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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol IX:
Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew.: Chapter XV

Early Church Fathers  Index     

15.  Relation of the Former Commission Given by Jesus to the Disciples, to His Present Injunction of Silence.  Belief and Knowledge Contrasted.

Then enjoined He His disciples that they should tell no man that He was the Christ.” 5661   It is written above that Jesus sent forth these twelve saying unto them, “Go not into any way of the Gentiles,” 5662 and the other words which are recorded to have been said to them when He sent them to the apostleship.  Did He then wish them when they were already discharging the function of Apostles to proclaim that He was the Christ?  For, if He wished it, it is fitting to inquire why He now at all commands the disciples that they should not say that He was the Christ?  Or if He did not wish it, how can the things concerning the apostleship be safely maintained?  And these things also one may inquire at this place,—whether, when He sent away the Twelve, He did not send them away with the understanding that He was the Christ?  But if the Twelve had such understanding, manifestly Peter had it also; how, then, is he now pronounced blessed?  For the expression here plainly indicates that now for the first time Peter confessed that Christ was the Son of the living God.  Matthew then, according to some of the manuscripts, has written, “Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no man that He was the Christ,” but 5663 Mark says, “He charged them that they should tell no man of Him;” 5664 and Luke, “He charged them and commanded them to tell this to no man.” 5665   But what is the “this”?  Was it that also according to him, Peter answered and said to the question, “Who say ye that I am.”—“The Christ, the Son of the living God?” 5666   You must know, however, that some manuscripts of the Gospel according to Matthew have, “He charged.” 5667   The difficulty thus started seems to me a very real difficulty; but let a solution which cannot be impugned be sought out, and let the finder of it bring it forward before all, if it be more credible than that which shall be advanced by us as a fairly temperate view. 5668   Consider, then, if you can say, that the belief that Jesus is the Christ is inferior to the knowledge of that which is believed.  And perhaps also there is a difference in the knowledge of Jesus as the Christ, as every one who knows does not know Him alike.  From the words in John, “If ye abide in My word, ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,” 5669 it is plain that belief without knowledge is inferior to knowing; but that there is a difference in the knowledge of Jesus as the Christ, as all who know Him do not know Him equally, is a fact self-evident to any one who gives even a very little consideration to the matter.  For who would not acknowledge, for example, that Timothy, though he knew that Jesus was the Christ, had not been enlightened to such an extent in the knowledge of Him as the Apostle had been enlightened?  And who would not also admit this—that though many, speaking the p. 460 truth, say about God, “He has given to me a true knowledge of things that are,” yet they will not say this with equal insight and apprehension of the things known, nor as knowing the same number of things?  But it is not only in respect of the difference of knowing that those who know do not know alike, but also according to that which is the source of the knowledge; so that according to this he who knows the Son by the revelation of the Father, 5670 as Peter is testified to have known, has the highest beatitude.  Now, if these views of ours are sound, you will consider whether the Twelve formerly believed but did not know; but, after believing, they gained also the rudiments of knowledge and knew a few things about Him; and afterwards they continued to advance in knowledge so that they were able to receive the knowledge from the Father who reveals the Son; in which position Peter was, when he was pronounced blessed; for also he is pronounced blessed not merely because he said, “Thou art the Christ,” but with the addition, “the Son of the living God.”  Accordingly Mark and Luke who have recorded that Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ,” but have not given the addition found in Matthew, have not recorded that he was declared blessed for what had been said, nor the blessing which followed the declaration of blessedness, “Thou art Peter,” 5671 etc.



Matt. xvi. 20.


Matt. x. 5.


Matt. xvi. 20.


Mark viii. 30.


Luke ix. 21.


Matt. 16:15, 16.


Matt. xvi. 20.


Or, which he may regard as mediocre.


John 8:31, 32.


Matt. xvi. 16.


Matt. xvi. 18.

Next: Chapter XVI

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