John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there stands one among you, whom you know not;
I. THE WORLD'S CREATOR A STRANGER IN HIS OWN DOMINIONS.
1. In part arising from the intentional obscurity that veiled His appearance among man for purposes of their own earthly sovereigns often travel in disguise; but the world has never witnessed so strange an incognito as this. The King of Glory laid aside His robes of light, and in the simple garb of a suffering man, "hid" Himself from the wise and prudent that He might reveal Himself to the lowly and the meek. From His own disciples at times He purposely veiled His identity (John 20:14; John 21:4; Luke 24:16, 31).
2. Too largely owing to the blinding effect of sin. The other and gentler John affirms the same mysterious but humbling fact, and enumerates the accumulating evidence of its truth. For ages the true Light shined in promise, prophecy, holy law and inward conscience, yet the darkness discovered it not (ver. 5). In the fulness of time the Creator came to visit this province of His empire, and was unrecognized upon His own estate (ver. 10). More humbling still, when He came to His own possessions His own people received Him not (ver. 11). Even those to whom He made Himself known were but imperfectly acquainted with Him.
II. THE IGNORANCE OF MAN CONCERNING THAT WHICH THEY MOST NEED TO KNOW. Ignorance baneful, knowledge beneficial; yet vast numbers are strangers to the source, centre and sum of all wisdom.
1. With some the knowledge of Christ is only indirect; the evidence of vague rumours or the acceptance of testimony; a secondhand knowledge.
2. Personal knowledge exists in varying degrees. Some are only on terms of distant acquaintance; others have occasional communications; others have intimate friendship; with the most loyal and loving Christ sustains confidential relations.
3. To be ignorant of Him is the worst privation man can suffer (2 Corinthians 4:8, 4).
4. When He is known He is admired, loved, trusted and obeyed (chap. John 4:10).
III. THE SAVIOUR'S KINDNESS AND COMPASSION IN REVEALING HIMSELF TO THEM THAT SEEK HIM.
1. He has no wish to be unrecognized. He stands, waits, knocks (Revelation 3:20).
2. He awaits our entreaty to remove His disguise (Jeremiah 14:5).
3. Once admitted to His friendship we shall grow in intimacy with Him.
4. In His own home hereafter He will show us more and more of His hidden glory.
Parallel VersesKJV: John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;