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.
he who is of the earth [this planet] is earthly and speaks of the earth.
“Of the earth” means “he who draws his origin from the earth.” Other than Jesus, men speak from the earth as the source of their knowledge. Even revelation itself comes to finite men. By contrast to Jesus, human beings can speak of things only from a finite perspective. John the Baptist’s authority to speak, although God given, was from a finite person “of the earth.” He was a limited human being (Jn 1:6).
Human teachers possess partial truth, not absolute truth or infinite truth. Men carry limited truth. Their insights are secondary. They report only what is given to them. When it comes to truth outside of time and space, man can know only what is revealed to them.
He who comes from heaven is above all.
“Comes from heaven” speaks of Jesus, who has heavenly origin. By virtue of His origin, He is absolutely preeminent in His being.
“Above all” means all men. There is no other man like Him. He witnessed eternal truth personally in His deity. His proclamation of those truths came with certainty. There is a contrast between Jesus and “all” other men.
Jesus is preeminent because He is God Almighty (Co 1:18). His message, therefore, is of a different nature. This phrase shows His sovereign role over both the universe and men in particular. The Son was both eternal God and finite man simultaneously (Jn 1:1, 14).
Since the Son is from above, He is above all. Christ knew the mind of God because He Himself was the mind of God.
Jesus’ testimony was infinitely greater than anyone else.
The preexistent glory of the Son with the Father makes Him a complete witness to God.
Heaven and earth are vastly different spheres. Whether one has origin in heaven or earth makes a gigantic difference in his authority. Human beings, whose origin is from earth, have a different kind of message than that of the Son, whose origin was in heaven before He became man. Christ, being from heaven, has a completely different realm of revelation than people from earth.
Since Christ possessed true knowledge of the Father, this gave him supremacy over any human teacher. The best man can do is receive revelation and report it. Human insight at best is partial. Christ’s words surpass any other teacher’s because He is the mind of God.