31 He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.
Verses 31 and 32 explain verse 30, about why Christ must increase and the Baptist decrease. There was a big difference between the Son and the Baptist, the one from heaven and the other from earth.
From verse 31 to the end of the chapter, the author, John, set forth the supremacy of Christ. John had referred to this theme in verses 28-30. This section picks up the idea in the previous verse that Jesus must “increase.” Verses 31-36 draw the conclusion that the exalted Son of God gave supreme revelation over other prophets.
There is a shift in this verse from narrative to comment by the apostle John. The content of this comment is a summary of the entire chapter. It is a commentary on the Son.
31 He [Jesus] who comes from above [heaven] is above all;
The word “comes” does not reference time. Christ was the “coming one.” His origin was from heaven itself. He came from outside time to earth, making Him superior to anyone on earth. He was not simply empowered from heaven; He came from heaven. This is more than a call from heaven that Jesus was the veritable Son of God. It was this claim that caused problems with the Jews (Jn 6:38-42).
Jesus’ origin from heaven points to His supremacy over any other person on earth. “Above” was His true home. This is the reason why He “must increase.” He carried ultimate authority over any other source when it came to revelation. This does not mean that the red-letter words of Jesus in the Bible are all that is inspired. It means that all revelation of any kind, whether through Him personally or through His apostles, came from Him.
The words “from above” are a reference to Christ who descended from the eternal state to join men in their dwelling on earth. Jesus is over the entire realm of man. Christ is the supreme sovereign of time and space. There is no comparison between Jesus and His forerunner, the Baptizer.
Jesus’ words surpass anyone else’s because His words come from His deity.
The supremacy of Christ rests on His deity. Since this is true, His words surpass those of any other teacher. Earthly teachers are bound by their finiteness. Jesus is supreme in both His person and teaching (Co 1:18).