The First 15

Thursday March 21, 2024

by Jan Davis

Today is Thursday, March 21 and we are reading through the third chapter of the Gospel of John.

Opening Prayer

Blessed Lord God, thank you for the daily joy of reading scripture and spending time in prayer. Speak to me from the ancient words of John’s Gospel and help me understand the message you have for me. Teach me to listen to your still small voice guiding me throughout my day.

Scripture Reading

After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. (This was before John was put in prison.) An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:22-30


John the Baptist had his own disciples. When a new guy named Jesus showed up on the scene and recruited his own disciples, John’s disciples were worried they were losing out. More people were going to Jesus to be baptized. From their perspective it seemed like “everyone” was going to him and not them. They approached the situation like a competition, and it appeared their leader, John the Baptist, was losing his edge. His baptism numbers were down. (Note: Jesus actually wasn’t baptizing anyone, but his disciples were. This confusion is cleared up in the next chapter (see John 4:1-2)).

John’s response to his disciples clearly revealed that he was not threatened by Jesus in the least. He was full of joy to see Jesus the Messiah bringing the kingdom into fruition. John knew his place and was honored to serve God in the exact way he was serving. At a wedding in Cana, Jesus transformed six large stone jars of water into the finest wine. The master of the banquet complimented the bridegroom on saving the “best for last.” Now John compares Jesus to a bridegroom.

According to the ancient Biblical texts, a wedding was the premiere image of the great heavenly feast in store for God’s people at the end of time. The image of the bridegroom is a common theme throughout scripture. In the Old Testament God was the bridegroom and Israel the bride. In the New Testament Christ is the bridegroom and the Church is the bride. In Matthew 22, Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.” The book of Revelation invites all who believe to celebrate at the wedding supper of the Lamb of God (Revelation 19:6-9).

John the Baptist said, “The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice.” John clearly saw Jesus as the bridegroom of the coming kingdom and was filled with joy for the opportunity to be his friend. He waits for him, listens for him and rejoices to hear his voice.

Ask: How can I wait and listen for the voice of Jesus in my own life? Have I experienced the joy of knowing Christ and serving him?

Pause and Pray

Closing Prayer

Holy Lord Jesus, come and speak into my life. I wait for you with anticipation and joy, knowing that you care about my comings and goings. Let me be attentive to your voice, responsive to your nudges, obedient to your commands and careful to follow your guidance. Go with me through the course of my day and lead me in the way I should go. Amen

The First 15

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