15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’”
This verse returns to John the Baptizer again as a witness for Christ the Messiah.
15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying,
John the Baptist spoke out boldly and publicly that Jesus was the expected Messiah.
“This was He of whom I [John the Baptist] said,
At the point of writing the gospel of John, John the Baptist was already dead. The author John is making a statement about John the Baptizer’s public utterance about the Messiah (Jn1:19ff).
‘He who comes after me
Jesus began His public ministry after John the Baptist.
is preferred before me,
The Messiah existed in eternity past. John argues for the preexistence of Christ here. Christ is eternal. Christ surpassed John the Baptizer in importance because of His eternal preexistence.
The word “preferred” means set or established. “Before” indicates preexistence because the Word became flesh from His preexistence. The Word existed before John the Baptizer was ever born. Jesus had absolute priority over John. John viewed Christ as far surpassing him.
God from eternity designed that John the Baptist be the formal announcer of the Messiah. John the Baptist asserted that the expected Messiah had arrived.
for He was before me.’”
Jesus was born after John the Baptist, but Christ is preferred before John because He existed eternally before the Baptizer.
The unique origin of the Son as having never begun gives Him priority.
The Bible never confounds the two natures of Christ. Neither did His deity destroy His humanity nor His humanity distort His deity. When the Word became man, He never laid aside His deity; He laid aside the voluntary use of His deity while functioning as man. He never ceased to be God at any point. He was eternally preexistent before He came to earth.