This is he of whom I said, After me comes a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)This is he.—These words meet us here for the third time. They come in John 1:15, and in part in John 1:27. Here, as before, they are a quotation of an earlier and unrecorded statement of the Baptist, uttered in proverbial form, and to be understood in their fulfilment. (Comp. John 3:30.)John 1:30-34. This is he, &c. — I now point out to you the very person of whom I formerly said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me — Being incomparably greater and more excellent than I; for he was — That is, he existed; before me — Dr. Hammond abundantly vindicates this interpretation. Had πρωτος, rendered before, signified chief here, as in some other places, εστι, is, not ην, was, would have been joined with it, and John would have said he is, and not he was, my chief, which would have been a very flat tautology instead of a reason; whereas Christ’s having existed before John, though he was born after him, was a most convincing proof that he was a very extraordinary person, and was the strongest reason that could well have been assigned, to show that he was worthy of their superior regard. And I knew him not — When I testified concerning the Messiah that he was soon to appear, and was a much greater person than I was, I did not know that this was he: I only knew in the general, that my mission and baptism were designed by God as the means of making the Messiah known to the Israelites. See the note on Matthew 3:14. The Baptist made this declaration, lest the surrounding multitude should have imagined that Jesus assumed, and that he gave him, the title of Messiah, by private concert between themselves. But how surprising is this that John here asserts, considering how nearly they were related, and how remarkable the conception and birth of them both had been. But through the peculiar providence of God, it was ordered that our Saviour should live from his infancy to his baptism at Nazareth, while John lived all that time the life of a hermit, in the deserts of Judea, ninety or more miles from Nazareth. Hereby that acquaintance was prevented which might have made John’s testimony of Christ suspected. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit — From the time that the Baptist had the Messiah discovered to him by supernatural revelation, and the appearance of the sign which God had told him of, he openly pointed him out to the Jews, declaring, at the same time, the ground on which he proceeded in this matter, namely, the descent of the Spirit, which was the sign mentioned by God himself.
Behold the Lamb of God - A "lamb," among the Jews, was killed and eaten at the Passover to commemorate their deliverance from Egypt, Exodus 12:3-11. A lamb was offered in the tabernacle, and afterward in the temple, every morning and evening, as a part of the daily worship, Exodus 29:38-39. The Messiah was predicted as a lamb led to the slaughter, to show his patience in his sufferings, and readiness to die for man, Isaiah 53:7. A lamb, among the Jews, was also an emblem of patience, meekness, gentleness. On "all" these accounts, rather than on any one of them alone, Jesus was called "the Lamb." He was innocent 1 Peter 2:23-25; he was a sacrifice for sin the substance represented by the daily offering of the lamb, and slain at the usual time of the evening sacrifice Luke 23:44-46; and he was what was represented by the Passover, turning away the anger of God, and saving sinners by his blood from vengeance and eternal death, 1 Corinthians 5:7.
Of God - Appointed by God, approved by God, and most dear to him; the sacrifice which he chose, and which he approves to save people from death.
Which taketh away - This denotes his "bearing" the sins of the world, or the sufferings which made an atonement for sin. Compare Isaiah 53:4; 1 John 3:5; 1 Peter 2:24. He takes away sin by "bearing" in his own body the sufferings which God appointed to show his sense of the evil of sin, thus magnifying the law, and rendering it consistent for him to pardon. See the notes at Romans 3:24-25.
Of the world - Of all mankind, Jew and Gentile. His work was not to be confined to the Jew, but was also to benefit the Gentile; it was not confined to any one part of the world, but was designed to open the way of pardon to all men. He was the propitiation for the sins of the whole world, 1 John 2:2. See the notes at 2 Corinthians 5:15.
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 away—taketh 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.John 1:15), He cometh after me in order of time and ministry, but is more excellent than I am.
See Poole on "John 1:15". John 1:27, or some time before that, John 1:15, when he first began to baptize, even before Christ came to be baptized by him, and before he personally knew him; see Matthew 3:11.
After me cometh a man; not a mere man, but the man God's fellow: and this is said, not because he was now a grown man, or to show the truth of his human nature; but seems to be a common Hebraism, and is all one as if it had been said, "after me cometh one", or a certain person: for the sense of this phrase, and what follows; see Gill on John 1:15.This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 1:26-27, where John bears his witness before the deputies from the Sanhedrim, but to an earlier testimony borne by him before his disciples and hearers, and in this definite enigmatic form, to which John 1:15 likewise refers
John 1:30 does not refer to John 1:26-27, where John bears his witness before the deputies from the Sanhedrim, but to an earlier testimony borne by him before his disciples and hearers, and in this definite enigmatic form, to which John 1:15 likewise refers. So essential is this characteristic form, that of itself it excludes the reference to John 1:26-27 (De Wette, Hengstenberg, Ewald, Godet, and others). The general testimony which John had previously borne to the coming Messiah, here receives its definite application to the concrete personality there standing before him, i.e. to Jesus.
ἐστί] not ἦν again, as in John 1:15, for Jesus is now present.
ἐγώ] possesses the emphasis of a certain inward feeling of prophetic certitude.
