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Commentary On The Gospel According To Saint John Volumes 1&2

BOOK II

29 The next day he seeth Jesus coming to him

IN a very little time, the Baptist is declared to be Prophet alike and Apostle. For Whom he was heralding as coming, Him now come he points out. Therefore, he bounded beyond even the measure of prophets, as the Saviour Himself saith when discoursing with the Jews concerning him, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A prophet, yea, I say unto you and more than a prophet. For they in their times prophesied that Christ should be revealed, but he, crying that He shall come, also pointed Him out come. For the next day, saith he, he seeth Jesus coming to him.

And saith, Behold the Lamb of God, Which taketh away the sin of the world

No longer has prepare ye the way fit place, since He at length is seen and is before the eyes for Whom the preparation is made: the nature of the thing began to need other words. It needed to explain, Who He is Who is come, and to whom He maketh His descent Who hath come to us from Heaven. Behold, therefore, saith he, the Lamb of God Which taketh away the sin of the world, Whom the Prophet Isaiah did signify to us, saying, He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb: Whom of old, too, saith he, the law of Moses typified, but then it saved in part, not extending mercy to all (for it was a type and shadow): but now He Who of old was dimly pictured, the very Lamb, the spotless Sacrifice, is led to the slaughter for all, that He might drive away the sin of the world, that He might overturn the destroyer of the earth, that dying for all He might bring to nought death, that He might undo the curse that is upon us, that He might at length end Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return, that He might become the second Adam, not of the earth, but from heaven, and might be the beginning of all good to the nature of man, deliverance from the imported corruption, Bestower of eternal life, foundation of our reconciliation to God, beginning of godliness and righteousness, way to the Kingdom of Heaven. For one Lamb died for all, saving the whole flock on earth to God the Father, One for all, that He might subject all to God, One for all, that He might gain all: that at length all should not henceforth live to themselves but to Him Which died for them and rose again. For since we were in many sins, and therefore due to death and corruption, the Father hath given the Son a redemption for us, One for all, since all are in Him, and He above all. One died for all, that all should live in Him. For death having swallowed up the Lamb for all, hath vomited forth all in Him and with Him. For all we were in Christ, Who on account of us and for us died and rose again. But sin being destroyed, how could it be that death which was of it and because of it should not altogether come to nothing? The root dying, how could the shoot yet survive? wherefore should we yet die, now that sin hath been destroyed? therefore jubilant in the Sacrifice of the Lamb of God we say: O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? For all iniquity, as the Psalmist sings somewhere, shall stop her mouth, no longer able to accuse those who have sinned from infirmity. For it is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth? Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, that we might escape the curse from transgression.

30 This is He of Whom I said.

He leads the hearers to remembrance of his words, and yields to Christ the superiority in glory, accomplishing the work, not of love, but rather of truth and necessity. For the creature is subject, even if it willeth not, to the Creator, the bond to the Lord, the supplied to the Giver. But in what manner Christ was after John, but preferred before him, for He was before him, as himself confesseth, we have spoken sufficiently in what has preceded.

31 And I knew Him not, but that He should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.

He that leaped in the depth of the womb of his mother at the voice of the Holy Virgin while yet bearing the Lord, prophet before the travail-pang, disciple in the womb, says of the Saviour, I knew Him not, and says truly, for he does not lie. For God knows all things of Himself and untaught, but the creature, by being taught. For the Spirit indwelling in the Saints, fulfils what is lacking, and gives to human nature His Own good, I mean, knowledge of things to come, and of the hidden mysteries. Therefore the holy Baptist saying that he does not know the Lord, will by no means speak untruly, in regard of the property of human nature, and the measure befitting the creature, but will attribute the knowledge of all things to God Alone, Who through the Holy Ghost enlighteneth man to the apprehension of hidden things. And very profitably doth he say that of himself he knew not Christ, but is come for that very purpose, to make Him manifest to Israel, that he may not seem to run of his own accord to bear testimony, nor be thought by any the minister of his own will, but the worker of the Divine dispensation, the minister of the Counsel from above revealing to him the Lamb Which taketh away the sin of the world.

In order therefore that the Jews may the more easily come to believe on our Saviour Christ, and may have the most worthy conception of Him, he says that having not known Him, he knows Him, that they may understand then at length God Who revealed Him, and awestruck at the judgment from above, may receive his word concerning Him, and, seeing the servant so great, may proportionally estimate the Dignity of the Master. For his saying, that he was come to make Him manifest to Israel, how does it not denote the care belonging to a servant?








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