22 After these things came Jesus and His disciples into the land of Judea; and there He tarried with them, and baptized.
23 And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.
24 For John was not yet cast into prison.
25 Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying.
26 And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, He that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to Him.
27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.
28 Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before Him.
29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.
30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
Judea (v.22) — the area around Jerusalem
baptize (v.22) = dip, immerse
Aenon (v.23) = place of springs — in the Jordan valley about 20 miles north of where Jesus was
Salim (v.23) = peace
much water (v.23) — perhaps indicating that John’s baptism was by immersion?
The disciples baptized, but Jesus did not. (John 4:2 — Though Jesus Himself baptized not, but His disciples.) The disciples baptized under His authority. This was the same as John’s baptism — unto repentance.
question (verse 4) — No details are given. Perhaps this was a dispute about which baptism, John’s or the disciples’, was more purifying. Purification, for Jews, was through sacrifices and washings, not baptism. Perhaps they questioned if baptism could purify at all. Perhaps John’s disciples were jealous that people were going to Jesus?
Jews (v.25) — Jewish leaders. These were the same men as in John 1:19, because John says Ye yourselves bear me witness that I said …
John answered in humility (vs. 27-29). He was filled with the Spirit (Luke 1:15).
can receive nothing except … (v.27) — John’s ministry was from heaven
bridegroom (v.29) — Christ
bridegroom’s friend (v.29) — John the Baptist
Jesus was the bridegroom over Israel. … As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee (Isaiah 62:5). And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days (Mark 2:19-20).
Jesus Christ is also the bridegroom to the church (2 Corinthians 11:2), but in this passage, the word is used just to show John’s relationship to Christ.
The bride here is not the church. It hadn’t yet been revealed. It was those Israelites who had believed — more will, but that company has been set aside for a time until after the church age.
standeth and heareth (v.29) — perfect tense, indicating continuous action
my joy is fulfilled (v.29) — by listening to Jesus’ voice