John 1:15
John testified concerning Him. He cried out, saying, "This is He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me.'"
Christ Pre-EminentBp. Ryle.John 1:15-18
Face to Face with Jesus ChristA. B. Grosart, D. D.John 1:15-18
John's Self-EffacementS. A. Bosanquet.John 1:15-18
Public Attention Drawn to ChristJ. Culross, D. D.John 1:15-18
The Effectiveness of the Baptist's MinistryF. Godet, D. D.John 1:15-18
The Pre-Eminence of ChristA. Beith, D. D.John 1:15-18

The parenthesis in this verse is remarkable as written in the first person. There must be a reason for the evangelist's departure from his ordinary practice of writing in the narrative style. It seems that John was so impressed by the solemnity and value of the witness he was bearing, that he was constrained to break his own rule, and. to speak explicitly of what he himself had actually seen, and of what he himself had come firmly to believe. Regarding this parenthesis only, we find here the record of personal observation, and, in closest connection therewith, the declaration of personal conviction.

I. THE STATEMENT OF THE WITNESS. "We beheld his glory."

1. John and his fellow apostles knew Christ in his humanity - in the "flesh" as the expression is in this passage.

2. They knew him as he "tabernacled" among them. John and Andrew, when the Baptist directed their attention to Jesus, inquired of him, "Where dwellest thou?" and at his invitation visited him and abode with him. The writer of this Gospel enjoyed peculiar opportunities of acquaintance, nay, of intimacy, with the Prophet of Nazareth, whose beloved disciple he became. If one human being ever knew another, John knew Jesus; he not only was constantly with him, his disposition and character rendered him specially fit for judging and appreciating him.

3. John and his colleagues bore witness that they recognized their Master's "glory." Why is such language used? Why his "glory"? He was a peasant woman's Son, and remained in the condition of life to which he was born. There was nothing in his garb, his appearance, his associations, the outward circumstances of his lot, which, in the view of men generally, could justify such an expression. These men must have had their own conception of "glory." As spiritual Hebrews, they had a noble idea of the majesty, the righteousness, the purity of God, and also of the moral splendour of the Divine Law. Thus it came to pass that, enlightened by the Spirit, they discerned glory where to the eyes of others there was only humiliation. They saw the moral glory of purity and benevolence in the Lord's Person and character, in the "grace" which he displayed in dealing with suppliants and penitents, in the "truth" which he uttered and embodied. They could not fail to remark the glory of his miracles, of his transfiguration, of his victory over death, of the manner in which he quitted the earth in which he had sojourned. All this, as intelligent and sympathetic witnesses, John and his companions beheld, and to this they testified.

II. THE INFERENCE OF THE CHRISTIAN. The glory was "of the Only Begotten of the Father." They knew well that the world to which Jesus came needed a Divine Saviour. Such a Saviour they were encouraged by the word of prophecy to expect. And their familiarity with the character and the mission of Jesus led them to hail the Son of man as Son of God. If Jesus were not the Only Begotten of the Father, how could they account for the facts of his ministry, for the authority he wielded, the claims he made? He had called himself the Son of God; he had lived like the Son of God; he had wrought the works of God. He had been addressed as the Son of the living God, and had accepted the appellation. Were the disciples to forget all this; to persuade themselves that they had been in a mist of bewilderment; to give up their deepest convictions, their purest and most ennobling beliefs? If not, then they must needs assert their belief that the glory they had seen was that of the Only Begotten of the Father. The same inference is binding upon us. To deny of Jesus what John here affirms of him is to leave the Church without a foundation, the heart without a refuge, the world without a hope. If Christ be not what John represents him as being, then the world can never know and rejoice in a full and personal revelation of the supreme mind and heart and will. It may be said that this is the misfortune of humanity, and that it must be accepted as inevitable. But the text points out to us a better way. The sincere and impressive language of John encourages us first to realize to ourselves the unique moral majesty of Jesus, and then to draw from this the inference which he and other witnesses of Jesus' character and life drew so firmly and conclusively - the inference, namely, that he was none other than the Son of God, deserving of human reverence and faith, love and devotion. The witness of Christ's companions we cannot reject. Their convictions concerning their Master and Friend we are abundantly justified in sharing. If we have a heart capable of appreciating the Saviour's moral glory, we shall not be without guidance in estimating the justice of his claim to superhuman dignity - to Divine authority. - T.

