1 Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John
It is interesting to contrast chapter 3 with chapter 4. In chapter 3 we have a highly religious and legalistic leader, while in chapter 4 we have a very immoral woman. Jesus cared about and ministered to both without discrimination.
In chapter 4 we see various responses to Jesus in Samaria and Galilee. We also see how Jesus presented His own identity. This chapter breaks down barriers of prejudice. It also teaches the nature of worship.
In verses 1-26 Jesus interviewed the Samaritan woman. We find the setting of the situation in verses 1-6. Verses 1-3 show Jesus’ departure from Judea to Samaria.
The “therefore” here transitions into a geographical change by Jesus and His disciples.
when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard
The Pharisees kept in close touch with the ministries of both Jesus and John. They did not get their information from the disciples of either Jesus or John but from their own spies.
that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John
The Pharisees were probably influential in the Sanhedrin at this time. They kept in touch with the events between Jesus and John and their followers. They were hostile to the movement but not openly just yet. Jesus realized that His popularity was being discussed widely. Jesus’ concern was that the Pharisees would cast reproach on both Him and the Baptizer. The Lord did not want any confusion about His relationship to John.
Everything looks yellow to the jaundiced eye.
The Pharisees were jealous of Jesus’ popularity with people. They were full of unadulterated green-eyed envy. Misinformation or incomplete information can give rise to this emotion. This is a great enemy in ministry. We need to be careful to get all the facts before we form any judgment about others. There are always two sides to every dispute.
Pr 14:30 A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones.
Mt 27:18 For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy.
Ti 3:3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.
Perhaps the Pharisees tried to create competition between Jesus and the Baptizer. They were trying to cast reproach on the entire movement of Jesus and John. They may have said, “Jesus and John are in competition to see who is the greatest.”
Much of today’s media feeds on misinformation, distortion of facts, bias, and wanting to tell a story over finding the truth. Some read their own assumptions into almost every situation. There is little objective reporting anymore.