Having the Preeminence

John 3:25-36 “Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying. And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him. John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. 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. And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

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

During a time of questioning, John’s disciples magnified the increasing popularity of Jesus that overshadowed John, their teacher. Prepared for a response of criticism, John’s disciples were shocked when he gave Jesus the preeminence; “He must increase, but I must decrease.” While Jesus is to have the preeminence in all, it is not until we name the specific areas of His preeminence that we make personal application! Note three areas of preeminence in John’s response in verse 30. There is a proclaimed preeminence! Unlike so many of God’s children, John was willing to vocalize the preeminence of Christ, telling others of His superiority. The Psalmist said, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so” (Ps. 107:2). Paul said, “there is none other God but one” (I Cor. 8:4). There is a perpetual preeminence. It was not just the fact that Christ was big and John was small, but Christ continually grew in preeminence, while John continued to diminish. Peter magnified this thought in II Peter 3:18, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” By the means of the edifying of the Spirit and the enlightenment of the Scriptures, the believer should be made increasingly aware of Christ’s superiority in respect to the creature’s sinfulness. There is a positional preeminence. When John proclaimed the perpetual preeminence of Christ, he magnified Christ’s preeminence in position. In verse 29, John magnifies the position of servitude when he describes himself as a friend of the bridegroom. This friend, known as the paranymph; had but one purpose, serve the groom! John occupied a subordinate position and saw himself as a servant not fit to unloose the Master’s shoes (John 1:27). John saw Jesus as one “having the preeminence” in all things; do you?