Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying.
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Cyril of Alexandria
The Jews being powerless to commend the purifications of the law, and not able to advocate the cleansing through the ashes of an heifer, plan something against John's disciples, whereby they thought to cause them no slight vexation, albeit easily worsted in their own matters. For since they who attended the blessed Baptist, appeared to be more excellent and of more understanding than the Pharisees, admiring the baptism of their own teacher, and opposing the purifications after the law; they are vexed at these things, who are diligent in reviling only and most ready unto all wickedness: and even overturning their own case, they praise Christ's Baptism, not rightly disposed, nor pouring forth true praise on it, but exasperated to the mere distressing of them; and lending out a statement against their opinion, until their purpose should attain its accomplishment. They cannot then adduce any reasonable proof, nor do they even support Christ out of the holy Scriptures (for, whence were such...
For the disciples of John being ever jealously disposed towards Christ's disciples and Christ Himself, when they saw them baptizing, began to reason with those who were baptized, as though their baptism was in a manner superior to that of Christ's disciples; and taking one of the baptized, they tried to persuade him of this; but persuaded him not. Hear how the Evangelist has given us to understand that it was they who attacked him, not he who set on foot the question. He does not say, that a certain Jew questioned with them, but that, there arose a questioning from the disciples of John with a certain Jew, concerning purification.
2. And observe, I pray you, the Evangelist's inoffensiveness. He does not speak in the way of invective, but as far as he is able softens the charge, merely saying, that a question arose; whereas the sequel (which he has also set down in an inoffensive manner) makes it plain that what was said was said from jealousy.