ἀνὴρ] as coming from the Baptist, more reverential and honourable than ἄνθρωπος. Acts 17:31; Zechariah 6:12; Dem. 426. 6; Herod, vii. 210; Xen. Hier. vii. 3.John 1:30. οὗτος … πρῶτός μου ἦν. Pointing to Jesus he identifies Him with the person of whom he had previously said ὀπίσω μοῦ, etc. Cf. John 1:15. “After me comes a man who is before me because He was before me.” The A.V “which is before me” is preferable though not so literal as the R.V “which is become before me”. The words mean: “Subsequent to me in point of time comes a man who has gained a place in advance of me, because He was eternally prior to me”.—ὀπίσω μου ἔρχεται refers rather to space than to time, “after me,” but with the notion of immediacy, close behind, following upon. As certainly, ἔμπροσθέν μου γέγονεν refers to position or dignity; He has come to be in front of me, or ahead of me. So used sometimes in classic writers; as ἔμπροσθ. τοῦ δικαίου, preferred before justice. Dem., 1297, 26.—ὅτι πρῶτός μου ἦν, assigning the ground of this advanced position of Jesus: He was before me. For πρῶτός μου see chap. John 15:18, “If the world hateth you, ye know ὅτι ἐμὲ πρῶτον ὑμῶν μεμίσηκεν,” and Justin Martyr, 1 Apol., 12. It is difficult to escape the impression that something more is meant than πρότερος would have conveyed, some more absolute priority. As οἱ πρῶτοι στρατοῦ are the chief men or leaders, it might be supposed that John meant to say that Christ was his supreme, in virtue of whom he himself lived and worked. But it is more probable he meant to affirm the pre-existence of the Messiah, a thought which may have been derived from the Apocalyptic books (see Deane’s Pseud. and Drummond’s Jewish Mess.).
 Authorised Version.
 Revised Version.30. of whom] The best text gives, in behalf of whom.John 1:30. Ἀνήρ, a man) Great, peerless.—πρῶτος, prior [to me]) Notes, John 1:15.Verse 30. - This is he on behalf of whom I said, After me cometh a man (ἀνήρ is used as a term of higher dignity than ἄνθρωπος, and is made more explicit by the positive appearance of the Holy One whom he had just recognized and pointed out to his disciples) who became before me - in human and other activities under the Old Testament covenant - because he was before me; in the deepest sense, having an eternal self-consciousness, a Divine pre-existence, apart from all his dealings and doings with man (see notes on vers. 15, 26, 27). If the shorter reading of vers. 26, 27 be correct, then the occasion on which this great utterance was first made is not described. If it be not expunged from vers. 26, 27, we may imagine that John is now referring to what he said on the previous day to the Sanhedrim. If internal reasons may help to decide a reading, I should be inclined, with Godet as against Meyer, to say that this is the obvious reference. Here, too, the ὅτι πρῶτός μου η΅ν is added as explanation of what was enigmatical in ver. 26. The whole saying has already found place in the prologue. The threefold citation reveals the profound impression which the words of the Baptist had made upon his most susceptible disciple.
i.e., "concerning whom;" but the proper reading is ὑπὲρ οὗ, "on behalf of whom;" in vindication of.
A man (ἀνὴρ)
Three words are used in the New Testament for man: ἄῤῥην, or ἄρσην, ἀνήρ, and ἄνθρωπος. Ἄρσην marks merely the sexual distinction, male (Romans 1:27; Revelation 12:5, Revelation 12:13). Ἁνήρ denotes the man as distinguished from the woman, as male or as a husband (Acts 8:12; Matthew 1:16), or from a boy (Matthew 14:21). Also man as endowed with courage, intelligence, strength, and other noble attributes (1 Corinthians 13:11; Ephesians 4:13; James 3:2).
Ἄνθρωπος is generic, without distinction of sex, a human being (John 16:21), though often used in connections which indicate or imply sex, as Matthew 19:10; Matthew 10:35. Used of mankind (Matthew 4:4), or of the people (Matthew 5:13, Matthew 5:16; Matthew 6:5, Matthew 6:18; John 6:10). Of man as distinguished from animals or plants (Matthew 4:19; 2 Peter 2:16), and from God, Christ as divine and angels (Matthew 10:32; John 10:33; Luke 2:15). With the notion of weakness leading to sin, and with a contemptuous sense (1 Corinthians 2:5; 1 Peter 4:2; John 5:12; Romans 9:20). The more honorable and noble sense thus attaches to ἀνήρ rather than to ἄνθρωπος. Thus Herodotus says that when the Medes charged the Greeks, they fell in vast numbers, so that it was manifest to Xerxes that he had many men combatants (ἄνθρωποι) but few warriors (ἄνθρωποι) vii., 210. So Homer: "O friends, be men (ἀνέρες), and take on a stout heart" ("Iliad," v., 529). Ἁνήρ is therefore used here of Jesus by the Baptist with a sense of dignity. Compare ἄνθρωπος, in John 1:6, where the word implies no disparagement, but is simply indefinite. In John ἀνήρ has mostly the sense of husband (John 4:16-18). See John 6:10.
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