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the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
John 12

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Verse 1

Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.

Came to Bethany — To convert some, confirm others, and to refresh himself with his fast friends, ere he fell into the hands of his bloody enemies. So Cromwell, Earl of Essex, going to his death, first called for his breakfast, and cheerfully eating the same, and after that meeting the Lord Hungerford going likewise to his execution, and perceiving him to be all heavy and doleful, with cheerful countenance and comfortable words asking him why he was so heavy, he willed him to pluck up his heart, and to be of good comfort: For, said he, there is no cause for you to fear, for if you repent and be heartily sorry for what you have done, there is for you mercy with the Lord, who for Christ’s sake will forgive you; therefore be not dismayed. And though the breakfast we are going to be sharp, yet, trusting to the mercy of the Lord, we shall have a joyful dinner. And so went they together to the place of execution, and took their death cheerfully.

Verse 2

There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.

That sat at table — Being invited by Simon the leper at whose house this feast was kept, as some will have it.

Verse 3

Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

Of spikenard, very costly — Herodotus reckons an alabaster box of ointment ( μυρου αλαβαστρον ) among the precious gifts that Cambyses sent for a present to the king of Ethiopia. Mary thinks nothing too good for him, whom her soul loved. She will honour him with the best of her substance; she knew there was nothing lost; but though it took from the heap, yet it increased the heap; as it is said of tithes and offerings, Malachi 3:10 . This made David so free and frolic, that he would not servel God of that which cost him nothing; and that he made such plentiful preparation for the temple-work. It is both love and good husbandry to make our service to God costly: his retributions are bountiful. This ointment in the text was a costly confection, like that of the Church, "Spikenard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon," …, Song of Solomon 4:14 . Now Galen writes that in his time cinnamon was very rare, and hard to be found, except in the storehouses of princes. And Pliny reports that a pound of cinnamon was worth a thousand denarii, that is, 150 crowns of our money. This good woman held, as Tertullian afterwards did, that Pietatis nomine sumptum facere, est lucrum facere, to spend upon pious uses was the way to greatest gain.

Verse 4

Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son , which should betray him,

Then said one of his disciples — St Matthew tells us, that all the disciples said thus. Judas was of so great esteem and authority among them, that what he did they are all said to do. So cunningly he had carried his conspiracy, that they all suspected themselves rather than Judas; every one said, Is it I?

Verse 5

Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?

Sold for three hundred pence — He, the thief, had quickly computed and cast it up. Pliny tells us that a pound of ordinary ointment might be had for ten pence; but the best was worth three hundred and ten pence. So that Judas was much about the good, as they say. And Mary spared for no cost; as neither did Justinian in his rich communion table, offered up by him in the temple of Sophia in Constantinople, that had in it, saith the author, all the riches of land and sea. Cedren. Hist.

Verse 6

This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.

He was a thief — It is the conceit of Tertullian, that even Judas carried himself honestly and right, usque ad loculorum officium, till he bare the bag. When once he came to be master of the money he grew into such a devilish humour of covetousness, that rather than he would be out of taking, he would sell his very Saviour. And a fair match he made: for, as Austin saith, Judas sold his salvation, and the Pharisees bought their damnation.

And had the bag, and bare — Our Saviour then had a bag for store, and so big that it had need to have one specially deputed to bear it; this was Judas, who could be well content to bear the cross on his back, so he might bear the bag in his hand; which he thought (as all covetous men do) to be the best tongue a man can use for himself, as the Greek word γλωσσοκομον here used importeth. But what an odious piece of hypocrisy is that in the Capuchin friars, that none of them may take or touch silver! at the offer thereof they start back, as Moses from the serpent; yet have they ever a boy with a bag in their company, that takes and carries it, and never complains of either metal or measure.

Verse 7

Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.

Let her alone — Christ crossed the traitor in his covetous desire of fingering such a sum. Hence his discontent put him upon that desperate design of contracting with the chief priests. He is resolved to have it, however he come by it; Rem, rem, quocunque modo rem. Horat. Take heed of discontent. It was the devil’s sin that threw him out of heaven. Ever since which this restless spirit loves to fish in troubled waters, to dwell in a darkened soul: as in Saul, envious at David: and as some heretics, missing preferment, have invented their heresies, ut se consolarentur, as Epiphanius observed.

