Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
He came to be a witness, so that he might testify concerning that Light, so that all people would believe [in Jesus] through him [i.e., through his testimony. See Acts 19:4].
These disciples went to John and said to him, "Rabbi, look, that man who was with you on the east side of the Jordan River [i.e., Jesus], whom you testified about, is immersing people and everyone is going to him." [Note: Actually, it was Jesus' disciples who did the immersing. See 4:2].
"You people have sent to John [the Immerser, for information. See 1:19] and he has given true testimony [about me].
"I certainly am immersing you in water following [your] repentance, but the One who follows my [ministry], whose sandals I do not deserve to remove [as His slave], will immerse you people with the Holy Spirit and with fire [i.e., the punishment in hell. See verses
In his preaching John said, "One who is more powerful than I am will follow my ministry. I am not [even] worthy to stoop down and loosen the straps of His sandals [i.e., to serve as His slave].
John answered [their concerns] by saying to all of them, "I am [the one] immersing you in water, but One who is more powerful than I will follow my [ministry]. I am not [even] worthy to loosen the straps of His sandals. He will immerse you people with the Holy Spirit and with fire [i.e., the punishment of hell. See Matt. 3:10-12].
The Word [already] existed in the beginning [of time]. [Note: This is a reference to the preexistence of Jesus. See verse 14]. And the Word was with God and the Word was [what] God [was].
Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I tell you, before Abraham was born, I am." [Note: The words "I am" were probably construed as a reference to being Deity. See Ex. 3:14].
And now, Father, honor me in your presence with the honor I had with you before the world was [created].
He existed in the form of God [i.e., He shared God's very nature], but did not consider [remaining] equal with God something [to continue] to hold onto.
And He existed before all things and all things are held together by Him.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
saying, "Write down in a book what you see and send it to the seven churches: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicia" [Note: These seven congregations were all located in western Asia Minor].
"And write [this] to the angel of the church at Smyrna: These things are the words of the First and the Last [i.e., Jesus], who was dead, but has come [back] to life:
from Isa. 40:3], "Look, I am sending my messenger on ahead of you. He will prepare the way for you.
So, John preached the good news to the people with many different appeals.
He is the One about whom I said, 'A man will come after me who ranks above me, for He existed before me.'
His coming occurred after John [the Immerser] had preached to Israel that those who repented should be immersed [as evidence that they had done so].