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General Editor:—}. J. S. PEROVVNE, D.D., 
Bishop of Worcester. 


S. JOH N. 





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The General Editor of The Cambridge Bible for 
Schools thinks it right to say that he does not hold 
himself responsible either for the interpretation of 
particular passages which the Editors of the several 
Books have adopted, or for any opinion on points of 
doctrine that they may have expressed. In the New 
Testament more especially questions arise of the 
deepest theological import, on which the ablest and 
most conscientious interpreters have differed and 
always will differ. His aim has been in all such 
cases to leave each Contributor to the unfettered 
exercise of his own judgment, only taking care that 
mere controversy should as far as possible be avoided. 
He has contented himself chiefly with a careful 
revision of the notes, with pointing out omissions, with 


suggesting occasionally a reconsideration of some 
question, or a fuller treatment of difficult passages, 
and the like. 

Beyond this he has not attempted to interfere, 
feeling it better that each Commentary should have 1 

its own individual character, and being convinced 
that freshness and variety of treatment are more 
than a compensation for any lack of uniformity in 
the Series. 




I. Introduction. 

Chapter I. The Life of S. John 9—18 

Chapter II. The Authenticity of the Gospel 18 — 32 

Chapter III. The Place and Date 32 — 34 

Chapter IV. The Object and Plan 34—38 

Chapter V. The Characteristics of the Gospel ... 38 — 46 

Chapter VI. Its Relation to the Synoptic Gospels 46 — 50 

Chapter VII. Its Relation to the First Epistle ... 50—51 

Chapter VIII. The Text of the Gospel 51 — 52 

Chapter IX, The Literature of the Gospel 53 — 54 

Analysis of the Gospel in Detail 55 — 58 

II. Text and Notks 59 — 378 

III. Appendices 379 — 382 

IV. Indices 383—388 

Map of Galilee .facing title 

,, ,, Sea OF Galilee at end of volume 

„ „ Palestine in the time ok our 

Saviour do. 

Plan of Jerusalem do. 

The Text adopted in this Edition is that of Dr Scrivener's 
Cambridge Faragraph Bible. A few variations from the ordi- 
nary Text, chiefly in the spelling of certain words, and in the 
use of italics, will be noticed. For the principles adopted by 
Dr Scrivener as regards the printing of the Text see his In- 
troduction to the Paragraph Bible, published by the Cambridge 
University Press. 




The life of S. John falls naturally into two divisions, the 
limits of which correspond to the two main sources of infor- 
mation respecting him. (i) From his birth to the departure 
from Jerusalem after the Ascension ; the sources for which are 
contained in N. T. (2) From the departure from Jerusalem 
to his death ; the sources for which are the traditions of the 
primitive Church. In both cases the notices of S. John are 
fragmentary, and cannot be woven together into anything like 
a complete whole without a good deal of conjecture. But the 
fragments are in the main very harmonious, and contain definite 
traits and characteristics, enabling us to form a portrait, which 
though imperfect is unique. 

(i) Before the Departure froin Jerusalem. 

The date of S. John's birth cannot be determined. He was 
probably younger than his Master and than the other Apostles. 
He was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of James, 
who was probably the older of the two. Zebedee was a fisher- 
man of the lake of Galilee, who seems to have lived in or 
near Bethsaida (i. 44), and was well enough off to have hired 
servants (Mark i. 20). He appears only once in the Gospel- 
narrative (Matt. iv. 21, 22; Mark i. 19, 20), but is mentioned 
frequently as the father of S. James and S. John. Salome (see 


on xix. 25) was probably the sister of the Virgin, and in that 
case S. John was our Lord's first cousin. This relationship 
harmonizes well with the special intimacy granted to the 
beloved disciple by his Lord, with the fact of S. James also 
being among the chosen three, and with the final committal of 
the Virgin to St John's care. Salome was one of those women 
who followed Christ and 'ministered to Him of their substance* 
(^L1rk XV. 40 ; comp. Matt, xxvii. 55 ; Luke viii. 3). This was 
probably after Zebedee's death. S. John's parents, therefore, 
would seem to have been people of means ; and it is likely from 
xix. 27 that the Apostle himself was fairly well off, a conclusion 
to which his acquaintance with the high-priest (xviii. 15) also 

S. John, therefore, like all the Apostles, excepting the traitor, 
was a Galilean ; and this fact may be taken as in some degree 
accounting for that fieriness of temper which earned for him 
and his brother the name of 'sons of thunder' (Mark iii. 17). 
The inhabitants of Galilee, while they had remained to a large 
extent untouched by the culture of the rest of the nation, re- 
mained also untouched by the enervation both in belief and 
habits which culture commonly brings. Ignorant of the glosses 
of tradition, they kept the old simple faith in the letter of the 
Law. Uninterested alike in politics and philosophy, they pre- 
ferred the sword to intrigue, and industry to speculation. Thus, 
while the hierarchy jealously scrutinise all the circumstances of 
Jesus' position, the Galileans on the strength of a single miracle 
would 'take Him by force' (vi. 14, 15) and make Him king. 
Population was dense and mixed, and between the Syrians and 
Jews there were often fierce disputes. To this industrious, 
hardy, and warlike race S. John belonged by birth and resi- 
dence, sharing its characteristic energy and its impatience of 
indecision and intrigue. Hence, when the Baptist proclaimed 
the kingdom of the Messiah, the young fisherman at once be- 
came a follower, and pressed steadily onwards until the goal 
was reached. 

Christian art has so familiarised us with a form of almost 
feminine sweetness as representing the beloved disciple, that 


the strong energy and even vehemence of his character is 
almost lost sight of. In his writings as well as in what is 
recorded of him both in N. T. and elsewhere we find both 
sides of his character appearing. And indeed though ap- 
parently opposed they are not really so ; the one may beget 
the other, and did so in him. 

In yet another way his Galilean origin might influence S. 
John. The population of the country, as has been said, was 
mixed. From a boy he would have the opportunity of coming 
in contact with Greek life and language. Hence that union of 
Jewish and Greek characteristics which are found in h!m, and 
which have led some to the conclusion that the author of the 
Fourth Gospel was a Greek. We shall find as we go along 
that the enormous preponderance of Jewish modes of thought 
and expression, and of Jewish points of view, renders this con- 
clusion absolutely untenable. 

The young son of Zebedee was perhaps never at one of the 
rabbinical schools, which after the fall of Jerusalem made 
Tiberias a great centre of education, and probably existed in 
some shape before that. Hence he can be contemptuously 
spoken of by the hierarchy as an 'illiterate and common' 
person (Acts iv, 13). No doubt he paid the usual visits to 
Jerusalem at the proper seasons, and became acquainted with 
the grand liturgy of the Temple ; a worship which while it 
kindled his deep spiritual emotions and gave him material for 
reverent meditation, would insensibly prepare the way for that 
intense hatred of the hierarchy, who had made the worship 
there worse than a mockery, which breathes through all the 
pages of his Gospel. 

While he was still a lad, and perhaps already learning to 
admire and love the impetuosity of his older friend S. Peter, 
the rising of 'Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing' (see on 
Acts V. 37) took place. Judas, like our own Wat Tyler, raised 
a revolt against a tax which he held to be tyrannical, and pro- 
claimed that the people had 'no lord or master but God.' 
Whether the boy and his future friend sympathized with the 
movement we have no means of knowing. But the honest 


though ill-advised cry of the leaders of this revolt may easily 
have been remembered by S. John when he heard the false and 
renegade priests declare to Pilate, 'We have no king but 
Caesar' (xix. 15). 

There was another movement of a very different kind, with 
which we know that he did sympathize heartily. After cen- 
turies of dreary silence, in which it seemed as if Jehovah had 
deserted His chosen people, a thrill went through the land that 
God had again visited them, and that a Prophet had once more 
appeared. His was a call, not to resist foreign taxation or to 
throw off the yoke of Rome, but to withstand their own temp- 
tations and to break the heavy bondage of their own crying 
sins: 'Repent ye, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!' 
S. John heard and followed, and from the Baptist learnt to 
know and at once to follow 'the Lamb of God' that was to do 
(what the lambs provided by man in the Temple could never 
do' — ' take away the sin of the world.' Assuming that the un- 
named disciple (i. 40) is S. John, we infer (i. 41) that he pro- 
ceeded to bring his brother S. James to Jesus as S.Andrew had 
brought S. Peter. But from 'that day' (i. 39), that never to be 
forgotten day, the whole tenour of the young man's life was 
changed. The disciple of the Baptist had become the disciple 
of Christ. 

After remaining with Jesus for a time he seems to have 
gone back to his old employment ; from which he was again 
called, and possibly more than once (Matt. iv. 18; Luke v. 
I — 11), to become an Apostle and fisher of men. Then the 
group of the chosen three is formed. At the raising of Jairus' 
daughter, at the Transfiguration, and in the Garden of Geth- 
semane, 'Peter, James, and John' are admitted to nearer 
relationship with their Lord than the rest ; and on one other 
solemn occasion, when He foretold the destruction of Jerusalem 
(Mark xiii. 3), S. Andrew also is with them. In this group, 
although S. Peter takes the lead, it is S. John who is nearest 
and dearest to the Lord, 'the disciple whom Jesus loved.' 

On three different occasions the burning temper of the 'sons 
of thunder' displayed itself, (i) 'And John answered Him, 


saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in Thy name, and 
he foUoweth not us : and we forbad him, because he foUoweth 
not us ' (Mark ix. 38 ; Luke ix. 49); a touch of zealous intoler- 
ance which reminds us of Joshua's zeal against Eldad and 
Medad (Numb. xi. 28), as Christ's reply recalls the reply of 
Moses. Probably his brother S. James is included in the ^we 
forbad him.' (2) When the Samaritan villagers refused to 
receive Him, ' because His face was as though He would go to 
Jerusalem,' His disciples James and John said, 'Lord, wilt 
Thou that we command fire to come down from heaven and 
consume them ? ' (Luke ix. 54). Once again their zeal for their 
Master makes them forget the spirit of their Master. (3) On 
the last journey to Jerusalem Salome, as the mouthpiece of her 
two sons (Matt. xx. 20 ; Mark x. 35), begs that they may sit, 
the one on the Messiah's right hand, and the other on His left, 
in His kingdom. This is their bold ambition, shewing that in 
spite of their close intimacy with Him, they are still grossly 
ignorant of the nature of His kingdom. And in their reply to 
His challenge the same bold temper and burning zeal is mani- 
fest. They are willing to go through the furnace in order to be 
near the Son of God. When S. John and his mother stood 
beside the Cross, and when S. James won the crown of mar- 
tyrdom, Christ's challenge was taken up and their aspiration 

It will not be necessary to recount at length the history of 
the last Passover, in which S. John is a prominent figure. As 
he gives us so much more than the Synoptists about the family 
at Bethany, we may infer that he was a more intimate friend of 
Lazarus and his sisters. He and S. Peter prepare the Last 
Supper (Luke xxii. 8), at which S. Peter gets him to ask who is 
the traitor ; and after the betrayal S. John gets his friend intro- 
duced into the high-priest's palace. He followed his Master 
to judgment and death, and received His Mother as a farewell 
charge (xviii. 15, xix. 26, 27). His friend's fall does not break 
their friendship, and they visit the sepulchre together on Easter 
morning. (On the characteristics of the two as shewn in this 
incident see notes on xx. 4 — 6.) We find them still together 


in Galilee, seeking refreshment in their suspense by resuming 
iheir old calling (xxi. 2) ; and here again their different charac- 
ters shew themselves (see notes on xxi. 7). And the Gospel 
closes with Christ's gentle rebuke to S. Peter's natural curiosity 
about his friend. 

In the Acts S. John appears but seldom, always in con- 
nexion with, and always playing a second part to his fncnd 
(Acts iii., iv., viii. 14—25). We lose sight of him at Jerusalem 
(viii. 25) after the return from Samaria ; but he was not there 
at the time of S. Paul's first visit (Gal. i. 18, 19). Some twelve 
or fifteen years later (c. A.D. 50) he seems to have been at Jeru- 
salem again (Acts xv. 6), but for how long we cannot tell. Nor 
do we know why he left. Excepting his own notice of himself, as 
being 'in the island called Patmos for the word and testimony 
of Jesus' (Rev. i. 9), the N. T. tells us nothing further respect- 
ing him. 

(ii) From the Departure from Jerusalem to his death. 

For this period, with the exception of the notice in the 
Apocalypse Just quoted, we are entirely dependent upon tradi- 
tions of very different value. The conjecture that S. John lived 
at Jerusalem until the death of the Virgin, and that this set 
him free, is unsupported by evidence. Some think that she 
accompanied him to Ephesus. It would be during this pro- 
longed residence at Jerusalem that he acquired that niinute 
knowledge of the topography of the city which marks the 
Fourth Gospel. 

It is quite uncertain whether the Apostle went direct from 
Jerusalem to Ephesus ; but of two things we may be confident : 
(i) that wherever he was he was not idle, (2) that he was not at 
Ephesus when S. Paul bade farewell to that Church (Acts xx.), 
nor when he wrote the Epistle to the Ephesians, nor when he 
wrote the Pastoral Epistles. That S. John did work at 
E])hesus during the latter part of his life may be accepted as 
certain, unless the whole history of the subapostolic age is to 
be pronounced doubtful ; but neither the date of his arrival nor 
of his death can be fixed. He is described (Polycrates in Eus. 