Against the day — Being at a feast he speaketh of his funeral.

Verse 8

For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.

The poor ye have always with you — To give to when you please; and in gratifying whom, ye may glorify God and secure your substance; for Manus pauperum gazophylacium Christi, the hand of the poor is the treasury of Christ, saith an ancient.

But me have ye not always — And yet we have, in his poor members, the family of faith. Hence Salvian sticks not to say, that Christ is maximus mendicorum, the greatest of beggars; and addeth, Non eget miseria sed eget misericordia: non eget deltate pro se, sed eget pietate prd suis. (Salv. ad Eccles. Cathol. iv.)

Verse 9

Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.

And they came, … — Do the Pharisees what they could to the contrary. Truth may be oppressed, not suppressed, Impii sunt piorum εργοδιωκται . This people (like those branches of palm-trees borne by them, John 12:13 ) spread and sprang up the more they were held under by the high priests. ( Βαια, παρα το Βαινειν , a scandendo. )

But that they might see Lazarus — And fish somewhat out of him concerning the future estate of the dead. But here they lost their labour.

Verse 10

But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death;

That they might put Lazarus also to death — In malice is steeped the venom of all vices. What a giant like madness was this, to take up arms against heaven itself! to seek to kill a man, only because God had made him alive! was it not because they were even acted and agitated by the devil? Si videris aliquando persecutorem tuum nimis saevientem, scito quia ab accensore sue daemone perurgetur, saith Bernard. These Pharisees had sinned that sin to death; which made another, in the same case, wish that his wife and children and all the world might be damned together with him. (Mr Burr, Moses’ Choice.) Hacket at the gallows cried out, O heavenly God, show some miracle out of the cloud to convert these infidels and deliver me from mine enemies. But if not, I will set the heaven on fire, and with these hands pluck thee out of thy throne: and other speeches he used, more unspeakable. Camden’s Elizabeth.

Verse 11

Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.

Because that by reason of him — This was it that embittered the Pharisees, as it doth now their successors the Papists. Bellarmine bewrays his grief, and tells us that ever since we proclaimed the pope to be that Antichrist, his kingdom hath not only not increased, but daily more and more decreased. Ab eo tempore quo per vos Papa Antichristus esse coepit, non modo non crevit eius imperium, … (De Papa Romans 3:21 ) And Erasmus being asked by the Elector of Saxony, why Luther was so hated by the Popish clergy? For two great faults that he had committed, said he, for meddling with the pope’s triple crown and the monks’ fat paunches. (Scultet. Annul.)

Verse 12

On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,

On the next day much people — The envious Pharisees feeding the while upon their own hearts. Israel never increased so fast as when Pharaoh most oppressed them. Plures efficimur quoties metimur, saith Tertullian.

Verse 13

Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Took branches of palm trees — Plutarch writeth that the Babylonians make 360 benefits of the palm tree, and therefore do highly honour it. Pintus upon Daniel telleth us, that the palm tree will not grow in a rich ground, but in a light and sandy; and if the soil be rich and fertile, they must cast salt and ashes at the root, to diminish the strength of the ground. Sure it is, that if prosperity be not seasoned with the salt of grace it will be unfruitful and unprofitable.

Hosanna, Blessed is the King, … — This shows they were well seen in David’s psalms, which are, saith Chrysostom, a rich storehouse of all good doctrines: ταντων αγαθων διδαγματων ταμιειον . And they are so penned, saith Athanasius, that every man may think they speak de se, in re sun, of himself, and for his particular purpose; which of other parts of Scripture cannot be affirmed.

Verse 14

And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written,

When he had found a young ass — To make religion dance attendance upon policy (saith one) is to set the ass upon Christ, and not Christ upon the ass. These three things, saith Luther, will be the ruin of religion, unthankfulness, security, and carnal policy. Sapientia mundi, quae vult omnia, redigere in ordinem. (Melch. Adam.)

