The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Jan 8: Nolan and Brown on Today’s Gospel (John 3:22-30)

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 8, 2011

22. After these things Jesus and his disciples came into the land of Judea; and therehe abode with them and baptized.

After these things; that is to say,after this discourse with Nicodemus. How long our Lord remained in Jerusalem on the occasion of this first Pasch, we know not. By the land of Judea, is meant the country parts of that province, as distinguished from the city of Jerusalem, where the discourse with Nicodemus had taken place. In these country parts, then, Jesus baptized through His disciples (4:2), the baptism most probably being sacramental.

23. And John also was baptizing; in Ennon(Ænnon) near Salim; because there was much water there, and they came, and were baptized.

Ennon, near Salim. The site of Aennon (Gr. Αἰνών, from an Aramaic word meaning springs) is difficult to determine. If we compare verse 26 of this chapter with John 1:28, it would seem that Aennon was west of the Jordan.  Eusebius and Jerome place it eight miles south of Scythopolis, juxta Salim et Jordanem;  and the latter states that the ruins of Melchizedek s palace existed in his day at Salim. These statements are so positive that they cannot lightly
be set aside. In the Jordan valley, about seven and a-half miles from Beisan (Scythopolis), there is a remarkable group of seven springs, all lying within a radius of a quarter of a mile, which answers well to the description “many waters.”  According to this view, Aennon was situated in the north-east corner of Samaria. Others, however, think, from the connection between this verse and verse 22, in which Jesus is said to baptize in Judea, that Aennon
also was in Judea, and refer to Josue 15:32, where the cities of Selim and Aen are mentioned as in the tribe of Juda.

24. For John was not yet cast into prison.

The Evangelist notes that the Baptist had not yet been imprisoned, probably lest it should be thought, from Matt 4:11-12, that the imprisonment of the Baptist followed at once upon the return of Christ from the forty days fast in the desert. This verse,therefore, affords a strong proof that our Evangelist was acquainted with the Gospel of St. Matthew.

25. And there arose a question between some of John s disciples and the Jews concerning- purification:
26. And they came to John, and said to him: Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond the Jordan, to whom thou gavest testimony, behold he baptizeth, and all men come to him.

A question arose between (εκ των μαθητων ιωαννου μετα ιουδαιων, i.e., cujus auctores extitere discipuli Joannis, Beel, Gr. Gram., 51, B. 2, 8) John’ s disciples and the Jews, i.e., some leading Jews, perhaps members of the Sanhedrim, concerning the relative merits of John’s baptism and Christ’s; and John’s disciples come to their master, jealous that his fame is being eclipsed by that of Him whom he had been the means of bringing before the public notice. The better supported reading is a Jew, not the Jews.

27. John answered and said: A man cannot receive anything, unless it be given him from heaven.
28. You yourselves do bear me witness, that I said, I am not Christ, but that I am sent before him.

John’s answer to his disciples is his last recorded testimony to Christ. It is to
the effect that a man may not arrogate to himself power or office unless he have authority from God, and that his own office is merely thatof precursor to the Messias.

29. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, who standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth with joy because of the bridegroom’s voice. This my joy therefore is fulfilled.

By a familiar example the Baptist illustrates the difference between himself and Christ. On the occasion of a Jewish marriage it was usual for the bridegroom to have a friend whose duty it was to arrange the preliminaries to the marriage, and at the marriage feast to minister to the bridegroom. The sense of the Baptist s words then is, that though many are present at a wedding, only one, he who hath the bride, is the bridegroom. His friend, who
has helped to bring about the marriage, is satisfied to stand and minister to him, rejoicing exceedingly to hear the bridegroom speaking with his bride,
nor jealous of the happy relations which subsist between them. This, my joy, therefore, is fulfilled. In these words the Baptist points the application of the comparison to Christ and himself. The Baptist is the amicus sponsi (friend of the groom) who prepared the disciples for Christ; Christ is the bridegroom, and the disciples flocking to Christ (verse 26) were to constitute the Church, which is His spouse. See 2 Cor 11:2 Eph 5:25, 27.

30. He must increase, but I must decrease.

John had fulfilled his mission; thenceforward, therefore, whereas Christ, in virtue of His nature, and His office of Messias, should increase, the Baptist himself should decrease, in influence and fame.


One Response to “Jan 8: Nolan and Brown on Today’s Gospel (John 3:22-30)”

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