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BibliaTodo Commentaries

Benson Joseph
John 12

1. Sixe dayes before Easter came Iesus vnto Bethanye, where Lazarus was, which was deed, whom Iesus raysed vp from the deed.

2. There they made him a supper, and Martha serued. But Lazarus was one of them, that sat at the table with him.

3. Then toke Mary a pounde of oyntment of pure and costly Nardus, and anoynted Iesus fete,

4. Then sayde one of his disciples, Iudas Iscarioth Symons sonne, which afterwarde betrayed him:

5. Why was not this oyntment solde for thre hundreth pens, and geuen to the poore?

6. (This sayde he not that he cared for the poore, but because he was a thefe, and had the bagge, and bare that which was geue.)

7. Then sayde Iesus: Let her alone, this hath she kepte agaynst the daye of my buryenge.

8. For the poore haue ye allwaye with you, but me haue ye not allwaye.

9. Then moch people of the Iewes had knowlege, that he was there, and they came not for Iesus sake onely, but also yt they might se Lazarus, whom he had raysed from the deed.

10. But ye hye prestes were aduysed to put Lazarus to death also:

11. because yt for his sake many of the Iewes wete awaye and beleued on Iesus.

12. Vpon the nexte daye moch people which were come vnto the feast, whan they herde that Iesus came towarde Ierusalem,

13. they toke braunches of palme trees, and wete out to mete him, and cryed: Hosianna, Blessed be he, that in the name of the LORDE commeth kynge of Israel.

14. Iesus gat a yonge Asse, and rode theron, As it is wrytte:

15. Feare not thou doughter of Sion, beholde, thy kynge cometh rydinge vpo an Asses foale.

16. Neuertheles his disciples vnderstode not these thinges at the first, but whan Iesus was glorified, then remebred they that soch thinges were wrytte of him, and that they had done soch thinges vnto him.

17. The people that was with him whan he called Lazarus out of ye graue and raysed him from the deed, commended the acte.

18. Therfore the people met him, because they herde, that he had done soch a miracle.

19. But the pharises sayde amonge them selues: Ye se, that we preuayle nothinge, beholde, all ye worlde runneth after him.

20. There were certayne Grekes (amonge the that were come vp to Ierusale to worshipe at the feast)

21. the same came vnto Philippe, which was of Bethsaida out of Galile,

22. Philippe came,

23. Iesus answered the, and sayde: The houre is come, that the sonne of man must be glorified.

24. Verely verely I saye vnto you: Excepte the wheatcorne fall in to the grounde, and dye, it bydeth alone: But yf it dye, it bryngeth forth moch frute.

25. He that loueth his life, shal lose it: and he that hateth his life in this worlde, shal kepe it vnto life euerlastinge.

26. He that wyl serue me, let him folowe me. And where I am, there shal my seruaunt be also: and he that serueth me, him shal my father honoure.

27. Now is my soule heuy, and what shal I saye? Father, helpe me out of this houre. But therfore am I come in to this houre.

28. Father, glorifye thy name. Then came there a voyce from heauen: I haue glorified it, and wyl glorifye it agayne.

29. Then sayde the people that stode by and herde: It thondereth. Other sayde: An angell spake vnto him.

30. Iesus answered, and sayde: This voyce came not because of me, but for youre sakes.

31. Now goeth the iudgment ouer the worlde. Now shal the prynce of this worlde be thrust out.

32. And I whan I am lift vp from the earth, wyl drawe all vnto me.

33. (But this he sayde, to signifye, what death he shulde dye.)

34. Then answered him the people: We haue herde in the lawe, that Christ endureth for euer: and how sayest thou then, that the sonne of man must be lift vp? Who is this sonne of man?

35. Then sayde Iesus vnto them: The light is yet a litle whyle with you, walke whyle ye haue the light, that the darknesse fall not vpo you. He that walketh in the darknesse, woteth not whither he goeth.

36. Beleue ye on the light, whyle ye haue it, that ye maye be the children of light. These thinges spake Iesus, and departed awaye, and hyd himself from them.