John bare witness of Him.

1. John refers to and repeats previous testimonies, applying them to Him whom the congregation had just seen depart. The testimony was pointed, warm, confident, bold.

2. The substance and form of the testimony that, though Jesus was after John as to His birth and ministry, He was before him as to the dignity of His person, His mediatorial office, and above all His Deity.


1. All the fulness demanded for their wants, the entire supply for their need, is treasured up in Him.

(1)This might be asserted of the Word.

(2)But it is here asserted of Him as made flesh.

2. What has the believer that he has not received from Christ? By nature he is empty.

3. How exalting to Christ the truth that all are and always have been, and always will be, dependent on Him.

4. We derive from Christ, not through merit, grace after grace, and grace corresponding in nature to that poured on Christ.


1. Moses held a high place — the Law was given by him.

2. Nevertheless, no comparison could be made of Moses with Christ. He fulfilled his ministry and passed away, but Christ abides as the eternal administrator of grace and truth.

(1)The Law gives knowledge of sin and leaves us: grace and truth come with salvation from sin.

(2)The Law was the shadow of good things to come: the grace and truth of Christ were those good things.


1. God is invisible and incomprehensible to all except His Son Jesus Christ.

2. Many are sons of God, Christ alone is the only-begotten of the Father.

3. Christ has declared the Father as no creature has done, revealing His nature, perfections, counsels, by His teaching, example, and secret influence on the minds of His people.

4. The eternal life of the best of His creatures consist in the knowledge of Him.

(A. Beith, D. D.)


1. The Spirit of Life is His special gift to the Church, and conveys from Him, as from a great root, sap and vigour to all the believing branches.

2. He is rich in mercy, wisdom, righteousness, holiness.

3. Out of His fulness believers in every age have been supplied.

4. Every saint in glory will acknowledge that he is Christ's debtor for all he is.


1. Moses was employed as a servant to convey the moral and ceremonial law which could not justify.

2. Christ as a Son came with the keys of God's treasury of grace and truth (Hebrews 3:6).

(1)Grace bringing salvation through faith.

(2)Truth fulfilling in His own Person the types of the Old Testament.


1. No man could see God and live.

2. Yet all that man is capable of knowing of God the Father is revealed to us by God the Son. In His words, deeds, life, and death we see the wisdom, love, and holiness of God.


(Bp. Ryle.)

How far ahead John was of the apostles in his conception and reception of the Saviour. Throughout the Baptist was not only a seer of the light but was drenched by the light.

I. JOHN'S EXPERIENCE AND TESTIMONY. Ver. 15 is information that the Apostle evidently thought very valuable. Having affirmed the Incarnation he recalls the testimony of the Baptist to that Incarnation. In this testimony lay the power and grace of the Forerunner. His was no outside knowledge or second-hand information, but experience, direct and personal. So now the man of permanent power is the man who speaks, or teaches, or works out of personal and spiritual experience. Learning, culture, travel, profoundest and most masterly thinking are well in their several places, because sanctifiable; but sanctity based on experience of the witness of the Spirit in us and to us individually is the grand thing.

II. JOHN'S FULL-VOICED, ARTICULATE UTTERANCE OF THAT EXPERIENCE. Combine the two, "beareth" and "crieth," and you have the perfection of Christ-like witness. Sometimes in law-courts witnesses have again and again to be instructed to speak "out" or "up." There is self-evident reserve, hesitancy, a wish to say as little as possible. But John had no reserves, concealments, trickeries, and so "cried" out. Fitting it should have been so. Your private letter or personal explanation may be quiet and unobtrusive; but if your stand is in the public market, and the proclamation is a royal one, security must be taken that all around hear and know. If our heart be in our utterance the voice will answer to the heart. The testimony must not be chirped or whined, or spoken in falsetto. An unnatural twang will spoil the best speaking, albeit roaring, violence, physical sensationalism must not be confounded with "crying."

