Then Jesus and his disciples went out for a length of time into the Judean countryside where they baptized the people. At this time John was still baptizing people at Aenon, near Salim, where there was plenty of water. And the people kept coming for John to baptize them. (This was before John was thrown into prison.)
An argument then developed between John’s disciples and a particular Jewish man about baptism. So they went to John and asked him, “Teacher, are you aware that the One you told us about at the crossing place — he’s now baptizing everyone with larger crowds than yours. People are flocking to him! What do you think about that?”
John answered them, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless God bestows it. You heard me tell you before that I am not the Messiah, but certainly I am the messenger sent ahead of him. He is the Bridegroom, and I bring the bride to him. I am the friend of the Bridegroom who stands nearby and listens with great joy to the Bridegroom’s voice. And because of his words my joy is complete and overflows! So it’s necessary for him to increase and for me to be diminished.
“For the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks from the natural realm. But the One who comes from above is above everything and speaks of the highest realm of all! His message is about what he has seen and experienced, even though people don’t accept it. Yet those who embrace his message know in their hearts that it’s the truth.
“The One whom God has sent to represent him will speak the words of God, for God has poured out upon him the fullness of the Holy Spirit without limitation. The Father loves his Son so much that all people have been given into his hands. Those who trust in the Son possess eternal life; but those who don’t obey the Son will not see life, and God’s anger will rise up against them.