37. And though he had done soch tokens before the, yet beleued they not on him,

38. that the sayenge of Esay the prophet might be fulfylled, which he spake: LORDE, who beleueth oure preachinge? Or to whom is the arme of the LORDE opened?

39. Therfore coulde they not beleue, for Esay saide agayne:

40. He hath blynded their eyes, and hardened their hert, that they shulde not se with the eyes, ner vnderstonde with the hert,

41. This sayde Esay, whan he sawe his glory, and spake of him.

42. Neuertheles many of the chefe rulers beleued on him, but because of the Pharises they wolde not be aknowne of it, lest they shulde be excommunicate,

43. For they loued more the prayse with men, then with God.

44. Iesus cryed and sayde: He that beleueth on me, beleueth not on me, but on him that sent me.

45. And he that seyth me, seyth him yt sent me.

46. I am come a light in to the worlde, that whosoeuer beleueth on me, shulde not byde in darknesse.

47. And he that heareth my wordes and beleueth not, I iudge him not, for I am not come to iudge the worlde, but to saue the worlde.

48. He that refuseth me, and receaueth not my wordes, hath one allready that iudgeth him. The worde that I haue spoken, that shall iudge him at the last daye,

49. For I haue not spoken of my self: but the father that sent me, hath geuen me a commaundement, what I shulde do and saye.

50. And I knowe that his commaundement is life euerlastinge. Therfore loke what I speake, that speake I eue so, as the father hath sayde vnto me.

John 12

Joh 12:1-2. Six days before the passover — Namely, on the sabbath; that which was called by the Jews, The great sabbath. This whole week was anciently termed, The great and holy week; Jesus came — From Ephraim, whither he had retired with his disciples, to preserve his life for a time from the murderous designs of the Jewish rulers; to Bethany — The village where he had lately (Calmet thinks about two months before) raised Lazarus from the dead. There they made him a supper — In testimony of their high esteem and great affection for him. It is not said that this supper was made at Lazarus’s house. For if, as is probable, this be the same story that is recorded Mat 26:6, and Mar 14:3, the supper was made at the house of Simon who had been a leper. “Few passages,” says Dr. Doddridge, “in the harmony [of the gospels] have perplexed me more than this. I was long of opinion, with Origen and Theophylact, defended by Le Clerc and Dr. Whitby, and especially by Dr. Lightfoot and Mr. Whiston, that the story recorded by Matthew and Mark is different from this in John: but on maturer consideration, it appears to me more probable that Matthew and Mark should have introduced this story a little out of its place; that Lazarus, if he made this entertainment, (which is not expressly said by John,) should have made use of Simon’s house, as more convenient for it; and that Mary should have poured this ointment on Christ’s head and body, as well as on his feet; than that, within the compass of four days, Christ should have been twice anointed with so costly a perfume; and that the same fault should be found with the action, and the same value set on the ointment, and the same words used in defence of the woman; and all this in the presence of many of the same persons: all which improbable particulars must be admitted, if the stories be considered as different. But, after all, I can assert nothing confidently; for there is no impossibility in the thing, taken either way.” Dr. Macknight, however, who supposes this story is not the same with that recorded by Matthew and Mark, thinks “It evidently appears that our Lord was anointed with spikenard three different times in the course of his ministry; once in the house of Simon the Pharisee, (Luk 7:37, &c.,) once in the house of Lazarus, and once in the house of Simon the leper. That this honour should have been done him so often,” adds he, “needs not be thought strange, for, in those countries, it was common at entertainments to pour fragrant oil on the heads of such guests as they designed to distinguish with marks of extraordinary respect; a custom alluded to Psa 45:7 : God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” And Martha served — It seems Martha was a person of some figure, from the great respect which was paid to her and her sister, in visits and condolences on Lazarus’s death, as well as from the costly ointment mentioned in the next verse. And probably it was at their house our Lord and his disciples lodged, when he returned from Jerusalem to Bethany, every evening of the last week of his life, on which he now entered. But Lazarus was one that sat at the table — Lazarus’s sitting at the table showed still more the reality of the miracle wrought at his tomb; that it was not a spectre or illusion which then presented itself to the sight; and that Lazarus was not only restored to life, but likewise to perfect health.