H. E. III. xxxi. 3, V. xxiv. 3) as a priest wearing the sacerdotal 
plate or mitre {pefalon) which was a special badge of the high- 
priest (Exod. xxxix. 30) ; and we learn from the Apocalypse that 
from Ephesus as a centre he directed the churches of Asia 
Minor. What persecution drove him to Patmos or caused him 
to be banished thither is uncertain, as also is the date of his 
death, which may be placed somewhere near A.D. 100. 

Of the traditions which cluster round this latter part of his 
Ufe three deserve more than a passing mention, (i) John, the 
disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and perceiving 
Cerinthus within, rushed out of the bath-house without bathing, 
crying out, 'Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall on us, 
because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within' (Iren. 
III. iii. 4). Epiphanius {Haer. xxx. 24) substitutes Ebion for 
Cerinthus. Both Cerinthus and the Ebionites denied the reality 
of the Incarnation. This tradition, like the incidents recorded, 
Luke ix. 49, 54, shews that in later life also the spirit of the 
' son of thunder' was still alive within him. 

(2) Afier his return from Patmos he made a tour to appoint 
bishops or presbyters in the cities. In one place a lad of noble 
bearing attracted his attention, and he specially commended 
him to the bishop, who instructed and at last baptized him. 
Then he took less care of him, and the young man went from 
bad to worse, and at last became chief of a set of bandits. The 
Apostle revisiting the place remembered him and said, ' Come, 
bishop, restore to me my deposit,' which confounded the bishop, 
who knew that he had received no money from S. John. ' I de- 
mand the young man, the soul of a brother ; ' and then the sad 
story had to be told. The Apostle called for a horse, and rode 
at once to the place infested by the bandits and was soon 
taken by them. When the chief recognised him he turned to 
fly. But the aged Apostle went after him and entreated him to 
stay, and by his loving tears and exhortations induced him to 
return with him to the church, to which in due time he restored 
him (Eus. H. E. in. xxiii. from Clement of Alexandria). 

(3) Towards the very end of his life, when he was so infirm 
that he had to be carried to church and was too weak to preach, 


he used often to say no more than this, ' Little children, love 
one another.' His hearers at last wearied of this, and said, 
'Master, why dost thou always say this?' 'It is the Lord's 
command,' he replied, ' and if this alone is done, it is enough ' 
(Jerome, Comm. in Ep. ad Gal. vi. lo). 

Other traditions may be dismissed more briefly ; that in his 
old age he amused himself with a partridge, and pleaded that 
a bow could not always be bent, but needed relaxation ; that he 
was thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil at Rome and was 
none the worse ; that he drank hemlock without being harmed 
by it ; that after he was buried the earth above him heaved 
with his breathing, shewing that he was only asleep, tarrying 
till Christ came. This last strange story S. Augustine is dis- 
posed to believe : those who know the place must know whether 
the soil does move or not ; and he has heard it from no untrust- 
worthy people. 

These fragments form a picture, which (as was said at the 
outset) although very incomplete is harmonious, and so far as 
it goes distinct. The two sides of his character, tender love 
and stern intolerance, are the one the complement of the other; 
and both form part of the intensity of his nature. Intensity of 
action, intensity of thought and word, intensity of love and 
liate — these are the characteristics of the beloved disciple. In 
the best sense of the phrase S. John was ' a good hater,' for his 
hatred was part of his love. It was because he so loved the 
truth, that he so hated all lukewarmness, unreality, insincerity, 
and falsehood, and was so stern towards 'whosoever lovclh and 
maketh a lie.' It is because he so loved his Lord, that he shews 
such uncompromising abhorrence of the national blindness that 
rejected Him and the sacerdotal bigotry that hounded Him to 
death. Intolerance of evil and of opposition to tlie truth was 
sometimes expressed in a way that called for rebuke ; but this 
would become less and less so, as his own knowledge of the 
Lord and of the spirit of the Gospel deepened. With his eagle 
gaze more and more fixed on the Sun of Righteousness, he 
became more and more keenly alive to the awful case of those 
who 'loved the darkness rather than the light, because their 


works were evil' (iii. 19). Eternity for him was a thing not of 
the future but of the present (iii. 36, v. 24, vi. 47, 54); and 
whereas the world tries to make time the measure of eternity, 
he knows that eternity is the measure of time. Only from the 
point of view of eternal hfe, only from its divine side, can this 
life, both in its nothingness and in its infinite consequences, 
be rightly estimated : for * the world passeth away and the lust 
thereof, but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever' 
(i John ii. 17). 

We thus see how at the end of a long life he was specially 
fitted to write what has been well called 'the Gospel of Eternity' 
and 'the Gospel of Love.' It is at the end of life, and when 
the other side of the grave is in sight, that men can best form 
an estimate both of this world and of the world to come. If 
that is true of all men of ordinary seriousness, much more true 
must it have been of him, who from his youth upwards had 
been an Apostle, whose head had rested on the Lord's breast, 
who had stood beside the Cross, had witnessed the Ascension, 
had cherished till her death the Mother of the Lord, had seen 
the Jewish dispensation closed and the Holy City overthrown, 
and to whom the beatific visions of the Apocalypse had been 
granted. No wonder therefore if his Gospel seems to be raised 
above this world and to belong to eternity rather than to time. 
And hence its other aspect of being also ' the Gospel of Love :' 
for Love is eternal. Faith and Hope are for this world, but 
can have no place when ' we shall see Him as He is ' and 
' know even as we are known.' Love is both for time and for 

"They sin who tell us Love can die, 
With life all other passions fly, 
All others are but vanity. 
In heaven ambition cannot dwell, 
Nor avarice in the vaults of hell ; 
Earthly, these passions of the earth 
They perish where they had their birth, 
But Love is indestructible. 

s. JOHN 


Its holy flame for ever burnetii, 

From heaven it came, to heaven returneth. 

Too oft on earth a troubled guest, 

At times deceived, at times oppressed, 

It here is tried, and purified. 

Then hath in heaven its perfect rest : 

It soweth here with toil and care. 

But the harvest-time of Love is there." 




The Fourth Gospel is the battle field of the New Testament, 
as the Book of Daniel is of the Old : the genuineness of both 
will probably always remain a matter of controversy. With 
regard to the Gospel, suspicion respecting it was aroused in 
some quarters at the outset, but very quickly died out ; to rise 
again, however, with immensely increased force in the eighteenth 
century, since which time to the present day the question has 
scarcely ever been allowed to rest. The scope of the present 
work admits of no more than an outline of the argument being 

i. The Extcr)ial Evidence. 

In this section of the argument two objections are made to 
the Fourth Gospel : (i) the sile7ice of the Apostolic Fathers ; 
(2) its rejection by Marcion, the Alogi, and perhaps another 

(i) The silence of the Apostolic Fathers, if it were a fact, 
would not be an insuperable difficulty. It is admitted on all 
sides that the Fourth Gospel was published long after the 
others, and when they were in possession of the field. There 
was nothing to lead men to suppose that yet another Gospel 
would be forthcoming ; this alone would make people jealous 


of its claims. And when, as we shall see, it was found that 
certain portions of it might be made to assume a Gnostic ap- 
pearance, jealousy in some quarters became suspicion. The 
silence, therefore, of the first circle of Christian writers is no 
more than we might reasonably expect ; and when taken in 
connexion with the universal recognition of the Gospel by the 
next circle of writers (A. D. 170 onwards), who had far more 
evidence than has reached us, may be considered as telling for, 
rather than against the authenticity. 

But the silence of the Apostolic Fathers is by no means 
certain. The Epistle of Barnabas (c. a.d. 120 — 130) pro- 
bably refers to it : Keim is convinced of the fact, although he 
denies that S. John wrote the Gospel. The shorter Greek form 
of the IGNATIAN Epistles (c. a.d. 150) contains allusions to it, 
and adaptations of it, which cannot seriously be considered 
doubtful. Bishop Lightfoot^ says of the expression 'living 
water' (Rom. vii.) "Doubtless a reference to John iv. 10, 11, as 
indeed the whole passage is inspired by the Fourth Gospel," 
and of the words 'knows whence it cometh and whither it 
goeth' {Philad. vii.), " The coincidence (with John iii. 8) is quite 
too strong to be accidental ;" and " the Gospel is prior to the 
passage in Ignatius ;" for " the application in the Gospel is 
natural : the application in Ignatius is strained and secondary." 
Again, on the words 'being Himself the Door of the Father' 
{Philad. ix.) he says, "Doubtless an allusion to John x. 9." 
The Epistle of Polycarp (c. a.d. 150) contains almost 
certain references to the First Epistle of S. John : and as it is 
admitted that the First Epistle and the Fourth Gospel are by 
the same hand, evidence in favour of the one may be used as 
evidence in favour of the other. 

Besides these, Papias (martyred about the same time as 
Polycarp) certainly knew the First Epistle (Eus. H. E. in. 
xxxix.). Basilides (c. A.D. 125) seems to have made use of 
the Fourth Gospel. Justin Martyr (c. a.d. 150) knew the 

1 I am enabled to make these quotations from the great work of his 
life through the great kindness of the Bishop of Durham. 

2 — 2 


Fourth Gospel. This may now be considered as beyond 
reasonable doubt. Not only does he exhibit types of language 
and doctrine closely akin to S. John's, but in the Dialogue with 
Trypho, Lxxxviil. (c a.d. 146) he quotes the Baptist's reply, 
' I am not the Christ, but the voice of one crying' (comp. John 
i. 20, 23) and in the First Apology, LXI., he paraphrases Christ's 
words on the new birth (John iii. 3—5). Moreover Justin 
teaches the great doctrine of S. John's Prologue, that Jesus 
Christ is the Word. Keim regards it as certain that Justin 
knew the Fourth Gospel. 

When we pass beyond A.D. 170 the evidence becomes full 
and clear: Tatian, the Epistle to the Churches of 


the Clementine Homilies, Theophilus of Antioch 
(the earliest writer who mentions S. John by name as the 
author of the Gospel— c A.D. 175), Athenagoras, Irenaeus, 
Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian. Of these 
none perhaps is more important than Irenaeus, the pupil 
of Polycarp, who was the friend of S. John. It never 
occurs to him to maintain that the Fourth Gospel is the 
work of S. John; he treats it as a universally acknowledged 
fact. He not only knows of no time when there were not four 
Gospels, but with the help of certain quaint arguments he 
persuades himself that there must be four Gospels, neither 
more nor less {Haer. ill. i. i, XL 8: comp. v. xxxvi. 2). So 
firmly established had the Fourth Gospel become considerably 
before the end of the second century. 

(2) The rejection of the Fourth Gospel by Marclon and 
some obscure sects is of no serious importance. There is no 
evidence to shew that the Gospel was rejected on critical 
grounds; rather because the doctrines which it contained were 
disliked. This is almost certain in the case of Marcion, and 
probable enough in the other cases. 

Whether the obscure sect mentioned by Irenaeus {Haer. ill. 
xi. 9) as rejecting the Fourth Gospel and the promises of the 
Paraclete which it contains are the same as those whom Epi- 
phanius with a contemptuous double entendre calls Alogi 


('devoid of [the doctrine of] the Logos' or 'devoid of reason'), 
is uncertain. But we can easily understand how a party might 
arise, who in perfectly good faith and with the best motives 
might reject the Fourth Gospel both for the doctrine of the 
Logos and for other peculiarities which seemed to favour the 
Gnosticism of Cerinthus. None of the Synoptists, none of the 
Apostles, had thus far used the term 'Logos' ; and the fact that 
Cerinthus made use of it must have made its prominence in the 
Prologue to the Fourth Gospel doubly suspicious. Cerinthus 
maintained that Jesus was a mere man on whom the Logos or 
Christ descended in the form of a dove at his baptism : and the 
P'ourth Gospel says nothing about the miraculous conception of 
Christ, or about the wonders that attended and attested His 
birth, but begins with the Baptism and the descent of the Spirit. 
The Evangelist pointedly remarks that the miracle at Cana was 
the first miracle : perhaps this was to insinuate that previous to 
the Baptism Jesus (being a mere man) could do no miracle. 
This Gospel omits the Transfiguration, an incident from which 
a participation of His human Body in the glory of the Godhead 
might be inferred. The 'prince' or 'ruler of this world,' an 
expression not used previously by any Evangelist or Apostle, 
might possibly be understood to mean the Demiurgits of the 
Cerinthian system, the Creator of the world, and the God of the 
Jews, but inferior to and ignorant of the Supreme God. Again, 
the Fourth Gospel is silent about the wonders which attended 
Christ's death; and this also harmonizes with the system of 
Cerinthus, who taught that the Logos or Christ departed when 
Jesus was arrested, and that a mere man suffered on the Cross ; 
for what meaning would there be in the sympathy of nature with 
the death of a mere man ^ ? All this tends to shew that if the 
Fourth Gospel was rejected in certain quarters for a time, this 
tells little or nothing against its genuineness. Indeed it may 
fairly be said to tell the other way ; for it shews that the uni- 
versal recognition of the Gospel, which we find existing from 
A.D. 170 onwards, was no mere blind enthusiasm, but a victory 

^ See Dollinger's Hippolytus and Callistus, Chap. v. 


of truth over baseless though not unnatural suspicion. More- 
over, the fact that these over- wary Christians assigned the 
Gospel to Cerinthus is evidence that the Gospel was in their 
ojjinion written by a contemporary of S. John. To concede 
this is to concede the whole question. 

ii. TJic I/ifcrna! Evidence. 

