Lesson 17: John 3:31-36 – The Roots of Royalty

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

You're listening to Lesson 17 from the sermon series "The Gospel of John" by Pastor Ricky Kurth. When you're done, explore more sermons from this series.



The Lord had royal roots, for He’s the One who “cometh from above” (John 3:31), or as the verse ends by explain-ing, “from heaven.” We know heaven is “above” or up be-cause Isaiah 14:13 says God lives “in the sides of the north.” Back when God was promoting men to be king, that’s where promotion came from (Ps.75:6,7).

Since the Lord came from above, He is “above all” (John 3:31). If you are thinking, “Who doesn’t know that?”, the answer is, the disciples of John the Baptist! When they were jealous of the Lord’s popularity (3:25,26) thinking John was above all, he set them straight (3:27-30). And it is John the Baptist who is still speaking here in Verse 31!

This helps us to know that John the Baptist is the one who is “of the earth” (3:31). John has been saying, “He’s the Christ, I’m not. He’s the bridegroom, I’m not.” Now he says, “He’s from above, I’m from the earth.”

Now when it says John “speaketh of the earth,” that sounds carnal, but we know it isn’t, for the Lord also spoke of the earth. In John 3:1-11, He told Nicodemus he needed to be born again. The new birth isn’t earthly, but our need for it is! Thus in John 3:12, the Lord is saying, “If I’ve told you about your earthly need for the new birth, and you don’t believe it, how are you going to believe if I tell you something heavenly, like how to be born again.” Telling people of their need for Christ then is what it means to speak earthly things, and that is what John the Baptist did!

The Lord testified what he had “seen and heard” (John 3:32) at His baptism (Luke 3:21,22). There He saw the Spirit come on Him and heard He was God’s Son. And that’s what He “testifieth” (John 3:32), that He was God’s Son and that the Spirit was upon Him (Lu.4:18; Mt.12:28). His disciples likewise testified what they saw and heard (Acts 4:20). But since we haven’t seen or heard anything, I guess that means we don’t have to testify, right? No way! James lived 1500 years after Job, but his readers “heard” about Job (5:11) the same way you did—in the Scriptures! And they had “seen” the “end” the Lord gave Job the same way you saw it—in the Scriptures! I guess we can testify what we’ve seen and heard after all! And so could the Lord, for He knew the Scriptures well, and testified much more than what He saw and heard the day He was baptized.

When John says “no man receiveth His testimony” (3:32), we know this is a hyperbole, for John and many disciples had received it. John is responding to the hyperbole of his disciples who complained “all men come to Him” (3:26).

Further proof John is using a hyperbole is seen when he goes on to say, “he that hath received His testimony hath set to his seal that God is true” (v.33). Israel’s leaders once accepted a covenant, saying: “we…seal unto it” (Neh. 9:38; 10:1). When people received the Lord’s testimony, they set their seal to the fact that “God is true.” Notice it doesn’t say they received the Lord’s testimony and agreed the Lord was true. It says they received the Lord’s testimony and agreed “God is true,” because “he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God” (John 3:34)

God didn’t give the Spirit “by measure” unto the Lord (John 3:34). In the Old Testament, God did give His Spirit to men by measure. Men who had the Spirit to help them build the tabernacle (Ex.31:3) didn’t have the Spirit to lead Israel into battle (Jud.6:33), and men who had the Spirit to lead Israel into battle didn’t have the Spirit to lead them to prophesy (ISam.10:10), etc. They had Him by measure.

Why is John the Baptist saying this? Because even though he himself was filled with the Spirit (Luke 1:15), we know that not even John had an immeasurable gift of the Spirit, because unlike the Lord, he couldn’t work miracles (John 10:41). John is further impressing on his disciples that Christ is above all, even above him.

God gave “all things” into the hands of Adam, but he sinned. God then gave all things into the hand of the last Adam (John 3:35), and thankfully He did not sin, for the most important thing God put into His hands was eternal life, which He gives to all who believe on Him (John 3:36).

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