Joh 12:3-8. Then took Mary a pound of ointment, &c. — See notes on Mat 26:6-13; Mar 14:1-9. She did what is here related in token of the warm sense she had of the many favours Christ had conferred on her and her relations, but especially for the wonderful kindness he had lately shown to her brother Lazarus. Then saith Judas, Why was not this ointment sold, &c. — Judas was angry because his Master had not taken the ointment with a view to sell it, pretending that the price received for it might have been bestowed on the poor. Nevertheless, his real motive was covetousness; for as he carried the bag, he thought if his Master had sold the ointment, he would have gotten the money to keep, and so might have applied part of it to his own private use. But it is no new thing for the basest men to cover their blackest crimes with the fair pretence of zeal for the honour of God and the interests of religion. For three hundred pence — These were Roman pence, and consequently amounted to nine pounds seven shillings and sixpence. The expression only intimates a general guess at the value by a round sum, as we speak, for such three hundred denarii were, though the correspondent value with us is not so. Against the day of my burying, which now draws nigh, hath she kept this — Mr. Whiston thinks this is as if our Lord had said, “She has spent but a little of this ointment, but has reserved the main part of it to pour on my head some days hence, which shall be so near my death, that it may be considered as a kind of embalming.” But it is unnatural to suppose that, in the transport of her love and gratitude, she would use this little management of keeping back most that was in the vessel; or that, if she had, John would have mentioned the quantity she took, which was no way to his purpose, or have taken notice of the room being filled with the odour of it.

Joh 12:9-11. Much people knew he was there, and came — Bethany being within two miles of Jerusalem, the news of his arrival soon reached the city, and drew out great numbers of the people; for they wished to see the man that had been raised from the dead, and the still more wonderful man that had raised him. And when they came, and saw Lazarus, many of them believed — That is, were convinced, both of Lazarus’s resurrection, and of the divinity of Christ’s mission. But the news of their believing, together with the reason of it, being currently reported in Jerusalem, came to the chief priests’ ears, and incensed them to such a degree, that they resolved to kill, not Jesus only, but, if possible, Lazarus also; that is, to kill a person, who, after being dead five or six days, and buried four, had, by a most wonderful display of divine power, been raised from the dead! Such was their unparalleled wickedness! Here we have the plain reason why the other evangelists, who wrote while Lazarus was living, did not relate this story. Many of the Jews went away — That is, say most commentators, went to Bethany; and after seeing Lazarus, believed on Jesus — Namely, as their long-expected Messiah. But the word υπηγον, here rendered, they went away, “bears,” Dr. Campbell thinks, “a very important sense, and denotes their ceasing to pay that regard to the teaching of the scribes which they had formerly done.”

Joh 12:12-16. On the next day — On Sunday; much people that were come to the feast — From different parts of the country, particularly from Galilee; took branches of palm-trees, &c. — So that this multitude consisted chiefly, not of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, but of persons from other places. See this story explained at large, Mat 21:1-16; Mar 11:1-10; Luk 19:29-40. And Jesus, when he had found a young ass — Called by the other evangelists, a colt. But the Greek here, ευρων δε ο Ιησους οναριον, may be better translated, Now Jesus, having found a young ass; sat thereon, &c. — For the evangelist does not mean that Jesus was saluted by the multitude before he mounted, but his meaning is, that Jesus was riding when they saluted him. As it is written — Namely, Zec 9:9; Fear not, daughter of Sion — For his meekness, as well as the end of his coming, forbids fear; behold thy king cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt — We shall easily see the propriety of applying Zechariah’s prophecy to this transaction, if we remember that, in the East, riding on horses was anciently reckoned the greatest ostentation of magnificence. It was, therefore, becoming the meekness of the lowly Jesus, that in his most public entry into the capital city, he chose to ride on an ass. At the same time, there was nothing mean or ridiculous in it, asses being the beasts which the eastern people commonly made use of in riding. These things understood not his disciples, &c. — They did not at that time know what their Master designed by this entry, or by any of the circumstances of it. Probably they considered it as the first step of his exaltation to the throne. But when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they, &c. — After his ascension, recollecting the prophecies concerning the Messiah, they remembered how exactly they had been fulfilled in him, and found their faith greatly strengthened thereby. In like manner, the design of God’s providential dispensations is seldom understood at first. We ought, therefore, to believe, though we understand not, and to give ourselves up to the divine disposal. The great work of faith is, to embrace those things which we know not now, but shall know hereafter.

