Sunday’s Gospel: The Witness of John the Baptist | 3rd Sunday of Advent (Jn 1:6-8)
The Gospel reading for the 3rd Sunday of Advent: St. John describing John the Baptist as the precursor to the Christ.
St. John the Evangelist
A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light.
St. John the Evangelist
What is said above, refers to the Divinity of Christ. He came to us in the form of man, but man in such sense, as that the Godhead was concealed within Him.
And therefore there was sent before a great man, to declare by his witness that He was more than man.
And who was this? He was a man.
St. John Chrysostom
After this esteem, nothing that he says is human; for he speaks not his own thoughts, but those from he who sent him.
And therefore the Evangelist calls him a messenger (‘I send My messenger’), for it is the excellence of a messenger to say nothing of his own.
The expression ‘was sent’ does not mean his entrance into life, but to his position.
Isaias was sent on his commission, not from any place out of the world, but from where he saw the Lord sitting upon His high and lofty throne. In the same way, John was sent from the desert to baptize.
He says, “He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said to me, Upon Whom you shall see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizes with the Holy Spirit.”
The grace of God—or one in whom is grace—by his testimony, first made known to the world the grace of the New Testament: Christ.
Or John may be taken to mean, ‘to whom it is given’. Through the grace of God, to him it was given to herald and also baptize the King of kings.
He doesn’t say that all men should believe in him. No one should put that kind of trust or belief in another man.
Instead, all men through him might believe, to quote: ‘by his testimony believe in the Light.’
Some try to undo the testimonies of the Prophets to Christ, by saying that the Son of God had no need of such witnesses; the wholesome words which He uttered and His miraculous acts being sufficient to produce belief; just as Moses deserved belief for his speech and goodness, and wanted no previous witnesses.
To this we may reply, that, where there are a number of reasons to make people believe, persons are often impressed by one kind of proof; and not by another, and God, Who for the sake of all men became man, can give them many reasons for belief in Him.
And with respect to the doctrine of the Incarnation, certain it is that some have been forced by the Prophetical writings into an admiration of Christ by the fact of so many prophets having, before His advent, fixed the place of His nativity; and by other proofs of the same kind.
It is to be remembered too, that, though the display of miraculous powers might stimulate the faith of those who lived in the same age with Christ, they might, in the lapse of time, fail to do so; as some of them might even get to be regarded as fabulous. Prophecy and miracles together are more convincing than simply past miracles by themselves. We must recollect too that men receive honor themselves from the witness which they bear to God.
He deprives the Prophetical choir of immeasurable honor, whoever denies that it was their office to bear witness to Christ. John when he comes to bear witness to the light, follows in the train of those who went before him.
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