John 3:32 MEANING

John 3:32
(32) And what he hath seen and heard.--This is the opposite of the third point, the speaking of the earth in the last verse. Divine in origin, divine in nature, He is divine in teaching. That teaching, too, is a witness of things seen and heard. (Comp. Notes on John 6:11-12.) It was a message from the Father's home, brought by the Son Himself. His own message was but that of a servant who did not fully know its meaning.

No man receiveth his testimony.--These words are shown by those which immediately follow to go in their pathos beyond the strict limit of the facts present to his own mind. Yet he may well have said "no man." Of the crowds that thronged to his own baptism, of those who were then thronging to the baptism of Jesus, how many were there who were receiving like testimony of the things seen and heard? (Comp. again John 3:11.) How great the first promise, how bitter the last disappointment, of the Baptist's life! These words of intense feeling are not to be measured by the cold standard of a formal exactness. And still it may be that the sadness of his tone arises from the fact that of those to whom he speaks, and at the time when he speaks, there was literally no one receiving this testimony, but all were seeking to make the earthly teacher a rival of the divine. The tense is present; those in the next verse are past.

Verse 32. - That which he hath seen and heard, this he testifieth; or, beareth witness to. His pre-existent glory with the Father makes him the adequate Witness to the heavenly things (ἐπουράνια) of which he hath authoritatively spoken; i.e. the eternal love of the Father, the purpose of the Son being sent into the world from the heart of God, and its ultimate issues - eternal life to the believer, and condemnation to those who love the darkness and do not believe. Westcott, who regards these words as the free reflections of the evangelist, thinks that reference is being made to the continued testimony of the Church as the voice of Christ; but the spirit of the passage is obscured by this interpretation. The living present vocal testimony of Christ is being throughout contrasted with that of John. And no man receiveth his witness. This seems in direct antagonism to the language of the disciples, "All men come to him;" and to John's own language, "He must increase." Westcott regards it, again, as the melancholy reflection of the aged apostle towards the close of the century. This seems to me to be an inadequate explanation. The reception of the witness of Christ had moved the whole world when John wrote his Gospel; and it would be inconsistent with the tone of exhilaration with which the evangelist closes his work. The forerunner may, however, have used this strong expression in purposed contrast to the jealous language of his own followers. "No man" - in comparison with the multitudes who ought to have already accepted him as the Son of God, as the heavenly Bridegroom. The concourse who crowded to the baptism of Jesus for a little moment did not blind the Baptist to the persistent and malignant opposition which awaited Jesus. "His joy (ver. 29) and his grief (ver. 32) both formed a noble contrast to the jealousy of his own disciples" (Meyer).

3:22-36 John was fully satisfied with the place and work assigned him; but Jesus came on a more important work. He also knew that Jesus would increase in honour and influence, for of his government and peace there would be no end, while he himself would be less followed. John knew that Jesus came from heaven as the Son of God, while he was a sinful, mortal man, who could only speak about the more plain subjects of religion. The words of Jesus were the words of God; he had the Spirit, not by measure, as the prophets, but in all fulness. Everlasting life could only be had by faith in Him, and might be thus obtained; whereas all those, who believe not in the Son of God, cannot partake of salvation, but the wrath of God for ever rests upon them.And what he hath seen and heard,.... Of the Father, of his mind and will, of his purposes and promises, of his love, grace, and mercy, in the council and covenant of peace, lying in his bosom, and being privy to all his secrets. The phrases express the clear and perfect knowledge Christ has of all truths and doctrines; he having all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge in him.

That he testifieth; fully, freely, and faithfully; withholds nothing, but declares the whole counsel of God; and is deservedly called the faithful witness, Revelation 1:5.

And no man receiveth his testimony; though it was the testimony of God, which is greater than that of man; yet few, and which were next to none at all, gave any heed or credit to it; few or none among the Jews, or among the disciples of John, or even among those that followed Christ. John, and his disciples, widely differed; they thought that all men came to Christ, and believed in him; and John thought few or none, in comparison of the numbers he could have wished, did: and indeed, no one person can receive the testimony of Christ, and believe in him, unless it be given him from above, by the grace of God: for the natural man receives not divine and spiritual things; see John 3:11.

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