You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Ye yourselves bear me witness.—They remembered (John 3:26) that John had borne witness to Jesus. Did they not remember too what he had said? He had from the first known his own work, and the greater work. Some of his disciples had known it also, and had gone from him to Jesus. This which they see was the necessary result of the truth he had ever declared.
A man can receive, &c.—assume nothing, that is, lawfully and with any success; that is, Every man has his work and sphere appointed him from above, Even Christ Himself came under this law (Heb 5:4).
sent before him to prepare his way, John 1:20,23.
that I said I am not the Christ; see John 1:19; wherefore, if he, who is the Christ, is now come, and teaches, and baptizes, and has the greatest number of followers, it is not to be wondered at; and much less to be envied; but rather to be rejoiced at. For John, by repeating what he had before said, that he was not the Christ, suggests, that Jesus was; and therefore was superior to him in office, honour, and usefulness, who was only his harbinger and forerunner, as follows:
but I am sent before him; to prepare his way, to make straight his paths, to proclaim his coming, and kingdom, being at hand; and that the expectations of men may be raised, and they may be ready to receive him when come: and hereby the end of John's office, and ministry, had its accomplishment. The Ethiopic version adds, "to preach him".Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 3:28. αὐτοὶ ὑμεῖς … ἐκείνου. John’s disciples should have been prepared for what they now see happening. He had emphatically declared that he was not the Christ, but only His forerunner (John 1:19-27; John 1:30).28. Ye yourselves] Though you are so indignant on my account.
bear me witness, that I said] They had appealed to his testimony (John 3:26); he turns it against them.
before him] ‘Before Him, of whom you complain, whom I proclaim to be the Christ.’ In John 1:26; John 1:30, John spoke less clearly.John 3:28. Ἔμπροσθεν ἐκείνου, before Him) Him, concerning whom John 3:26 treats. So John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John did not openly term Jesus the Christ: but however he spake so concerning Him, that He might easily be recognised.Verse 28. - Ye yourselves (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:9 for similar emphatic pronoun) bear me witness - you will do it readily, if I challenge you, for my testimonies were frequent and varied (in fact, the synoptists and the fourth evangelist are equally explicit here) - that I said, I am not the Messiah (John 1:20; Matthew 3:11, 12; Luke 3:15-17). This announcement, made with great publicity at Bethany, was the basis of the present remonstrance; and the words which follow strongly sustain John's reference to the Divine predestination in his own case and that of Jesus (ἀλλ ὅτι may point back to the discourse of John, or may simply indicate transition to the second statement). But that I am one sent (on a special mission) before him. He boldly implies, "This is more than I have already testified concerning 'the Christ;' and my place is not at his side, not following in his train. I am 'a voice;' my work is continuously to break up a way for him. I am here still, making the mountains low, and filling up the valleys for the approach of the great King." A man can receive nothing in the shape of lifework except that which is assigned to him out of heaven.
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