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3. INFLUENCE OF JESUS WITH HIS HEARERS.

Which is more likely—that Jesus came into contact with all sorts and conditions of men amongst his people and 72achieved successes of every kind, or that he had to deal almost entirely and without distinction with the “Jews” in a body? Which is more likely that he often had an enthusiastic reception, or that the Jews, in a compact body, refused to believe in him? It is said in Jn. often enough that “many” believed in him on this or that occasion (ii. 23; vii. 31; viii. 30; x. 42, &c.). This, however, should not deceive us as to the fact, that as a general result the Jews do not believe. When a certain number believe, this always (apart from x. 42) gives rise to a division among Jesus’ hearers, and if that had not happened, Jesus would never have been led to speak such words as “if a man keep my word, he shall never see death” (viii. 51) and the like, which Jn. is determined to record. But the belief has no permanent result, for when Jesus delivers his farewell discourses (chaps. xiii.-xvii.), only the little band of his intimate disciples is represented as being still true to him; all those who have believed only for a time are referred to in the saying: “But Jesus did not trust himself unto them, for that he knew all men” (ii. 24); in other words, he knew that in the end these—all of them—would join in the cry, “Crucify him, crucify him” (xix. 6, 15).

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