Joh 12:17-19. The people, therefore — “Because the forwardness which the multitude now showed to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah was altogether extraordinary, the evangelist assigns the cause thereof. The witnesses of the resurrection of Lazarus had published the miracle far and near. As they were many in number, and persons of reputation, their report gained general credit; and this drew out a great multitude of people to meet Jesus. In saying, he called Lazarus out of the grave, the evangelist admirably expresses, as well the greatness of the miracle, as the facility with which it was wrought. The easiness of the Scripture style, on the most grand occurrences, is more sublime than all the pomp of orators. For this cause the people also met him — Because they heard from those who had been eye-witnesses thereof, that he had performed that extraordinary miracle; therefore they went out to meet him, and the multitude coming with him; so that, in a little time, both joined together, partly to go before and partly to follow after. The Pharisees therefore said, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? — In the mean time, the Pharisees and the great men were exceedingly enraged because every measure they had taken to hinder the people from following Jesus had proved ineffectual.

Joh 12:20-22. And there were certain Greeks — A prelude of the Gentile Church. The phrase, τινες Ελληνες, here used, signifies properly, as translators have rendered it, certain Greeks. But all the Gentiles being thus named by the Jews, it was intended to denote their religion, rather than their country: they had been brought up heathen: they were not, however, now idolatrous Gentiles, but proselytes to the Jewish religion, and worshippers of the true God, persons who had come to Jerusalem, it seems, on purpose to worship him; but that they had been circumcised is not certain. It is likely, however, that they had heard of the Messiah, and cherished expectations of his coming: but, being foreigners, they had never seen Jesus. The same came, therefore, to Philip, which was of Bethsaida — This circumstance is mentioned to show how these men came to apply themselves to Philip. Probably they were Syro-Phœnicians, dwelling about Tyre and Sidon, and who, having commerce with Galilee, might be acquainted with Philip. And desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus — Our Lord’s fame, and the general opinion which now prevailed, concurred to persuade these proselytes that he might be the Messiah; for which reason they desired an interview with him. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew, &c. — From Philip’s not venturing to introduce the men himself, it seems that there was some difficulty in the case. Perhaps they were only proselytes of the gate, who, according to custom, could not be admitted into the company of Jews, Act 10:28.

