John 1:26

When our Lord Jesus came into this world, he did not come as one isolated from the race he designed to save. He condescended to take his place - the most honourable place - in a long and illustrious succession. He superseded the last prophet of the old dispensation; he commissioned the first prophets of the new. The herald and forerunner of our Lord perfectly comprehended his own relation to his Master, and felt it a dignity to occupy a position of Divine appointment, although a position of inferiority, in respect to him. The query put to John by the leaders of the Jewish Church at Jerusalem was natural and proper; it was evidence of the interest which John's mission was exciting in the land; and it gave the Baptist an opportunity of both declaring himself and witnessing to his Lord.

I. JOHN'S DISCLAIMER. No doubt there was an expectation, general and eager, of One who, in accordance with Hebrew prophecy, should be the Deliverer and Ruler of God's people Israel. From varying motives - in some cases with spiritual yearning, in other cases with political expectation - the Jews turned anxiously towards every personage of distinction and influence who arose among the people. Thus they turned to John, whose character was austere and inflexible as that of a Hebrew seer, and whose popular power was manifest from the multitude of his adherents and admirers. In these circumstances, John's first duty was to give an unequivocal answer to the inquiry of the Jews. This inquiry was pointed and particular. Was John Elias, again visiting the people who revered him as one of their holiest and mightiest saints? There was something in his appearance, his habits, his speech, that suggested this possibility. Or was he "the prophet," less definitely designated? Or could it be that he was none other than the Messiah? The times were ripe for the advent of the promised Deliverer; John evidently possessed a spiritual authority, a popular power, such as Israel had not seen for many a generation. To every such inquiry John had only one answer: "I am not." In this disclaimer we recognize both the intelligence and the candour of the forerunner. A weak mind might have been overpowered by interest so profound and widespread. A self-seeking and ambitious mind might have taken advantage of such an opportunity to assert a personal authority and to climb to the throne of power. John was superior to such temptations. Though greater than others born of women, he did not aspire to a position for which God had not destined him. In fact, he was too great to wish to be aught but the herald and the servant of him who was to come.

II. JOHN'S CLAIM. A just and admirable modesty was not, indeed never is, inconsistent with a due assertion of position and duties assigned by God. He who knows what God has sent him into the world to do, will neither depreciate his own work nor envy another's. The claim made by John was very remarkable. He affirmed himself to be:

1. A fulfilment of prophecy. The circumstances of his birth and education, taken in conjunction with certain declarations of Old Testament Scripture, must have suggested to John that he held a place in the revealed counsels of eternal wisdom.

2. A voice. Often had God spoken to Israel. In John he spake yet again. To him it was given to utter by human lips the thoughts of the Divine mind. Not that this was mechanical function; John's whole soul was inflamed with the grandeur and the burning necessity of that message of repentance which he was called upon to deliver to his fellow countrymen. Nothing but the conviction that his voice was the expression of Divine thought, that he was summoning men in God's Name to a higher life of righteousness and faith, could have animated him to discharge his ministry with such amazing boldness. Nor could any other conviction have overcome the difficulty he must at first have felt in publicly witnessing that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ.

3. A herald, and one preparing the way of a great Successor. It was his to make straight the Lord's way. It was his to announce the Messiah's approach, and to direct the attention of Israel to the coming in lowly guise of Israel's King. It was his. to subside into comparative insignificance, to withdraw from publicity, in order that he might make room for One whose presence would bring the realization of the brightest hopes and the most fervent prayers. It was his to administer the humbler baptism with water - the symbol of a better baptism to be conferred by Christ, even that with the Holy Spirit.


1. Learn the completeness and harmony of the Divine plan. The revelation of God proceeds upon an order which may be recognized both by the intellect and by the heart of man. The wisdom of the Eternal arranges that all preparation shall be made for the appearance of the world's Saviour; the morning star heralds the rising of the Sun of Righteousness. God's ways in grace are as regular and as orderly as his ways in providence.

2. Learn the dignity and preciousness of Immanuel. One so honourable as the Baptist yet deemed himself unworthy to serve the meek and lowly . Jesus - to act as his meanest attendant. Lowly was his attitude, and reverent his words, when the Son of God drew near. Surely he, who was so regarded and so heralded, demands our homage and deserves our love. - T.

I baptize with water.
If the rite, which the Forerunner of our Lord administered, is not to be considered as a Christian institute, to what dispensation are we to assign it, since it is manifestly no part of the economy of Moses? The reply is that it was the symbol of a peculiar dispensation, which was neither entirely legal nor Evangelical, but occupied an intermediate station, possessing something of the character and attributes of both; a kind of twilight, equally removed from the obscurity of the first, and the splendour of the last and perfect economy of religion. The light which he emitted, though it greatly surpassed every preceding illumination, was of short duration, being soon eclipsed and extinguished by that ineffable effulgence, before which nothing can retain its splendour.

