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27All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

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27. All things have been delivered to me. The connection of this sentence with the preceding one is not correctly understood by those commentators who think that Christ intends nothing more than to strengthen the confidence of his disciples for preaching the Gospel. My opinion is, that Christ spoke these words for another reason, and with another object in view. Having formerly asserted that the Church proceeds from the secret source of God’s free election, he now shows in what manner the grace of salvation comes to men. Many persons, as soon as they learn that none are heirs of eternal life but those whom God chose before the foundation of the world, (Ephesians 1:4,) begin to inquire anxiously how they may be assured of God’s secret purpose, and thus plunge into a labyrinth, from which they will find no escape. Christ enjoins them to come direct to himself, in order to obtain certainty of salvation. The meaning therefore is, that life is exhibited to us in Christ himself, and that no man will partake of it who does not enter by the gate of faith. We now see that he connects faith with the eternal predestination of God, — two things which men foolishly and wickedly hold to be inconsistent with each other. Though our salvation was always hidden with God, yet Christ is the channel through which it flows to us, and we receive it by faith, that it may be secure and ratified in our hearts. We are not at liberty then to turn away from Christ, unless we choose to reject the salvation which he offers to us.

None knoweth the Son. He says this, that we may not be guided by the judgment of men, and thus form an erroneous estimate of his majesty. The meaning therefore is, that if we wish to know what is the character of Christ, we must abide by the testimony of the Father, who alone can truly and certainly inform us what authority he hath bestowed upon him. And, indeed, by imagining him to be what our mind, according to its capacity, conceives of him, we deprive him of a great part of his excellence, so that we cannot know him aright but from the voice of the Father That voice alone would undoubtedly be insufficient without the guidance of the Spirit; for the power of Christ is too deep and hidden to be attained by men, until they have been enlightened by the Father We must understand him to mean, not that the Father knoweth for himself, but that He knoweth for us to reveal him to us.

But the sentence appears to be incomplete, for the two clauses do not correspond to each other. Of the Son it is said, that none knoweth the Father except himself, and he to whom he shall be pleased to reveal him Of the Father nothing more is said than this, that He alone knoweth the Son. Nothing is said about revelation. I reply, that it was unnecessary to repeat what he had already said; for what else is contained in the previous thanksgiving, than that the Father hath revealed the Son to those who approve of him? When it is now added that He alone knoweth the Son, it appears to be the assigning of a reason; for this thought might, have occurred, What neccessity was there that the Son, who had openly exhibited himself to the view of men, should be revealed by the Father? We now perceive the reason why it was said, that none knoweth the Son but the Father only It now remains that we attend to the latter clause:

None knoweth the Father except the Son, and he to whom the Son shall be pleased to reveal him. This is a different kind of knowledge from the former; for the Son is said to know the Father, not because he reveals Him by his Spirit, but because, being the lively image of Him, he represents Him visibly in his own person. At the same time, I do not exclude the Spirit, but explain the revelation here mentioned as referring to the manner of communicating information. This agrees most completely with the context; for Christ confirms what he had formerly said, that all things had been delivered to him by his Father, by informing us that the fullness of the Godhead dwelleth in him, (Colossians 2:9.) The passage may be thus summed up: 6969     “Tout ce passage revient a ces deux points;” — “the whole of this passage amounts to these two points.” First, it is the gift of the Father, that the Son is known, because by his Spirit he opens the eyes of our mind to discern the glory of Christ, which otherwise would have been hidden from us. Secondly, the Father, who dwells in inaccessible light, and is in himself incomprehensible, is revealed to us by the Son, because he is the lively image of Him, so that it is in vain to seek for Him elsewhere. 7070     “En sorte que c’est temps perdu de le chercher ailleurs;” — “so that it is lost time to seek him elsewhere.”