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1. Word Became Flesh

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made. 4In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not. 6There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. 7The same came for witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him. 8He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light. 9There was the true light, even the light which lighteth every man, coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world knew him not. 11He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not. 12But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth. 15John beareth witness of him, and crieth, saying, This was he of whom I said, He that cometh after me is become before me: for he was before me. 16For of his fulness we all received, and grace for grace. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. 19And this is the witness of John, when the Jews sent unto him from Jerusalem priests and Levites to ask him, Who art thou? 20And he confessed, and denied not; and he confessed, I am not the Christ. 21And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elijah? And he saith, I am not. Art thou the prophet? And he answered, No. 22They said therefore unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? 23He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said Isaiah the prophet. 24And they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25And they asked him, and said unto him, Why then baptizest thou, if thou art not the Christ, neither Elijah, neither the prophet? 26John answered them, saying, I baptize in water: in the midst of you standeth one whom ye know not, 27even he that cometh after me, the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to unloose. 28These things were done in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. 29On the morrow he seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world! 30This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man who is become before me: for he was before me. 31And I knew him not; but that he should be made manifest to Israel, for this cause came I baptizing in water. 32And John bare witness, saying, I have beheld the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven; and it abode upon him. 33And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize in water, he said unto me, Upon whomsoever thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and abiding upon him, the same is he that baptizeth in the Holy Spirit. 34And I have seen, and have borne witness that this is the Son of God. 35Again on the morrow John was standing, and two of his disciples; 36and he looked upon Jesus as he walked, and saith, Behold, the Lamb of God! 37And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38And Jesus turned, and beheld them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? And they said unto him, Rabbi (which is to say, being interpreted, Teacher), where abideth thou? 39He saith unto them, Come, and ye shall see. They came therefore and saw where he abode; and they abode with him that day: it was about the tenth hour. 40One of the two that heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41He findeth first his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah (which is, being interpreted, Christ). 42He brought him unto Jesus. Jesus looked upon him, and said, Thou art Simon the son of John: thou shalt be called Cephas (which is by interpretation, Peter). 43On the morrow he was minded to go forth into Galilee, and he findeth Philip: and Jesus saith unto him, Follow me. 44Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter. 45Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. 46And Nathanael said unto him, Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. 47Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! 48Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. 49Nathanael answered him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art King of Israel. 50Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee underneath the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. 51And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye shall see the heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

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21. Art thou Elijah? Why do they name Elijah rather than Moses? It was because they learned from the prediction of Malachi 4:2, 5, that when the Messiah, the Sun of Righteousness, should arise, Elijah would be the morning star to announce his approach. But the question is founded on a false opinion which they had long held; for, holding the opinion that the soul of a man departs out of one body into another, when the Prophet Malachi announced that Elijah would be sent, they imagined that the same Elijah, who lived under the reign of king Ahab, (1 Kings 17:1,) was to come. It is therefore a just and true reply which John makes, that he is not Elijah; for he speaks according to the opinion which they attached to the words; but Christ, giving the true interpretation of the Prophet, affirms that John is Elijah, (Matthew 11:14; Mark 9:13.)

Art thou a Prophet? Erasmus gives an inaccurate explanation of these words by limiting them to Christ; for the addition of the article (ὁ προφήτης, the prophet) carries no emphasis in this passage; and the messengers afterwards declare plainly enough, that they meant a different prophet from Christ; for they sum up the whole: by saying, (verse 25,) if thou art neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor a Prophet. Thus we see that they intended to point out different persons. Others think that they inquired if he was one of the ancient prophets; but neither do I approve of that exposition. Rather do they by this term point out the office of John, and ask if God had appointed him to be a prophet. When he replies, I am not, he does not for the sake of modesty tell a lie, but honestly and sincerely detaches himself from the company of the prophets. And yet this reply is not inconsistent with the honorable attestation which Christ gives him. Christ bestows on John the designation of prophet, and even adds that he is more than a prophet, (Matthew 11:9;) but by these words he does nothing more than demand credit and authority for his doctrine, and at the same time describes, in lofty terms, the excellence of the office which had been conferred on him. But in this passage John has a different object in view, which is, to show that he has no special message, as was usually the case with the prophets, but that he was merely appointed to be the herald of Christ.

This will be made still more clear by a comparison. All ambassadors — even those who are not sent on matters of great importance — obtain the name and authority of ambassadors, because they hold special commissions. Such were all the Prophets who, having been enjoined to deliver certain predictions, discharged the prophetic office. But if some weighty matter come to be transacted, and if two ambassadors are sent, one of whom announces the speedy arrival of another who possesses full power to transact the whole matter, and if this latter has received injunctions to bring it to a conclusion, will not the former embassy be reckoned a part and appendage of the latter, which is the principal? Such was the case with John the Baptist, to whom God had given no other injunction than to prepare the Jews for listening to Christ, and becoming his disciples. 3535     “Sinon de preparer les Juifs a donner audience a Christ, et estre ses disciples.” That this is the meaning, will still more fully appear from the context; for we must investigate the opposite clause, which immediately follows. I am not a prophet, says he, but a voice crying in the wilderness. The distinction lies in this, that the voice crying, that a way may be prepared for the Lord, is not a prophet, but merely a subordinate minister, so to speak; and his doctrine is only a sort of preparation for listening to another Teacher. In this way John, though he is more excellent than all the prophets, still is not a prophet




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