Monday, December 14, 2009

John the Forerunner

The appearance of John the Baptist in every Gospel is a critical ingredient. It provides verification for Christ. John must point Him out, attest to Him, because the prophets had indicate the presence of a forerunner.

So John and Thomas provide important witnesses from two perspectives: John prior to the ministry of Christ, and Thomas afterward. Taken together with the fact that there is not one, but four Gospels; and not one, but twelve apostles, what we have in the Christian religion is a unique demonstration of the truthfulness of it.

Compare Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Shintoism, or any other religion, and you will not find in any this kind of proof. No wonder: Jesus alone is the truth. All the others are false. Not only so, but the record of Jesus is alone in providing the kind of documentation needed for verification.

Thus we have cause for rejoicing indeed, and on Gaudete the Third Sunday in Advent we may repeat the Introit with gusto: "Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again I say rejoice."

Here is yesterday's sermon.


Anastasia Theodoridis said...

John must point Him out, attest to Him, because the prophets had indicate the presence of a forerunner.

Well, technically it's that the prophets must indicate the presence of a forerunner because that's how it was going to be, yes?

What may seem a small point turns out to be a very important one: we interpret the OT by the NT.

Fr BFE said...

And yet the NT does not change the interpretation of the OT; merely makes clear what had been hidden there. The necessity for a forerunner was always there, if darkly.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

But the question is not so much one of change as of cause and effect. The effect that shows up in the Old Testament has its cause in the New, not vice-versa. This means, better to say the Old Testament, to make its prophecy accurate, had to include the Forerunner, because the Forerunner was already going to come and serve as the Herald of Christ.
Rather than the Forerunner had to appear in the New Testament because he was predicted in the Old. It all revolves around the New Testament, around Christ.

On whether the interpretation of the Old Testament changes, perhaps that's a matter of semantics. Take Isaiah 7:14. Before the coming of Christ it meant God would deliver King Ahaz within the time it took a virgin to get married, bear a son, and wean him. And that's all the meaning anybody could see in it. After the coming of Christ, it means something else. Is that a change of interpretation? I think we may as well admit it is.

I'd add, of course, that God all along intended this prophecy to acquire a new meaning, or if you will, "hid" this meaning within the verse from the beginning. But as it WAS hidden, it was earlier interpreted very differently, and still is by Jews today. Your mileage may vary, but I'm content to call that a change.

Fr BFE said...

As a medieval rhyme put it, "What in the Old lies concealed in the New is revealed."