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

Father’s Nolan and Brown’s Commentary on John 16:29-33

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 3, 2011

Joh 16:29  His disciples say to him: Behold, now thou speakest plainly and speakest no proverb.

In saying that He was about to leave the world and go to the Father, He spoke plainly, and explained their doubts, see Jn 16:17.

Joh 16:30  Now we know that thou knowest all things and thou needest not that any man should ask thee. By this we believe that thou camest forth from God.

Seeing that He had read their thoughts (Jn 16:19), and anticipated their inquiries, even for this reason they declare their faith in Him as the Messias and Son of God to be confirmed and made perfect.

Joh 16:31  Jesus answered them: Do you now believe?

Christ s reply does not deny that they believe; yet insinuates, if we take it interrogatively with the Vulgate,  that He had reason to doubt the firmness of the faith they boasted, as indeed He goes on to declare plainly in the following verses.

Joh 16:32  Behold, the hour cometh, and it is now come, that you shall be scattered every man to his own and shall leave me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

Hour is again a Hebraism for time. This same prediction, or a similar one, is recorded by St. Matt 26:31, and St. Mark 14:27, and according to both it was made after Christ and the Apostles had left the supper room to go towards the Mount of Olives. As we observed above on Jn 14:31, we think it highly improbable that this long discourse after the Last Supper was spoken in the crowded streets of Jerusalem; and if the words of SS. Matthew or Mark obliged us to hold that the prediction, recorded by those Evangelists was spoken whilst Christ and the Apostles passed along the streets, we would hold that this prediction, recorded bySt. John, is a different one, and that Christ referred twice on this night to the desertion of His Apostles. In reality, however, SS. Matthew and Mark can be satisfactorily explained on the supposition that the prediction which they record was spoken outside the house where Christ and the Apostles had supped, or at some quiet spot on the way to Mount Olivet.

Joh 16:33  These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you shall have distress. But have confidence. I have overcome the world.

These last discourses He had spoken to confirm their faith and afford them consolation, that so they might have peace of heart, despite the hatred of the world. Then He closes this beautiful discourse with the consoling and encouraging assurance that He was just about to conquer the world (by prolepsis He speaks of His victory as already gained). The context shows that this assurance implied that they too, through Him, should triumph over the world. For it is because His victory implied theirs that He tells them to have confidence. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory which overcometh the world, our faith (1 John 5:4).

Thus in His last words to His Apostles before His passion, at the very moment when He knew that His enemies were approaching (Jn 15:30), Christ confidently claims the glory of a conqueror.

4 Responses to “Father’s Nolan and Brown’s Commentary on John 16:29-33”

  1. […] Fathers Nolan and Brown’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 16:29-33). […]

  2. […] Fathers Nolan’s and Brown’s Commentary on the Gospel (John 16:29-33). […]

  3. […] Fathers Nolan’s and Brown’s Commentary on the Gospel (John 16:29-33). […]

  4. […] Fathers Nolan’s and Brown’s Commentary on the Gospel (John 16:29-33). […]

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