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Magnify His Name

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Continuing our study in John, today we are in chapter 3, starting at verse 22. I encourage you to open your bibles to the passage. But instead of just jumping into the passage for today, I want to review something we talked about when we first started our study in John.

Why did John write his account of the good news of Jesus?

Does anyone remember? Does anyone remember where John tells us the very reason he wrote his account, and included the signs that he did in this account of Jesus life and work?
John 20:30–31 NIV
Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

...that by believing you may have life in his name.

That you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name!
This is what everyone in the world is after… Life!
We may be alive, but too many of us are wondering, “Is this living?” Or, we look for something to make life worth living.
We are living, but we want meaningful, fulfilling, Life! We want joy in life, but cannot seem to find it.
In this world, it is so easy to lose sight of meaning and purpose. The hurts and struggles of life can make it all seem meaningless, hopeless, and unfulfilling. The human heart’s cry is for meaningful, fulfilling, joyful and hopeful life!
We search for meaning, for purpose, for fulfillment in so many places, only to be left feeling empty, and unfulfilled.
Where can we find life? How can we find life?
That’s why John wrote this letter! He wanted us to find Life—eternal, meaningful, fulfilling, hope-filled life!
As we have seen over the past few weeks in Jesus’ interaction with Nicodemus, there is only one way to be saved from this life of sin and death, to know the hope of eternal life with God. That one way is believing in Jesus, the one who sacrificed himself for our sins when he died on the cross, and then rose from the dead to provide justification, and new life for us! Faith in Jesus is the only way anyone can be saved from sin and death.
Having Life in Jesus is the point!
John, the disciple of Jesus wrote this letter so we would know how to have that life for which every human heart longs.
When thinking about why he included so much about John the Baptist, I think it was because John the Baptist got it! John the Baptist found Life! He found meaningful, fulfilling and joyful life in this world.
Where did He find it? How was his life so meaningful, fulfilling and joyful?
He found the ultimate home! He found the dream vacation spot, and made that his home! He found the diet of diets! One that gave energy, health, and rich satisfying taste!!
Right? No.
John’s home was the wilderness. He likely did not even have a home. He probably had a cave somewhere.
I believe John the Baptist found the life we long for—meaningful, fulfilling, joy-filled life in something other than what the world thinks will bring that kind of life. It was not in what he possessed. It was not in what he achieved. It was not in the richness of his lifestyle.
John the Baptist found fulfilled, meaninful, joyful life in Magnifying Jesus!
I believe that is what we will see in the passage today. So, if you have your bibles open to John 3:22-36, or if you are following on your device in the Bible app, click the link at the bottom of your screen to open to the passage.
The passage is relating John’s response to his disciples inquiry about people following Jesus instead of coming to him. In his response, we will see John Magnifying the name of Jesus.
That really is how John lived his life. John lived to magnify Jesus.
Let’s read it together.

Finding Life in Magnifying Jesus

Let’s go back and look at it piece by piece to see how John found life in Magnifying Jesus.
Review background information from John 3:22-26.
John 3:27 NIV
To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven.
His disciples were worried. John is not getting the crowds like he used to draw.
When John started his ministry, everyone was going to him.
Mark 1:5 NIV
The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
People were flocking to John! they were coming to him to be baptized, and they were wondering if he was the Christ.
Luke 3:15 NIV
The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah.
John was preaching in the wilderness, and people were flocking to him, and wondering if he was the promised messiah who would deliver them!
He was successful! At least from his disciples perspective, and probably from many of our perspectives, that made John successful. And if you are successful, you are fulfilled in life.
I mean, most of us put a lot of stock in our jobs. That defines who we are. And, it is a big part of whether our lives are fulfilling.
If you were a doctor, and all of your patients were not getting any better, would you feel fulfilled?
If you were an athlete, and you were not winning, would you feel fulfilled?
If you were a salesman and you could not seal the deal, would you feel fulfilled? Or, would you think you missed the boat, and life is passing you by?
John was a preacher. When the crowds were coming, I am sure that had to feel good. But now that the crowds were going to Jesus… was he still successful? Would he still find fulfillment in his life? Or, would it be depressing, because life just wasn’t what he hoped?
That is what his disciples thought.
But to John, he did not count the crowds flocking to him as success. Having the crowds come to him did not provide the fulfillment he needed in his life. Fulfillment was not in the numbers to whom God gave him to minister.

Fulfillment is found in Magnifying Jesus!

