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Feast of the Dedication. The Jews Attempt to Stone Jesus and He Retires to PerÆa.

(Jerusalem and Beyond Jordan.)

D John X. 22–42.

d 22 And it was the feast of the dedication at Jerusalem: 23; it was winter; and Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. [The feast of dedication was one of eight days' duration and began upon the 25th Chisleu, which, according to the calculation of M. Chevannes, fell upon the nineteenth or twentieth of December, a.d. 29. The feast was kept in honor of the renovation and purification of the temple in the year b.c. 164, after it had been desecrated by the Syrians under Antiochus Epiphanes (I. Macc. i. 20–60; iv. 36–59; II. Macc. x. 1–8; Jos. Ant. xii. 7. 6, 7). As this feast was commemorative of national deliverance, the rulers considered it an opportune time to tempt Jesus to declare himself to be the Messiah, or coming Deliverer from the present Roman oppression. We are told that it was winter, that we may understand why Jesus walked under cover in Solomon's porch. This was a colonnade on the east side of the temple court, the name probably being derived from the wall against which it was built, which Josephus tells us was the work of Solomon—Jos. Ant. xx. 9. 7.] 24 The Jews therefore came round 485about him [as if to detain him until he answered], and said unto him, How long dost thou hold us in suspense? If thou art the Christ, tell us plainly. [The previous conduct and temper of the questioners, together with the context (which includes an attempt to stone, followed by an effort to arrest), shows that this question was asked for the purpose of committing Jesus to an open declaration which might be used as an accusation against him.] 25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believe not: the works that I do in my Father's name, these bear witness of me. [Jesus was the Christ of the Old Testament, but not the Christ of Pharisaic hopes. Had he assumed to himself in their presence the title of Christ, it would have led them to false expectations. By his declarations and works Jesus had repeatedly published and proved to all his claims to be the true Messiah. He had, at the feast of tabernacles, set himself forth as the Good Shepherd, and on other occasions as the Son of God, etc. (John v. 19; viii. 36, 56). Had they understood or received the Old Testament ideal of the Messiah, they could not have failed to understand his claims.] 26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep. [Failure to be Christ's sheep was not the cause, but the evidence of their unbelief.] 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. [The thought here is similar to to that set forth on pp. 469, 470.] 29 My Father, who hath given them me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. [This passage is taken by Calvinists as asserting the doctrine of the impossibility of apostacy. It is certainly a strong assurance that the Christian may expect to succeed in fighting the good fight. It may be taken in connection with Rom. viii. 38, 39; but both passages must be interpreted in the light of Heb. vi. 4–8. We can not be taken from God against our will; but our will being free, we may choose to leave him. We can not be 486protected against ourselves in spite of ourselves. If that were so, no one could be lost.] 30 I and the Father are one. [This assertion as to the unity of power residing in the hand brings forward the idea of the general unity which subsists between the Father and the Son. This unity Jesus asserts fully, without limitation or restriction; the unity of interest, design, and essence are all included. It is the advance from an assertion of special unity to an assertion of general unity.] 31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. [They prepared to act on Lev. xxiv. 14–16, and a precedent as to it found at I. Kings xxi. 10; though the right to stone for blasphemy was now abrogated by the Roman dominion. The repairs and enlargements then going on in the temple no doubt supplied an abundance of missiles. The word “again” refers back to John viii. 59.] 32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from the Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? 33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. [Jesus, conscious that he was living the divine life, endeavored to arouse the Jews to a consciousness of that life by asking them to point out what part of it offended them. It was a demand that his claim to be divine be tested and judged by his life. But the Jews insisted upon judging him by his words without in any way taking his life into account. Jesus urged that a divine claim was made good by a divine life, but they replied that a divine claim issuing from a human body was blasphemy.] 34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law [Ps. lxxxii. 6. The whole Old Testament not infrequently is thus designated as the “law”], I said, Ye are gods? 35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came (and the scripture cannot be broken), 36 say ye of him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? [Since the civil rulers of a land are ordained of God (Rom. xiii. 1–7 I. Sam. xxiv. 6, 7), 487they were regarded as God's delegates or ministers, and as such the inspired Psalmist addresses them, calling them gods. Compare also Ex. xxii. 28. If it was not blasphemy to call those gods who so remotely represented the Deity, how much less did Christ blaspheme in taking unto himself a title to which he had a better right than they, even in the subordinate sense of being a mere messenger. The expression “word of God” is equivalent to “commission from God.” Compare Luke iii. 2, where John was commissioned. The Jews regarded the Scripture as final authority. Jesus asserted this view by stating that the Scripture could not be broken; that is, could not be undone or set aside. We may regard Jesus as here ratifying their view, since he elsewhere concurred in it—see Matt. v. 19.] 37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. 38 But if I do them, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father. [Having set aside their false judgment which was based upon his mere words, Jesus again bids them to consider his works or manner of life.] 39 They sought again to take him: and he went forth out of their hand. [The calm reasoning of Jesus cooled their violence, and so far changed their evil designs that they now sought to arrest him that they might bring him before the Sanhedrin. The word “again” refers back to John vii. 30, 32, 44.] 40 And he went away again beyond the Jordan into the place where John was at first baptizing; and there he abode. [The word “again” either refers to John i. 28, or else it refers to some former escape beyond the Jordan not recorded by John, but by one of the other evangelists. The supplementary nature of John's Gospel makes this latter view somewhat plausible.] 41 And many came unto him; and they said, John indeed did no sign: but all things whatsoever John spake of this man were true. [John at first baptized “in the wilderness of Judæa” and afterwards at Bethany and Ænon. The presence of Jesus in this place recalled to the 488 minds of the people the work of the Baptist and his testimony concerning Jesus. They had held John to be a prophet, yet when they searched for his credentials as a prophet, they found them inextricably intertwined with the claims of Jesus. John had failed to prove himself a prophet by miracles and signs—the accustomed credentials. But he had done so by his predictions which had come true, and all of these predictions related to Jesus.] 42 And many believed on him there. [The word “there” stands in contrast to Jerusalem, which rejected Jesus.]

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