John answered, saying to them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I comes…
The inferiority of the baptism of John to Christian baptism is declared by the holy Baptist himself. This difference (water...Holy Ghost) he alleges as the proof of his own inferiority to his Lord, and as resulting from it. This difference our Lord also inculcated (Acts 1:11), when He instituted His own baptism. The baptism of John was preparatory, the Baptism of Christ perfective; the baptism of John invited to repentance, the Baptism of Christ gave grace upon repentance; the baptism of John stood on the confines of the promised land, was allowed to see it, led men to the borders of it, guided them to it, but itself brought them not into it; higher than the law, as he whose baptism it was, was greater than any born of the sons of men, yet less also than the least in the kingdom of heaven; greater than the baptisms of the law, as being nearer to the Redeemer, but yet restrained within the precursorial office, still a shadow of the good things to come, not the reality itself, though brought so near to the Sun of Righteousness as all but to be kindled with His beams, as all but to convey that which could only be conveyed by Him in whom alone, as being God as well as man, we could be reborn as sons of God; who alone shed His precious blood for the sins of the whole world, and in baptism washes and cleanser His Church with it.
(E. B. Pusey, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
WEB: John answered them all, "I indeed baptize you with water, but he comes who is mightier than I, the latchet of whose sandals I am not worthy to loosen. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire,