- After this Jesus and his disciples went to the land of Judea, and while there he taught, dined and worshipped with, and baptized them. John the Baptist was also baptizing north of there in Aenon, near to Salim, where the water was plentiful at that time of year. Crowds continued to go to John, and this occurred before he was imprisoned.
- A controversy arose between traditionalist Jews and John’s followers about authority to baptize. The traditionalists hoped to have John denounce Jesus baptizing. They went to John, hoping to turn his answer against Jesus. They asked John, The man you baptized beyond Jordan now is also baptizing and drawing away people to follow him, but he has not been given authority by us or by you.
- John answered and said, Authority comes from Heaven, to both him and to me. I told you I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent to prepare the way for the Messiah. I am only like a guest at another man’s wedding, and not the groom. But I rejoice to be in the groom’s company. Jesus is the groom. He is the one whose mission is the more important. He must increase, but I must decrease. I have come to end an era in Israel, but he has come to begin another. He descended from Heaven to serve here, and all of us need to acknowledge him — I not only refuse to deny his authority, I confirm it.
- Because John the Baptist saw and heard Jesus identified by Heaven as the Messiah, he testified boldly of him. But few people were willing to accept John’s testimony about Jesus. Despite that, his testimony was true. God made John a witness and therefore John’s witness was binding. Jesus was a messenger sent from the Heavenly Council to declare the truth, and Jesus had limitless access to the record of Heaven, the truth of all things, the light that quickens every thing. He is the one Moses prophesied would come and all Israel must give him heed or be cut off. God the Father loves and acknowledges Jesus as His Son, and has made him the steward over all creation. We are required to acknowledge God’s Son to be rescued by him, for only the Son can rescue us from the Fall of Adam. Jesus lived as the example, proving the pattern for redemption from the Fall as he progressed from grace to grace, until he received a fullness, or in other words, grew in light and truth until he was filled with truth and stands as the light of the world.
- When the Pharisees learned that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, and that John’s popularity could not be turned against Jesus, they conspired about how to have both John and Jesus executed. Some of the Pharisees thought John might be a prophet, but none of them believed on Jesus, whom they rejected and did not respect. Jesus recognized this was how they viewed him.
- Unlike John the Baptist, Jesus baptized only a few people, instead preferring that his followers perform the rite and learn to minister. When he left Judea to return to Galilee, he informed his followers that he was required to visit Samaria on the way.