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John 8:46-50

46. Which of you convicteth me of sin? And if I speak truth, why do you not believe me? 47. He who is of God heareth the words of God; you hear them not, because you are not of God. 48. The Jews therefore answered, and said to him, Do we not say well, that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? 49. Jesus answered, I have not a devil, but I honor my Father, and you have dishonored me. 50. But I seek not my own glory; there is one who seeketh it, and judgeth of it. 241241     “Il y a qui la cherche, et qui en juge.”

 

46. Which of you? This question proceeds from perfect confidence; for, knowing that they could not justly bring any reproach against him, he glories over his enemies, as having obtained a victory. And yet he does not say that he is free from their slanders; for, though they had no reason for reproaching, still they did not cease to pour out slanders on Christ; but he means that no crime dwells in him. And such is the import of the Greek word ἐλέγχειν, as the Latins use coarguere, (to convict,) when a person is held convicted of the fact. Which of you Convicteth me of sin? Yet those who think that Christ here asserts his complete innocence, because he alone surpassed all men, so far as he was the Son of God, are mistaken. For this defense must be restricted to what belongs to the passage, as if he had asserted that nothing could be brought forward to show that he was not a faithful servant of God. In like manner Paul also glories that he is not conscious of any crime (1 Corinthians 4:4;) for that does not extend to the whole life, but is only a defense of his doctrine and apostleship. It is away from the subject, therefore, to speculate, as some do, about the perfection of righteousness which belongs to the Son of God alone; since the only object which he has in view is, to give authority to his ministry, as appears more clearly from what follows; for he again adds immediately afterwards, If I speak truth, why do you not believe me? From which we infer that Christ is rather defending his doctrine than his person.

47. He who is of God. As he has a full right to take this for granted, that he is the ambassador of the heavenly Father, and that he discharges faithfully the office which has been committed to him, he kindles into greater indignation against them; for their impiety was no longer concealed, since they were so obstinate in rejecting the word of God. He had showed that they could not bring forward any thing which he had not taught as from the mouth of God. He concludes, therefore, that they have nothing in common with God, for they do not hear the words of God; 242242     “Ils n’oyent point les paroles de Dieu.” and, without saying any thing about himself, he charges them with being at war with God. Besides, we are taught by this passage, that there is not a more evident sign of a reprobate mind, than when one cannot endure the doctrine of Christ, even though, in other respects, it shone with angelic sanctity; as, on the contrary, if we embrace that doctrine cheerfully, we have what may be called a visible seal of our election. For he who has the word enjoys God himself; but he who rejects it excludes himself from righteousness and life. Wherefore, there is nothing which we ought to fear so much as to fall under that dreadful sentence.

48. Do we not say well? They show more and more how greatly they are stupified by Satan; for, though they are fully convicted, still they are enraged, and are not ashamed to show that they are utterly desperate. 243243     “Neantmoins, ils sont enragez, et n’ont pointe honte de se monstrer du tout desesperez.” Besides, though they bring a double reproach against Christ, still they wish to do nothing more than to say in a few words, that he is a detestable man, and that he is actuated by a wicked spirit. The Jews reckoned the Samaritans to be apostates and corrupters of the Law; and therefore, whenever they wished to stamp a man with infamy, they called him a Samaritan. Having no crime more heinous, therefore, to reproach Christ with, they seize at random, and without judgment, this vulgar taunt. To express it in a few words, we see that with effrontery they curse him, as men are wont to do when, infuriated like enraged dogs, they cannot find any thing to say.

49. I have not a devil. He passes by the first charge, and clears himself only of the second. Some think that he did so, because he disregarded the insult offered to his person, and undertook only the defense of the doctrine. But they are mistaken, in my opinion; for it is not probable that the Jews were so ingenious in distinguishing between the life and the doctrine of the Lord Jesus. 244244     “Du Seigneur Jesus.” Besides, the dislike of this name arose, as we have said, from this circumstance, that the Samaritans, being perverse and degenerate observers of the Law, had debased it by many superstitions and corruptions, and had polluted the whole worship of God by foreign inventions. Augustine flies to allegory, and says that Christ did not refuse to be called a Samaritan, because he is a true guardian of his flock. But Christ’s intention appears to me to have been different; for since the two reproaches cast upon him had the same object, by refuting the one, he refutes the other; and, indeed, if the matter be duly considered, they insulted him more grievously by calling him a Samaritan than by calling him a demoniac But, as I have already said, Christ satisfies himself with a simple refutation, which he draws from what is contrary, when he asserts that he labors to promote the honor of his Father; for he who duly and sincerely honors him must be guided by the Spirit of God, and must be a faithful servant of God.

You have dishonored me. This clause may be explained, as if it were a complaint of Christ, that he does not receive the honor due to him on account of his promoting the glory of God. But I think that he looks much higher, and connects the glory of the Father with his own, in this manner. “I claim nothing for myself which does not tend to the glory of God; for his majesty shines in me, his power and authority dwells in me; and therefore, when you treat me so disdainfully, you pour contempt on God himself.” He immediately adds, therefore, that God will revenge this insult. For they might have alleged that he was ambitious, if he had not testified that it was not from any personal feelings of a carnal nature that he cared about the honor or contempt showed to himself, but so far as the honor or contempt of God is concerned. Besides, though we are at a great distance from Christ, let every man be fully convinced that, if he be sincerely desirous to promote the glory of God, he will find that God has secured for him abundant commendation; for we shall always find that saying to be true,

Those who honor me, I will render honorable,
(1 Samuel 2:30.)

If men not only despise, but even load him with reproaches, let him calmly wait till the day of the Lord come.


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