Joh 12:23-26. Jesus answered, saying — This phraseology intimates the suitableness of the following discourse to this particular occasion; by attending to which, many of the beauties of it will be discovered. Our Lord might, perhaps, enlarge on some of these hints; and if his hearers took a due notice of them, and made a proper report on their return home, it might prepare the way for the apostles, when they came, by their preaching, more fully to unfold and illustrate these important doctrines. The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified — Meaning, that he should soon be honoured by the conversion of many of the Gentiles. At the same time he told them, that he was to suffer death before he arrived at this glory; and illustrated the necessity of his dying, by the similitude of grain cast into the earth. Verily, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, &c. — As if he had said, As the only way to make grain produce fruit is to bury it in the ground; so, the most proper method of bringing about the conversion and salvation of the world is, that I die and be buried. To omit other things, our Lord’s resurrection, the grand miracle on which the truth of Christianity is founded, and by which the conversion of the world was effected, happened in consequence of his death. The late resurrection of Lazarus gave our Lord a natural occasion of speaking on the subject. “And agreeable to his infinite knowledge, he singles out from among so many thousands of seeds almost the only one that dies in the earth, and which, therefore, was an exceeding proper similitude, peculiarly adapted to the purpose for which he uses it. The like is not to be found in any other grain, except millet, and the large bean.” — Wesley. He that loveth his life — More than the will of God; shall lose it eternally. He further told them, that as he, their Master, was to suffer before his exaltation, so were all they, his disciples; for which reason they were to expect persecution, firmly resolving to lose even life itself, after his example, when called to do it; and in that case he promised them a share in his crown and glory: saying, He that hateth his life — In comparison of the will of God, and therefore exposes it to great dangers in the cause of the gospel; shall keep it unto life eternal — And secure a state of immortal glory and happiness. If any man serve me — If any one would become a faithful servant of mine, would do my will, (for his servants we are whom we obey, Rom 6:16,) and would serve the cause in which I am engaged; let him follow me — Let him attach himself to me as one of my disciples, even although his doing so should expose him to the loss of his life; and let him drink into my Spirit, and imitate my example. And where I am — Where I shall shortly take up mine abode, even in the eternal kingdom of my Father; there shall also my servant be — In the same felicity and glory. Yea, if any man serve me — And live no longer to himself, but unto me, of whatever nation he may be, or whatever his religious profession may before have been; him will my Father honour — Unspeakably and for ever. Perhaps, in speaking thus, Jesus intended tacitly to intimate, that the strangers who wished to be introduced to him, would be greatly disappointed, if their desire of conversing with him proceeded from a hope of recommending themselves to earthly preferments through his favour.

Joh 12:27. Now is my soul troubled — Our Lord, having uttered what is above recorded, seems to have paused for a while, and entered on a deep contemplation of the very different scene which lay before him; the prospect of which moved him to such a degree, that he uttered his grief in these and the following doleful words. For he had various foretastes of his passion before he fully entered into it. And what shall I say? — Not, What shall I choose? for his heart was fixed in choosing the will of his Father: but, What shall I say in prayer to my heavenly Father? What petition shall I offer to him on this occasion? Father, save me from this hour — Dr. Campbell reads, What shall I say? [shall I say,] Father, save me from this hour? But I came on purpose for this hour; considering the words as containing two questions: the distress of Christ’s soul first suggesting a petition for deliverance, in which, however, he is instantly checked by the reflection on the end and design of his coming. The passage is understood by Dr. Doddridge in the same sense, who says, “I suppose few need be told, that the pointing of the New Testament is far less ancient than the text. It is agreeable to observe, how many difficulties may be removed by varying it, and departing from the common punctuation: of which I take this to be one of the most remarkable instances. For as the text does not oblige us to it, it does not seem natural to suppose that our Lord actually offered this petition, and then immediately retracted it.” But for this cause came I unto this hour — For this cause was I born into the world, and came even to this present hour, that I might bear the sufferings on which I am entering, and might redeem my people by them; and far be it from me to draw back from such engagements and undertakings. By praying on this occasion, our Lord shows us what is the best method of obtaining support and comfort in deep distress. At the same time, as in his prayer he expressed an entire resignation to the will of his Father, he has taught us, that although the weakness of human nature may shrink at the first thoughts of suffering, his disciples ought not to yield, but to fortify themselves by just reflections on, and a firm faith in, the wisdom, power, and goodness of God, and the happy end he proposes to be answered by their afflictions.

