You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.
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Cornelius a Lapide
Ye yourselves bear me witness, &c. That I said I went before Him, that as His forerunner, minister, and herald, I should precede His advent. "You know that I have always professed that I am not the Christ, but His forerunner. Why then do you urge me to revoke what I have said, and prefer myself to Jesus, and steal away from Him the name of Christ? Truly this would be intolerable pride, inconsistency, and blasphemy. Suffer me then to live contented with my office, and with me prepare His way, and follow and serve Him the Messias, both your and my Lord and God."
He brings his disciples to the recollection of the words which they have already often heard, partly reproving them rightly, as steeped in forgetfulness of things profitable, and slumbering in respect to this so most dread doctrine, partly persuading them to remember the Divine Scripture, as having been nourished in zeal for the knowledge of these things; Whom it preaches as the Christ to come, whom again as the Baptist the forerunner. For thus would they, having received knowledge of each, be in no wise angry, seeing them in the state befitting each. I shall need then, saith he, no other witnesses to this, I have my own disciples as ear-witnesses, I confessed my state of servitude, when I fore-announced, I was sent, I am not the Christ. Let Him overcome, prevail, shine forth yet more as Lord and God.
If then you hold to my testimony, (and you even now produce it when you say, 'to whom you bore witness,') He is not only not diminished by receiving my witness, but rather is increased by it; besides, the testimony was not mine, but God's. So that if I seem to you to be trustworthy, I said this among other things, that 'I am sent before Him.' Do you see how he shows little by little that this Voice was divine? For what he says is of this kind: I am a servant, and say the words of Him that sent me, not flattering Christ through human favor, but serving His Father who sent me. I gave not the testimony as a gift, but what I was sent to speak, I spoke. Do not then because of this suppose that I am great, for it shows that He is great. He is Lord of all things.