No, John knew that true fulfillment was found in magnifying Jesus! That was his whole mission! To John,
When we Magnify Jesus, whatever God gives is just a bonus. The real fulfillment is not in the numbers, not in the results, but in magnifying Jesus!
That was John’s whole mission in life. Look at the message he preached… Luke 3.
Luke 3:7–18 NIV
John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” “What should we do then?” the crowd asked. John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them. Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.” The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them.
He knew that whoever God gave him, success was in pointing them to Jesus.
If there is a measure of success, it should be this. Magnifying Jesus with whoever God gives us, whether many or few.
Also, John knew fulfillment was not in being jealous of others. He did not worry that Jesus was getting more people than he was. And, actually, it wasn’t Jesus baptizing. It was his disciples. I am sure John knew that.
John wasn’t worried that others were getting more people baptized. He found fulfillment in Magnifying Jesus, and was glad for whoever, however many, God gave him so he could magnify Jesus. And he rejoiced that others were going to Jesus through other men.

Meaning is found in Magnifying Jesus

Many people find meaning in life if they can get the bigger, better role. If they don’t feel their role in life is important, or big enough, they don’t think their life is meaningful.
They lack meaning, and contentment.
John had meaning and contentment. He had it because he knew is whole role was to Magnify Jesus. His role was to be second fiddle. Jesus was meant to be first fiddle.
To illustrate this, John used the example of the friend of the bridegroom, or what we would in our culture call the best man.
The best man is not supposed to get the bride. He is to stand by and make sure the groom gets the bride.
The Gospel of John, Volume 1 A Man without Envy (John 3:22–30)

The friend of the bridegroom, the shoshben, had a unique place at a Jewish wedding. He acted as the liaison between the bride and the bridegroom; he arranged the wedding; he sent out the invitations; he presided at the wedding feast. He brought the bride and the bridegroom together. And he had one special duty. It was his duty to guard the bridal chamber and to let no false lover in. He would open the door only when in the dark he heard the bridegroom’s voice and recognized it. When he heard the bridegroom’s voice, he let him in and went away rejoicing, for his task was completed and the lovers were together. He did not grudge the bridegroom the bride. He knew that his only task had been to bring bride and bridegroom together. And when that task was done, he willingly and gladly faded out of the centre of the picture.

John knew his role. He was striving after a ‘bigger role’ in God’s plan for the redemption of man. He found meaning and contentment in playing the role God had for him, right where he was.
And because John found meaning and contentment in the role God had for him, he also found great joy!

Joy in Life comes from Magnifying Jesus

John found joy in magnifying Jesus.
People try to find joy in all kinds of ways. Maybe in the party. Maybe in the food, the wine, the dancing. Maybe finding joy in success. But all of these things are fleeting, and will run out.
Real joy in life comes from Magnifying Jesus. That will not fade. That will not run out. That is real purpose. That is real meaning. That leads to real Joy. Because Jesus does satisfy. Jesus does save. Jesus is eternal.
Magnifying Jesus brings fulfillment.
Magnifying Jesus brings meaning.
Magnifying Jesus brings joy!
Magnifying Jesus is what life is all about. John summed it up this way:
John 3:30 NIV
He must become greater; I must become less.”
So many of us think that we will find life as we become the center of attention. As we gain fulfillment, meaning and joy from what we do. We think that as people give us recognition, or flock to us, we will find life.
But look at those in this world that are the center of attention. Look at those who have the spotlight, that seem to have success, fame, wealth, the richest of lifestyles.
Do they have fulfilment in life? Have they found meaning and joy in life?
They seem to have such happy moments, but then you see the other headlines. They are full of envy, brokenness, emptiness. They turn to the supposed pleasures of this life, sex, drugs and alcohol, food. Does that lead to fulfilment, meaning and joy? No. They are in and out of rehab, hospitals, broken relationships, fighting, backstabbing and always seeking the next great moment in which they hope to find fulfillment, meaning and joy.
John the Baptist found it! He found the secret of life! Magnify Jesus!
He must become greater! I must become less. Don’t look at me. Look to Jesus! He is satisfying! He is where you will find love! He is where you will find salvation and eternal life!
John found life—real, meaningful, fulfilling, joy-giving life—in Magnifying Jesus.
John then went on to Magnify Jesus to his disciples once again...
John 3:31 NIV
The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all.
When we speak from earthly perspectives we end up where Solomon did. Meaningless, Meaningless… Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we may die.
Where is the hope? Where is the fulfilled, meaningful life? From this earthly perspective, it cannot be found. We eat, we live, we pay taxes, we suffer, we die.
But then comes Jesus, from heaven. He knows more than just the suffering of this world. He knows the hope of life, which He alone can give. He speaks from another perspective, the heavenly perspective.
There is more to life than living and dying! There is more to life than just getting by! There is more than just suffering! There is a bright hope, a future! An eternal life that is waiting for those who will receive it! Come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and take my yoke upon you, and you will find rest!
John 3:32 NIV
He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony.
Sadly, most of the world does not want to hear it. They do not want to come to Jesus. But...
John 3:33 NIV
Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful.
Whoever comes to Jesus and focuses on Him finds the life John found! they find out that Magnifying Jesus really is fulfilling! Magnifying Jesus really brings meaning and joy to life! Jesus is Life! God does not lie! There is life to be had! Fulfilling, meaningful life that is out of this world!
John 3:34 NIV
For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.

