John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.
All Commentaries on John 3:27 Go To John 3
John, on this question being raised, does not rebuke his disciples, for fear they might separate, and turn to some other school, but replies gently, John answered and said, Aman can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven; as if he said, No wonder that Christ does such excellent works, and that all men come to Him; when He Who does it all is God. Human efforts are easily seen through, are feeble, and short-lived. These are not such: they are not therefore of human, but of divine originating. He seems however to speak somewhat humbly of Christ, which will not surprise us, when we consider that it was not fitting to tell the whole truth, to minds prepossessed with such a passion as envy. He only tries for the present to alarm them, by showing that they are attempting impossible things, and fighting against God.
And see; the very argument by which they thought to have overthrown Christ, To whom you bare witness, he turns against them; You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, Iam not the Christ; as if he said, If you think my witness true, you must acknowledge Him more worthy of honor shall myself. He adds, But that I was sent before Him; that is to say, Iam a servant, and perform the commission of the Father which sent me; my witness is not from favor or partiality; I say that which was given me to say.
But how does he who said above, Whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose, call himself a friend? As an expression not of equality, but of excess of joy: (for the friend of the Bridegroom is always more rejoiced than the servant,) and also, as a condescension to the weakness of his disciples, who thought that he was pained at Christ’s ascendancy. For he hereby assures them, that so far from being pained, he was right glad that the Bride recognized her Spouse.
Or thus; The expression, which stands, is not without meaning, but indicates that his part is now over, and that for the future he must standand listen. This is a transition from the parable to the real subject. For having introduced the figure of a bride and bridegroom, he shows how the marriage is consummated; viz. by word and doctrine. Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. And since the thing she had hoped for had come to pass, he adds, This my Joy therefore is fulfilled; i.e. The work which I had to do is finished, and nothing more is left, that I can do.
He next dismisses the motions of envy, not only as regards the present, but also the future, saying, He must increase, but I must decrease: as if he said, My office has ceased, and is ended; but His advances.