|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:6-14 John the Baptist came to bear witness concerning Jesus. Nothing more fully shows the darkness of men's minds, than that when the Light had appeared, there needed a witness to call attention to it. Christ was the true Light; that great Light which deserves to be called so. By his Spirit and grace he enlightens all that are enlightened to salvation; and those that are not enlightened by him, perish in darkness. Christ was in the world when he took our nature upon him, and dwelt among us. The Son of the Highest was here in this lower world. He was in the world, but not of it. He came to save a lost world, because it was a world of his own making. Yet the world knew him not. When he comes as a Judge, the world shall know him. Many say that they are Christ's own, yet do not receive him, because they will not part with their sins, nor have him to reign over them. All the children of God are born again. This new birth is through the word of God as the means, 1Pe 1:23, and by the Spirit of God as the Author. By his Divine presence Christ always was in the world. But now that the fulness of time was come, he was, after another manner, God manifested in the flesh. But observe the beams of his Divine glory, which darted through this veil of flesh. Men discover their weaknesses to those most familiar with them, but it was not so with Christ; those most intimate with him saw most of his glory. Although he was in the form of a servant, as to outward circumstances, yet, in respect of graces, his form was like the Son of God His Divine glory appeared in the holiness of his doctrine, and in his miracles. He was full of grace, fully acceptable to his Father, therefore qualified to plead for us; and full of truth, fully aware of the things he was to reveal.
Verses 6-13. -
(4) The general manifestation of the revealing Logos. Verses 6-8. -
(a) The prophetic dispensation. Verse 6. - There was a man, sent from (παρά Θεοῦ) God, whose name was John. Observe the contrast between the ἐγένετο of John's appearance and the η΅ν of the Logos, between the "man" John sent from God and the (ΛΟΓΟΣ ΣΑΡΧ ΑΓΑΝΑΤΟ) "Word became flesh" of ver. 14. At this point the evangelist touches on the temporal mission and effulgence of the true Light in the Incarnation; yet this paragraph deals with far more general characteristics and wider ranges of thought than the earthly ministry of Christ on which he is about to enlarge. First of all, he deals with the testimony of John in its widest sense; afterwards he enlarges upon it in its striking detail. Consequently, we think that "the man," "John," is, when first introduced, referred to in his representative character rather than his historical position. The teaching of the prophets and synoptists shows that "John" was rather the exponent of the old covenant than the harbinger of the new. He was the embodiment of the idea of prophet, priest, and ascetic of the patriarchal, Mosaic, and latest Hebraic revelation. He was "more than a prophet." No one greater than he had ever been born of woman, and his functions in these several particulars are strongly impressed upon that disciple who here loses his own individuality in the strength of his Master's teaching. Through this very "man sent from God" the apostle had been prepared to see and personally receive the Logos incarnate. His personality gathered up for our author all that there was in the past of definite revelation, while Jesus filled up all the present and the future. First of all, he treats the mission of the Baptist as representative of all that wonderful past.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
There was a man sent from God,.... John the Baptist: he was not the Logos, or word; nor was he an angel, but a man; yet an extraordinary one, in his conception of a barren woman, and in being born when both parents were stricken in years; and whilst he was in the womb, he leaped for joy at the salutation of Mary; and as soon as born was filled with the Holy Ghost; and when he was grown up, and appeared in public, it was in an uncommon manner: his dress and his diet were both out of the common way; and his temper and spirit were that of Elias the prophet; and as for his work and office, it was very peculiar; he was the forerunner of Christ, and the first administrator of the new ordinance of baptism, and the greatest of all the prophets: this person had his mission from God, both to preach and baptize:
whose name was John; the name given him by the angel before his conception, and by his mother Elisabeth, after her neighbours and cousins had given him another; and which was confirmed by his father Zacharias, when deaf and dumb: it signifies grace, or gracious; and a gracious man he was; he was very acceptable to his parents; a man that had the grace of God in him, and great gifts of grace bestowed on him; he was a preacher of the doctrines of grace; and his ministry was very grateful to many.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6-9. The Evangelist here approaches his grand thesis, so paving his way for the full statement of it in Joh 1:14, that we may be able to bear the bright light of it, and take in its length and breadth and depth and height.
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