John’s Last Testimony
After these things Jesus and His disciples went into the land of Judea, and there He spent time with them and baptized. Now John was also baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was an abundance of water there; and people were coming and were being baptized— for John had not yet been thrown into prison.
Therefore there arose a controversy between John’s disciples and a Jew in regard to [a]purification (ceremonial washing). So they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi (Teacher), the Man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan [at the Jordan River crossing]—and to whom you have testified—look, He is baptizing too, and everyone is going to Him!” John replied, “A man can receive nothing [he can claim nothing at all] unless it has been granted to him from heaven [for there is no other source than the sovereign will of God]. You yourselves are my witnesses that I stated, ‘I am not the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed),’ but, ‘I have [only] been sent ahead of Him [as His appointed forerunner and messenger to announce and proclaim His coming].’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands by and listens to him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this pleasure and joy of mine is now complete. He must increase [in prominence], but I must decrease.
“He who comes from [heaven] above is above all others; he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks [about things] of the earth [his viewpoint and experience are earthly]. He who comes from heaven is above all. What He has [actually] seen and heard, of that He testifies; and yet no one accepts His testimony [as true]. Whoever receives His testimony has set his seal [of approval] to this: God is true [and he knows that God cannot lie]. For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God [proclaiming the Father’s own message]; for God gives the [gift of the] Spirit without measure [generously and boundlessly]! The Father loves the Son and has given and entrusted all things into His hand. He who believes and trusts in the Son and accepts Him [as Savior] has eternal life [that is, already possesses it]; but he who does not believe the Son and chooses to reject Him, [disobeying Him and denying Him as Savior] will not see [eternal] life, but [instead] the wrath of God hangs over him continually.”
- John 3:25 An immersion baptism was one of the requirements for a convert to Judaism, and John the Baptist had most likely taken over the ritual, giving it new meaning in his own ministry. Jewish tradition specified that there had to be enough water to completely cover a person, and that it had to be collected naturally.