Verse 15

Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt.

Sitting upon an ass — Not upon a stately palfrey, as an earthly potentate; but upon a silly ass, without pomp, to comfort the poorest, and to teach us humility, tolerance, patience. An ass is a beast profitable (whence he hath his name in the original), but born to bear burdens. ονος, παρα το ονηααθαι . Hinc Heradidae Sophistae, πσυου εγκωηρον, ονου dixit εγκωμιον . Oneramus asinum, saith Bernard, et non curat, quia asinus est. But what notorious asses are those superstitious Papists, that show the ass’s tail in Genoa in Italy, whereon our Saviour rode, for a relic, and give it divine worship. Are not these given up to the very efficacy of error?

Verse 16

These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.

These things understood not, … — They only beheld it as a pretty pageant. They had read it often, in the prophet, and now saw it acted; yet were never the wiser, for the present. Read, or hear, though thou understandest not; God may drop in divine light when thou least lookest for it.

Verse 17

The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record.

When he called Lazarus, … — This notable miracle, the evangelist, as he had punctually described it, John 11:41-44 , so he cannot but again and again recite it. We should set forth God’s noble acts, and not be sated. David never tires talking of what God had done for his soul. Those in heaven have no rest (and yet no unrest either) crying, "Holy, holy, holy," …,Revelation 4:8; Revelation 4:8 .

Verse 18

For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle.

For this cause also the people met him — To the Pharisees’ extreme grief and regret; to show that there is neither "wisdom, nor understanding, nor counsel against the Lord," Proverbs 21:30 .

Verse 19

The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.

Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? — Thus they stir up one another to more madness, as if hitherto they had been overly mild, and used too much gentleness. So Stephen Gardiner, being charged of cruelty by Bradford, answered, I for my part have been challenged for being too gentle oftentimes. Which thing Bonner confirmed, and so did almost all the audience, that he had been ever too mild and moderate. So Bonner in open court to the Lord Mayor: They report me (said he) to seek blood, and call me bloody Bonner, whereas, God knows, I never sought any man’s blood in all my life. But a certain unknown good woman, in a letter to Bonnor, told him his own in these words: Indeed you are called the common cut-throat and general slaughter-slave to all the bishops of England. And therefore it is wisdom for me and all other simple sheep of the Lord to keep us out of your butcherly stall, as long as we can, especially since you have such store already, that you are not able to drink all their blood, lest you should break your belly: and therefore ye let them lie still and die for hunger, … Thus she to Bonner. As for Dr Story, who was hanged, drawn, and quartered, for his treason in Queen Elizabeth’s reign; I see (said he in open Parliament) nothing to be ashamed of (though he had been a furious persecutor under Queen Mary), so less I see to be sorry for, but rather because I have done no more; wherein he said there was no default in him, but in them, whom he often and earnestly had exhorted to the same; being not a little grieved, therefore, with them, for that they laboured only about the young and little sprigs and twigs, while they should have stricken at the root (the Lady Elizabeth he meant) and clean rooted it out. The Lord Paget in a certain consultation said, that King Philip should never have any quiet commonwealth in England unless the Lady Elizabeth’s head were stricken from her shoulders. Whereunto the Spaniards answered, God forbid that their king and master should have such a mind, to consent to such a mischief. A writ came down, while she was in the Tower, subscribed with certain hands of the council, for her execution, Stephen Gardiner being the engineer. Mr Bridges, Lieutenant of the Tower, mistrusting false play, presently made haste to the queen, who renounced and reversed it. And yet of her, that was true that Josephus writeth of Alexandra, Ipsa solum nomen regium ferebat, caeterum omnem regni potestatem Pharisaei possidebant. She herself bore only the name of power, the Pharisees seized all the remaining authority of the kingdom,

Verse 20

And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:

Greeks — That is, proselytes or transmarine Jews, that read the Greek version, and were called Hellenists.

Verse 21

The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.

