22 After this Jesus and his disciples went into the land of Judea; there he remained with them and baptized. 23 John also was baptizing at Ae'non near Salim, because there was much water there; and people came and were baptized.
24 For John had not yet been put in prison. 25 Now a discussion arose between John's disciples and a Jew over purifying.
26 And they came to John, and said to him, "Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you bore witness, here he is, baptizing, and all are going to him." 27 John answered, "No one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.
29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice; therefore this joy of mine is now full. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease."
Do you know the joy of the Lord? When the associates of John the Baptist complain that all are now going to Jesus, John in his characteristic humility exclaimed that he was not the Messiah but only the messenger sent to prepare his way.
John describes the Messiah as the Bridegroom and himself as the friend of the Bridegroom. The image of marriage and the wedding feast is used throughout the scriptures to describe God's joy in his people, who are regarded as his bride.
As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you (Isaiah 62:5). John acted as the best man in arranging the marriage and in making preparations for the marriage feast.
John and his disciples rejoice that the Bridegroom has come to make his bride, the church, ready for the marriage feast.
We see this fulfilled in the New Jerusalem in the marriage feast of the Lamb and his Bride (see Revelations 21-22).
Do you look with joyful anticipation to the consummation of God's plan for his people at the end of the ages?