We have seen already that there are some features of this 
Gospel which would seem to harmonize with a Gnostic system, 
and that it need not surprise us if some persons in the second 
century hastily concluded that it savoured of Cerinthus. It is 
more surprising that modern critics, after a minute study of the 
Gospel, should think it possible to assign it to a Greek Gnostic of 
the second century. To say nothing of the general tone of the 
Gospel, there are two texts which may almost be said to sum up 
the theology of the Evangelist and which no Gnostic would even 
have tolerated, much less have written : ' The Word became 
flesh' (i. 14); 'Salvation is of the Jews' (iv. 22). That the 
Infinite should limit itself and become finite, that the ineffable 
purity of the Godhead should be united with impure matter, 
was to a Gnostic a monstrous supposition ; and this was what 
was implied in the Word becoming flesh. Again, that the 
longed-for salvation of mankind should come from the Jews was 
a flat contradiction of one of the main principles of Gnosticism, 
viz. that man's perfection is to be looked for in the attainment of 
a higher knowledge of God and the universe, to which the Jew 
as such had no special claim; on the contrary (as some Gnostics 
held), the Jews had all along mistaken an inferior being for the 
Supreme (}od. Other passages in the Gospel which are strongly 
adverse to the theory of a Gnostic authorship will be pointed 
out in the notes. And here the Gnostics themselves are our 
witnesses, and that in the second century. Although the Fourth 
Gospel was frequently used against them, they never denied its 
genuineness. They tried to explain away what told against 
them, but they never attempted to question the Apostolic 
authority of the Gospel. 


But the Gospel not only contains both direct and indirect 
evidence which contradicts this particular hypothesis; it also 
supplies both direct and indirect evidence of the true hypothesis. 

(1) There is direct evidence that the author was an eye- 
witness of what he relates. In two places (according to far the 
most reasonable, if not the only reasonable interpretation of 
the words) the Evangelist claims for himself the authority of 
an eyewitness : in a third he either claims it for himself or 
others claim it for him. ' We beheld His glory' (i. 14), especially 
when taken in conjunction with 'which we beheld and our hands 
handled' (i John i i), cannot well mean anything else. Scarcely 
less doubtful is 'He that hath seen hath borne witness, and his 
witness is true, &c.' (xix. 35). 'This is the disciple who wit- 
nesseth concerning these things, and who wrote these things ; 
and we know that his witness is true' (xxi. 24), even if it be the 
addition of another hand, is direct testimony to the fact that the 
Evangelist gives us not second-hand information, but what he 
himself has heard and seen. (See notes in all three places.) 

Of course it would be easy for a forger to make such a 
claim; and accomplices or dupes might support him. But it 
would also be easy in so wide a field of narrative to test the 
validity of the claim, and this we will proceed to do by ex- 
amining the indir-ect evidence. But first it will be well to state 
the enormous difficulties which would confront a writer who 
proposed in the second century to forge a Gospel. 

The condition of Palestine during the life of Jesus Christ was 
unique. The three great civilisations of the world were inter- 
mingled there ; Rome, the representative of law and conquest ; 
Greece, the representative of philosophical speculation and com- 
merce ; Judaism, the representative of religion. The relations of 
these three elements to one another were both intricate and varied. 
In some particulars there was a combination between two or 
more of them ; as in the mode of conducting the census (Luke 
ii. 3) and of celebrating the Passover (see on xiii. 23) ; in others 
there was the sharpest opposition, as in very many ceremonial 
observances. Moreover, of these three factors it was exceedingly 
difficult for the two that were Gentile to comprehend the third. 


The Jew always remained an enigma to his neighbours, especially 
to those from the West. This was owing partly to proud resei-ve 
on his part and contempt on theirs, partly to the inability of 
each side to express itself in terms that would be intelligible to 
the other, so utterly different were and still are Eastern and 
Western modes of thought. Again, if a Greek or Roman of the 
first century had taken the pains to study Jewish literature with 
a view to becoming thoroughly acquainted with this strange 
people, his knowledge of them would still have remained both 
defective and misleading, so much had been added or changed 
by tradition and custom. To a Gentile of the snond century 
this difficulty would be very greatly increased ; for Jerusalem 
had been destroyed and the Jewish nation had been once more 
scattered abroad on the face of the earth. With the destruc- 
tion of the Temple the keeping of the Mosaic Law had become 
a physical impossibility ; and the Jews who had lost their 
language in the Captivity had now to a large extent lost the 
ceremonial law. Even a Jew of the second century might 
easily be mistaken as to the usages of his nation in the early 
part of the first. How much more, then, would a Gentile be 
likely to go astray ! We may say, therefore, that the intricate 
combination of Jewish and Gentile elements in Palestine be- 
tween A.D. I and A.D. 50 was such that no one but a Jew living 
in the country' at the time would be able to master them ; and 
that the almost total destruction of the Jewish element in the 
latter part of the century would render a proper appreciation of 
the circumstances a matter of the utmost difficulty even to 
a careful antiquarian. Finally, we must remember that anti- 
quarian research in those days was almost unknown ; and that 
to undertake it in order to give an accurate setting to a histo- 
rical fiction was an idea that was not born until long after the 
second century. We may safely say that no Greek of that age 
would ever have dreamed of going through the course of archaeo- 
logical study necessary for attempting the Fourth Gospel ; and 
even if he had, the attempt would still have been a manifest 
faihirc. He would have fallen into far more numerous and far 
more serious errors than those which critics (with what success 


we shall see hereafter) have tried to bring home to the Fourth 
Evangelist (see on xi. 49). 

(2) There is abundant indirect evidence to shew that the 
writer of the Fourth Gospel was a Jew, and a Jew of Palestine, 
who was an eyewitness of most of the events which he relates. 
If this can be made out with something like certainty, the circle 
of possible authors will be very much reduced. But in this 
circle of possible authors we are not left to conjecture There 
is further evidence to shew that he was an Apostle, and the 
Apostle S. John. (See Sanday, Authorship of the Fourth 
Gospel, Chap, xix.) 

The Evangelist was a Jew. 

He is perfectly at home in Jewisli opinions and points of 
view. Conspicuous among these are the ideas respecting the 
Messiah current at the time (i. 19 — 28, 45 — 49, 51 ; iv. 25 ; vi. 
14, 15; vii. 26, 27, 31, 40—42, 52; xii. 13, 34; xix. 15, 21). 
Besides these we have the hostility between Jews and Samari- 
tans (iv. 9, 20, 22 ; viii. 48) ; estimate of women (iv. 27), of the 
national schools {vn. 15), of the ^Dispersion' (vii. 35), of Abra- 
ham and the Prophets (viii. 52, 53), &c. &c. 

He is quite familiar also with Jewisli usages and observ- 
ances. Among these we may notice baptisrn (i. 25, iii. 22, 23, 
iv. 2), purification (ii. 6, iii. 25, xi. 55, xviii. 28, xix. 31), the 
Jewish Feasts (ii. 13, 23, v. i, vi. 4, vii. 2, 37, x. 22, xiii. i, xviii. 
28, xix. 31, 42), circumcision and the Sabbath (vii. 22, 23), law 
oi evidence (viii. 17, 18). 

The form of the Gospel, especially the style of the narra- 
tive, is essentially Jewisli. The language is Greek, but the 
arrangement of the thoughts, the structure of the sentences, and 
a great deal of the vocabulary are Hebrew. And the source of 
this Hebrew form is the O. T. This is shewn not only by fre- 
quent quotations but by the imagery employed ; — the lamb, the 
living water, the manna, the shepherd, the vine, &c. And not 
only so, but the Christian theology of the Evangelist is based 
upon the theology of the O. T. 'Salvation is of the Jews' (iv. 
22); Moses wrote of Christ (v. 46; i. 45); Abraham saw His 


day (viii. 56); He was typified in the brazen serpent (iii. 14), the 
manna (vi. 32), the paschal lamb (xix. 36) ; perhaps also in the 
water from the rock (vii. 37) and the pillar of fire (viii. 12). 
Much that He did was done 'that the Scripture might be 
fulfilled' (xiii. 18, xvii. 12, xix. 24, 28, 36, 37; comp. ii. 22, xx. 
9): and these fulfilments of Scripture are noticed not as in- 
teresting coincidences, but 'that ye may believe' (xix. 35). 
Judaism is the foundation of the Christian faith. No one but 
a Jew could have handled the O.T. Scriptures in this way. 

The Evangelist was a Jew of Palestine. 

This is shewn chiefly by his great topographical knowledge, 
which he uses both with ease and precision. In mentioning 
a fresh place he commonly throws in some fact respecting 
it, adding clearness or interest to the narrative. A forger 
would avoid such gratuitous statements, as being unnecessary 
and likely by being wrong to lead to detection. Thus, one 
Bethany is 'nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off' 
(xi. 18), the other is 'beyond Jordan' (i. 28); Bethsaida is 'the 
city of Andrew and Peter' (i. 44); 'Can any good thing come 
out of Nazareth^ (i. 46); Cana is 'of Galilee' (ii. i, xxi 2) ; 
Action is 'near to Salim,' and there are 'many waters' there 
(iii. 23) ; Sychar is ' a city of Samaria, near to the parcel of 
ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob's well 
was there' (iv. 5); EphraimK's. a city 'near to the wilderness' 
(xi. 54). Comp. the minute local knowledge implied in vi. 22 — 
24, iv. II, ii. 12. 

This familiarity with topography is the more remarkable 
in the case of Jerusalem, which (as ail are agreed) was 
destroyed before the Fourth Gospel was written. Bcthesda is 
'a pool by the sheep-gate, having five porches' (v. 2); Siloam 
is 'a pool, which is by interpretation Sent'(ix. 7); Solotnon^s 
porch is 'in the Temple' (x. 23). Comp. the minute knowledge 
of the city and suburbs implied in xviii. i, 28, xix. 13, 17 — 20, 
41, 42. 

The way In which the author quotes the 0. T. points to 
the same conclusion. He is not dependent on the LXX. 


for his knowledge of the Scriptures, as a Greek-speaking Jew 
born out of Palestine would very likely have been : he appears 
to know the original Hebrew, which had become a dead lan- 
guage, and was not much studied outside Palestine. Out of 
fourteen quotations three agree with the Hebrew against the 
LXX. (vi. 45, xiii. 18, xix. 37); not one agrees with the LXX. 
against the Hebrew. The majority are neutral, either agreeing 
with both, or differing from both, or being free adaptations 
rather than citations. (See also on xii. 13, 15.) 

The Evangelist's doctrine of tlie Logos or Word confirms 
us in the belief that he is a Jew of Palestine. The form which 
this doctrine assumes in the Prologue is Palestinian rather than 
Alexandrian. (See note on 'the Word,' i. i.) 

The Evangelist was an Eyewitness of most of the 
events which he relates. 

The narrative is crowded with figures, which are no mere non- 
entities to fill up space, but which live and move. Where they 
appear on the scene more than once their action throughout is 
harmonious, and their characteristics are indicated with a sim- 
plicity and distinctness which would be the most consummate 
art if it were not taken from real life. And where in the lite- 
rature of the second century can we find such skilful delineation 
of fictitious characters as is shewn in the portraits given to us 
of the Baptist, the beloved disciple, Peter, Andrew, Philip, 
Thomas, Judas Iscariot, Pilate, Nicodemus, Martha and Mary, 
the Samaritan woman, the man born blind.'' Even the less 
prominent persons are thoroughly lifelike and real ; Nathanael, 
Judas not Iscariot, Caiaphas, Annas, Mary Magdalene, Joseph. 

Exact notes of time are frequent; not only seasons, as the 
Jewish Feasts noticed above, but days (i. 29, 35, 43, ii. i, iv. 40, 
43, vi. 22, vii. 14, 37, xi. 6, 17, 39, xii. i, 12, xix. 31, xx. i, 26) 
and hours (i. 39, iv. 6, 52, xix. 14; comp. iii. 2, vi. 16, xiii. 30, 
xviii. 28, XX. I, 19, xxi. 4). 

The Evangelist sometimes knows the exact or approximate 
number of persons (i. 35, iv. 18, vi. 10, xix. 23) and objects (ii. 6, 
vi. 9, 19, xix. 39, xxi. 8, 11) mentioned in his narrative. 


Throughout the Gospel we have examples of graphic and 
vivid description, which would be astounding if they were not 
the result of personal observation. Strong instances of this 
would be the accounts of the cleansing of the Temple (ii. 
14 — 16), the feeding of the 5000 (vi. 5 — 14), the healing of the 
man born blind (ix. 6, 7), the feet-washing (xiii. 4, 5, 12), the 
betrayal (xviii. i — 13), almost all the details of the Passion 
(xviii., xix.), the visit to the sepulchre (xx. 3 — 8). 

