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36But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. 37And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form, 38and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent.

39 “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. 40Yet you refuse to come to me to have life. 41I do not accept glory from human beings. 42But I know that you do not have the love of God in you. 43I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God? 45Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”


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36-38. I have greater witness—rather, "The witness which I have is greater."

the works … bear witness of me—not simply as miracles nor even as a miracle of mercy, but these miracles, as He did them, with a will and a power, a majesty and a grace manifestly His own.

37. the Father himself … hath borne witness of me—not referring, probably, to the voice of His baptism, but (as seems from what follows) to the testimony of the Old Testament Scripture [Calvin, Lucke, Meyer, Luthardt, &c.].

neither heard his voice, &c.—never recognized Him in this character. The words are "designedly mysterious, like many others which our Lord uttered" [Stier].

38. not his word abiding in you—passing now from the Witness to the testimony borne by Him in "the lively oracles" (Ac 7:38): both were alike strangers to their breasts, as was evidenced by their rejecting Him to whom all that witness was borne.

39-42. Search the scriptures, &c.—"In the Scriptures ye find your charter of eternal life; go search them then, and you will find that I am the Great Burden of their testimony; yet ye will not come to Me for that life eternal which you profess to find there, and of which they tell you I am the appointed Dispenser." (Compare Ac 17:11, 12). How touching and gracious are these last words! Observe here (1) The honor which Christ gives to the Scriptures, as a record which all have a right and are bound to search—the reverse of which the Church of Rome teaches; (2) The opposite extreme is, resting in the mere Book without the living Christ, to direct the soul to whom is its main use and chiefest glory.

41. I receive not honour from men—contrasting His own end with theirs, which was to obtain human applause.

42. not the love of God in you—which would inspire you with a single desire to know His mind and will, and yield yourselves to it, in spite of prejudice and regardless of consequences.

43-47. if another shall come, &c.—How strikingly has this been verified in the history of the Jews! "From the time of the true Christ to our time, sixty-four false Christs have been reckoned by whom they have been deceived" [Bengel].

44. How can ye believe, &c.—(See on Joh 5:40,41). The "will not" of Joh 5:40, and "cannot" here are just different features of the same awful state of the human heart.

45. Do not think I will accuse you to the Father—"My errand hither is not to collect evidence to condemn you at God's bar."

one that accuseth you, even Moses, &c.—"Alas! that will be too well done by another, and him the object of all your religious boastings—Moses," here put for "the Law," the basis of the Old Testament Scriptures.

46. he wrote of me—"an important testimony to the subject of the whole Pentateuch—'of Me'" [Alford].

47. If ye believe not—(See Lu 16:31).

his writings … my words—a remarkable contrast, not absolutely exalting Old Testament Scripture above His own words, but pointing to the office of those venerable documents to prepare Christ's way, to the necessity universally felt for documentary testimony in revealed religion, and perhaps (as Stier adds) to the relation which the comparative "letter" of the Old Testament holds to the more flowing "words" of "spirit and life" which characterize the New Testament.