Joh 12:28-30. Father, glorify thy name — Whatever I suffer. For this may be considered as a further expression of his resignation, importing that he was willing to submit to whatever the Father should judge necessary for the manifestation of his perfections: as if he had said, Dispose of me and all my concerns in such a way as may most effectually promote thy glory. The answer, however, that was now given to this part of Christ’s prayer, rather suggests another meaning, namely, that he entreated God to demonstrate, perhaps by an immediate interposition, the truth of his mission, a full proof thereof being altogether necessary for vindicating the honour of God. Accordingly, the words were no sooner spoken, than a voice from heaven was heard, answering distinctly to this sense of them: saying, I have glorified it, and will glorify it again — I have glorified it by the miracles which thou hast already performed, and will continue to glorify it by other miracles yet to be performed. Accordingly, by the miraculous circumstances which accompanied our Lord’s crucifixion, but especially by his resurrection from the dead, by his ascension into heaven, and by the effusion of the Holy Ghost upon his apostles, the truth of Christ’s mission was demonstrated, and the glory of God greatly advanced. The people, therefore, that stood by, and heard it — That is, heard a sound, but not the distinct words; said it thundered — The voice being probably strong and loud as thunder, and evidently preternatural. Others said, An angel spake to him — By this it appears, that it was an articulate voice: none of them, however, took it for a human voice, it being entirely different from any thing they had ever heard. Jesus answered, This voice came not because of me — Nor did I pray for it on my own account; but for your sakes — Not to assure me of the love of my Father, but to confirm you in the belief of my mission, that you may not be offended at the treatment I shall meet with, or quit your hope in me on account of the sufferings which are coming upon me.

Joh 12:31-33. Now is the judgment of this world — Which I am going to conquer and condemn, that by my death my followers may both be taught and enabled to triumph over it, and those may be convinced of sin that believe not in me. Some interpreters render the clause, Now is this world come to its crisis: and others explain it of the redemption of the world, or its vindication from the bondage of Satan. “But this,” says Dr. Doddridge, “is so unusual a sense of the word, [κρισις, judgment,] that I choose, with Dr. Whitby, to understand it of the condemnation of the world, or of the judgment passed upon its wicked principles and practices, and of the victory which Christians were to gain over it, in consequence of the death of Christ. See Joh 3:18-19; and Joh 16:8; Joh 16:11. Now shall the prince of this world — Satan, who has gained possession of it by sin and death; be cast out — That is, judged, condemned, cast out of his possession, and out of the bounds of Christ’s kingdom. In other words, The devil, who has so long reigned in the hearts of the children of disobedience, is about to be dethroned. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth — This expression seems to be a Hebraism that signifies dying. Death in general is all that it usually imported. But our Lord made use of it, rather than others that were equivalent, because it so well suited the particular manner of his death. As our Lord cannot be supposed, in this passage, to speak of his own death as a thing uncertain, the Greek expression, εαν υψωθω, should be translated, not, if I be lifted up, but, when I am lifted up; I will draw all men unto me — Multitudes of Gentiles, as well as Jews: and those who follow my drawings, Satan shall not be able to retain in his power. In other words, I shall lay a foundation for conquering the most stubborn hearts by so rich a display of my love, and shall, by a secret but powerful influence on their minds, persuade multitudes of all ranks and all nations to enlist themselves under the banner I raise. Signifying what death he should die — Even by crucifixion, in which the person suffering was lifted up on high, and hung as it were between heaven and earth.

