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John 1:35-39

35. The next day John was again standing, and two of his disciples; 36. And looking at Jesus walking, he said, Behold the Lamb of God! 37. And those two disciples heard him speak, and followed Jesus. 38. And Jesus turning, and looking at them following him, saith to them, What do you seek? And they said to him, Rabbi, (which, if you interpret it, is explained Master,) where dwellest thou? 39. He saith to them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and remained with him that day; for it was about the tenth hour.

 

36. Behold the Lamb of God! Hence appears more clearly what I have already stated, that when John perceived that he was approaching the end of his course, he labored incessantly to resign his office to Christ. His firmness too gives greater credit to his testimony. But by insisting so earnestly, during many successive days, in repeating the commendation of Christ, he shows that his own course was nearly finished. Here we see also how small and low the beginning of the Church was. John, indeed, prepared disciples for Christ, but it is only now that Christ begins to collect a Church. He has no more than two men who are mean and unknown, but this even contributes to illustrate his glory, that within a short period, without human aid, and without a strong hand, he spreads his kingdom in a wonderful and incredible manner. We ought also to observe what is the chief object to which John directs the attention of men; it is, to find in Christ the forgiveness of sins. And as Christ had presented himself to the disciples for the express purpose that they might come to him, so now when they come, he gently encourages and exhorts them; for he does not wait until they first address him, but asks, What do you seek? This kind and gracious invitation, which was once made to two persons, now belongs to all. We ought not therefore to fear that Christ will withdraw from us or refuse to us easy access, provided that he sees us desirous to come to him; but, on the contrary, he will stretch out his hand to assist our endeavors. And how will not he meet those who come to him, who seeks at a distance those who are wandering and astray, that he may bring them back to the right road?

38. Rabbi. This name was commonly given to persons of high rank, or who possessed any kind of honor. But the Evangelist here points out another use of it which was made in his own age, which was, that they addressed by this name the teachers and expounders of the word of God. Although, therefore, those two disciples do not yet recognize Christ as the only Teacher of the Church, yet, moved by the commendation bestowed on him by John the Baptist, they hold him to be a Prophet and teacher, which is the first step towards receiving instruction.

Where dwellest thou? By this example we are taught that from the first, rudiments of the Church we ought to draw such a relish for Christ as will excite our desire to profit; and next, that we ought not to be satisfied with a mere passing look, but that we ought to seek his dwelling, that he may receive us as guests. For there are very many who smell the gospel at a distance only, and thus allow Christ suddenly to disappear, and all that they have learned concerning him to pass away. And though those two persons did not at that time become his ordinary disciples, yet there can be no doubt that, during that night, he instructed them more fully, so that they soon afterwards became entirely devoted to him.

39. It was about the tenth hour; that is, the evening was approaching, for it was not more than two hours till sunset. The day was at that time divided by them into twelve hours, which were longer in summer and shorter in winter. But from this circumstance we infer that those disciples were so eagerly desirous to hear Christ, and to gain a more intimate knowledge of him, that they gave themselves no concern about a night’s lodging. On the contrary, we are, for the most part, very unlike them, for we incessantly delay, because it is not convenient for us to follow Christ.

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