John 1:27
(27) He it is . . . is preferred before me.--Insertions made to harmonise the verse with John 1:15; John 1:30. Omitting them we have, "He who cometh after me" as the subject of the verb "standeth," and the whole sentence, is "He who cometh after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to unloose, standeth among you and ye know Him not." This is the authority for baptism, the outer sign of the Messiah's Advent, for He is already standing in their midst. Here is the answer to their question. John's work is simply ministerial. The baptism of the Spirit is at hand. The coming One has come. (Comp. Notes on Matthew 3:11 and Mark 1:7.)

1:19-28 John disowns himself to be the Christ, who was now expected and waited for. He came in the spirit and power of Elias, but he was not the person of Elias. John was not that Prophet whom Moses said the Lord would raise up to them of their brethren, like unto him. He was not such a prophet as they expected, who would rescue them from the Romans. He gave such an account of himself, as might excite and awaken them to hearken to him. He baptized the people with water as a profession of repentance, and as an outward sign of the spiritual blessings to be conferred on them by the Messiah, who was in the midst of them, though they knew him not, and to whom he was unworthy to render the meanest service.He it is who coming after me,.... Both into the world, and into the ministry of the word; for John was before Christ, in both these respects, though greatly behind him in others, and therefore he adds,

is preferred before me: being not only of a more excellent nature, the Son of God, and of an higher extract, the Lord from heaven; but in an higher office, and having greater gifts, and the Spirit of God without measure on him; and also being more followed by the people; for John decreased, but he increased: or rather the words may be rendered, who was before me; being the eternal Son of God, whose goings forth were of old, from everlasting; who was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was; the firstborn, or first bringer forth of every creature; and therefore must be before all things, which are created by him; see Gill on John 1:15.

Whose shoes latchet I am not worthy to unloose; which was one of the meanest services done by a servant to his master; see Gill on Matthew 3:11.

John 1:26
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