Matthew 11:3

And said unto him, Are you he that should come, or do we look for another?
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George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Art thou he that is to come? (Greek, who cometh?) i.e. the Messias. John the Baptist had already, on several occasions, declared that Jesus was the Messias. (John i). He could not then doubt of it himself, but sent his disciples to take away their doubt. (Witham) St. John the Baptist sent his disciples not to satisfy his own doubts, but for the sake of his disciples, who, blinded by the love they bore their Master, and by some emulation, would not acknowledge Christ to be the Messias. (St. Chrysostom in Baradius) This expression of St. John is much taken notice of, as conveying with it a very particular question. "Tell me, says St. John, now that I am departing out of this world, whether thou art coming to redeem the patriarchs and holy fathers; or wilt thou send another? "(St. Thomas Aquinas) And St. Chrysostom also explains it thus, Art thou he that art to come to limbo? but the Baptist omitting this last word, sufficiently indicated to our Saviour what was the purport of this que...

Gregory The Dialogist

AD 604
It seems almost as if John did not know the one he had pointed out, as if he did not know whether he was the same person he had proclaimed by prophesying, by baptizing, by pointing him out! We can resolve this question more quickly if we reflect on the time and order of the events. For when John is standing beside the river Jordan, he declares that this is the Redeemer of the world. But when he has been thrown into jail, he asks whether they were to look for another or whether he had come. This is not because he doubts that he is the Redeemer of the world. John now wants to know whether he who had personally come into the world would also descend personally into the courts of hell. For John had preceded Christ into the world and announced him there. He was now dying and preceding him to the nether world. This is the context in which he asks, “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” But if he had spoken more fully he might have said, “Since you thought it worthy of you...


AD 420
John asks this not because he is ignorant but to guide others who are ignorant and to say to them, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” And he had heard the voice of the Father saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Rather, it is the same sort of question as when the Savior asked where Lazarus was buried. The people only meant to show him the tomb, but he wanted them to be brought to faith and see the dead man return to life. Similarly, when John was about to be killed by Herod, he sent his disciples to Christ, intending that when they met him, the disciples would observe his appearance and powers and believe in him, and they would tell this to their teacher when he questioned them. .

John Chrysostom

AD 407
What then is it which he is bringing about? For that it belongs not to John to have doubt hereupon, no nor to any ordinary person, nor even to one extremely foolish and frenzied; so much is evident from what we have said. And now we have only to add the solution. For what intent then did he send to ask? John's disciples were starting aside from Jesus, and this surely any one may see, and they had always a jealous feeling towards Him. And it is plain, from what they said to their master: He that was with you, it is said, beyond Jordan, to whom you bore witness, behold, the same baptizes, and all men come unto Him. John 3:26 And again, There arose a question between John's disciples and the Jews about purifying. And again they came unto Him, and said, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but Your disciples fast not? Matthew 9:14 For as yet they knew not who Christ was, but imagining Jesus to be a mere man, but John greater than after the manner of man, were vexed at seeing the former...

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
John did not ask as if he himself did not know Christ. How could this be when he had borne witness to Him, saying, "Behold the Lamb of God"? But because his disciples were jealous of Christ, John sent them to acquire more evidence, so that by seeing the miracles they might believe that Christ is greater than John. This is why he himself pretends to ask, "Art Thou He that cometh?" that is, He Whose coming in the flesh is awaited in the Scriptures. Some believe that by saying, "He that cometh," he was asking about the descent into hades, as if, not knowing the answer, John were questioning, "Art Thou He that goeth even into hades, or should we look for another?" But this is foolishness, for how could John, who was greater than the prophets, not know of the crucifixion of Christ and the descent into hades, when he had called Christ the Lamb Who would be sacrificed for us? John knew, therefore, that the Lord would also go down into hades in the soul so that even there, as St. Gregory the T...

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

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