Cf. the rabbinical saying attributed to R. Acha (c. 320), “The Holy Spirit, who rests on the prophets, rests (on them) only by weight לקשׁמב (= by measure)” (SBk, II, p. 431). If this view is as early as the Fourth Gospel there may be in mind a deliberate contrast between Jesus and the prophets.

Jesus wasn’t just some old prophet! He was God come in the flesh! He was God incarnate. His glory was veiled, but the Spirit came upon Him fully and He spoke as not other prophet ever before! He was God speaking to men directly! He was revealing truth! He is the truth!
People are looking for truth, just like they look for love… in all the wrong places!
Jesus came and He spoke the truth. He is the truth.
We don’t magnify ourselves as having the truth. We magnify Jesus who is the truth!
John 3:35 NIV
The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.
God has given all things to the Son. We will see later in John that God has even given all judgment to Jesus. He has the power of life and death. He holds the keys. He can save, or He will condemn. And that is the main point...
John 3:36 NIV
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
Whoever believes in Jesus has (present, active, indicative) eternal life. They have fulfillment, meaning and joy in life, like John the Baptist had.
Fulfilling because there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God once Jesus has taken our sin and shame!
Meaning because He has given us a mission!
Joy because He gives hope and a future! This world is hard. It is full of sin, sickness and death. But none of those things in this short speck of time in all eternity will separate us from Him and His love! Nothing will keep us from finding all fulfillment, meaning and joy in Jesus for all eternity as he is with us. He is our God, and we are His people!

True life is found in Magnifying Jesus!

What about me?
Sure, John was a preacher. Magnifying Jesus was the point, right? Of course he found fulfillment, meaning and joy in doing the very point of his job.
but I am not a preacher. I am a teacher. I am a plumber. I am a carpenter. I am a banker. I am a nurse. I am a … fill in the blank.
Even though our jobs may not be preaching about Jesus, isn’t all our life to be a testimony to Jesus? Aren’t we to do all things, even eating and sleeping to the glory of God?
Can the teacher live and love students in such a way that they will see Jesus in them?
Can a plumber take pleasure in doing his work as unto the Lord instead of as unto the homeowner or business owner? Can finding joy in doing what he has to do, to the best of his ability to the glory of God make an impact on people around him? You better believe it! And that gives him a platform to Magnify Jesus!
Can the person who is sick find meaning and joy? Only in magnifying Jesus. Trials are hard!
But as we focus on Him—He must become greater, I must become less—people will notice. Why are you so hopeful? Why are you so different? Because of Jesus! Let me tell you about Him!!
I believe that like John the Baptist, we can find Life—real fulfilling, meaningful, joyful Life—in Magnifying Jesus day by day.
Let’s ask God to work in our hearts to do that each day this week!
Read John 1-3. Pay attention to John the Baptist and his message. On what did John focus? To what did he always point in his conversations? John knew his purpose. If you had a to pick a verse that showed his purpose, which verse would you choose? Even though you and I are not Jewish prophets, don’t we have the same purpose?
Read Acts 3-4. Peter and John found life in Magnifying Jesus. Even when the crowds came to them and they had the chance for popularity, what did they do? When they were persecuted, where did they focus? To what did they point? How did they find life in their success, and in their suffering?
Read Numbers 11:16-30. Was Moses threatened by others having the Spirit of God on them? Wouldn’t people think less of him since he was no longer the one to whom they had to come as the leader? Was he jealous? Do you struggle with jealousy? What was Moses’ reply to Joshua? Why would he respond that way? Was he just thinking of himself? Was he thinking of earthly success? How might that reply help you when you are jealous of others success?
Read Colossians 3. How does this chapter Magnify Jesus? How does this chapter encourage you to magnify Jesus in your home? How does this chapter encourage you to magnify Jesus at work?
Read 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; 4:1-7. In all we do, we tend to follow some model, some plan, some person. We magnify that model, plan or person. What is the real root of success? Or, rather who? What should our mindset be? How would having the right mindset help us to find life—fulfilling, meaningful, joyful life?
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