John 3:25 MEANING

John 3:25
(25) Then there arose a question.--For "the Jews," the reading of the better MSS. is, a Jew. The question arose on the side of John's disciples. What the exact nature of it was we do not know, and have no means of judging. It was one of the questions which in every age has arisen about external rites, and has too often been accompanied by a neglect of inner principles. This arose in some way from the fact of the disciples of Jesus baptising near to the place where John was baptising, and doubtless was closely connected with these baptisms. The fact is only preserved as an incidental introduction to the remarkable testimony of the Baptist which follows.

Verse 25. - There arose therefore a questioning on the part of John's disciples with a Jew about purifying. Such proximity of two such leaders, teaching and proclaiming the kingdom of heaven, and baptizing into a glorious hope, a Divine future, and a spiritual change, was certain to excite controversy. The word (ζήτησις) "questioning" is used in Acts 15:2 for the dispute at Antioch, and Paul uses the same phrase for dangerous, useless, and angry debate (1 Timothy 6:4; 2 Timothy 2:23; Titus 3:9). It was, perhaps, not the first, and certainly it was not the last, of the controversies which raged over the symbolic purification of the Church. John's disciples appear to have taken up arms against some particular Jew, who was prepared either to question the right of Jesus to baptize, or the essential value of this ordinance. This "Jew" was apparently maintaining a greater potency for the baptism of Jesus than John could claim for his, and was basing his view upon the testimony which John had already borne to Jesus. Purifying was the great theme of Essenic and Pharisaic profession. It was without doubt one of the great symbolic purposes of the Levitical legislation. The purification of the flesh was, however, in Christ's teaching, a very small part of the claim for purity. Nothing less than a spiritual and radical moral change availed, and our Lord insisted on this to the disparagement of the mere ceremonial. This was the first recorded discussion on the nature and value of baptismal purifying. Would that it had been the last! The question arose among those who had been baptized by John, whether another had any right to administer such an ordinance? Could another receive the confession of sins? Was the baptism of John to terminate now that he had come of whom John himself had said, "This is he that baptizeth with the Holy Spirit"

3:22-36 John was fully satisfied with the place and work assigned him; but Jesus came on a more important work. He also knew that Jesus would increase in honour and influence, for of his government and peace there would be no end, while he himself would be less followed. John knew that Jesus came from heaven as the Son of God, while he was a sinful, mortal man, who could only speak about the more plain subjects of religion. The words of Jesus were the words of God; he had the Spirit, not by measure, as the prophets, but in all fulness. Everlasting life could only be had by faith in Him, and might be thus obtained; whereas all those, who believe not in the Son of God, cannot partake of salvation, but the wrath of God for ever rests upon them.Then there arose a question,.... A dispute, or controversy, occasioned by the baptism, of John and Christ:

between some of John's disciples, and the Jews. The Syriac and Persic versions read, "between one of John's disciples, and a certain Jew"; and Nonnus renders it, "with an Hebrew man"; and so the Alexandrian manuscript; many others read, "with a Jew": the contention between them was

about purifying; either about the ceremonial purifications, and ablutions commanded in the law of Moses; or concerning the various washings of persons, and vessels, according to the traditions of the elders, which the Jews in common were very tenacious of; and which they thought were brought into neglect, and contempt, by the baptism of John: and this seems to have been occasioned by the baptism of Christ; which the Jew might improve against the disciple of John, and urge, that since another, besides his master, had set up baptizing, who could tell which was most right and safest to follow? and therefore it would have been much better, if no such rite at all had been used by any, but that the purifications required by the law of Moses, and by their elders, had been strictly and solely attended to.

Courtesy of Open Bible