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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol IX:
Epistle to Gregory and Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of John.: Chapter XXIX

Early Church Fathers  Index     

29.  The Six Testimonies of the Baptist Enumerated.  Jesus’ “Come and See.”  Significance of the Tenth Hour.

Accordingly John came to bear witness of the light, and in his witness-bearing he cried, saying, 4767 “He that cometh after me exists before me; for He was before me; for of His fulness we have all received and grace for grace, for the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  No one hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.”  This whole speech is from the mouth of the Baptist bearing witness to the Christ.  Some take it otherwise, and consider that the words from “for of His fulness” to “He hath declared Him” are from the writer, John the Apostle.  The true state of the case is that John’s first testimony begins, as we said before, “He that cometh after me,” and ends, “He hath declared Him,” and his second testimony is that spoken to the priests and levites sent from Jerusalem, whom the Jews had sent.  To them he confesses and does not deny the truth, namely, that he is not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet, but “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as saith Isaiah the prophet.” 4768   After this there is another testimony of the same Baptist to Christ, still teaching His superior nature, which goes forth into the whole world and enters into reasonable souls.  He says, 4769 “There standeth One among you whom you know not, even He that cometh after me, the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to unloose.”  Consider if, since the heart is in the middle of the whole body, and the ruling principle in the heart, the saying, “There standeth One among you whom you know not,” can be understood of 4770 the reason which is in every man.  John’s fourth testimony of Christ after these points to His human sufferings.  He says, 4771 “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.  This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a man who exists before me, for He was before me.  And I knew Him not, but that He should be made p. 344 manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.”  And the fifth testimony is recorded in the words, 4772 “I beheld the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and it abode upon Him, and I knew Him not, but He that sent me to baptize with water, He said unto me, Upon whomsoever thou shalt see the Spirit descending and abiding upon Him, the same is He that baptizeth with the Holy Spirit.  And I have seen and borne witness that this is the Son of God.”  In the sixth place John witnesses of Christ to the two disciples: 4773   “He looked on Jesus as He walked and saith, Behold the Lamb of God.”  After this testimony the two disciples who heard it followed Jesus; and Jesus turned and beheld them following, and saith unto them, “What seek ye?”  Perhaps it is not without significance that after six testimonies John ceases from his witness-bearing and Jesus brings forward in the seventh place His “What seek ye?”  Very becoming in those who have been helped by John’s testimony is the speech in which they address Christ as their Master, and declare their wish to see the dwelling of the Son of God; for they say to Him, “Rabbi,” which answers to “Master,” in our language, “where dwellest Thou?”  And since every one that seeketh findeth, when John’s disciples seek Jesus’ dwelling, Jesus shows it to them, saying, “Come and see.”  By the word “Come” He exhorts them perhaps to the practical part of life, while the “see” is to suggest to them that that speculation which comes in the train of right conduct will be vouchsafed to those who desire it; in Jesus’ dwelling they will have it.  After they had asked where Jesus dwells, and had followed the Master and had seen, they desired to stay with Him and to spend that day with the Son of God.  Now the number ten is a sacred one, not a few mysteries being indicated by it; and so we are to understand that the mention of the tenth hour as that at which these disciples turned in with Jesus, is not without significance.  Of these disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, is one; and he having profited by this day with Jesus and having found his own brother Simon (perhaps he had not found him before), told him that he had found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, Christ.  It is written that “he that seeketh findeth.”  Now he had sought where Jesus dwelt, and had followed Him and looked upon His dwelling; he stays with the Lord “at the tenth hour,” and finds the Son of God, the Word, and Wisdom, and is ruled by Him as King.  That is why he says, “We have found the Messiah,” and this a thing which every one can say who has found this Word of God and is ruled as by a king, by His Divinity.  As a fruit he at once brings his brother to Christ, and Christ deigned to look upon Simon, that is to say, by looking at him to visit and enlighten his ruling principle; and Simon by Jesus’ looking at him was enabled to grow strong, so as to earn a new name from that work of firmness and strength, and to be called Peter.



John 1:7, 15.


John 1.23.


John 1.26.


Reading κατἁ for καἷ.


John 1.29-31.


John 1.32-34.


John 1.35-38.

Next: Chapter XXX

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