Sir, we would see Jesus — That is, we would have private conference with him; for they had seen him, likely, as he came riding into the city. Our Saviour seems not to have yet admitted them, because the time appointed for their calling was not yet come. "Everything is beautiful in its time," Ecclesiastes 3:11 ; but as fish and flesh, so other things too, are naught out of season.

Verse 22

Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.

Andrew and Philip tell Jesus — Therefore we may desire the saints departed to mediate for us to Christ, say the Papists. A pitiful poor argument. Illi sic garriant, nos aliter credamus. (Augustine.)

Verse 23

And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.

That the Son of man should be glorified — That is, crucified, but he looked through death, and saw heaven beyond it: so must we; then shall we say, "Surely the bitterness of death is past,"1 Samuel 15:32; 1 Samuel 15:32 . This made Simeon sing out his soul, Egredere, o anima mea; Leave oh my soul. Hilarion chode it out; Taylor fetched a frisk, when he was come near the place where he was burned; Bradford put off his cap, and thanked God, when the keeper’s wife brought him word he was to be burned on the morrow; Roper stood in the fire with his arms stretched out like a rood; Hawks clapped his hands over his head three times, when they were all on a light fire. (Acts and Mon.)

Verse 24

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

Except a corn of wheat, … — The apostles thought Christ should have been presently glorified. He lets them here know that he must first suffer, before he enter into his glory; bear the cross, before he wear the crown; pass the stroke of death’s flaming sword, before he come into paradise. Ne Iesum quidem audias gloriosum, nisi videris prius crucifixum. You may not hear even Jesus glory unless you have seen first the crucifixion. (Luth. epist, ad Melanct.)

Verse 25

He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

He that loveth his life — As Christ loved not his life to the death for us, so neither must we for him. If every hair of my head were a man, I would suffer death in the opinion and faith that I am now in, said John Ardley, martyr, to Bonner. God be praised, said Dr Taylor, since my condemnation, I was never afraid to die. God’s will be done; if I shrink from God’s truth, I am sure of another manner of death than had Judge Hales.

Verse 26

If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

If any man serve me, let, … — Art thou not glad to fare as Phocion? said he to one that was to die with him; ουκ αγαπας μετα Φοκιονος απαθανουμενος . (Plut.) How much more to die with and for Christ!

Verse 27

Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.

Now is my soul troubledChristi perturbatio nos tranquillat, et infirmitas firmat, saith Augustine.

Father, save me from this hour — As man, he naturally feared and deprecated death; such a dreadful death especially as he was to suffer. Δι αγνωστων σου παθηματων , saith the Greek litany; by thine unknown sufferings, good Lord, deliver us. Howbeit, this was but with his sensitive will; for his rational will was ever the same with that of his Father.

Verse 28

Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying , I have both glorified it , and will glorify it again.

Then came there a voice from heaven — God sometimes gives a sensible answer to the prayers of his people, as they are praying, or immediately after, as Daniel 9:21 ; Acts 4:31 . And Luther, praying for the good success of God’s cause in Germany, came leaping out of his study, with Vicimus, vicimus, we counquer, we conquer, in his mouth.

Verse 29

The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it , said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.

That it thundered; others said, An angel, … — But the apostles and some few others understood that it was neither thunder nor an angel, but God that spake. Fuerunt praeter Apostolos etiam aliqui minus sinistri interpretes. (Calvin.) In like sort today God speaks by his word, but few hear him in it. The word of God (saith Forbes on Revelation 14:1-20 ) hath three degrees of operation in the hearts of men. First, it falleth to men’s ears, as the sound of many waters; a confused sound, which commonly bringeth neither terror nor joy, but yet a wondering and acknowledgment of a strange force, and more than human power, Mark 1:22 ; Mark 1:27 Acts 13:41 . The second effect is, the voice of thunder; which brings not only wonder, but fear: these two may be in the reprobate, as Felix, and the multitude in our text. The third effect, proper to the elect, is the sound of harping; while the word not only ravisheth with admiration, and striketh the conscience with terror, but also filleth it with sweet peace and joy.

Verse 30

Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.

