He must increase, but I must decrease.
I. IT IS PROPOSED TO CONSIDER THE NATURE OF THAT INCREASE, WHICH THE BAPTIST CONFIDENTLY EXPECTED SHOULD ATTEND HIS BLESSED LORD. l, It was announced, that "He must increase"; and, lo! in the midst of poverty and reproach, of apparent weakness, and of cruel sufferings, Jesus exhibited an increasing display of Godlike fortitude and resolution; of spotless purity and rectitude; of infinite zeal for His Father's honour; and of the riches of grace and compassion for wretched ruined man.
2. On these transactions all the future increase of His kingdom absolutely depended. But now the purchase of redemption has been completed, what shall prevent the Saviour from receiving His full reward (John 12:23, 24)?
3. Well, then, might John the Baptist affirm, "He must increase," when he foresaw that His shameful death would be followed by so glorious a resurrection.
4. And how much more did the transactions of Pentecost justify this blessed prediction.
II. LET ME PROCEED TO LAY BEFORE YOU SOME CONSIDERATIONS WHICH MAY CONFIRM OUR FAITH IN THE ASSURED EXPECTATION THAT HE MUST INCREASE.
1. Because He is the Son of God, in the highest and most absolute sense, and therefore heir of all things.
2. We are persuaded, therefore, that He must increase, because He hath all power to overcome every enemy that opposeth His blessed reign.
3. He must increase, for the decrees of heaven ascertain the great event.
4. A great part of Scripture consists of promises of the increase of the Messiah's kingdom, and it is evident that the season of their chief accomplishment is yet future (see Isaiah 40., 60.).
5. We conclude that Jesus must increase, since this world and all others were "made by Him, and for Him."
(J. Ryland, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He must increase, but I must decrease.