17. Reasons for that Gradual Knowledge.
And likewise he who holds that the fact that He was Christ had been formerly proclaimed by the Apostles when they heard the saying, “What I tell you in the darkness, speak ye in the light, and what ye hear in the ear proclaim on the housetops,” 5675 will say, that He wished first to give catechetical instruction as it were to those of the Apostles who were to hear the name of Christ, then to permit this, so to speak, to be digested in the minds of the hearers, that, after there had been a period of silence in the proclamation of something of this kind about Him, at a more seasonable time there might be built up upon the former rudiments “Christ Jesus crucified and raised from the dead,” which at the beginning not even the Apostles knew; for it is written in the passage now under consideration, “From that time began Jesus to show unto His disciples that He must go unto Jerusalem” 5676 and suffer this and that. But if now, for the first time, the Apostles learn from Jesus the things that were about to happen unto Him, namely, that the elders will plot against Him, and that He will be killed, and that after these things, on the third day, He will rise from the dead,—what necessity is there for supposing that those who had been taught by the Apostles concerning Jesus knew them before, or that although Christ was announced to them He was announced to them by way of an introduction which did not clearly elucidate the things concerning Him? For our Saviour wished, when He enjoined the disciples to tell no man that He was the Christ, to reserve the more perfect teaching about Him to a more fitting time, when to those who had seen Him crucified, the disciples who had seen Him crucified and risen could testify the things relating to His resurrection. For if the Apostles, who were always with Him and had seen all the wonderful things which He did, and who bore testimony to His words that they p. 461 were words of eternal life, 5677 were offended on the night on which He was betrayed,—what do you suppose would have been the feelings of those who had formerly learned that He was the Christ? To spare them, I think, He gave this command.
Matt. x. 27.460:5676
Matt. xvi. 21.461:5677
John vi. 68.