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John 12:16-19

16. These things his disciples did not understand at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written concerning him, and that they had done these things to him. 17. And the multitude, which were with him, gave their testimony that he had called Lazarus out of the tomb, and had raised him from the dead. 18. For this reason the multitude met him, because they had heard that he had performed. this miracle. 19. The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive you not that you gain nothing? Behold, the world is gone after him.

 

16. These things his disciples did not understand at first. As the seed does not spring up as soon as it is thrown into the earth, so the result of the works of God is not immediately seen. The Apostles are the servants of God to fulfill the prophecy, but they do not understand what they are doing. They hear the shout of the multitude, which was no confused noise, but a distinct salutation of Christ as King; but they do not perceive what is the object of it, or what it means. To them, therefore, it is an unmeaning exhibition, until the Lord, after his glorious resurrection, opens their eyes.

When it is said, that they at length remembered that these things had been written concerning him, the Evangelist points out the cause of such gross ignorance, by which their knowledge was preceded. It was because they had not the Scripture at that time as their guide and instructor, to direct their minds to just and accurate views; for we are blind, unless the word of God go before,, our steps, and it is not even enough that the word of God shine on us, if the Spirit do not also enlighten our eyes, which otherwise would be blind amidst the clearest light. This grace Christ bestowed on his disciples after his resurrection, because the full time, when the Spirit should bestow his riches in great abundance, was not come, until he was received into the heavenly glory, as we have seen under John 7:39 1717     See Vol. 1, p. 310.

Taught by this example, let us learn to form our judgment of every thing that relates to Christ, not by our own carnal feelings, but by the Scripture. Besides, let us remember that it is a special favor of the Holy Spirit to instruct us in a gradual manner, that we may not be stupid in considering the works of God.

That these things had been written concerning him, and that they had done these things to him. I interpret that clause in this manner: “Then, for the first time, did it occur to the disciples that Christ did not do these things rashly, and that those men were not employed in idle amusement; but that the whole of this transaction had been regulated by the providence of God, because those things which had been written must necessarily be fulfilled;” so that the words may be thus arranged: “They did these things to him, as they had been written concerning him.”

17. The multitude gave their testimony. He again repeats what he had said, that many persons, aroused by the report of so great a miracle, came to meet Christ. The reason why they go out in crowds is, that the rumor, respecting Lazarus who had been restored to life, was widely spread. They had good reason, therefore, for ascribing to the son of Mary the honor of the Messiah, since he was known to possess such extraordinary power.

19. Do you not see that you gain nothing? By these words they urge themselves to greater rage; for it may be regarded as a reproach of their slothfulness, as if they had said, that the reason why the people revolted and followed Christ was their own excessive indolence and cowardice. This is the way in which desperate men are wont to talk, when they are making themselves ready for attempting any extreme measures. And if the enemies of God persevere so obstinately in what is evil, we ought to be far more steady in a just undertaking.


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