III. THE WELL-BASED AND SELF-ABNEGATING CHARACTER OF JOHN'S TESTIMONY. It was the experience of no mere mood or frame, but the granitic conviction and enunciation that he was only the runner before another.

1. His aim was to keep men from leaning on himself.

2. He disclaimed any intention of founding a sect or organizing a Church. He called himself a "Voice," not a foundation.

3. His great purpose was to lead men to Christ. From this he never swerved. John's conduct in drawing attention away from self to Christ should be imitated by every worker for Christ. Explanation, system-making, to say nothing of self-proclamation, is often sheer waste of that strength which can only be profitably utilized in sending men straight to Christ.

IV. JOHN'S UNEXAGGERATED, almost charily worded, RECOGNITION OF CHRIST'S DIVINITY. There was no gospel for him as there is none for us if Christ were not human. He was "a Man," but a Man who was co-eternal with the Father. But the Baptist's economy of words in proclaiming that fact is noticeable. "He was before me." Simple, ordinary-looking, superficially unremarkable, but they hold in them an absolute statement of the pre-existence and Divinity of the Man Christ Jesus.

V. THE SIMPLICITY AND DIRECTNESS OF JOHN'S WITNESS TO THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST. "This is He." To-day the message of the servant of Christ in relation to every problem of life and destiny must be, "this is He." There lies the spell, the mission, the divinest success. Not His gospel even, but Himself. Not about Him, but to Him. Not the Bible or the Church, but Himself.

(A. B. Grosart, D. D.)

"He who follows me preceded me." Here, then, is an apparent contradiction, intended to excite attention and stimulate mental activity. The enigmatical form must have also contributed to impress this important declaration on the memory of the hearers.

(F. Godet, D. D.)

The coming forth of the Incarnate Word among men was not in secrecy and silence, as a king might go forth incognito among his subjects; but public attention was directed to Him. This was done most efficiently by John.

(J. Culross, D. D.)

Not only is the moon changeable, waving and waning, and its shape and light declining as it grows older, and itself approaches nearer and nearer to the sun; but so soon as the sun arises, though the moon should be yet in its full size and roundness, its light immediately fades from view, and itself becomes as if it no longer existed, for the superior glory of that incomprehensible luminary. And so both John the Baptist and the Jewish form of worship faded and shrunk, and became as non-existent, after they had performed their parts and offices as witnesses and schoolmasters to the great and glorious appearing of the Son of God Himself, the Sun of righteousness, the Word made flesh, the Godhead incarnate, the light and life of men and all creation, embodied in shape, and planted in place, and made visible: though too bright and dazzling to be comprehended, except by those who had opened and exercised their eyes to see His witnesses in the hours of darkness, when others were immersed in sleep, and so were not forced to shut them close in the daytime, in the blindness of unbelief.

(S. A. Bosanquet.)

Andrew, Cephas, Elias, Elijah, Esaias, Isaiah, Jesus, John, Jona, Jonah, Jonas, Joseph, Levites, Nathanael, Peter, Philip, Simon
Bethany Beyond Jordan, Bethsaida, Galilee, Jordan River, Nazareth
Aloud, Bare, Beareth, Bears, Bore, Cried, Cries, Crieth, Crying, Existed, Existence, Higher, John, Preferred, Rank, Ranks, Saying, Spake, Spoke, Surpassed, Testified, Testifies, Testify, Testimony, Witness
1. The divinity, humanity, office, and incarnation of Jesus Christ.
15. The testimony of John.
39. The calling of Simon and Andrew, Philip and Nathanael

Dictionary of Bible Themes
John 1:15

     2318   Christ, as prophet
     5098   John the Baptist
     5335   herald
     5624   witnesses, to Christ
     8496   witnessing, importance

