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§ 147. The Discourse continued: Incapacity of the Jews to Understand the Testimony of God as given in the Scriptures. (John, v., 37-47.)

It was precisely through the works, Christ told them, that the Father had testified to him. “But,” continued he, in effect, “ it is no wonder that you ask another testimony of me, seeing that you are destitute of the spiritual capacity which is necessary to perceive this one. It can not be perceived with the senses;383383   We may remember how the Jews were inclined to look for Theophanies (visible appearances of the Deity). you have never heard with your ears the voice of the Father, nor seen with your eyes his form. God does not reveal himself to the fleshly sense; and in you no other sense is developed. And for this reason, too, you cannot understand the 222testimony of the Scriptures. The word of God, which you ought to have received within you from the Scriptures, dwells not in you; it has remained for you simply outward. Hence your ‘searching of the Scriptures’ is a lifeless thing. Thinking that, in the letter of the word, you have eternal life, you will not come unto Him who alone imparts that life, and to whom the Scriptures were only intended to lead; your dispositions and mine are directly contrary. I am concerned only for the honour of God; you for your own. With such a disposition, you cannot possibly believe in me. If another should come, in feeling like yourselves, and seek, in his own name, to lord it among you, him you will receive.384384   Cf. the predictions, in the synoptical Gospels, of false prophets that should deceive the people. Moses himself, for whose honour you are zealous, but whose law you violate whenever it clashes with your selfish interests, will appear as your accuser. Did you truly believe Moses—not according to the letter merely, but also to the spirit—you would also believe in me.”385385   For Moses’ highest calling was to prepare the way for Messiah. Both by the whole stage which he occupied in the developement of the Divine kingdom, and by individual prophetic intimations (like Deut., xviii., 15; Gen., iii., 15, in their spiritual meaning), he had pointed out the Messiah.

Had the Pharisees been truly sincere in observing the law, the law would have been to them a παιδαγωγὸς εἰς Χριστόν (a schoolmaster to lead to Christ), and they would have discovered the element of prophecy even in the Pentateuch itself. Their adherence to the letter made them blind to the Messiah; but their carnal mind caused their adherence to the letter. Justly, then, could Christ say to them, “Ye strive for the honour of Moses, yet, in fact, you seek your own honour more than his, and, therefore, do not believe him; how, then, can you believe my words, which must appear altogether strange and new?”

From this time the ruling Pharisaic party persecuted Christ as a most dangerous enemy, who exposed their sentiments with a power of truth not to be controverted. “Sabbath-breaking and blasphemy” were the pretexts on which they sought his condemnation.


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