He Who Has The Bride
28 “You yourselves bear me witness that I said, “I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before Him. 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease. 31 He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.”
It is important for there to be witnesses, but without witnesses it become a game of he said, she said. Meaning there is no way of verifying what a person said without there being witnesses.
Today with all our forms of electronic communication, what we write is out there for people to see and the written words on Facebook, Twitter and other such social media bear witness to what we have said. During Christ’s time on earth if one spoke, and no one was there to hear, or bear witness to what you say, then it became a matter of having to accept by faith what another said. John is stating to his disciples, “You all have heard what I said, I must decrease, so that Christ might increase. For He who comes from above is above all.”
Herein lies a principle of our Christian experience that we all seem to forget. John upon becoming an ambassador for Christ, recognized that he had a role to play in announcing the coming of Christ. He realized that for him to accomplish this, his own life must be lived in the same manner as his message was to be. He must remain as far as humanly possible free from sin. He must not let pride come into his life, for if he allowed pride to rule his life, then he would become jealous of Jesus and instead of pointing others to Christ, he would point them to the wonderful things, he himself had done.
But John realized that in Jesus, who came from above (heaven) that He alone would be able to speak of heavenly things. John, being of this earth is only qualified to speak of earthly things.
So, why did John speak about this friend of the bridegroom? The friend of the bridegroom was the middleman who made arrangements between the family of the groom and that of the bride. He would be pleased when the transaction reached a happy climax. John is saying that he was this middleman that had come to make the arrangements for Jesus to be united with His bride, which was the Jewish nation and all His faithful followers. John was to point others to the coming of the bridegroom and make ready the people to receive the groom.
The making way was accomplished by the people confessing their sins and being baptized with water, a symbol of the washing away of sin and being born as a new person.
If the Jewish nation had truly been repentant and as we saw in the story of Nicodemus became as spiritual babies, willing to be taught without their pride and selfish desires getting in the way, then Christ mission on earth would have been more successful.
John had fulfilled his appointed role of calling Israel to accept her spiritual Lord and Master. Therefore John rejoiced at the apparent success of the One on whose behalf he had labored. His own “joy” was thus “fulfilled (see Mark 2:19).
One other important aspect of this friend of the groom. John speaks of the friend as being intent on learning the wishes of the groom and carrying them out. So it should be with all Christians who truly are disciples of Christ. We too should desire to understand the wishes of the groom so that we can carry out these wishes as we complete the arrangements here on earth to unite the bride of Christ with the Bridegroom.
Upon completion, our response should be as John, we should be happy upon the successful completion of our task of causing Christ to increase in the lives of others, while we decrease in importance as their relationship with Christ increases.
The humble servant of Christ gladly pointed to Christ and not to himself showing that within his own heart, he had truly accepted Christ.
In our hearts, is Christ increasing while self is decreasing? If not, then I advise you to follow the council and witness of John, as he willingly decreased that Christ might increase to a place of importance far from what John could do, for Christ understood heavenly things, while John was confined to earthly things.