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15(John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ ”) 16From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

 

The Testimony of John the Baptist

19 This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” 21And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” 22Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23He said,

“I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness,

‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ ”

as the prophet Isaiah said.

24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” 26John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, 27the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” 28This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.

The Lamb of God

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’


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Joh 1:15. A Saying of the Baptist Confirmatory of This.

15. after me—in official manifestation.

before mein rank and dignity.

for he was before me—in existence; "His goings forth being from of old, from everlasting" (Mic 5:2). (Anything lower than this His words cannot mean); that is, "My Successor is my Superior, for He was my Predecessor." This enigmatic play upon the different senses of the words "before" and "after" was doubtless employed by the Baptist to arrest attention, and rivet the thought; and the Evangelist introduces it just to clinch his own statements.

Joh 1:16-18. Same Subject Continued.

16. of his fulness—of "grace and truth," resuming the thread of Joh 1:14.

grace for grace—that is, grace upon grace (so all the best interpreters), in successive communications and larger measures, as each was able to take it in. Observe, the word "truth" is here dropped. "Grace" being the chosen New Testament word for the whole fulness of the new covenant, all that dwells in Christ for men.

17. For, &c.—The Law elicits the consciousness of sin and the need of redemption; it only typifies the reality. The Gospel, on the contrary, actually communicates reality and power from above (compare Ro 6:14). Hence Paul terms the Old Testament "shadow," while he calls the New Testament "substance" (Col 2:17) [Olshausen].

18. No man—"No one," in the widest sense.

hath seen God—by immediate gaze, or direct intuition.

in the bosom of the Father—A remarkable expression, used only here, presupposing the Son's conscious existence distinct from the Father, and expressing His immediate and most endeared access to, and absolute acquaintance with, Him.

he—emphatic; As if he should say, "He and He only hath declared Him," because He only can.

Joh 1:19-36. The Baptist's Testimony to Christ.

19. record—testimony.

the Jews—that is, the heads of the nation, the members of the Sanhedrim. In this peculiar sense our Evangelist seems always to use the term.

20. confessed, &c.—that is, While many were ready to hail him as the Christ, he neither gave the slightest ground for such views, nor the least entertainment to them.

21. Elias—in His own proper person.

that prophet—announced in De 18:15, &c., about whom they seem not to have been agreed whether he were the same with the Messiah or no.

25. Why baptizest thou, if not, &c.—Thinking he disclaimed any special connection with Messiah's kingdom, they demand his right to gather disciples by baptism.

26. there standeth—This must have been spoken after the baptism of Christ, and possibly just after His temptation (see on Joh 1:29).

28. Bethabara—Rather, "Bethany" (according to nearly all the best and most ancient manuscripts); not the Bethany of Lazarus, but another of the same name, and distinguished from it as lying "beyond Jordan," on the east.

29. seeth Jesus—fresh, probably, from the scene of the temptation.

coming unto him—as to congenial company (Ac 4:23), and to receive from him His first greeting.

and saith—catching a sublime inspiration at the sight of Him approaching.

the Lamb of God—the one God-ordained, God-gifted sacrificial offering.

that taketh awaytaketh up and taketh away. The word signifies both, as does the corresponding Hebrew word. Applied to sin, it means to be chargeable with the guilt of it (Ex 28:38; Le 5:1; Eze 18:20), and to bear it away (as often). In the Levitical victims both ideas met, as they do in Christ, the people's guilt being viewed as transferred to them, avenged in their death, and so borne away by them (Le 4:15; 16:15, 21, 22; and compare Isa 53:6-12; 2Co 5:21).

the sin—The singular number being used to mark the collective burden and all-embracing efficacy.

of the world—not of Israel only, for whom the typical victims were exclusively offered. Wherever there shall live a sinner throughout the wide world, sinking under that burden too heavy for him to bear, he shall find in this "Lamb of God," a shoulder equal to the weight. The right note was struck at the first—balm, doubtless, to Christ's own spirit; nor was ever after, or ever will be, a more glorious utterance.




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