(Robert Hall.).

One among you
1. As to His human nature, as one of yourselves, as He took upon Him the form of man and became the servant of men, and is among you as once He sat in the midst of the doctors in the Temple.

2. As to the Divine nature He is amongst you, for He filleth all in all, and is very nigh to every one.

3. He is among you as the Light which lighteth every man, and as the Word of Wisdom in the heart of all His people.

4. Among you as the Mediator between man and God, and seeking to draw all men to God.

5. Not as the Baptist in the desert, but in the midst of the cities of men.

6. Among you all, for the benefit of all, as the true tree of life in the midst of the garden of this world for the life and for the healing of all.

(W. Denton, M. A.)

We can imagine the Master visiting various spheres in the modern world with the same result.





(H. J. W. Buxton, M. A.)


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).


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.

(R. Lewis.)

I. A STARTLING WONDER. Christ unknown.

1. Not from want of evidence then or previously.

(1)The world manifested its Maker;

(2)Conscience reflected His light;

(3)Prophecy and type shadowed His person and ministry. Abraham saw His day. Moses spoke of Him. To Him gave all the prophets witness.

(4)John proclaimed Him.

2. Not from want of evidence now. In addition to all the above,

(1)The Holy Spirit testifies of Him.

(2)The Christian consciousness of eighteen centuries fulfils the promise of His perpetual presence.

(3)His ambassadors declare Him.

(4)His sacraments embody Him. How strange that He should be amongst the children of His people, the hearers of His gospel, and yet not be known!

II. A STERN NECESSITY. In the knowledge of Him, and in that alone standeth our eternal life. That knowledge is the beginning, the middle and the end of Christianity.

1. The beginning. Christ's first invitation echoed by His first convert was "Come and see." Isaiah saw His glory, and was cleansed for service. When Paul saw Christ he became a new man.

2. The continuance. The development of Christian life depends on growing knowledge of Him (2 Peter 3:18; Philippians 3:10; Hebrews 12:2; cf. 3:1).

3. Its consummation is in heaven, where we shall see His face, and be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.


1. How?

(1)Stationary — not shifting, coming and going.

(2)Patient — not wearied by procrastination, but waiting to be gracious.

(3)Accessible. "Lo, I am with you alway." "Now is the accepted time."

2. What as?

(1)A sympathizer.

(2)A Saviour.

(3)A personal friend.


1. To know Christ is to be known of Him. Christ knows His sheep. He recognizes us when our friends have ceased to do so; when it is difficult to do so; in poverty and obloquy; at the last day.

2. Not to know Christ is to be disowned by Him. "I never knew you."

(J. W. Burn.)

He it is, who, coming after me, is preferred before me
The world recognizes jealousy as the chief weakness of popular leaders and preachers. Such men are spiritual athletes, who cannot bear a rival. The greatest of popular preachers, the darling of Antioch and Constantinople, admits that he who can overcome this is almost like the disembodied spirits, whose lives, pure as the crystal stream, can never be darkened by any shadow of envy or vainglory. But the leader of a great party in a nation; the founder of a sect, which has vitality enough to live on for years; who was regarded by some as probably the Messiah — that he should have bowed down in prostrate humiliation before a younger successor, this is original indeed.

(Bp. Alexander.)

As the lark that soars the highest, builds her nest the lowest; the nightingale that sings the sweetest, sings in the shade when all things rest; the branches that are most laden with ripe fruit, bend lowest; the valleys are fruitful in their lowliness; and the ship most laden sinks deepest in the water, so the holiest Christians are the humblest.

(J. Mason.)

Humility did not make John the Baptist contemptible; but when he refused the name of a prophet, Christ said that he was more than a prophet. Humility did not make Moses contemptible; but as he was the mildest man upon earth, so he was the greatest upon earth. Humility did not make David contemptible; but when he humbled himself, he said unto Michal, "I will be more humble yet, and lowly in mine own sight, yet thou and thy maids shall honour me." As Christ ceased not to be a king because He was like a servant, nor to be a lion because He was a lamb, nor to be a judge because He was judged; so man doth not lose his honour by humility; but he shall be honoured for his humility, as the son was honoured when he was humbled (Luke 15:18-25). Thus humility hath found that which pride sought; like little David, which was least accounted of, and yet got the victory, yea, when no man durst encounter with the giant (1 Samuel 17:28).

(Henry Smith.)

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
Baptise, Baptism, Baptize, John, John's, Midst, Replied, Saying, Standeth, Stands, Stood
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 1:19-31

     5624   witnesses, to Christ

John 1:21-27

     5098   John the Baptist

John 1:25-26

     7903   baptism

John 1:26-27

     2069   Christ, pre-eminence
     4293   water

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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