To this it must be added that the state of the text of the 
Gospel, as we find it quoted by early writers, shews that before 
the end of the second century there were already a great many 
variations of readings in existence. Such things take time to 
arise and multiply. This consideration compels us to believe 
that the ori;jinal document must have been made at a time 
when eyewitnesses of the Gospel history were still living. See 
notes on i. 13, 18 and ix. 35. 

The Evangelist was an Apostle. 

He knows the thoughts of the disciples on certain occasions, 
thoughts which sometimes surprise us, and which no writer of 
fiction would have attributed to them (ii. 11, 17, 22, iv. 27, 
vi. 19, 60, xii. 16, xiii. 22, 28, xx, 9, xxi. 12), He knows also 
words that were spoken by the disciples in private to Christ or 
among themselves (iv. 31, 33, ix. 2, xi. 8, 12, 16, xvi. 17, 29). 
He is familiar with the haunts of the disciples (xi. 54, xviii. 2, 
XX. 19). Above all, he is one who was very intimate with the 
Lord ; for he knows His motives (ii. 24, 25, iv. i — 3, v. 6, vi. 6, 
15, vii. I, xiii. i, 3, 11, xvi. 19, xviii. 4, xix. 28) and can bear 
witness to His feelings (xi. 33, 38, xiii. 21), 

The Evangelist was the Apostle S. John. 

The contents of the two previous sections are almost suffi- 
cient to prove this last point. We know from the Synoptists 
that three disciples were specially intimate with Jesus, Peter, 
James, and his brother John. S. Peter cannot be our Evan- 
gelist : he was put to death long before the very earliest date 
to which the Fourth Gospel can be assigned. Moreover the 


style of the Gospel is quite unlike the undoubted First Epistle 
of S. Peter. Still less can S. James be the author, for he was 
martyred long before S. Peter. Only S. John remains, and he 
not only entirely fits in with the details already noticed, but 
also having long outlived the rest of the Apostles he is the one 
person who could have written a Gospel considerably later in 
date than the other three. 

But we have not yet exhausted the evidence. The concluding 
note (xxi. 24) declares that the Gospel was written by 'the 
disciple whom Jesus loved' {egapa, xxi. 20), This disciple is 
• mentioned in three other places under the same title (xiii. 23, 
xix. 26, xxi. 7 ; — xx. 2 is different). He is some one who is 
intimate with S. Peter (xiii. 24, xxi. 7; comp. xviii. 15, xx. 2), 
and this we already know from the Synoptists that S. John was, 
and we learn from the Acts that he remained so (iii. i, 3, 11, 
iv. 13, 19, viii. 14). He is one of those enumerated in xxi. i, 
and unless he is one of the two unnamed disciples he must be 
S. John. 

One more point, a small one, but of very great significance, 
remains. The Fourth Evangelist carefully distinguishes places 
and persons. He distinguishes Cana 'of Galilee' (ii. i, xxi. 2) 
from Cana of Asher; Bethany 'beyond Jordan' (i. 28) from 
Bethany 'nigh unto Jerusalem' (xi. 18); Bethsaida, 'the city of 
Andrew and Peter' (i. 44), from Bethsaida Julias. He distin- 
guishes also Simon Peter after his call from others named 
Simon by invariably adding the new name Peter, whereas the 
Synoptists often call him simply Simon. The traitor Judas is 
distinguished as the 'son of Simon' (vi. 71, xii. 4, xiii. 2, 26) 
from the other Judas, who is expressly said to be 'not Iscariot' 
(xiv. 22), while the Synoptists take no notice of the traitor's 
parentage. S. Thomas is thrice for the sake of additional 
clearness pointed out as the same who was called Didymus 
(xi. 16, XX. 24, xxi. 2), a name not given by the Synoptists. 
Comp. the careful identification of Nicodemus (xix. 39) and of 
Caiaphas (xi. 49, xviii. 13). And yet the Fourth Evangelist 
altogether neglects to make a distinction which the Synoptists 
do make. They distinguish John the son of Zebedee from his 


namesake by frequently calling the latter 'the Baptist' (more 
than a dozen times in all). The Fourth Evangelist never does 
so ; to him the Baptist is simply 'John.' He himself being the 
other John, there is for him no chance of confusion, and it does 
not occur to him to mark the distinction. 

iii. Ajiswers to objections. 

We are now on too firm ground to be shaken by isolated 
difficulties. It would take a great many difficulties of detail to 
counterbalance the difficulty of believing that the Fourth Gospel 
was written by some one who was neither an Apostle nor even 
a contemporary. But there are certain difficulties supposed to 
be involved in the theory that the Evangelist is S. John the 
Apostle, some of which are important and deserve a separate 
answer. They are mainly these ; — 

(i) The marked dissimilarity between the Fourth Gospel 
and the three others. 

(2) The marked dissimilarity between the Fourth Gospel 
and the Revelation. 

(3) The difficulty of believing that S. John {a) would have 
"studiously elevated himself in every way above the Apostle 
Peter;" {b) would have magnified himself above all as 'the 
disciple whom Jesus loved.' 

(4) The use made by S. Polycarp of S. John's authority in 
the Paschal controversy. 

(i) The answer to the first of these objections will be found 
below in Chapter vi. of the Introduction, and in the introductory 
note to Chapter iii. of the Gospel. 

(2) The answer to the second belongs rather to the Intro- 
duction to the Apocalypse. The answer to it is to a large 
extent a further answer to the first objection; for "the Apo- 
calypse is doctrinally the uniting link between the Synoptists 
and the Fourth Gospel" (Westcott). Great as are the differ- 
ences between the Revelation and the Gospel, the leading ideas 
of both are the same. The one gives us in a magnificent vision, 
the other in a great historic drama, the supreme conflict be- 
tween good and evil and its issue. In both Jesus Christ is the 


central figure, whose victory through defeat is the issue of the 
conflict. In both the Jewish dispensation is the preparation 
for the Gospel, and the warfare and triumph of the Christ is 
described in language saturated with the O. T. Some re- 
markable similarities of detail will be pointed out in the notes 
(see on i. 14; xi. 44; xix. 2, 5, 13, 17, 20, 37). The difference of 
date will go a long way towards explaining the difference of 

(3 a) The question, 'How could S. John have studiously 
elevated himself in every way above the Apostle Peter?' reminds 
us of the famous question of Charles II. to the Royal Society. 
The answer to it is that S. John does nothing of the kind. 
S. Peter takes the lead in the Fourth Gospel as in the other 
three. His introduction to Christ and significant naming stand 
at the very opening of the Gospel (i. 41, 42) ; he answers in the 
name of the Twelve (vi. 68); he is prominent if not first at the 
feet-washing (xiii. 6) ; he directs S. John to find out who is the 
traitor (xiii. 24) ; he takes the lead in defending his Master at 
the betrayal (xviii. 10); the news of the Resurrection is brought 
to him first (xx. 2); his companion does not venture to enter the 
sepulchre until he has done so (xx. 6 — 8) ; he is mentioned first 
in the list of disciples given xxi. 2, and there takes the lead 
(xxi. 3) ; he continues to take the lead when Jesus appears to 
them (xxi. 7, 11); he receives the last great charge, with which 
the Gospel concludes (xxi. 15 — 22). 

(ff) To suppose that the phrase 'the disciple whom Jesus 
loved' implies self-glorification at the expense of others is alto- 
gether to misunderstand it. It is not impossible that the 
designation was given to him by others before he used it of 
himself. At any rate the affection of the Lord for him was 
so well known that such a title would be well suited for an 
oblique indication of the author's personality. Besides thus 
gently letting us behind the scenes the phrase serves two 
purposes : (i) it is a permanent expression of gratitude on the 
part of the Evangelist for the transcendent benefit bestowed 
upon him ; (2) it is a modest explanation of the prominent part 
which he was called upon to play on certain occasions. Why 


was he singled out to be told who was the traitor (xiii. 23)? 
Why was the care of the Lord's mother entrusted to him (xix. 26) ? 
Why was he allowed to recognise the Lord at the sea of Ti- 
berias (xxi. 7) before any of the rest did so ? The recipient of 
these honours has only one explanation to give : Jesus loved 

(4) In the controversy as to the right time of keeping 
Easter S. Polycarp defended the Asiatic custom of keeping the 
Christian Passover at the same time as the Jewish Passover, 
viz. the evening of the 14th Nisan, "because he had always (so) 
observed it with John the disciple of our Lord, and the rest of 
the Apostles, with whom he associated" (Eus. H. E. v. xxiv. 16). 
On this ground he refused to yield to Anicetus, Bishop of Rome, 
though he did not require Anicetus to give way to him. But, 
as we shall see (Appendix A), the Fourth Gospel clearly re- 
presents the Crucifixion as taking place on the 14th Nisan, and 
the Last Supper as taking place the evening before. Therefore, 
either Polycarp falsely appeals to S. John's authority (which is 
most improbable), or the Fourth Gospel is not by S. John. But 
this objection confuses two things, the Christian Passover or 
Easter, and the Last Supper or institution of the Eucharist. The 
latter point was not in dispute at all. The question debated 
was whether the Christian Churches in fixing the time of Easter 
were to follow the Jewish Calendar exactly or a Christian 
modification of it. S. Polycarp claimed S. John as sanctioning 
the former plan, and nothing in the Fourth Gospel is incon- 
sistent with such a view. Schiirer, who denies the authenticity 
of the Gospel, has shewn that no argument against the au- 
thenticity can be drawn from the Paschal controversy. 



Tradition is unanimous in giving Ephcsus as the place where 
S. John resided during the latter part of his life, and where the 


Fourth Gospel was written. There is no sufficient reason for 
doubting this strong testimony, which may be accepted as 
practically certain. 

There is also strong evidence to shew that the Gospel was 
written at the request of the elders and disciples of the Chris- 
tian Churches of Asia. We have this on the early and inde- 
pendent authority of the Muratorian Fr agment (c. a.d. 170) 
and of Clement of Alexandria (c. A.D. 190) ; and this is con- 
firmed by Jerome. No doubt S. John had often delivered the 
contents of his Gospel orally ; and the elders wished before he 
died to preserve it in a permanent form. Moreover, difficulties 
had arisen in the Church which called for a recasting of Apos- 
tolic doctrine. The destruction of Jerusalem had given alto- 
gether a new turn to Christianity: it had severed the lingering 
and hampering connexion with Judaism; it had involved a 
readjustment of the interpretations of Christ's promises about 
His return. Again, the rise of a Christian philosophy, shading 
off by the strangest compromises and colouring into mere pagan 
speculation, called for a fresh statement, in terms adequate to 
the emergency, and by a voice sufficient in authority, of Chris- 
tian truth. There is both external and internal evidence to 
shew that a crisis of this kind was the occasion of the Fourth 

The precise date cannot be determined with certainty. There 
are indications in the Gospel itself that it was written late in the 
author's life time. In his narrative he seems to be looking back 
after a long lapse of time (vii. 39, xxi. 19). And as we study it, 
we feel that it is the result of a larger experience of God's Pro- 
vidence and of a wider comprehension of the meaning of His 
Kingdom than was possible at the time when the other Evan- 
gelists, especially the first two of them, wrote their Gospels. 
All this induces us to place the date of the Fourth Gospel as 
late as possible; and tradition (as we have seen in Chap, r) 
represents S. John as living to extreme old age. S. John would 
not begin to teach at Ephesus until some time after S. Paul 
left it, i.e. not much before A.D. 70. If Irenaeus is right in 
saying that S. Luke's Gospel was not written till after the death 

S. JOHN ^ 


of S. Peter and S. Paul {Haer. ill. i. i), this would again place 
the writing of the Fourth Gospel considerably later than A.D. 70. 
It is not improbable that the first twenty chapters were written 
a considerable time before the Gospel was published, that the 
last chapter was added some years later, and then the whole 
given to the church (see introductory note to chap. xxi.). S.John 
may have lived almost if not quite to the end of the century; 
therefore from A.D. 80 to 95 would seem to be the period within 
which it is probable that the Gospel was published. 

Those who deny that S. John is the author have tried almost 
every date from A.D. no to 165. Dividing this period into two, 
we have this dilemma :— If the Gospel was published between 
no and 140, why did not the hundreds of Christians, who had 
known S. John during his later years, denounce it as a forgery.? 
If it was not published till between 140 and 165, how did it 
become universally accepted by 170? 



i. The Object. 

These two subjects, the object and the plan, naturally go 
together, for the one to a large extent determines the other : 
the purpose with which the Evangelist wrote his Gospel greatly 
influences the form which it assumes. What that purpose was 
he tells us plamly himself : ' These have been written that ye 
may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that 
believirtg ye may have life in His name' (xx. 31). His object is 
not to write the life of Christ ; if it were, we might wonder that 
out of his immense stores of personal knowledge he has not 
given us a great deal more than he has done. Rather, out of 
these abundant stores he has made a careful and self-denying 
selection witii a view to producing a particular effect upon his 
readers, and by means of that effect to open to them an inesti- 


mable benefit. In. this way his object manifestly influences his 
plan. He might have given himself the delight of pouring 
forth streams of information, which he alone possessed, to 
a community ardently thirsting for it. But such prodigality 
would have obscured rather than strengthened his argument : 
he therefore rigidly limits himself in order to produce the de- 
sired effect. 

