Note: this section of the Gospel has a broad chiastic pattern although there are large subunits which are not balanced in length. It begins with the Lord arriving and ends with him leaving Judea. Moving towards the centre there is reference to Jesus baptising more than John, that Jesus is sent from heaven, that John is not the Christ and therefore will “decrease”. The centre is the picture of Christ as the bridegroom. This concept links the marriage at Cana in chapter 2 to the Samaritan woman in chapter 4.
A. 22 After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea;
B. and there he tarried with them, and baptized.
C. 23 And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized. 24 For John was not yet cast into prison. 25 Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying. 26 And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.
D. 27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.
E. 28 Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.
F. 29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.
E’. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
D’. 31 He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. 32 And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. 33 He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. 34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. 35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. 36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life:and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
C’. 1 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,
B’. 2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)
A’. 3 He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.