John 3:22-24, NIV

22 After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the
Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them,
and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near
Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were
constantly coming to be baptized. 24 (This was before John
was put in prison.)


December 20, 2010

Another transition time. Jesus steered his way out of the big city
of Jerusalem, traveling down off the Mount and into the low-laying countryside adjacent to the Jorden River.

Plenty of water; plenty of people coming for baptism. Nearby
was John the Baptist and his disciples. All that sounds like an
abundance of everything needed for a great awakening of religious
fervor. The disciples were doing the baptizing (that's what it says
in chapter 4,verse 2); Jesus appears to have taken a back seat and
is just hanging out with them. Enjoying all the attention given to
his Father in heaven. How sweet it was to see so many people
moved to repentance and desiring to be washed in the cleansing
waters of baptism.

They all may have looked back on these days along the Jordan
River as the happiest days of their lives. And as we all know,
happy days do not last. The grumbling begins in the very next

                                                                     More journal entries

August 9, 1982
What stands out in this text? Not Jesus; he's on an equal plane
with his disciples. "Jesus stayed there with them" sounds like he accompanied the disciples instead of them following him! They
were baptizing, something which John the Baptist made popular.
Was there a religious revival going on and Jesus' disciples wanted
to be part of the action? Seeing the crowds coming to you for what
you can give them, eager for baptism and newness of life--that's
exhilarating. An understandable notion of what the disciples
thought ministry was all about.

Jesus called them to do God's work, so here they are, preaching
and baptizing. A long way from the journey to the cross Jesus
would take them on, yet a stopping place along that road.

Jesus stayed with them, giving his blessing so they could enjoy
the Spirit moving among the people. For a time, God blessed this
ministry and then they would move on, following Jesus instead
of leading him into green pastures. They were enjoying an oasis
on the road to Calvary. Temporary, not permanent.

I bet they wanted to spend the rest of their lives in that blessed
ministry. Success they had; didn't that prove they were doing
God's will?! The disciples will need to learn to live the present
moment to the fullest, but not be attached to it. They had to
be able to move on.

August 11, 1982
This was a time of cooperation between Jesus and John, amid an
atmosphere of excitement and success. People were continually
coming. God was blessing.

It's good they couldn't see into the future. A difficult future also
awaited John the Baptist. His baptizing would come to an abrupt
end. John went to prison, spent the remainder of his days there a
nd was beheaded. The reasons were all political. To the outsider
it appeared that God had not protected his own.

From the darkness of his prison cell, did John the Baptist continue
to believe in what he has seen and experienced during those
bright days along the Jordan River? It's very difficult and tries
the soul to believe in the darkness what you saw in the light.

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