The effect is twofold : (i) to create a belief that Jesus is the 
Christ ; (2) to create a belief that Jesus is the Son of God. The 
first truth is primarily for the Jew ; the second is primarily for 
the Gentile ; then both are for all united. The first truth leads 
the Jew to become a Christian ; the second raises the Gentile 
above the barriers of Jewish exclusiveness ; the two together 
bring eternal life to both. 

To the Jews the Evangelist would prove that Jesus, the Man 
who had been known to them personally or historically by that 
name, is the Christ, the Messiah for whom they had been look- 
ing, in whom all types and prophecies have been fulfilled, to 
whom therefore the fullest allegiance is due. To the Gentiles 
the Evangelist would prove that this same Jesus, of whom they 
also have heard, is the Son of God, the Only God, theirs as 
well as His, the Universal Father, their Father as well as His ; 
whose Son's mission, therefore, must be coextensive with His 
Father's family and kingdom. Long before the promise was 
made to Abraham 'all things came into being through Him' 
(i. 3): if therefore the Jews had a claim on the Christ, the Gen- 
tiles had a still older claim on the Son of God. 

These two great truths, that Jesus is the Christ, and that 
Jesus is the Son of God, being recognised and believed, the 
blessed result follows that believers have life in His name, i.e. 
in Him as revealed to them in the character which His name 
implies. There is neither Gentile nor Jew, circumcision nor 
uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free ; but Christ is 
all and in all ; all are one in Christ Jesus (Col. iii. 1 1 ; Gal. iii. 28). 

There is no need to look for any additional object over and 
above that which the Evangelist himself states ; although this 
is frequently done. Thus from the time of Irenaeus {Haer. 



III. xi.) it has been common to say that S. John wrote his 
Gospel against Cerinthus and other heretics. By clearly teach- 
ing the main truths of the Gospel S. John necessarily refutes 
errors ; and it is possible that here and there some particular 
form of error was in his mind when he wrote : but the refuta- 
tion of error is not his object in writing. If his Gospel is not 
a Life of Christ, still less is it a polemical treatise. 

Again, from the time of Eusebius [H. E. lii. xxiv. ii) and 
earlier it has been maintained that S. John wrote to supplement 
the Synoptists, recording what had not been recorded by them. 
No doubt he does supplement them to a large extent, especially 
as regards the ministry in Judasa : but it does not follow from 
this that he wrote in order to supplement them. Where some- 
thing not recorded by them would suit his purpose equally 
well he would naturally prefer it ; but he has no hesitation in 
retelling what has already been told by one, two, or even all 
three of them, if he requires it for the object which he has in 
view (see introductory note to chap. vi.). 

ii. The Plan. 
In no Gospel is the plan so manifest as in the Fourth. Per- 
haps we may say of the others that they scarcely have a plan. 
We may divide and subdivide them for our own convenience ; 
but there is no clear evidence that the three Evangelists had 
any definite scheme before them in putting together the frag- 
ments of Gospel history which they have preserved for us. It 
is quite otherwise with the Fourth Evangelist. The different 
scenes from the life of Jesus Christ which he puts before us, 
are not only carefully selected but carefully arranged, leading 
up step by step to the conclusion expressed in the confession of 
S. Thomas, ' My Lord and my God.' But if there is a develop- 
ment of faith and love on the one side in those who accept and 
follow Jesus, so also there is a development of unbelief and 
hatred on the other in those who reject and persecute Him. 
* The Word became flesh ; ' but, in as much as He was not 
generally recognised and welcomed. His presence in the world 
necessarily involved a separation and a conflict ; a separation 


of light from darkness, truth from falsehood, good from evil, 
life from death, and a conflict between the two. It is the 
critical episodes in that conflict round the person of the Incar- 
nate Word that the Evangelist places before us one by one. 
These various episodes taken one by one go far to shew, — 
taken all together and combined with the issue of the conflict 
irrefragably prove, — 'that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.' 

The main outlines of the plan are these : — 

I. The Prologue or Introduction (i. i — 18). 

1. The Word in His own Nature (i. i — 5). 

2. His revelation to men and rejection by them 

(i. 6-13). 

3. His revelation of the Father (i. 14 — 18). 

II. First main Division. Christ's Ministry, or His Revela- 

tion OF Himself to the World (i. 19 — xii. 50). 

a. The Testimony (i. 19 — 51) 

1. of John the Baptist (i. 19 — 37), 

2. of the disciples (i. 38 — 51), 
5. of the first sign (ii. i — 11). 

b. The Work (ii. 13 — xi. 57) 

I. among Jews (ii. 13 — iii. 36), 
1. among Samaritans (iv. i — 42), 

3. among Galileans (iv. 43—54), 

(The work has bccovte a Conflict). 4. among mixed multitudes (v. — xi.). 

c. The Judgment (xii.) 

I. of men (i — 36), 
1. of the Evangelist (37 — 43), 
3. of Christ (44—50). 
Close of Christ's public ministry. 

III. Second main Division. The Issues of Christ's Ministry, 

or His Revelation of Himself to His Disciples 
(xiii. — XX.). 

d. The inner Glorification of Christ in His last Dis- 

courses (xiii. — xvii.). 

1. His love in humiliation (xiii. i — 30). 

2. His love in keeping His own (xiii. 31 — xv. 27). 


3. The promise of the Comforter and of His re- 

turn (xvi.). 

4. The prayer of the High-Priest (xvii.). 

e. The outer Glorification of Christ in His Passion 
(xviii., xix.). 

1. The betrayal (xviii. i — 11). 

2. The ecclesiastical and civil trials (xviii. 12 — 

xix. 16). 

3. The crucifixion and burial (xix. 17 — 4 ■2). 

/. The Resurrection (xx.). 

1. The manifestation to Mary Magdalene (i — ^18). 

2. The manifestation to the ten (19 — 23). 

3. The manifestation to S. Thomas with the ten 


4. The conclusion (30, 31). 

IV. The Epilogue or Appendix (xxi.). 



Here again, only a ^e\v leading points can be noticed : the 
subject is capable of almost indefinite expansion. 

I. From the time of Clement of Alexandria (c. A. D. 190) 
this Gospel has been distinguished as a 'spiritual Gospel' 
(Eus. H. E. VI. xiv. 7). The Synoptists give us mainly the 
external acts of Jesus Christ: S. John lays before us glimpses 
of the inner life and spirit of the Son of God. Their narrative 
is chiefly composed of His manifold and ceaseless dealings with 
men: in S. John we have rather His tranquil and unbroken 
union with His Father. The heavenly element which forms 
the background of the first three Gospels is the atmosphere of 
the Fourth. 

It is quite in harmony with this characteristic of the Gospel 
that it should contain such a much larger proportion of Christ's 


words than we find in the others : discourses here form the 
principal part, especially in the latter half of the Gospel. Not 
even in the Sermon on the Mount do we learn so much of 'the 
spirit of Christ' as in the discourses recorded by S. John. And 
what is true of the central figure is true also of the numerous 
characters which give such life and definiteness to S. John's 
narrative : they also make themselves known to us by what 
they say rather than by what they do. And this suggests to us 
a second characteristic. 

2. No Gospel is so rich in typical but thoroughly real 
are sketched, or rather by their words are made to sketch them- 
selves, with a vividness and precision which, as already observed, 
is almost proof that the Evangelist was an eyewitness of what 
he records. 

Among the groups we have the disciples strangely misunder- 
standing Christ (iv. 33, xi. 12) yet firmly believing on Him 
(xvi. 30) ; His brethf-eii, dictating a policy to Him and not 
believing on Him (vii. 3 — 5); John's disciples, with their 
jealousy for the honour of their master (iii. 26) ; the Samari- 
tans, proud to believe from their own experience rather than 
on the testimony of a woman (iv. 42) ; the tnultitude, sometimes 
thinking Jesus possessed, sometimes thinking Him the Christ 
(vii. 20, 26, 41) ; the Jews, claiming to be Abraham's seed and 
seeking to kill the Messiah (viii. 33, 37, 40) ; the Pharisees, 
haughtily asking, 'Hath any one of the rulers or of the Phari- 
sees believed on Him?' (vii. 48) and 'are we also blind?' (ix. 40) ; 
the chief priests, professing to fear that Christ's success will be 
fatal to the national existence (xi. 48), and declaring to Pilate 
that they have no king but Caesar (xix. 15). In the sketching 
of these groups nothing is more conclusive evidence of the 
Evangelist being contemporary with his narrative than the way 
in which the conflict and fluctuations between belief and un- 
belief among the multitude and 'the Jews' is indicated. 

The types of individual character are still more varied, and 
as in the case of the groups they exemplify both sides in the 
great conflict, as well as those who wavered between the two. 


On the one hand we have the Mother of the Lord (ii. 3 — 5, 
xix. 25—27), the beloved disciple and his master the Baptist 
(i_ 6—37, iii. 23 — 36), S. Andrew and Mary of Bethany, all unfail- 
ing in their allegiance ; S. Peter falling and rising again to deeper 
love (xviii. 27, xxi. 17); S. Philip rising from eager to firm faith 
(xiv. 8), S. Thomas from desponding and despairing love (xi. 16, 
XX. 25) to faith, hope, and love (xx. 28). There is the sober but 
uninformed faith of Martha (xi. 21, 24, 27), the passionate affec- 
tion of Mary Magdalene (xx. i — 18). Among conversions we 
have the instantaneous but deliberate conviction of Nathanael 
(i. 49), the gradual but courageous progress in belief of the 
schismatical Samaritan woman (see on iv. 19) and of the unin- 
structed man born blind (see on xi. 21), and in contrast with 
both the timid, hesitating confessions of Nicodemus, the learned 
Rabbi (iii. i, vii. 50, xix. 39). On the other side we have the 
cowardly wavering of Pilate (xviii. 38, 39, xix. i — 4, 8, 12, 16), 
the unscrupulous resoluteness of Caiaphas (xi. 49, 50), and the 
blank treachery of Judas (xiii. 27, xviii. 2 — 5). Among the 
minor characters there is the 'ruler of the feast' (ii. 9, 10), the 
'nobleman' (iv. 49), the man healed at Bethesda (v. 7, 11, 

14, 15)- 

If these groups and individuals are creations of the imagi- 
nation, it is no exaggeration to say that the author of the Fourth 
Gospel is a genius superior to Shakspere. 

3. From typical characters we pass on to typical or sym- 
bolical events. Symbolism is a third characteristic of this 
Gospel. Not merely does it contain the three great allegories 
of the Sheep-fold, the Good Shepherd, and the Vine, from which 
Christian art has drawn its symbolism from the very earliest 
times ; but the whole Gospel from end to end is penetrated 
with the spirit of symbolical representation. In nothing is this 
more apparent than in the eight miracles which the Evangelist 
has selected for the illustration of his Divine Epic. His own 
word for them leads us to expect this : to him they are not so 
much miracles as 'signs.' The first two are introductory, and 
seem to be pointed out as such by S. John (ii. 11, iv. 54). The 
turning of the water into wine exhibits the Messiah's sovereign 


power over inanimate matter, the healing of the official's son 
His power over the noblest of living bodies. Moreover they 
teach two great lessons which lie at the very root of Christianity ; 
(i) that Christ's Presence hallows the commonest events and 
turns the meanest elements into the richest ; (2) that the way to 
win blessings is to trust the Bestower of them. The third sign, 
healing the paralytic, shews the Messiah as the great Restorer, 
repairing the physical as well as the spiritual ravages of sin 
(v. 14). In the feeding of the 5000 the Christ appears as the 
Support of life, in the walking on the sea as the Guardian and 
Guide of His followers. The giving of sight to the man born 
blind and the raising of Lazarus shew that He is the Source of 
Light and of Life to men. The last sign, wrought by the Risen 
Christ, sums up and concludes the whole series (xxi. i — 12). 
Fallen man, restored, fed, guided, enlightened, delivered from 
the terrors of death, passes to the everlasting shore of peace, 
where the Lord is waiting to receive him. 

