(This was before John was put in prison.)1
An argument developed between some of John's disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing.2
They came to John and said to him, "Rabbi,3 that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan--the one you testified4 about--well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him."
To this John replied, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven.
You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.'5
The bride belongs to the bridegroom.6 The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.7
He must become greater; I must become less.
"The one who comes from above8 is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth.9 The one who comes from heaven is above all.
He testifies to what he has seen and heard,10 but no one accepts his testimony.11
The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful.
For the one whom God has sent12 speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit13 without limit.