Joh 12:34-36. The people answered — Understanding the phrase as implying some violent death shortly to come upon him; We have heard out of the law, that Christ abideth for ever — On hearing Jesus affirm that he was to be lifted up, or taken off by a violent death, they told him that it was inconsistent with the character of the Messiah, who, according to the law, (so they named the whole of their sacred writings,) was never to die. And how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? — How can these things be reconciled? Who is this Son of man? — Is he a different person from the Messiah, whom we have been taught to expect under the title of the Son of man? If not, what sort of a Messiah must he be that is to die? Then Jesus said — Not answering them directly, but exhorting them to improve what they had heard already; Yet a little while is the light with you — As if he had said, Do not cavil at what I now say; but remember how short this opportunity is, which through the divine goodness you now enjoy; and improve by my instructions, who am the light of the world. See on Joh 8:12. Lest darkness — That is, spiritual blindness; come upon you — By the just judgment of God. Rom 11:25. If that should happen to you, ye will be in a miserable condition indeed: For he that walketh in darkness, knoweth not whither he goeth — Knoweth neither the way he is walking in, nor the end he is walking toward: he knows not into what danger and misery he may fall the very next step he takes: and much more dreadful will it be for you to be deserted of God, and left to the darkness and folly of your own hearts. Observe, reader, he that is destitute of the light of the gospel, that is unacquainted with its discoveries and directions, wanders endlessly in mistakes and errors, in a thousand crooked paths, and is not aware of it: he is probably going to destruction, and knows not his danger: he is sleeping, or sporting, on the brink of the pit. While you have the light, therefore, believe in the light — While you enjoy the benefit of my doctrine, example, and miracles, which clearly prove my mission from God, believe on me; for it is thus alone you can become children of light — Children of God, wise, holy, and happy. These things spake Jesus — When the Greeks applied themselves to him; and as the unbelieving Jews were greatly irritated by the actions and discourses of the day, and would not be awakened to conviction, he left them and departed thence to a retired place. Greek, απελθων εκρυβη απ’ αυτων, which Dr. Campbell renders, He withdrew himself privately from them: observing, that he thinks our translation, he departed and did hide himself from them, “conveys a sense different from that of the original, which denotes simply, that in retiring he took care not to be observed by them.”

Joh 12:37-41. Though he had done so many miracles before them — So that they could not but see them; yet they believed not on him — That is, in general they did not; being hardened in their infidelity. That the saying of Esaias might — Or rather, So that the saying of Esaias was, fulfilled, as Dr. Doddridge renders the clause, observing, “It is apparent that the accomplishment of this prophecy could not be the end they proposed to themselves in their unbelief; and consequently that the expression, ινα πληρωθη, must be rendered as above.” Thus also Dr. Macknight, who observes, that ινα here, as well as in many other passages, ought to be translated so that, as denoting the event spoken of, and not the cause of that event. Which he spake — In the name of Christ and his servants, referring expressly to gospel times; Lord, who hath believed our report? — The tidings we bring, the testimony which we bear, especially concerning the great and wonderful humiliation and exaltation of the Messiah, predicted by that prophet in the passage referred to, namely, Isa 53:1, &c., where see the notes. And to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? — To whom has his power been manifested, so as to conquer those strong prejudices which men have entertained against the appointed method of salvation, or to save whom has it been exerted? Observe, reader, the power of God is only exerted to save those who believe the gospel report. Therefore, they could not believe — They were now in a manner utterly incapable of believing, because, by the just judgment of God for their obstinacy and wilful resistance of the truth, they were, at length, so left to the hardness of their hearts, that neither the miracles nor the doctrines of our Lord could make any impression upon them. Because Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, &c. — As God is said to harden the heart of Pharaoh in one place, while in another it is said, Pharaoh hardened his own heart; (see Exo 8:15; Exo 8:32; Exo 9:12;) and as we ought to be very tender of ascribing to God any thing that looks like a necessitating influence to impel men to sin, “I apprehend,” says Dr. Doddridge, “that all we are here to understand, by God’s blinding and hardening these Jews, is, that he permitted them to grow more and more prejudiced against the gospel,” namely, by withdrawing from them his abused grace. Now these things said Esaias when he saw his glory — Namely, Christ’s glory. See notes on Isa 6:1, &c., where the glory which Isaiah saw is expressly said to be the glory of Jehovah, the supreme God. The meaning is, that Esaias uttered these remarkable words, when, in a vision, he saw the glory of the Son of God, and the manifestations which he was to make of the divine counsels, and described the effect which those manifestations would have upon his hearers, for which reason they are a prophetical description of the men of the age in which Jesus lived.

Joh 12:42-43. Nevertheless, among the chief rulers also many believed on him — Though the greater part of those to whom Christ preached rejected him, his sermons were not wholly unsuccessful; for a number of the chief magistrates, and other principal people, believed on him; yet they did not openly profess their faith, fearing they should be excommunicated by the Pharisees, whose party was now very powerful, both in church and state; for they loved the praise of men more than, &c. — They durst not face the contempt of their fellow-mortals, even to secure the approbation of their Maker! Such was now the state of things at Jerusalem, and such the effect of Christ’s entrance into it, as above related.

