21. Herod Arrests John
19But when Herod the tetrarch was reproved by John on account of Herodias, his brother's wife, and on account of all the wicked things which Herod had done,
20he added this also to them all: he locked up John in prison.
26And John's disciples came to him and said, “Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you bore witness, everyone is going to him.”a
27John answered:“No one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven. 28You yourselves bear me witness that I said I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent before him. 29He who has the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom who stands and hears him rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. Therefore, this joy of mine is now full. 30He must increase but I must decrease. 31He who is of the earth belongs to the earth, and of the earth he speaks; he who comes from heaven is above all. 34He whom God has sent utters the words of God; for it is not by measure that He gives the spirit. 35The Father loves the Son and has given all things to his hand. 36He who believes in the Son has eternal life.”
(Lk. 3:19–20; Jn. 3:26–31, 34–36)
a “everyone is going to him.”—(Summary of recent events) John the Baptist began his short but eventful career as a preacher of righteousness around AD 25. He came as a forerunner of Jesus, urging others to “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
John attracts great crowds and baptizes many for the remission of sins in the river Jordan. At the height of John's popularity, Jesus leaves Galilee and journeys to where John is baptizing. Jesus would have been around 32 years of age at this time. Jesus is baptized by John who protests, “I need to be baptized by you. Why do you come to me?”
When Jesus is baptized the heavens open and God's spirit descends like a dove and lights on Jesus, and a voice from heaven declares, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” After his baptism Jesus is immediately led away into the wilderness for a time of communion and the likely planning of his impending public career.
When Jesus returns to John's camp, John sees him and bears witness to his followers: “I saw the spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
Several of John's followers who heard John's testimony become the first disciples of Jesus; they are Andrew, his brother Simon Peter, and probably James and John Zebedee. Jesus and his early followers leave John's camp and return to Galilee; the party comes across Philip and Nathaniel, and they also decide to follow Jesus.
Back in Galilee, Jesus and the first six disciples attend a wedding at Cana. Here Jesus performs his first miracle—the turning of the water into wine.
Jesus next calls Matthew, who becomes the seventh disciple; Jesus chooses five more followers to be with him and preach the gospel; they are known as the 12 apostles. Their early work is well received; when Herod arrests John his disciples come to him in prison and report, “everyone is going to him.” John replies, “He must increase but I must decrease.”
Following this early work Jesus calls the apostles together and preaches his great “Sermon on the Mount.” He then ordains them as preachers of the kingdom (next section).
Lk. 3:19 NASB • by John on / by him on (NASB)
Jn. 3:26 And John's disciples came to him and said, “Rabbi / And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi • witness, everyone is going to him (NIV) / witness, here he is, baptizing, and all are going to him (RSV)
Jn. 3:28 the Messiah, but (Ch. 13, fn. c) / the Christ, but (RSV) (135:10,11/1506–7)