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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

JESUS CHRIST IS THE BRIDEGROOM

John 3:28-31 Ye yourselves bear me witness that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before Him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth Him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: He that cometh from heaven is above all.

John the Baptist continues to confirm Jesus to be the promised Messiah by reminding his disciples what he had previously told them by saying, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before Him. Rereading John 1:19-31, we find the record assuring his disciples that he was only God's messenger to make straight the way of the Lord (John 1:23b). To show Jesus' superiority over himself, John also told them that Jesus was the one who was coming after meand is preferred before me, Whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose (John 1:27b). Although his disciples held John the Baptist in high esteem, he viewed himself, not as His equal, but in spiritual worthiness, he considered himself far below that of Jesus.

Not only did John the Baptist know that his role in bringing God's kingdom to the world was far more insignificant than that of Christ Jesus, but he rejoiced greatly in that fact. In order to confirm Jesus to be the promised Messiah, and to also show His superiority over himself, John the Baptist uses the illustration of a bride and a bridegroom. In this analogy, he and considers himself to be only the friend of the bridegroom, whose duty in the marriage ceremony is to attend to the needs of the bridegroom, assist, serve, and, and in all respects, to honor him with rejoicing. Indeed, the bridegroom's friend was to stand by, hear his needs, and fill them to the best of his ability.

This was the role John the Baptist filled, and with love and honor, he accepted it. It was this task he filled in God's plan of salvation through Christ Jesus. John expressed his inferiority when he said, He must increase, but I must decrease. The spiritual mission of Jesus Christ on earth was just beginning, while the duty and responsibility of John the Baptist was practically completed. He did not come to establish his own religious following or create his own spiritual doctrine. He was to serve God and His Son, Jesus Christ. He fulfilled his mission. He recognized Jesus as the Savior, and pointed the way for the Jewish nation to come to Him, accept Him, and follow Him with complete obedience. What an honorable and rewarding mission was fulfilled by this messenger of God, named John, known as the baptizer of repentant Jews. No lifework is more honorable than leading men and women to Christ Jesus - those that were once perishing in their sins but now having found the pathway to eternal life in heaven as His faithful followers.

He that cometh from above is above all. This describes Christ Jesus in His spiritual nature, as a divine being coming from Heaven. He descended to earth as God's sacrificial gift to all mankind. In the inspired words of John the Baptist, Jesus was described sacrificially as the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29). In this verse John the Baptist recognized the divine authority of Jesus when he assures his disciples, as well as all that read this inspired gospel account today, that Jesus is above all.

John the Baptist continues to tell us of his insignificance when compared to Jesus Christ that is above all. Speaking of himself, he says that he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth. Having a common earthly birth, John the Baptist is restricted to knowledge and abilities that are common to all other human beings. It was only by inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God that he spoke of divine, spiritual matters. Even when speaking of Jesus as the Messiah and the Savior of the world, he, like all other leaders, disciples, and Jewish people in general, did not completely understand God's plan of salvation. It was not fully understood until the Holy Spirit-inspired apostles of Christ revealed it on the Day of Pentecost - the feast day that took place after Jesus was crucified, buried, arose from death's grave, was seen of hundreds, and finally ascended back into Heaven from where He originally descended to earth. And here is the reason that Jesus Christ must increase, and John the Baptist must decrease: because He (Christ Jesus) that cometh from heaven is above all. The words of John the Baptist, or even the apostles of Christ, although having divine authority, paled in spiritual wisdom when compared to the voice of the true Bridegroom.