John 1:24

And they who were sent were of the Pharisees.
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Alcuin of York

AD 804
The meaning of Bethany is, house of obedience; by which it is intimated to us, that all must approach to baptism, through the obedience of faith. ORIG. Beth bara means house of preparation; which agrees with the baptism of Him, who was making ready a people prepared for the Lord. Jordan, again, means, “their crescent. "Now what is this river but our Savior, through Whom coming into this earth all must be cleansed, in that He came down not for His own sake, but for theirs. This river it is which separates the lots given by Moses, from those given by Jesus; its streams make glad the city of God. As the serpent lies hid in the Egyptian river, so does God in this; for the Father is in the Son. Wherefore whosoever go thither to wash themselves, lay aside the reproach of Egypt, are made meet to receive the inheritance, are cleansed form leprosy, are made capable of adouble portion of grace, and ready to receive the Holy Spirit; nor does the spiritual dove light upon any other river. John aga...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
In His low estate He was not seen; and therefore the candle was; lighted. To have pronounced himself worthy even of unloosing His shoe’s latchet, he would have been thinking too much of himself.

Cornelius a Lapide

AD 1637
And they that were sent, &c. John adds this, to suggest the occasion why they examined John the Baptist concerning baptism. These messengers who were sent to John were Pharisees, and therefore were well versed in the Scriptures. Consequently they knew that Messiah would baptize for the remission of sins, because Ezekiel ( Ezekiel 36:25) and Zechariah ( Zechariah 13:1) had predicted that He would do so. But concerning other prophets and saints they had not read in Scripture that they would baptize. They ask John therefore to tell them by what authority he baptized, especially since he not only asserted that he was not Christ, but not even a prophet. ...

Cyril of Alexandria

AD 444
They who were sent from the Jews (they were Levites and certain of those who belonged to the priesthood) were convicted of asking foolish questions. For supposing that Christ was one person, the Prophet declared by the Law another, they said, after the holy Baptist had said, I am not the Christ, Art thou the Prophet? But lo, the multitude of the Pharisees also is caught in conceit of wisdom rather than having really an accurate knowledge of the Divine oracles. For why, it says, baptizest thou at all, if thou be not the Christ nor Elias neither the Prophet? and they are shewn again to be full of no small senselessness against the Baptist. For they do not, it seems, vouchsafe to put him in the number of those expected, but sick with the haughtiness that was their foster-sister, they deem that he is nought, albeit he be fore-announced by the Prophet's voice. For though they heard, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness Prepare ye the way of the Lord: receiving not his word, they r...

Glossa Ordinaria

AD 1480
Or we must suppose two Bethanies; one over Jordan, the other on this side, not far from Jerusalem, the Bethany where Lazarus was raised from the dead.

Gregory The Dialogist

AD 604
A saint, even when perversely questioned, is never diverted from the pursuit of goodness. Thus John to the words of envy opposes the words of life: John answered them, saying, I indeed baptize with water. John baptizes not with the Spirit, but with water; not being able to remit sins, he washes the bodies of the baptized with water, but not their souls with pardon. Why then cloth he baptize, when he cloth not remit sins by’ baptism? To maintain his character of forerunner. As his birth preceded our Lord's, so cloth his baptism precede our Lord’s baptism. And he who was the forerunner of Christ in His preaching, is forerunner also in His baptism, which was the imitation of that Sacrament. And withal he announces the mystery of our redemption, saying that He, the Redeemer, is standing in the midst of men, and they know it not: There stands one among you, whom you know not: for our Lord, when He appeared in the flesh, was visible in body, but in majesty invisible. Made before me, i.e. pre...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Or, those very same priests and Levies were of the Pharisees, and, because they could not undermine him by blandishments, began accusing, after they had compelled him to say what he was not. And they asked him, saying, Why baptize you then, if you are not the Christ, neither Elias, neither that Prophet? Asif it were an act of audacity in him to baptize, when he was neither the Christ, nor His precursor, nor His proclaimer, i.e. that Prophet. One among you. It was fitting that Christ should mix with the people, and be one of the many, showing every where His humility. Whom you know not; i.e. not, in the most absolute and certain sense; not, who He is, and whence He is. As if he said, Do not think that every thing is contained in my baptism; for if my baptism were perfect, another would not come after me with another baptism. This baptism of mine is but an introduction to the other, and will soon pass away, like a shadow, or an image. There is One coming after me to establish the truth: ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Do you see not without reason I said that they wished to bring him to this? And the reason why they did not at first say so was, lest they should be detected by all men. And then when he said, I am not the Christ, they, being desirous to conceal what they were plotting within, go on to Elias, and that Prophet. But when he said that he was not one of these either, after that, in their perplexity, they cast aside the mask, and without any disguise show clearly their treacherous intention, saying, Why do you baptize then, if you be not that Christ? And then again, wishing to throw some obscurity over the thing, they add the others also, Elias, and that Prophet. For when they were not able to trip him by their flattery, they thought that by an accusation they could compel him to say the thing that was not. What folly, what insolence, what ill-timed officiousness! You were sent to learn who and whence he might be, not to lay down laws for him also. This too was the conduct of men who ...

Theophilus of Antioch

AD 184
Or it was, that our Lord was in the midst of the Pharisees; and they not knowing Him. For they thought that they knew the Scriptures, and therefore, inasmuch as our Lord was pointed out there, He was in the midst of them, i.e. in their hearts. But they knew Him not, inasmuch as they understood not the Scriptures. Or take another interpretation. He was in the midst of them, as mediator between God and man, wishing to bring them, the Pharisees, to God. But they knew Him not. ...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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