“He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease.“ John 3:30.
John the Baptist proceeds farther; for, having formerly been raised by the Lord to the highest dignity, he shows that this was only for a time, but now that the Sun of Righteousness, has arisen, he must give way; and, therefore, he not only scatters and drives away the empty fumes of honor which had been rashly and ignorantly heaped upon him by men, but also is exceedingly careful that the true and lawful honor which the Lord had bestowed on him may not obscure the glory of Christ. Accordingly, he tells us that the reason why he had been hitherto accounted a great Prophet was, that for a time only he was placed in so lofty a station, until Christ came, to whom he must surrender his office. In the meantime, he declares that he will most willingly endure to be reduced to nothing, provided that Christ occupy and fill the whole world with his rays; and this zeal of John all pastors of the Church ought to imitate by stooping with the head and shoulders to elevate Christ.
Verse 30. He who cometh from above. By another comparison he shows how widely Christ differs from all the rest, and how far he is above them; for he compares him to a king or distinguished general, who, speaking from his lofty seat, ought to be heard with reverence for his authority, but shows that it is enough for himself to speak from the lowest footstool of Christ. The meaning is: he who is of earth gives evidence of his descent, and remains in an earthly rank according to the condition of his nature. He maintains that it is peculiar to Christ alone to speak from above, because he came from heaven
But it may be asked, Did not John also come from heaven, as to his calling and office, and was it not therefore the duty of men to hear the Lord speaking by his mouth? For he appears to do injustice to the heavenly doctrine which he delivers. I reply, this was not said absolutely, but by comparison. If ministers be separately considered, they speak as from heaven, with the highest authority, what God commanded them; but, as soon as they begin to be contrasted with Christ, they must no longer be anything. Christ, therefore, wishes to be acknowledged in his ministers, but in such a manner that he may remain the only Lord, and that they may be satisfied with the rank of servants; but especially when a comparison is made, he wishes to be so distinguished that he alone may be exalted.