In Nicodemus coming by night, in Judas going out into the 
night, in the dividing of Christ's garments and the blood and 
water from His side, &c. &c. we seem to have instances of the 
same love of symbolism. These historical details are singled 
out for notice because of the lesson which lies behind them. 
And if we ask for the source of this mode of teaching, there 
cannot be a doubt about the answer : it is the form in which 
almost all the lessons of the Old Testament are conveyed. 
This leads us to another characteristic, 

4. Though written in Greek, S. John's Gospel is in thought 
and tone, and sometimes in the form of expression also, 

TURES. Much has been already said on this point in Chap- 
ter II. ii. (2), in shewing that the Evangelist must have been a 
Jew. The Gospel sets forth two facts in tragic contrast : (i) that 
the Jewish Scriptures in endless ways, by commands, types, and 
prophecies, pointed and led up to the Christ ; (2) that precisely 
the people who possessed these Scriptures, and studied them 
most diligently, failed to recognise the Christ or refused to 
believe in Him, In this aspect the Gospel is a long comment 


on the mournful text, ' Ye search the Scriptures ; because in 
them ye think ye have eternal life : and they are they which 
testify of Me. And ye will not come to Me, that ye may have 
life ' (v. 39, 40). To shew, therefore, the way out of this tragical 
contradiction between a superstitious reverence for the letter of 
the law and a scornful rejection of its true meaning, S. John 
writes his Gospel. He points out to his fellow-countrymen that 
they are right in taking the Scriptures for their guide, ruinously 
wrong in the use they make of them : Abraham, Moses and the 
Prophets, rightly understood, will lead them to adore Him whom 
they have crucified. This he docs, not merely in genefal slale- 
vtefits (i. 45, iv. 22, v. 39, 46), but in detail, both l^y allusions; 
e.g. to Jacob (i. 47, 51) and to the rock in the wilderness (vii. 37), 
and by direct references; e.g. to Abraham (vii. 56), to the brazen 
serpent (iii. 14), to the Bridegroom (iii. 29), to the manna (vi. 49^ 
to the paschal lamb (xix. 36), to the Psalms (ii. 17, .\. 34, xiii. 18, 
xix. 24, 37), to the Prophets generally (vi. 45, [vii. 38]), to Isaiah 
(xii. 38, 40), to Zechariah (xii. 15), to Micah (vii. 42). 

All these passages (and more might easily be added) tend to 
shew that the Fourth Gospel is saturated with the thoughts, 
imagery, and language of the O. T. "Without the basis of the 
Old Testament, without the fullest acceptance of the unchanging 
divinity of the Old Testament, the Gospel of 8. John is an 
insoluble riddle " (Westcott, Introduction, p. Ixix.). 

5. Yet another characteristic of this Gospel has been men- 
tioned by anticipation in discussing the plan of it (chap. iv. ii) ; 
— its SYSTEMATIC ARRANGEMENT. It is the only Gospel which 
clearly has a plan. What has been given above as an outline 
of the plan (iv. ii.), and also the arrangement of the miracles 
in section 3 of this chapter, illustrate this feature of the 
Gospel. Further examples in detail will be pointed out in the 
subdivisions of the Gospel given in the notes. 

6. The last characteristic which our space will allow us to 
notice is its style. The style of the Gospel and of the First 
Epistle of S. John is unique. But it is a thing to be felt rather 
than to be defined. The most illiterate reader is conscious of 
it; the ablest critic cannot analyse it satisfactorily. A few 


main features, however, may be pointed out ; the rest being left 
to the student's own powers of observation. 

Ever since Dionysius of Alexandria (c. A.D. 250) wrote his 
masterly criticism of the differences between the Fourth Gospel 
and the Apocalypse (Eus. H. E. vil. xxv.), it has been not un- 
common to say that the Gospel is written in very pure Greek, 
free from all barbarous, irregular, or uncouth expressions. This 
is true in a sense ; but it is somewhat misleading. The Greek 
of the Fourth Gospel is pure, as that of a Greek Primer is 
pure, because of its extreme simplicity. And it is faultless for 
the same reason ; blemishes being avoided because idioms and 
intricate constructions are avoided. Elegant, idiomatic, clas- 
sical Greek it is not. 

{fi) This, therefore, is one element in the style, — extreme 
simplicity. The clauses and sentences are connected together 
by simple conjunctions co-ordinately; they are not made to de- 
pend one upon another ; ' In Him was life, and the life was 
the light of men ; ' not ' which was the light, &c.' Even where 
there is strong contrast indicated a simple 'and' is preferred to 
'nevertheless' or 'notwithstanding;' 'He came unto His own 
home, and His own people received Him not.' In passages of 
great solemnity the sentences are placed side by side without 
even a conjunction ; 'Jesus answered... Pilate answered... Jesus 
answered' (xviii. 34 — 36). The words of others are given in 
direct not in oblique oration. The first chapter (19 — 51), and 
indeed the first half of the Gospel, abounds in illustrations. 

{b) This simple co-ordination of sentences and avoidance of 
relatives and dependent clauses involves a good deal of repeti- 
tion ; and even when repetition is not necessary we find it 
employed for the sake of close connexion and emphasis. This 
constant repetition is very impressive. A good example of it is 
where the predicate (or part of the predicate) of one sentence 
becomes the subject (or part of the subject) of the next ; or 
where the subject is repeated ; ' I am the good Shepherd; the 
good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep ; ' ' The light shineth 
in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not ; ' * In 
the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and 


the Word was God. Sometimes instead of repeating the sub- 
ject S. John introduces an apparently superfluous demonstrative 
pronoun ; ' He that seeketh the glory of Him that sent Him, 
this one is true' (vii. i8); 'He that made me whole, Mfl/ wa« 
said unto me' (v. ii). The personal pronouns are frequently 
inserted for emphasis and repeated for the same reason. This 
is specially true of ' I ' in the discourses of Christ. 

{c) Although S. John connects his sentences so simply, and 
sometimes merely places them side by side without conjunc- 
tions, yet he very frequently points out a sequence in fact or in 
thought. His two most characteristic particles are 'therefore' 
{oZv) and * in order that ' (ii/a). * Therefore ' occurs almost ex- 
clusively in narrative, and points out that one fact is a conse- 
quence of another, sometimes in cases where this would not 
have been obvious ; ' He came therefore again into Cana of 
Galilee' (iv. 46), because of the welcom.e He had received there 
before ; 'They sought therefore to take Him' (vii. 30), because 
of His claim to be sent from God.— While the frequent use of 
'therefore' points to the conviction that nothing happens with- 
out a cause, the frequent use of 'in order that' points to the 
belief that nothing happens without a purpose. S. John uses 
' in order that' not only where some other construction would 
have been suitable, but also where another construction would 
seem to be much more suitable ; ' I am not worthy in order 
that I may unloose' (i. 27), ' My meat is /« order that I may do 
the will' (iv. 34) ; 'This is the work of God, in order that ye may 
believe' (vi. 29); 'Who sinned, this man or his parents, in order 
that he should be born blind.?' (ix. 2); * It is expedient for you, 
in order that I go away' (xvi. 7). S. John is specially fond of 
this construction to point out the working of the Divine pur- 
pose, as in some of the instances just given (comp. v. 23, vi. 40, 
50, X. 10, xi. 42, xiv. 16, &c. &c.) and in particular of the fulfil- 
ment of prophecy (xviii. 9, xix. 24, 28, 36). In this connexion 
an elliptical expression 'but in order that' ( = but this was 
done in order that) is not uncommon ; ' Neither this man 
sinned, nor his parents, Intt in order that, (!v:c.' (ix. 3; comp. xi. 
52, xiv. 31, XV. 25, xviii. 28). 


{d) S. John, full of the spirit of Hebrew poetry, frequently 
employs that parallelism which to a large extent is the very 
form of Hebrew poetry: 'A servant is not greater than his 
lord ; neither one that is sent greater than he that sent him ' 
(xiii. i6); ' Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you... 
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful ' (xiv. 
27). Sometimes the parallelism is antithetic, and the second 
clause denies the opposite of the first; 'He confessed, and 
denied not ' (i. 20) ; 'I give unto them eternal life, and they 
shall never perish ' (x. 28). 

{e) Another peculiarity, also of Hebrew origin, is mimtteness 
of detail. Instead of one word summing up the whole action, 
S. John uses two or three stating the details of the action ; 
'They asked him and said to him' (i. 25); 'John bare witness, 
saying'' (i. 32); ' Jesus cried aloud m the Temple teaching and 
saying^ (vii. 28). The frequent phrase 'answered and said,' 
illustrates both this particularity and also the preference for 
co-ordinate sentences {a). ' Answered and said ' occurs thirty- 
four times in S. John, and only two or three times in the 
Synoptists, who commonly write 'having answered said,' or 
' answered saying.' 

(/") In conclusion we may notice a few of S. John's favour- 
ite words and phrases; 'Abide' especially in the phrases 
expressing abiding in one another; 'believe on' a person; 
'true' as opposed to lying, and 'true' as opposed to spurious, 
'truly,' and 'truth;' 'witness' and 'bear witness;' 'the dark- 
ness,' of moral darkness; 'the light,' of spiritual light; 'life;' 
'love;' eternal life;' 'in frankness' or 'openly;' 'keep My 
word;' 'manifest;' 'the Jews,' of the opponents of Christ; 'the 
world,' of those alienated from Christ. The following words 
and phrases are used by S. John only; 'the Paraclete' or 'the 
Advocate,' of the Holy Spirit; 'the Word,' of the Son; 'only- 
begotten,' of the Son; 'come out from God,' of the Son; 'lay 
down My life,' of Jesus Christ; 'Verily, verily;' 'the ruler of 
this world,' of Satan ; ' the last day.' 

These characteristics combined form a book which stands 
alone in Christian literature, as its author stands alone among 


Christian teachers; the work of one who for threescore years 
and ten laboured as an Apostle. Called to follow the Baptist 
when only a lad, and by him soon transferred to the Christ, he 
may be said to have been the first who from his youth up was a 
Christian. Who, therefore, could so fitly grasp and state in 
their true proportions and with fitting impressiveness the great 
verities of the Christian faith .-' He had had no deep-seated 
prejudices to uproot, like his friend S. Peter and others who 
were called late in life. He had had no sudden wrench to 
make from the past, like S. Paul. He had not had the trying 
excitement of wandering abroad over the face of the earth, like 
most of the Twelve. He had remained at his post at Ephesus, 
directing, teaching, meditating ; until at last when the fruit was 
ripe it was given to the Church in the fulness of beauty which it 
is still our privilege to possess and learn to love. 



The Fourth Gospel presupposes the other three ; the Evan- 
gelist assumes that the contents of his predecessors' Gospels are 
known to his readers. The details of Christ's birth are summed 
up in 'the Word became flesh.' His subjection to His parents 
is implied by contrast in His reply to His mother at Cana. The 
Baptism is involved in the Baptist's declaration, 'I have seen 
(the Spirit descending and abiding on Him) and have borne 
witness' (i. 34). The Ascension is promised through Mary 
Magdalene to the Apostles (xx. 17), but left unrecorded. Chris- 
tian Baptism is assumed in the discourse with Nicodemus, and 
the Eucharist in that on the Bread of Life ; but the reference 
in each case is left to speak for itself to Christians familiar 
with both those rites. S. John passes over their institution in 

The differences between the Fourth Gospel and the three 
first are real and very marked : but it is easy to exaggerate 


them. They are conveniently grouped under two heads; (i) dif- 
ferences as to the scene and extent of Christ's ministry ; (2) dif- 
ferences as to the view given of His Person. 

(i) With regard to the first, it is urged that the Synoptists 
represent our Lord's ministry as lasting for one year only, 
including only one Passover and one visit to Jerusalem, with 
which the ministry closes. S. John, however, describes the 
ministry as extending over three or possibly more years, in- 
cluding at least three Passovers and several visits to Jerusalem. 

In considering this difficulty, if it be one, we must remember 
two things : {a) that all four Gospels are very incomplete and 
contain only a series of fragments ; {b) that the date and dura- 
tion of Christ's ministry remain and are likely to remain un- 
certain, {a) In the gaps in the Synoptic narrative there is 
plenty of room for all that is peculiar to S. John. In the spaces 
deliberately left by S. John between his carefully arranged scenes 
there is plenty of room for all that is peculiar to the Synoptists. 
"When all have been pieced together there still remain large 
interstices which it would require at least four more Gospels to 
fill (xxi. 25). Therefore it can be no serious difficulty that so 
much of the Fourth Gospel has nothing parallel to it in the 
other three, {b) The additional fact of the uncertainty as to 
the date and duration of the Lord's public ministry is a further 
explanation of the apparent difference in the amount of time 
covered by the Synoptic narrative and that covered by the 
narrative of S. John, There is no contradiction between the 
two. The Synoptists nowhere say that the ministry lasted for 
only one year, although some commentators from very early 
times have proposed to understand 'the acceptable year of the 
Lord' (Luke iv. 19) literally. The three Passovers of S. John 
(ii. 13, vi. 4, xi. 55 ; V. I being omitted as very doubtful), compel 
us to give at least a Httle over two years to Christ's ministry. But 
S. John also nowhere implies that he has mentioned all the 
Passovers within the period ; and the startling statement of 
Irenaeus {Haer. il. xxii. 5) must be borne in mind, that our 
Lord fulfilled the office of a Teacher until He was over forty 
years old, "even as the Gospel and all the elders bear witness, 


who consorted with John the disciple of the Lord in Asia, 
(staling) that John had handed this down to them." Irenaeus 
makes the ministry begin when Christ was nearly thirty years 
of age (Luke iii. 23) ; so that he gives it a duration of more than 
ten years on what seems to be very high authority. All that 
can be affirmed with certainty is that the ministry cannot have 
begun earlier than a.d. 28 (the earlier alternative for the 
fifteenth year of Tiberius; Luke iii. i), and cannot have ended 
later than A.D. 37, when Pilate was recalled by Tiberius shortly 
before his death. Indeed as Tiberius died in March, and Pilate 
found him already dead when he reached Rome, the recall 
probably took place in a.d. 36; and the Passover of A.D, 36 
is the latest date possible for the Crucifixion. Chronology is 
not what the Evangelists aimed at giving us ; and the fact that 
S. John spreads his narrative over a longer period than the 
Synoptists will cause a difficulty to those only who have mis- 
taken the purpose of the Gospels. 

