John 3:27 (NASB):

John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.”

What is “receiving” in reference to? What is being received? And how does this relate to John’s disciples’ comment in verse 26?


John 3:26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”

27To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven.

John was saying this: Jesus received his ministry and John received John's ministry. Each person was to do according to what was given to him by God. There was no need to get jealous or prideful about it as John's disciples were.

Later Jesus told Pilate similarly in John 19:11

Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above

God ordained the powers. There is no place for pride or jealousy. Paul expressed similar sentiments in 1 Corinthians 4:

7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

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