John 1:1-18

     8474   seeing God

John 1:9-18

     1444   revelation, NT

John 1:14-18

     1441   revelation, necessity

Eversley. 1856. St. John i. 16, 17. "Of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." I wish you to mind particularly this word GRACE. You meet it very often in the Bible. You hear often said, The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Now, what does this word grace mean? It is really worth your while to know; for if a man or a woman has not grace, they will be very unhappy people, and very disagreeable
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons

June 25 Morning
When he shall appear, we shall be like him; we shall see him as he is.--I JOHN 3:2. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.--Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

January 20 Morning
His name shall be called Wonderful.--ISA. 9:6. The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.--Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. They shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.--JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. All men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.--God . . . hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

September 24 Evening
Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.--II COR. 8:9. The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.--Thou are fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips.--All bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. Ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.--He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.--We speak that we do know,
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

October 21 Morning
Of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.--JOHN 1:16. This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.--Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. His Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things.--If children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. I and my Father are one. The Father is in me, and I in him.--My Father, and your
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

March 12 Morning
The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee. The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.--NUM. 6:25,26. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.--The brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.--The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

November 21 Evening
His dear Son.--COL. 1:13. Lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.--Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth.--The only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

February 23 Morning
The blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.--HEB. 12:24. Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.--The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.--It is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

April 28 Morning
Behold the Lamb of God.--JOHN 1:29. It is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God.--He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

May 29 Morning
The life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.--LEV. 17:11. Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.--The blood of the Lamb.--The precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.--Without shedding of blood is no remission.--The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. By his own blood he entered in once into
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

January 16 Evening
Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.--REV. 1:19. Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.--That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

May 19 Evening
Fellowship in the gospel.--PHI. 1:5. As the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.--That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

November 15 Morning
God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.--I COR. 1:9. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised.--God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.--Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.--Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

March 8 Morning
Thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.--ISA. 38:17. Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

March 20 Morning
The entrance of thy words giveth light.--PSA. 119:130. This . . . is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.--God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.--The Word was God. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.--If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

October 11 Evening
Hallowed be thy name.--MATT. 6:9. Thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?--Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty. Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.--I saw . . . the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy,
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

February 26 Morning
Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord.--LAM. 3:40. Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.--Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.--I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies. I made haste and delayed not to keep thy commandments.--Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

May 24 Evening
I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face.--HOS. 5:15. Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, your sins have hid his face from you.--My beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: . . . I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.--I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on forwardly in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him.--Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

November 12 Morning
Godly sorrow worketh repentance not to be repented of.--II COR. 7:10. Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.--If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.--The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of my
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

December 23 Morning
Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me.--ISA. 27:5. I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil.--There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked. In Christ Jesus ye who sometime were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace. It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell: and having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself.--Christ Jesus:
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

June 24 Evening
Master, where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see.--JOHN 1:38,39. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.--To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne. Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place,
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

February 15 Morning
Who can say, I have made my heart clean?--PROV. 20:9. The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.--They that are in the flesh cannot please God. To will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.--We are all as an
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

The Son of Thunder
ST. JOHN i. 1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. We read this morning the first chapter of the Gospel according to St. John. Some of you, I am sure, must have felt, as you heard it, how grand was the very sound of the words. Some one once compared the sound of St. John's Gospel to a great church bell: simple, slow, and awful; and awful just because it is so simple and slow. The words are very short,--most of them of one syllable,--so that even a child
Charles Kingsley—Discipline and Other Sermons

'Three Tabernacles'
'The Word ... dwelt among us.'--JOHN i. 14. '... He that sitteth on the Throne shall dwell among them.'--REV. vii. 15. '... Behold, the Tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them.'--REV. xxi. 3. The word rendered 'dwelt' in these three passages, is a peculiar one. It is only found in the New Testament--in this Gospel and in the Book of Revelation. That fact constitutes one of the many subtle threads of connection between these two books, which at first sight seem so extremely unlike
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

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