But for your sakes — That ye might believe; which if ye do not, how shall ye escape that neglect so great salvation, such a heavenly preacher? See then that ye refuse not, that ye shift not off, him that speaks from heaven; see that ye turn not from him, whose voice once shook the earth, but now heaven too, παραιτησησθε , Hebrews 12:25-26 .

Verse 31

Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

The prince of this world — Gratian saith, the devil is called the prince of this world, as a king at chess, or as the cardinal of Ravenna, only by derision. The power he hath is merely usurped, and because the world will have it so, which even lieth down in that wicked one, as St John hath it, that is, under the power and vassalage of the devil, 1 John 5:10 . It is wholly set upon wickedness, as Aaron saith of the people, Exodus 32:22 .

Verse 32

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

And if I be lifted up, … — Pope Urban VI said that these words, "Give unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s," were abolished when Christ was lifted up from the earth, and drew all things to him; that is (as he expounds it), when Christ ascended, he drew to the pope’s empire all kings and their kingdoms, making him King of kings and Lord of lords. (Jacob. Rev. de vit. Pen.) Is not this a sweet interpreter?

I will draw all men unto me — As the wind called Caecias, being a north-east wind, contrary to the nature of the north wind, drives not away clouds, but draws them to him.

Verse 33

This he said, signifying what death he should die.

Signifying what death, … — Be lifted up between heaven and earth, as Absalom was, Absolon Marte furens pensilis arbore obit, who therein, saith Gretser the Jesuit, became a lively figure of Christ crucified. Sed o mirum et delirum figurativae crucis fabrum!

Verse 34

The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?

We have heard out of the law — But had they never heard out of the law that Christ must first suffer, and then enter into his glory? Isaiah 53:2 ; Daniel 9:26 . There is none of us Jews, saith Josephus, but being asked of any point of the law, can answer to it more readily than tell his own name. Quilibet nostrum de lege interrogators, facilius quam nomini suo respondet. Is it then ignorance or malice that they thus cavil and quarrel our Saviour?

Verse 35

Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.

Yet a little while is the light, … — The day of grace, which is very clear and bright, is usually a short one. Therefore break off your sins by repentance; be abrupt in the work, for life is short, opportunities headlong, and once past, irrecoverable. He is the wise man that prefers opportunity before time, in laying hold upon eternal life; but fools are semper victuri, saith Seneca, they will, and they will, …; so they trifle, and by futuring, fool away their own salvation. Amend before the draw bridge be taken up. Charles, king of Sicily and Jerusalem, was called Cunctator the Delayer: not in the sense as Fabius Maximus, because he stayed till opportunity came, but because he stayed till opportunity was past. Too many such. Manna must be gathered in the morning, or not at all; and not kept till the morrow, lest it stink.

Verse 36

While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.

Whiles ye have the light — God is but a while with men in the opportunities of grace; and this will be a bodkin one day at the hearts of unbelievers, that they "loved darkness rather than light;" viz. when they are cast into outer darkness.

Verse 37

But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:

But though he had done, … — The evangelist being now by course of the history to pass on to the description of Christ’s death and passion, thinks good first to remove this dead Amasa (the Jews’ unbelief) out of the way (that none might stop or step aside for it), by assigning the true cause thereof, their own unmalleable obstinance.

Verse 38

That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?

That the saying of the prophet — These unbelievers were not such, because the prophet had so foretold it; but the prophet therefore foretold it, because they should be such. Like as Joseph’s foretelling the famine was no cause of it, but an antecedent only.

Verse 39

Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,

Therefore they could not believe, … — They could not, because they would not, saith Theophylact out of Chrysostom, who yet extolleth man’s free will more than is meet. Pelagianis nondum litigantibus, patres securius loquebantur, saith Augustine, contra Julian. i. 2.

Verse 40

He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

He hath hardened their hearts — With a judiciary hardness. This is in some respect worse than hell: since (besides that God inflicts it as a punishment of former obstinance) it is one of the greatest sins, and so far greater an evil than any of the greatest punishments. Hence it was the saying of a reverend man, "If I must be put to my choice, I had rather be in hell with a sensible heart, than live on earth with a reprobate mind."

