After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he spent some time there with them and baptized. John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim because water was abundant there; and people kept coming and were being baptized —John, of course, had not yet been thrown into prison.
Now a discussion about purification arose between John’s disciples and a Jew. They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” John answered, “No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, yet no one accepts his testimony. Whoever has accepted his testimony has certified this, that God is true. He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has placed all things in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God’s wrath.
John the Baptist is one of the Bible’s best examples of a humble man. Many prophets in the Old Testament were proud, perhaps not always to a fault, but enough to enjoy being a powerful prophet. (Notice I said many, not all!) But when Jesus came, John the Baptist rejoiced that he power must diminish, because it meant that he got to meet Jesus! No vague disappointment that people weren’t coming to him to be baptized anymore, or any of the stupid little regrets I’m sure I would have felt. I am in awe of John’s humility.
Then the author takes a break from the narrative to provide commentary. Oh, there are lots of goodies in verses 31-36. Jesus is above all. Jesus is both from Heaven and from earth. He tells us God’s word, and anyone who believes tells others (Maybe? I’m a bit confused by the certified part…) that God is true. Yet many do not believe. God loves Jesus and has given Him dominion over all the earth. Followers of Jesus will receive eternal life, but disobedient people will be punished. How’s that for a summary of Christianity in six verses?!
Really there’s so much here that I don’t even know what to say. You could probably write an entire book over each verse. So instead I’ll say nothing and leave it to the experts.