Ellen G. White Writings

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From Heaven With Love, Page 113

Chapter 18—“He Must Increase, But I Must Decrease”

This chapter is based on John 3:22-36.

If John the Baptist had announced himself as the Messiah and raised a revolt against Rome, priests and people would have flocked to his standard. Every consideration that appeals to the ambition of the world's conquerors Satan stood ready to urge upon him. But he had steadfastly refused the splendid bribe. The attention fixed upon him he directed to Another.

Now he saw the tide of popularity turning away from himself to the Saviour. Day by day the crowds about him lessened as the people flocked to hear Jesus. The number of Christ's disciples increased daily.

But the disciples of John looked with jealousy upon the growing popularity of Jesus. They stood ready to criticize His work, and it was not long before they found occasion. A question arose between John's disciples and the Jews as to whether baptism cleansed the soul from sin; they maintained that the baptism of Jesus differed essentially from that of John. Soon they were in dispute with Christ's disciples in regard to the form of words proper to use at baptism, and finally as to their right to baptize at all. The disciples of John came to him with their grievances, saying, “Rabbi, He that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou bearest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to Him.”

Through these words, Satan brought temptation upon John. If John had expressed disappointment at being superseded, he would have sown seeds of dissension, encouraged envy and jealousy, and seriously impeded the progress of the gospel.

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