Verse 41

These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.

When he saw his glory — His train only in the temple, Isaiah 6:1 , where the seraphims are said to hide their faces with two wings, as with a double scarf, before God’s glorious brightness, that would put out their eyes else; they clap their wings on their faces, as men do their hands when the lightning flasheth in their eyes.

Verse 42

Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him , lest they should be put out of the synagogue:

Lest they should be put out, … — Which would redound to their disgrace, and this these ambitionists could not away with. But what saith a reverend divine? "Bravely contemn all contumelies and contempts for thy conscience, taking them as crowns, and confirmations of thy conformity to Christ."

Verse 43

For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

They loved the praise of men — Which what is it else but a little stinking breath? These have their reward, Mercedem suam, non Dei, you have your reward not of God, saith Jerome. How much better Luther! Haud velim, Erasmi, gloria aut nomine vehi: Maior est mihi timor in laudibus, gaudium veto in maledictis et blasphemiis. Let me not wish by any means, Erasmus, to bear the fame or the reputation: To me, greater is the fear in praises, I do not have joy in insults or slanders. (Epist. ad Nic. Hansm.)

Verse 44

Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.

Jesus cried, … — As being now to cry his last to them, and is therefore so earnest in his contestation. This was the Conclamatum est proclaimed to this perverse people, his farewell sermon, …

Verse 45

And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.

Seeth him that sent me — For God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, and in him the Godhead dwelt bodily, Colossians 2:9 . So that in all our addresses we must fix the eye of faith on the human nature of Christ, and there speak as to our God. Like as where I see the body of a man, there I know his soul is, and therefore I speak to his understanding when and where I see his body, because they are not severed; so, viewing by faith Christ’s manhood now glorified, I there see and speak to the great God, because I know he is there personally united.

Verse 46

I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

I am come a light into the world — Not by participation only (as the apostles were the lights of the world, Matthew 5:14 ) but by nature. How prodigiously blasphemous then was that bishop in the Council of Trent, that (in his oration there made) applied this text to the pope, who at that time was Paul the Third, an odious hypocrite. (Cornel. Episcop. Bipontin.)

That whosoever belleveth in me, … — And he that this way seeks the kingdom of heaven, must, with him in Justin, look for this Sun of righteousness in the west; that is, (lying upon the altar of his cross: so shall he become king of heaven. (Stratonis servus, ap. Justin.)

Verse 47

And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.

I judge him not — viz. While I am here on earth. I sustain another person now, that men may come apace to me without fear. Some ancient heretics held, that God in the time of the law was a severe judge; and now, in the days of the gospel, he was all made of mercy and mildness. But the apostle saith somewhat otherwise, Hebrews 2:1-3 . God is more peremptory in his judgments now than ever of old. And, John 12:29 , he telleth us that even our God also, as well as the God of the Jews, "is a consuming fire."

Verse 48

He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

The word that I have spoken — If the word shall judge us, then ought it much more to be a judge of our doings now, said Mr Philpot, martyr. Therefore let it be president in all assemblies and judgments, saith Beza: as in the Nicene Council, Constantine caused the Bible to be set on a desk, as judge of all controversies.

Verse 49

For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

For I have not spoken of myself — The divine authority of gospel doctrine is here, in the close of this last sermon ad populum, most gravely asserted by our Saviour; as that which is undoubtedly authentic, because it comes from the Father, e cuius ore nil temere excidit. out of his mouth he destroys nothing rashly, David (saith one) sets the 119th Psalm as a poem of commendation before the book of God. The Son of David (say I) sets this text as his Imprimatur, his authoritative licence, at the end of the gospel. And as a friend once wrote to Aegidius, Abbot of Nuremberg, concerning the 119th Psalm, that they were, verba vivenda, non legenda, words not to be read, but lived; the same may I affirm of our Saviour’s sermons, and I know that his commandment is life everlasting.

Verse 50

And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.

See Trapp on " John 12:49 "

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 12". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/john-12.html. 1865-1868.
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