The Third Sunday in Advent The Gospel John 1. 19-28. Thursday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
John 1. 19-28 GOSPEL
At that time the Jews sent from Jerusalem priests and Levites to John, to ask him: Who art thou? And he confessed, and did not deny; and he confessed: I am not the Christ. And they asked him: What then? Art thou Elias? And he said: I am not. Art thou the Prophet? And he answered: No. They said therefore unto him: Who art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us? What sayest thou of thyself? He said: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the Prophet Isaias. And they that were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said to him: Why then dost thou baptize; if thou be not Christ, nor Elias, nor the Prophet? John answered them, saying: I baptize with water: but there hath stood one in the midst of you, whom you know not. The same is He that shall come after me, who is preferred before me: the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose. These things were done in Bethania, beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
Consideration for Thursday
The manner of Saint John’s denying to be Christ, when the Jews by their demand seemed in a sort to put it upon him, is worth consideration: And he confessed, and did not deny, and he confessed, I am not Christ.
The reasons of the double repeating of these words is, to express the fervent zeal of Christ’s honor, which was in Saint John: for this double denial shows how deeply he was displeased,that they should translate the honor due unto Christ upon himself, or any other therefore doth he repeat this their demand so earnestly, as if he were truly angry with their impiety.
Whereby we may learn that if we see any thing done or spoken against the honor of God, or his holy mother, or his Saints (which two later are very frequent in these days) we should take their parties (as it were) with a holy anger and a true zeal, as his faithful harbingers, & forerunners, to rectify the matter as much as in us liveth, that so we may make straight, and even the ways of Christ our Lord, & master.
Who also himself gave us a notable example of this zeal of Gods honor, when finding men profaning the temple, the house of prayer, with buying, and selling and negotiating for lucre therein, overthrew their table, and wares they had to sell, and made a scourge, and whipped them out of the temple, as if he had been in a fury against them: alleging that of the Prophet David in defense of his act, the zeal of thy house hath even eaten me up. And in another place. St. Mark relateth, that he carried himself out of zeal so vehemently, that his disciples were about to have held him, thinking that he had been turned into a fury.
The self same zeal of Gods honor, is signified by the loud voice, or cry, which the gospel, and the Prophet Esay attribute to St. John, calling him the voice of a crier, that is of a vehement, and zealous preacher (for that is the efficacy of the Greek word) crying out aloud against sin, and sinners, calling them a broad of vipers, threatening them with the axe of Gods anger ready t be laid at the fruitless tree to cut it down, and cast it into the fire.
Which vehement invectives of his against sin proceeded from his holy zeal of Gods honor, and to induce souls to penance, and prepare the ways of Christ. For he knew no sacrifice pleases God more , then zeal of his honor, and saving of souls: as well it appeared in Phinees son of Eleazer the high priest, that in zeal of Gods honor slew Zambri the Israelite, and Cozbi the Madianite woman, that offended God in filthy fornication: almighty God declared how highly he was pleased with this zeal by confirming unto Phinees,and his successors the dignity of high Priest, the greatest honor amongst the people of God.