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From: 1 John 2:22-28

Not Listening to Heretics (Continuation)

[22] Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the anti-
christ, he who denies the Father and the Son. [23] No one who denies the Son
has the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also. [24] Let what
you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning
abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. [25] And this is
what he has promised us, eternal life.

[26] I write this to you about those who would deceive you; [27] but the anointing
which you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that any one
should teach you; as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true,
and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in him.

[28] And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have
confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.


22. “Jesus is the Christ”: this is a basic truth of Christian faith. As in most of St
John’s writings, this wording means not only that Jesus is the Messiah but also
that he is the Son of God (cf. Jn 20:31). From the earliest days of Christianity
faith in Jesus, which included both his messiahship and his divinity, could be ex-
pressed by applying to him the titles of “Messiah” and “Son of God”, or simply
one or other of those titles. Over the course of the centuries the Church has been
developing and deepening its understanding of revealed truths about Christ — part-
ly in reaction to heresies attacking that truth. In recent years also the Magiste-
rium has taken issue with erroneous ideas: “The opinions according to which it
has not been revealed and made known to us that the Son of God subsists from
all eternity in the mystery of the Godhead, distinct from the Father and the Holy
Spirit, are in open conflict with this belief likewise the opinions according to
which the notion is to be abandoned of the one person of Jesus Christ begotten
in his divinity of the Father before all the ages and begotten in his humanity of the
Virgin Mary in time; and lastly the assertion that the humanity of Christ existed
not as being assumed into the eternal person of the Son of God but existed ra-
ther of itself as a person, and therefore that the mystery of Jesus Christ consists
only in the fact that God, in revealing himself, was present in the highest degree
in the human person Jesus.

“Those who think in this way are far removed from the true belief in Christ, even
when they maintain that the special presence of God in Jesus results in his
being the supreme and final expression of divine Revelation. Nor do they come
back to the true belief in the divinity of Christ by adding that Jesus can be called
God by reason of the fact that in what they call his human person God is su-
premely present” (SCDF, “Mysterium Filii Dei”, 3).

23. “Has the Father”: a very graphic way of referring to union with God (cf. 2 Jn
9). St John, who has other ways of saying the same thing—for example, “knowing
him” (1 Jn 2:3f; Jn 14:7); “seeing him” (Jn 14:7, 9) —may have had in mind the er-
rors of the Gnostics, who held that union with God was attained through a special
kind of knowledge (gnosis), available only to initiates of their sect. The Apostle re-
peats the teaching given in his Gospel: only through Christ, through faith in him,
can one attain union with and knowledge of the Father (cf. Jn 1:18; 14:9-10); Je-
sus and the Father are one, only God (Jn 14:11). So, faith in Christ is insepara-
ble from faith in the Blessed Trinity; so, too, denial of the Son’s divinity involves re-
jection of the Father. “Once the mystery of the divine and eternal person of Christ
the Son of God is abandoned, the truth respecting the Most Holy Trinity is also
undermined” (SCDF, “Mysterium Filii Dei”, 4).

27. The anointing (cf. note on 2:20) refers to the Holy Spirit, who acts on the
faithful by instructing them “about everything”. Our Lord had said this would be
so: “the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he
will teach you all things” (Jn 14:26).

The Apostle does not mean that the faithful have no need of the Magisterium of
the Church (the very fact that he is writing to them shows otherwise); what he
wants to make quite clear is that their true teacher is the Holy Spirit (he it is who
guides the Magisterium in its teaching, and he also acts in the soul of the Chris-
tian, helping him or her to accept that teaching). “If his anointing teaches you eve-
rything, it seems that we [pastors] are toiling to no purpose; why so much shou-
ting on our part [...]? This is the marvelous thing. The sound of our words is stri-
king your ears, but the Master is within. Do not think that it is a question of some-
body learning from a man; we can attract your attention by the power of our voice,
but if he who does the teaching is not within, all our sermons will be in vain” (St
Augustine, “In Epist. Ioann. Ad Parthos”, 3, 13).

28-29. These two verses sum up what has gone before and also act as an intro-
duction to a passage on divine filiation. The central idea which St John has been
repeating—”abide in him”—now opens out on to the prospect of the Last Judg-
ment: Jesus Christ, who will be our Judge, is the same person as gave us reve-
lation and life. This is one of the foundations of Christian hope.