(2) As to the second great difference between S. John and 
the Synoptists, it is said that, while they represent Jesus as 
a great Teacher and Reformer, with the powers and authority 
of a Prophet, who exasperates His countrymen by denouncing 
their immoral traditions, S. John gives us instead a mysterious 
Personage, invested with Divine attributes, who infuriates the 
hierarchy by claiming to be one with the Supreme God. It is 
urged, moreover, that there is a corresponding difference in the 
teaching attributed to Jesus in each case. The discourses in 
the Synoptic Gospels are simple, direct, and easily intelligible, 
inculcating for the most part high moral principles, which are 
enforced and illustrated by numerous parables and proverbs. 
Whereas the discourses in the Fourth Gospel are many and 
intricate, inculcating for the most part deep mystical truths, 
which are enforced by a ceaseless reiteration tending to obscure 
the exact line of the argument, and illustrated by not a single 
parable properly so called. 

These important differences may be to a very great extent 
explained by two considerations : (a) the peculiarities of S. 
John's own temperament; (d) the circumstances under which 


he wrote, (a) The main features of S. John's character, so far 
as we can gather them from history and tradition, have been 
stated above (chapter l. ii.), and we cannot doubt that they 
have affected not only his choice of the incidents and discourses 
selected for narration, but also his mode of narrating them. No 
doubt in both he was under the guidance of the Holy Spirit 
(xiv. 26): but we have every reason for supposing that such 
guidance would work with, rather than against, the mental en- 
dowments of the person guided. To what extent the substance 
and form of his Gospel has been influenced by the intensity of 
his own nature we cannot tell : but the intensity is there, both 
in thought and language, both in its devotion and in its stern- 
ness ; and the difference from the Synoptists shews that so?/ie 
influence has been at work. (^d) The circumstances under 
which S. John wrote will carry us still further. They are very 
different from those under which the first Gospels were written. 
Christianity had grown from infancy to nianhood and believed 
itself to be near the great consummation of the Lord's return. 
It was 'the last time.' Antichrist, who, as Jesus had foretold, 
was to precede His return, was already present in manifold 
shapes in the world (i John ii. 18). In the bold speculations 
which had mingled themselves with Christianity, the Divine 
Government of the Father and the Incarnation of the Son were 
being explained away or denied (i John ii. 22, iv. 3). The 
opposition, shewn from the first by 'the Jews' to the disciples 
of the Teacher whom they had crucified, had settled down into 
a relentless hostility. And while the gulf between Christianity 
and Judaism had thus widened, that between the Church and 
the world had also become more evident. The more the 
Christian realised the meaning of being ' born of God,' the 
more manifest became the truth, that 'the whole world lieth in 
wickedness' (i John v. 18, 19). A Gospel that was to meet the 
needs of a society so changed both in its internal and external 
relations must obviously be very different from those which had 
suited its infancy. And a reverent mind will here trace the 
Providence of God, in that an Apostle, and he the Apostle 
S. John, was preserved for this crisis. It is scarcely too much 



to say that, had a Gospel, claiming to have been written by him 
near the close of the first century, greatly resembled the other 
three in matter and form, we should have had reasonable 
grounds for doubting its authenticity. (The special difficulty 
with regard to the discourses as reported by the Synoptists and 
by S. John is discussed in the introductory note to chap, iii.) 

It must be remarked on the other side that, along with these 
important differences as regards the things narrated and the 
mode of narrating them, there are coincidences less conspicuous, 
but not less real or important. 

Among the most remarkable of these are the characters of 
the Lord, of S. Peter, of Mary and Martha, and of Judas. The 
similarity in most cases is too subtle for the picture in the 
Fourth Gospel to have been drawn from that in the Synoptic 
account. It is very much easier to believe that the two pictures 
agree because both are taken from life. 

The invariable use by the Synoptists of the expression 'Son 
of Man ' is rigidly observed by S. John. It is always used by 
Christ of Himself; never by, or of, any one else. Sec notes on 
i. 51; and also on ii. 19 and xviii. 11 for two other striking 

The student will find tabulated lists of minor coincidences in 
Dr Westcott's Introduction, pp. Ixxxii., Ixxxiii. He sums up 
thus : " The general conclusion stands firm. The Synoptists 
offer not only historical but also spiritual points of connexion 
between the teaching which they record and the teaching in the 
Fourth Gospel ; and S. John himself in the Apocalypse com- 
pletes the passage from the one to the other." 



The chronological relation of the Gospel to the First Epistle 
of S. John cannot be determined with certainty. The Epistle 


presupposes the Gospel in some shape or other: but as the 
Gospel was given orally for many years before it was written, 
it is possible that the Epistle may have been written first. 
Probably they were written within a few years of one another, 
whichever was written first of the two. 

In comparing the Fourth Gospel with the Synoptists we 
found great and obvious differences, accompanied by real but 
less obvious correspondences. Here the opposite is rather the 
case. The coincidences both in thought and expression be- 
tween the Gospel and the First Epistle of S. John are many 
and conspicuous ; but closer inspection shews some important 

The object of the Gospel, as we have seen, is to create a con- 
viction 'that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.' The object 
of the Epistle is rather to insist that the Son of God is Jesus. 
The Gospel starts from the historical human Teacher and 
proves that He is Divine ; the Epistle starts rather from the 
Son of God and contends that He has come in the flesh. Again, 
the Gospel is not polemical : the truth is stated rather than 
error attacked. In the Epistle definite errors are attacked. 

The lesson of both is one and the same ; faith in Jesus Christ 
leading to fellowship with Him, and through fellowship with 
Him to fellowship with the Father and with one another : or, to 
sum up all in one word, Love. 



The authorities are abundant and various. It will suffice to 
mention twelve of the most important; six Greek MSS. and 
six Ancient Versions. 

Greek Manuscripts. 

Codex Sinaiticus (x). 4th century. Discovered by Tisch- 
endorf in 1859 at the monastery of S. Catherine on Mount 
Sinai, and now at St Petersburg. The whole Gospel. 



Codex Alexaxdrinus (A). 5th century. Brought by Cyril 
Lucar, Patriarch of Constantinople, from Alexandria, and after- 
wards presented by him to Charles I. in 1628. In the British 
Museum. The whole Gospel, excepting vi. 50 — viii. 52. 

Codex Vaticanus (B). 4th century, but perhaps later than 
the Sinaiticus. In the Vatican Library. The whole Gospel. 

Codex Ephraemi (C). 5th century. A palimpsest : the 
original writing has been partially rubbed out and the works of 
Ephraem the Syrian have been written over it. In the National 
Library at Paris. Eight fragments ; i. i — 41 ; iii. 33 — v. 16 ; 
vi. 38 — vii. 3 ; viii. 34— ix. 11 ; xi. 8—46; xiii. 8 — xiv. 7; xvi. 
21 — xviii. 36; XX. 26 — xxi, 25. 

Codex Bezae (D). 6th or 7th century. Given by Beza to 
the University Library at Cambridge in 1581, Remarkable for 
its interpolations and various readings. The whole Gospel, 
excepting i. 16 — iii. 26 : but xviii. 13 — xx. 13 is by a later hand, 
possibly from the original MS. 

Codex Regius Parisiensis (L). 8th or 9th century. Nearly 
related to the Vaticanus. At Tours. The whole Gospel, ex- 
cepting xxi. 15 — xxi. 25. 

Ancient Versions. 

Old Syriac (Curetonian). 2nd century. Four fragments ; 
i. — 42; iii. 5 — vii. 35 ; vii. y] — viii. 53, omitting vn. 53 — viii. 11; 
xiv. 1 1 — 29. 

Vulgate Syriac (rcscbito). 3rd century. The whole Gos- 

Harclean Syriac (a revision of the Philoxenian Syriac ; 
5th or 6th century). 7th century. The whole Gospel. 

Old Latin (Vetus Latina). 2nd century. The whole Gospel 
in several distinct forms. 

Vulgate Latin (mainly a revision of the Old Latin by Je- 
rome, A.D. 383 — 5). 4th century. The whole Gospel. 

Memphitic (Coptic, in the dialect of Lower Egypt). 3rd 
century. The whole Gospel. 




It would be impossible to give even a sketch of this within 
a small compass, so numerous are the works on S. John and 
his writings. All that will be attempted here will be to give 
more advanced students some information as to where they 
may look for greater help than can be given in a handbook for 
the use of schools. 

Of the earliest known commentary, that of Heracleon (c. A.D. 
150), only quotations preserved by Origen remain. Of Origen's 
own commentary (c. A.D. 225 — 235) only portions remain. Of 
the Greek commentators of the fourth century, Theodorus of 
Heraclea and Didymus of Alexandria, very little has come 
down to us. But we have S. Chrysostom's 88 Homilies on the 
Gospel, which have been translated in the Oxford ' Library of 
the Fathers.* S. Augustine's 124 Lectures {Tractatus) on S. 
John may be read in the * Library of the Fathers,' or in the new 
translation by Gibb, published by T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh. 
But no translation can fairly represent the epigrammatic fulness 
of the original. The Commentary of Cyril of Alexandria has been 
translated by P. E. Pusey, Oxford, 1875. With Cyril the hne 
of great patristic interpreters of S. John ends. 

The Catena Aurea of Thomas Aquinas (c. A.D. 1250) was 
published in an English form at Oxford, 1841 — 45. It consists 
of a 'chain' of comments selected from Greek and Latin 
authors. Unfortunately Thomas Aquinas was the victim of pre- 
vious forgers, and a considerable number of the quotations from 
early authorities are taken from spurious works. 

Of modern commentaries those of Cornelius k Lapide (Van 
der Steen) and Maldonatus in the sixteenth century and of 
Lampe in the eighteenth must be mentioned. The last has 
been a treasury of information for many more recent writers. 

The following foreign commentaries have all been published 
in an English form by T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh ; Bengel, 


Godet, Luthardt, Meyer, Olshausen, Tholuck. Of these the 
works of Godet and Meyer may be specially commended. The 
high authority of Dr Westcott pronounces the commentary of 
Godet, " except on questions of textual criticism," to be " un- 
surpassed" — we may add, except by Dr Westcott's own. 

Among original English commentaries those of Alford, Dun- 
well, McClellan, Watkins, and Wordsworth are or are becom- 
ing well known to all students. But immensely superior to all 
preceding works is the one noticed above, that by Dr Westcott 
in Vol. II. of the Speaker's Coinmentary ofi N. T. Murray, 

Other works which give very valuable assistance are EUicott's 
Historical Lecticres on the Life of our Lord, Liddon's Bampton 
Lectures, 1866, Sanday's Anthorship atid Historical Character 
of the Fourth Gospel, and The Gospels i7i the Second Century, 
and Westcott's Introduction to the Study of the Gospels. 

The present writer is bound to express his obligations, in 
some cases very great, to the works mentioned above of Alford, 
Dunwell, EUicott, Liddon, McClellan, Sanday, Meyer, Watkins, 
and Westcott, as well as to many others. The debt to Canon 
Westcott would probably have been still greater if the notes to 
the first fifteen chapters had not been written before the writer 
of them had seen Vol. ll. of the Speaker''s Co7n»ie}itary : but 
they have been revised with its help. It was originally intended 
that Mr Sanday should undertake the present commentary, but 
press of other work induced him to ask leave to withdraw after 
having written notes on the greater part of the first chapter. 
His successor has had the advantage of these notes and has 
made large use of them, and throughout has aimed at in some 
measure remedying the loss caused by Mr Sanday's retirement 
by frccjuently quoting from his work on the Fourth Gospel. 
These quotations are marked simply ' S,' with a reference to the 




r. The Word in His own nature (1—5)- 

2. His revelation to men and rejection by them (6—13). 

3. His revelation of the Father (14 — 18). y 

I. 19-Xn. 50. THE MINISTRY. 

a, I. 19— II. II. Tlie Testimony. 

I. The Testimony of the Baptist (i. 19—37) 

to the depdation from Jerusalem (19 — 28), 
to the people (29 — 34), 
to Andrew and John (35 — 37). 
^. The Testimony of Disciples (i. 38—51)- 
3. The Testimony of the First Sign (ii. i— 11). 

b. II. 13— XI. 57- Tbe Work. 

1. The Work among Jews (ii. 13 — iii. 36). 

First cleansing of the Tetnple (13 — 22). 
Belief without devotion (23 — 25). 

The discourse with Nicodemus (iii. i — 21). 

The baptism and final testimony of John (22 — 36). 

2. The Work among Samaritans (iv. i — 42). 

3. The Work among Galileans (iv. 43—54). 

4. The Work and conflict among mixed multitudes (v. — xi.). 

(a) Christ the Source of Life (v.). 

77^1? sign at the pool of Bethsaida (i — 9). 
The sequel of the sign (10 — 16). 
The discourse on the Son as the Source of Life (17- 


((3) Christ the Support of Life (vi.). 

