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John 4:1

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Jesus made and baptized, etc. - These seem to be quoted as the very words which were brought to the Pharisees; and, from our Lord's conduct after this information, we may take it for granted that they were so irritated that they were determined to seek an occasion to take away his life; in consequence of which, leaving Judea, he withdrew into Galilee.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

The Lord knew - When Jesus knew. how he knew this we are not informed; whether by that power of omniscience by which he knew all things, or whether some person had informed him of it.

How the Pharisees had heard - The Pharisees, here, seem to denote either the members of the Sanhedrin or those who were in authority. They claimed the authority to regulate the rites and ceremonies of religion, and hence they supposed they had a right to inquire into the conduct of both John and our Lord. They had on a former occasion sent to inquire of John to know by what authority he had introduced such a rite into the religion of the Jewish people. See the notes at John 1:25.

More disciples than John - Though many of the Pharisees came to his baptism John 1:25. The reasons of this were, probably, the severity and justness of his reproofs Matthew 3:7, and the fact that by drawing many after him he weakened their authority and influence. As they were displeased with John, so they were with Jesus, who was doing the same thing on a larger scale - not only making disciples, but baptizing also without their authority, and drawing away the people after him.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Jesus applied himself more to preaching, which was the more excellent, 1Co 1:17, than to baptism. He would put honour upon his disciples, by employing them to baptize. He teaches us that the benefit of sacraments depends not on the hand that administers them.
Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 178

This chapter is based on John 3:22-36.

For a time the Baptist's influence over the nation had been greater than that of its rulers, priests, or princes. If he had announced himself as the Messiah, and raised a revolt against Rome, priests and people would have flocked to his standard. Every consideration that appeals to the ambition of the world's conquerors Satan had stood ready to urge upon John the Baptist. But with the evidence before him of his power, he had steadfastly refused the splendid bribe. The attention which was fixed upon him he had directed to Another. DA 178.1

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 181-2

So with the followers of Christ. We can receive of heaven's light only as we are willing to be emptied of self. We cannot discern the character of God, or accept Christ by faith, unless we consent to the bringing into captivity of every thought to the obedience of Christ. To all who do this the Holy Spirit is given without measure. In Christ “dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and in Him ye are made full.” Colossians 2:9, 10, R. V. DA 181.1

The disciples of John had declared that all men were coming to Christ; but with clearer insight, John said, “No man receiveth His witness;” so few were ready to accept Him as the Saviour from sin. But “he that hath received His witness hath set his seal to this, that God is true.” John 3:33, R. V. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” No need of disputation as to whether Christ's baptism or John's purified from sin. It is the grace of Christ that gives life to the soul. Apart from Christ, baptism, like any other service, is a worthless form. “He that believeth not the Son shall not see life.” DA 181.2

The success of Christ's work, which the Baptist had received with such joy, was reported also to the authorities at Jerusalem. The priests and rabbis had been jealous of John's influence as they saw the people leaving the synagogues and flocking to the wilderness; but here was One who had still greater power to attract the multitudes. Those leaders in Israel were not willing to say with John, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” They arose with a new determination to put an end to the work that was drawing the people away from them. DA 181.3

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