“We may have confidence”: the sacred writer changes to the plural, to include
himself: we all have to give an account of our actions and we should have confi-
dence in Christ our Judge. The word translated as “confidence” is much richer in
Greek than in English; it is the equivalent of freedom, frankness, confident auda-
city. “It will be a great thing at the hour of death”, St Teresa of Avila writes, “to
realize that we shall be judged by One whom we have loved above all things [...].
Once our debts have been paid we shall be able to walk in safety. We shall not
be going into a foreign land, but into our own country, for it belongs to him whom
we have loved so truly and who himself loves us” (”Way of Perfection”, 40, 8).

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

3 posted on 01/01/2014 10:02:58 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: John 1:19-28

The Witness of John

[19] And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites
from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” [20] He confessed, he did not deny,
but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” [21] And they asked him, “What then? Are
you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” And he answered, “No.”
[22] They said to him then, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who
sent us. What do you say about yourself?” [23] He said, “I am the voice of one
crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet
Isaiah said.”

[24] Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. [25] They asked him, “Then
why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?”
[26] John answered, “I baptize with water; but among you stands One whom
you do not know, [27] even He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal
I am not worthy to untie.” [28] This took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan,
where John was baptizing.


19-34. This passage forms a unity, beginning and ending with reference to the
Baptist’s “testimony”: it thereby emphasizes the mission given him by God to
bear witness, by his life and preaching, to Jesus as the Messiah and Son of
God. The Precursor exhorts people to do penance and he practices the auste-
rity he preaches; he points Jesus out as the Lamb of God who takes away the
sin of the world; and he proclaims him boldly in the face of the Jewish authori-
ties. He is an example to us of the fortitude with which we should confess Christ:
“All Christians by the example of their lives and the witness of the word, wherever
they live, have an obligation to manifest the new man which the put on in Bap-
tism” (Vatican II, “Ad Gentes”, 11).

19-24. In this setting of intense expectation of the imminent coming of the Mes-
siah, the Baptist is a personality with enormous prestige, as is shown by the
fact that the Jewish authorities send qualified people (priests and Levites from
Jerusalem) to ask him if he is the Messiah.

John’s great humility should be noted: he is quick to tell his questioners: “I am
not the Christ”. He sees himself as someone insignificant compared with our
Lord: “I am not worthy to untie the thong of His sandal” (verse 27). He places all
his prestige at the service of his mission as precursor of the Messiah and, lea-
ving himself completely to one side, he asserts that “He must increase, but I
must decrease” (John 3:30).

25-26. “Baptize”: this originally meant to submerge in water, to bathe. For the
Jews the rite of immersion meant legal purification of those who had contracted
some impurity under the Law. Baptism was also used as a rite for the incorpora-
tion of Gentile proselytes into the Jewish people. In the Dead Sea Scrolls there
is mention of a baptism as a rite of initiation and purification into the Jewish
Qumran community, which existed in our Lord’s time.

John’s baptism laid marked stress on interior conversion. His words of exhorta-
tion and the person’s humble recognition of his sins prepared people to receive
Christ’s grace: it was a very efficacious rite of penance, preparing the people for
the coming of the Messiah, and it fulfilled the prophecies that spoke precisely
of a cleansing by water prior to the coming of the Kingdom of God in the mes-
sianic times (cf. Zechariah 13:1; Ezekiel 36:25; 37-23; Jeremiah 4:14). John’s
baptism, however, had no power to cleanse the soul of sins, as Christian Bap-
tism does (cf. Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:4).

“One whom you do not know”: Jesus had not yet publicly revealed Himself as
Messiah and Son of God; although some people did know as a man, St. John
the Baptist could assert that really they did not know Him.

27. The Baptist declares Christ’s importance by comparing himself to a slave
undoing the laces of his master’s sandals. If we want to approach Christ, whom
St. John heralds, we need to imitate the Baptist. As St. Augustine says: “He
who imitates the humility of the Precursor will understand these words. [...]
John’s greatest merit, my brethren, is this act of humility” (”In Ioann. Evang.”,
4, 7).

28. This is a reference to the town of Bethany which was situated on the eastern
bank of the Jordan, across from Jericho—different from the Bethany where Laza-
rus and his family lived, near Jerusalem (cf. John 11:18).

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

4 posted on 01/01/2014 10:03:38 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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