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Matt. XI. 1."And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding His twelve disciples, He departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities."That is, after He had sent them, He proceeded to withdraw Himself, to give them room and opportunity to do what He had enjoined. For while He was present and healing, no one would be willing to approach them."Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Jesus, he sent two of his disciples, and asked Him, saying, Are you He that should come, or do we look for another?" Matthew 11:2-3But Luke says, they also told John of the miracles, and then he sent them. Luke 7:18 However, this contains no matter of difficulty, but of consideration only; for this, among other things, indicates their jealousy towards Him.But what follows is completely among the controverted points. Of what nature then is this? Their saying, "Are You He that should come, or do we look for another?" That is, he that knew Him before His miracles, he that had learned it of the Spirit, he that heard it of the Father, he who had proclaimed Him before all men; does he now send to learn of Him, whether it be Himself or no? And if yet thou did not know that it is surely He, how thinkest you yourself credible, affirming as thou dost concerning things, whereof you are ignorant? For he that is to bear witness to others, must be first worthy of credit himself. Did you not say, "I am not meet to loose the latchet of His shoe?" John 1:27 Did you not say, "I knew Him not, but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom you shall see the Spirit descending and resting upon Him, the same is He which baptizes with the Holy Ghost?" John 1:33 Did you not see the Spirit in form of a dove? Did you not hear the voice? Did you not utterly forbid Him, saying, "I have need to be baptized by You?" Matthew 3:14 Did you not say even to your disciples, "He must increase, I must decrease?" John 3:30 Did you not teach all the people, that "He should baptize them with the Holy Ghost and with fire?" Matthew 3:11 and that He "is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world?" Did you not before His signs and miracles proclaim all these things? How then now, when He has been made manifest to all, and the fame of Him has gone out everywhere, and dead men have been raised, and devils driven away, and a display made of so great miracles, do you after this send to learn of Him?What then is the fact? Were all these sayings a kind of fraud: a stage play and fables? Nay, who that has any understanding would say so? I say not, John, who leaped in the womb, who before his own birth proclaimed Him, the citizen of the wilderness, the exhibitor of the conversation of angels; but even though he were one of the common sort, and of them that are utterly outcast, he would not have hesitated, after so many testimonies, both on his own part and on the part of others.Whence it is evident, that neither did he send as being himself in doubt, nor did he ask in ignorance. Since no one surely could say this, that though he knew it fully, yet on account of his prison he was become rather timid: for neither was he looking to be delivered therefrom, nor if he did look for it, would he have betrayed his duty to God, armed as he was against various kinds of death. For unless he had been prepared for this, he would not have evinced so great courage towards a whole people, practised in shedding blood of prophets; nor would he have rebuked that savage tyrant with so much boldness in the midst of the city and the forum, severely chiding him, as though he were a little child, in hearing of all men. And even if he were grown more timid, how was he not ashamed before his own disciples, in whose presence he had so often borne witness unto Him, but asked his question by them, which he should have done by others? And yet surely he knew full well, that they too were jealous of Christ, and desired to find some handle against Him. And how could he but be abashed before the Jewish people, in whose presence he had proclaimed such high things? Or what advantage accrued to him thereby, towards deliverance from his bonds? For not for Christ's sake had he been cast into prison, nor for having proclaimed His power, but for his own rebuke touching the unlawful marriage. And what child so silly, what person so frantic, but that so he would have put on himself their character?2. 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 held in estimation, but the latter, as he had said, now ceasing. And this hindered them from coming unto Him, their jealousy quite blocking up the access. Now so long as John was with them, he was exhorting them continually and instructing them, and not even so did he persuade them; but when he was now on the point of dying, he uses the more diligence: fearing as he did lest he might leave a foundation for bad doctrine, and they continue broken off from Christ. For as he was diligent even at first to bring to Christ all that pertained to himself; so on his failing to persuade them, now towards his end he does but exert the more zeal.Now if he had said, "Go ye away unto Him, He is better than I," he would not have persuaded them, minded as they were not easily to be separated from him, but rather he would have been thought to say it out of modesty, and they would have been the more rivetted to him; or if he had held his peace, then again nothing was gained. What then does he? He waits to hear from them that Christ is working miracles, and not even so does he admonish them, nor does he send all, but some two (whom he perhaps knew to be more teachable than the rest); that the inquiry might be made without suspicion, in order that from His acts they might learn the difference between Jesus and himself. And he says, Go, and say, "Are you He that should come, or do we look for another?" Matthew 11:3But Christ knowing the purpose of John, did not say, I am He; for this would again have offended the hearers, although this was what it naturally followed for Him to say, but He leaves them to learn it from His acts. For it says, when these had come to Him, then "He cured many." Luke 7:21 And yet what congruity was there, that being asked, "Are you He," He should say nothing to that, but should presently cure them that were sick; unless it had been His mind to establish this which I have mentioned? Because they of course would account the testimony of His deeds surer, and more above suspicion than that of His words.Knowing therefore, as being God, the mind with which John had sent them, He straightway cured blind, lame, and many others; not to teach him (for how should He him that was convinced), but these that were doubting: and having healed them, He says,"Go and show John again those things which you do hear and see; the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, and the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached unto them." Matthew 4:5 And he added, "And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me;" implying that He knows even their unuttered thoughts. For if He had said, "I am He," both this would have offended them, as I have already said; and they would have thought, even if they had not spoken, much as the Jews said to Him, "You bear record of Yourself." Wherefore He says not this Himself, but leaves them to learn all from the miracles, freeing what He taught from suspicion, and making it plainer. Wherefore also He covertly added His reproof of them. That is, because they were "offended in Him," He by setting forth their case and leaving it to their own conscience alone, and by calling no witness of this His accusation, but only themselves that knew it all, did thus also draw them the more unto Himself, in saying, Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. For indeed His secret meaning was of them when He said this.