|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:22-36 John was fully satisfied with the place and work assigned him; but Jesus came on a more important work. He also knew that Jesus would increase in honour and influence, for of his government and peace there would be no end, while he himself would be less followed. John knew that Jesus came from heaven as the Son of God, while he was a sinful, mortal man, who could only speak about the more plain subjects of religion. The words of Jesus were the words of God; he had the Spirit, not by measure, as the prophets, but in all fulness. Everlasting life could only be had by faith in Him, and might be thus obtained; whereas all those, who believe not in the Son of God, cannot partake of salvation, but the wrath of God for ever rests upon them.
Verse 24. - For John had not yet been cast into the prison. This clause shows that the evangelist was alive to the apparent discrepancy which his account of a Judaean ministry might otherwise have suggested with the synoptic chronological initium of the Galilaean ministry. The remark shows that all that happened preceded that ministry, and equates the journey through Samaria with that mentioned in Matthew 4:12. Even Hilgenfeld says, "Involuntarily the fourth evangelist here testifies to his acquaintance with the synoptical narrative." In our opinion it was designed and spontaneous. The first journey to Galilee, mentioned in John 1:43, was not the commencement of a public prophetic ministry, and the synoptists are silent about it. The ἀνεχώρησεν, he "withdrew," shows that there was some reason for his abrupt departure, over and above what was stated. John gives the reason for the departure by John 4:1, 2, where the conduct of the Pharisees was becoming more watchful and jealous. The authority which John here assumes to correct and enlarge apostolic tradition, reveals the claim of one who professed unique knowledge of inexpugnable facts.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For John was not yet cast into prison. As he afterwards was by Herod, for the sake of Herodias, because he reproved Herod for taking her to be his wife, when she was wife to his brother Philip; see Matthew 14:3; and this circumstance shows, that these things were done before that journey of Christ into Galilee, mentioned in Matthew 4:12.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
24. John not yet cast into prison—Hence it is plain that our Lord's ministry did not commence with the imprisonment of John, though, but for this, we should have drawn that inference from Mt 4:12 and Mark's (Mr 1:14) express statement.
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