Tractates on the Gospel of John - Vol. 3

By St Augustine; John W. Rettig | Go to book overview
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TRACTATE 53

On John 12.37-43

AFTER THE Lord Christ had foretold his passion and his fruitful death in the lifting up of the cross, where he said that he would draw all things after himself, since the Jews had understood that he had spoken about his death and had asked him how he could say that he would die since they heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever, he encouraged them that, while yet a little light was in them, by which they had learned that Christ was eternal, they might walk that they might learn the whole in order that they not be overcome by the darkness. And when he had said these things, he hid himself from them. You learned these things in the readings and words of the previous Lord's day. 1.

2. Then the Evangelist continued with the words from which today's brief passage was read, and he said, "Now, although he had done so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in him, so that the words of the prophet Isaiah in which he said, 'Lord, who has believed what has reached our ears? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?' might be fulfilled" 2. Here he shows well that the Son of God was himself called the arm of God, not because God the Father is limited by the shape of human flesh and the Son adheres to him as a limb of the body; but rather because all things were made through him, he was called, therefore, the arm of God. For just as it is your arm through which you work, so his word was called the arm of God, because through the Word he constructed the world. For why does a person, in

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1.
This refers to the readings and words of the last Lord's day (Dominica dies). Cf. Tractate 52.11-14.
2.
Jn is quoting Is 53.1.

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