend on Him for all we are doing.

satan has made us so busy so that we are distracted, in so many ways. We have to be in the Word so we can be focused and constantly convicted of what we are putting in the way of Jesus.

Marcy - January 17th, 2023 at 8:55am

Jon, I love how you said.."we must practice the presence of God" if we are to grow to be a disciple of Jesus.

We sure do see this in John's life through these scriptures today.

What an example of dying to self and realizing, for Him to increase..we must decrease.

Decreasing or surrendering my own desires and will has often looked different at different seasons of my life.

This passage for sure brings some holy conviction and reminders today of pursuing His presence. We so easily miss out on making and being disciples because we fill our minds and days up with the carnal things of this life, instead of that measure of the Spirit that is available to us.

May this reading today remind me of seeking Him first and foremost so that I never forget that I am called to be a disciple of Jesus above all else.