Second to another yet first among many –  Saturday after Epiphany – John 3:22-30

We come to this passage immediately following the conversation in chapter-3 between Jesus and Nicodemus. Jesus has just finished His interview with Nicodemus in which Jesus told Nicodemus that he needed to be born again. Following that conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus and His disciples traveled about 50 miles to an area called Salim which is located along the Jordan River.  John (the Baptist) was at the same place and was baptising people on the other side of the Jordan River.

This reading marks a stage in the transition from the preaching and ministry of John the Baptist to that of Jesus. Some of John’s disciples had joined Jesus at John’s prompting, “Look, here is the lamb of God” (John 1:36). Those that remained with John now seem to be upset that “all” are going to Jesus for Jesus ministry has begun to flourish and John’s influence is being eclipsed by Jesus ministry. What is the real issue here? Well, we could translate their feeling as, ‘he is getting more attention and it is making us feel less important, less successful. They suggest to John that perhaps it would have been better if he had not borne witness to Him and that he should stop mentioning His name. They are worried that John might lose his following.                                           

What would we call that? Jealousy! It is comparison that is rooted in insecurity that breeds resentment. Without the Holy Spirit working grace in our hearts, that is the natural, human response we all have to such kinds of situations. We want other people to succeed, but not more than us! We would all like to think we are above it but most of us know that it is a potential in us.

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