Joh 12:44-50. Jesus — On some occasion or other, soon after this, in order to strengthen the faith of those timid and diffident disciples (if such they could be called) last mentioned, and to inspire them with courage; cried — Or proclaimed, with a loud voice, when, it appears, a considerable number of people were gathered about him; and said, He that believeth on me — Really and cordially; believeth not on me alone, but on him that sent me — And thereby does honour to the Father himself. As if he had said, My doctrine, declarations, and promises are so evidently from God, that he who believeth on me, may more properly be said to believe on God, by whose authority and whose word I preach. And he that seeth me — He that seeth the miracles which I perform, seeth the operation of his power by whom, as man, I act. Or, He that sees me and regards me with a lively faith, seeth him that sent me — As the perfections of the Father are displayed in me: whereas, he that shuts his eyes against me, excludes the only means of being brought to the true knowledge of the Father. I am come a light into the world — I am the Sun of righteousness, whose beams dispel the darkness of ignorance, folly, and sin, in which men are involved, and am come to deliver all who believe on me out of that darkness. And if any man hear my words — Which I am so frequently and continually speaking; and yet believe not, I judge him not — Rather, I condemn him not; for I came not — I am not at present come; to judge (to condemn) the world — Or to perform any work of wrath and terror, whatever ill usage I may meet with in it; but the design of my present appearance is mild, kind, and gracious, and I am come to save the world — And make its inhabitants happy, in time and in eternity, if they will be so wise as to hearken to the proposals I offer. See! Christ came to save even those that finally perish! Even they are a part of that world which he lived and died to save. He that rejecteth me, &c., hath one that judgeth him — But though I shall not now execute judgment upon those who hear my doctrine and do not believe and obey it, nevertheless they shall not pass unpunished. The word that I have spoken shall judge, &c. — For the doctrine which I have preached shall bear witness against them at the day of judgment; and because it has aggravated their sin, it shall heighten their punishment. For I have not spoken of myself — Either on my own motion, or on any precarious conclusions, drawn from principles divinely taught; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment — Gave me ample instructions; what I should say, and what I should speak — Two words signifying the same thing. The Old Testament prophets sometimes spoke of themselves, but Christ spake by the Holy Spirit at all times. God the Father gave him, 1st, His commission; he sent him, as his agent and plenipotentiary, to concert matters between him and man; to set on foot a treaty of peace, and to settle the articles thereof. 2d, His instructions; which are here called a commandment; for they were like those given to an ambassador, directing him not only what he may say, but what he must say. The Messenger of the covenant was intrusted with a message which it was necessary he should deliver. Christ, as Son of man, did not speak that which was of human device or contrivance; and, as Son of God, he did not act separately from, but in perfect union with, his eternal Father. Observe, reader, our Lord Jesus, though he were a Son, learned obedience himself before he taught it us. And I know that his commandment — Understood, believed, and obeyed; is life everlasting — That is, is the way to it, and the beginning of it. Whatsoever I speak, therefore — Whatsoever I declare in my doctrine to those that hear me; even as the Father said unto me, so I speak — I alter nothing in the message which he has sent me to deliver. In other words, because I am sensible that the doctrines and precepts which the Father hath commanded me to declare, are the only conditions of eternal life, and that it depends upon the knowledge and observance of them; therefore I have proposed them with the greatest faithfulness, plainness, and confidence. Hence I am worthy of credit; both in respect of my commission, and in respect of the fidelity with which I have executed it. So that the doctrine which I preach should be received as coming from the Father, and you should consider that by rejecting it you will be guilty of despising his authority. Thus, what is contained in this last paragraph appears to be, with St. John, the epilogue of our Lord’s public discourses, and a kind of recapitulation of them.

1535 Miles Coverdale Bible

1535 Miles Coverdale Bible