The sign on the land ; feeding the 5000 (i — 15). 

The sign on the lake ; walking on the water (16 — 21). 

The sequel of the two signs (22 — 25). 

The discourse on the Son as the Support of Life (26 — 

Opposite results of the discourse (60—71). 

(7) Christ the Source of Truth and Light (vii. viii.). 

The controversy zuiih His brethren (vii. i — 9). 
The discourse at the F. of Tabernacles (10 — 39). 
Opposite results of the discourse (40 — 52). 
\The woman taken in adultery (vii. 53 — viii. 11)]. 
Christ's true witness to Himself and against the Jews 
(viii. 12 — 59). 

Christ the Source of Truth and Life illustra- 
ted BY A Sign (ix.). 
The prelude to the sign (i — 5). 
The sigtt (6 — 12). 
Opposite restilts of the sign (13 — 41). 

(5y Christ is Love (x.). 

Allegory of the Door of the Fold (i — 9). 
Allegory oft/ie Good Shepherd {11 — 18). 
Opposite results of the teaching (19 — 2 i). 
The discourse at the F. of the Dedication (22 — 38). 
Opposite results of the discourse (39 — 42). 

Christ is Love illustrated by a Sign (xi.) 
The prebide to the sign (1—33). 
The sign (33—44)- 
Opposite results of the sign (45 — 57). 

c. XII. Tlie Judgment. 

1. The Judjjment of men (i — 36). 

The devotion of Mary (i — 8). 
7' he hostility of the priests (9 — 11). 
7'he enthusiasm of the people (12 — 18). 
The discomfiture of the Pharisees (19). 
7'he desire of the Gentiles (20 — 33). 
The perplexity of the multitude (34 — 36). 


2. The Judgment of the Evangelist {37 — 43). 

3. The Judgment of Christ (44 — 50). 


d. XIII.— XVII. The inner Glorification of cnrist in His last 


1. His love in Humiliation (xiii. i — 30). 

2. His Love in keeping His own (xiii. 31 — xv. if). 

Their union with Hivi illustrated by the allegory of 

the Vine {xv. 1 — 11). 
Their union with one another (12 — 17). 
The hatred of the world to both Him and them (18 — 25). 

3. The Promise of the Paraclete and of Christ's Return (xvi.). 

The World and the Paraclete (xvi. i — 1 1). 
The disciples and the Paraclete (t2 — 15). 
The sorrow turned into joy (16 — 24). 
Summary and conclusion (25 — 33). 

4. The Prayer of the Great High Priest (xvii.). 

The prayer for Himself (xvii. i — 5) , 
for the Disciples (6 — 19), 
for the whole Church (20 — 26). 

e. XVIII. XIX. The outer Glorification of Christ in His Passion. 

I. The Betrayal (xviii. I — 11). 

1. The Jewish or Ecclesiastical Trial (12 — 27). 

3. The Roman or Civil Trial (xviii. 28— xix. 16). 

4. The Death and Burial (xix. 17 — 42). 

The crucifixion and the title on the cross (17 — 22). 
The foiir enemies and the four frie^ids (23 — 27). 
The two words, '/ thirst,' 'It is finished'' (28—30). 
The hostile and the friendly petitions (31—42). 

/. XX. The Eesurrection and threefold Manifestation of Christ. 

1. The first Evidence of the Resurrection (i — 10). 

2. The Manifestation to Mary Magdalene (i i — 18). 

3. The Manifestation to the Ten and others (19—23). 

4. The Manifestation to S. Thomas and others (24—29). 

5. The Conclusion and Purpose of the Gospel (30, 31). 



1. The Manifestation to the Seven and the Miraculous Draught 

of Fishes (i — 14), 

2. The Commission to S. Peter and Prediction as to his Death 


3. The misunderstood Saying as to the Evangelist (20—23). 

4. Concluding Notes (24, 25). 



Chap. I. i — 18. The Prologue or Introduction. 

The Gospel according to St John] This title exists in very 
dififerent forms, both ancient and modern, and is not original. As we 
might expect, the oldest authorities are the simplest, and the heading 
gradually increases in fulness; thus, i. According to John, or Ofyohn; 
1. Gosp^l according to yohn ; 3. The Gospel according to yohn\ 4. The 
holy Gospel, &c. So also with the English Versions, from Wiclif's 
simplejoon, or The Gospel ofjoon, to The Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ 
according to John of the Geneva Bible. 

Chap. I. 1 — 18. The Prologue or Introduction. 

That the first eighteen verses are introductory is universally admitted: 
commentators are not so unanimous as to the main divisions of this in- 
troduction. A division into three nearly equal parts has much to com- 
mend it : 

r. The Word in His orun Nature (i — 5). 

2. His Revelation to men and rejection by them (6 — 13). 

3. His Revelation of the Father ( 1 4 — 1 8) . 

Some throw the second and third part into one, thus : 
2. The historical manifestation of the Word (6 — 18). 

Others again divide into two parts thus : 

1. The Word in His absolute eternal Being [v. i). 

2. The Word in relation to Creation (2 — 18). 

And there are other schemes besides these. In any scheme the 
student can scarcely fail to feel that the first verse is unique. Through- 
out the prologue the three great characteristics of this Gospel, sim- 
plicity, subtlety, and sublimity, are specially conspicuous ; and the 
majesty of the first verse surpasses all. The Gospel of the Son of 
Thunder opens with a peal. 

6o S. JOHN, I. [vv. I, 


I — 5. The Word in His own Nature. 

N the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with 
God, and the Word was God. The same was in the 

1—5. The Word in His own Nature. 

1. In the beginning] The meaning must depend on the context. 
In Gen. i. i it is an act done 'in the beginning;' here it is a Being 
existing 'in the beginning,' and therefore prior to all beginning. That 
was the first moment of time; this is eternity, transcending time. Thus 
we have an intimation that the later dispensation is the confirmation 
and infinite extension of the first. ' In the beginning ' here equals 
'before the world was,' xvii. 5. Compare xvii. 24; Eph. i. 4; and 
contrast 'the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ,' Mark i. i, which 
is the historical beginning of the public ministry of the Messiah (John 
vi. 64): 'the beginning' here is prior to all history. To interpret 
'Beginning' of God as the Origin of all things is not correct, as the con- 
text shews. 

was] Not 'came into existence,' but was already in existence before 
the creation of the world. The generation of the Word or Son of God is 
thus thrown back into eternity. Thus S. Paul calls Him (Col. i. 
15) ' the firstborn of every creature,' or (more accurately translated) 
'begotten before all creation,' like 'begotten before all worlds' in 
the Nicene creed. Comp. Heb. i. 8, vii. 3 ; Rev. i. 8. On these 
passages is based the doctrine of the Eternal Generation of the Son : 
see Articles of Religion, i. and II. The Arians maintained that there 
was a period when the Son was not: S. John says distinctly that 
the Son or Word was existing before time began, i.e. from all eternity. 

the Word] As early as the second century Sermo and Verlntm were 
rival translations of the Greek term Logos = '^qxA. TerluUian (fl. a.d. 
195 — 210) gives us both, but seems himself to prefer Ratio. Sermo first 
became unusual, and finally was disallowed in the Latin Church. The 
Latin versions all adopted Verbum, and from it comes our translation, 
' the Word.' 

None of these translations are at all adequate: but neither Latin nor 
any modern language supplies anything really satisfactory. Va-bitrn 
and ' the Word ' do not give the whole of even one of the two sides of 
Logos: the other side, whicl^Tertullian tried to express by Ratio, is not 
touched at all ; for 6 \6yo's means not only ' the spoken word,' but ' the 
thought ' expressed by the sjiokcn word ; it is the spoken word as expres- 
sive of thought. It is not found in the N.T. in the sense of ' reason.' 

The expression Logos is a remarkable one ; all the more so, because 
S. John assumes that his readers will at once understand it. This 
shews that his Gospel was written in the first instance for his own 
disciples, who would be familiar with his teaching and phraseology. 

Whence did S. John derive the expression. Logos ? It has its origin 
in the Targums, or paraphrases of the Hebrew Scriptures, in use in 
Palestine, rather than in the mixture of Jewish and Greek philosophy 
prevalent at Alexandria and Epiiesus, as is very commonly asserted. 

V. i] S. JOHN, I. 6i 

(i) In the Old Testament we find the Word or Wisdom of God per- 
sonified, generally as an instmment for executing the Divine Will. We 
have a faint trace of it in the 'God said ' of Gen. i. 3, 6, 9, 1 1, 14, &c. 
The personification of the Word of God begins to appear in the 
Psalms, xxxiii. 6, cvii. 20, cxix. 89, cxlvii. 15. In Prov. viii. and ix. 
the Wisdom of God is personified in very striking terms. This 
Wisdom is manifested in the power and mighty works of God ; that 
God is love is a revelation yet to come. (2) In the Apocrypha the 
personification is more complete than in O. T. In Ecclesiasticus 
(c. B.C. 150 — 100) i. I — 20, xxiv. I — 22, and in the Book of Wisdom 
(c. B.C. 100) vi. 22 to ix. 18 we have Wisdom strongly personified. In 
Wisd. xviii. 15 the 'Almighty Word' of God appears as an agent of 
vengeance. (3) In the Targums, or Aramaic paraphrases of O.T.,the 
development is carried still further. These, though not yet written 
down, were in common use among the Jews in our Lord's time; and 
they were strongly influenced by the growing tendency to separate the 
Godhead from immediate contact with the material world. Where 
Scripture speaks of a direct communication from God to man, the 
Targums substituted the Memra, or ' Word of God.' Thus in Gen. iii. 
8, 9, instead of 'they heard the voice of the Lord God,' the Targums 
have ' they heard the voice of the Word of the Lord God ;' and instead 
of 'God called unto Adam,' they put 'the Word of the Lord called 
unto Adam,' and so on. ' The Word of the Lord' is said to occur 150 
times in a single Targum of the Pentateuch. In the theo^ophy of ike 
Alexandrine yexvs, which was a compound of theology with philo- 
sophy and mysticism, we seem to come nearer to a strictly personal 
view of the Divine Word or Wisdom, but really move further away 
from it. Philo, the leading representative of this religious specu- 
lation (fl. A.D. 40 — 50), admitted into his philosophy very various, 
and not always harmonious elements. Consequently his conception 
of the Logos is not fixed or clear. On the whole his Logos means 
some intermediate agency, by means of which God created material 
things and communicated with them. But whether this Logos is one 
Being or more, whether it is personal or not, we cannot be sure; and 
perhaps Philo himself was undecided. Certainly his L^ogos is very 
different from that of S. John; for it is scarcely a Person, and it is not the 
Messiah. And when we note that of the two meanings of Aci70j, Philo 
dwells most on the side which is less prominent, while the Targums 
insist on that which is more prominent in the teaching of S. John, we 
cannot doubt the source of his language. The Logos of Philo is pre- 
eminently the Divine Reason. The Memra of the Targums is rather 
the Divine Word ; i.e. the Will of God manifested in personal action; 
and this rather than a philosophical abstraction of the Divine Intelli- 
gence is the starting point of S. John's expression. 

To sum up : — the personification of the Divine Word in O. T. is 
poetical, in Philo metaphysical, in S. John historical. The Apocrypha 
and Targums help to fill the chasm between O.T. and Philo; history 
itself fills the far greater chasm which separates all from S. John. 
Between Jewish poetry and Alexandrine speculation on the one hand, 

62 S. JOHN, I. [vv. 3,4. 

3 beginning with God. All things were made by him ; and 

4 without him was not any thi/ig made that was made. In 

and the Fourth Gospel on the other, lies the historical fact of the In- 
carnation of the Logos, the life of Jesus Christ. 

The Logos of S. John, therefore, is not a mere attribute of God, but 
the Son of God, existing from all eternity, and manifested in space and 
time in the Person of Jesus Christ. In the Logos had been hidden 
from eternity all that God had to say to man ; for the Logos was the 
living expression of the nature, purposes, and Will of God. (Comp. the 
impersonal designation of Christ in i John i. i.) Human thought had 
' been searching in vain for some means of connecting the finite with the 
Infinite, of making God intelligible to man and leading man up to God. 
S. John knew that he possessed the key to this enigma. He therefore 
took the phrase which human reason had lighted on in its gropings, 
stripped it of its misleading associations, fixed it by identifying it with 
the Christ, and filled it with that fulness of meaning which he himself 
had derived from Christ's own teaching. 

with God] i.e. with the Father. ' With'=<7/«^, or the French chez: it 
expresses the distinct Personality of the Logos. We might render 'face to 
face with God,' or 'at home with God.' So, 'His sisters, are they not 
all wif/i us?' Matt. xiii. 56; comp. Mark vi. 3, ix. 19, xiv. 49; 1 Cor. 
xvi. 7; Gal. i. 18; i Thess. iii. 4; Philem. 13; i John i. 2. 

i/ie Word was God] i. e. the Word partook of the Divine A^ature, not 
was identical with the Divine Person. The verse may be thus para- 
phrased, 'the Logos existed from all eternity, distinct from the Father, 
and equal to the Father.' Comp. 'neither confounding the Persons nor 
dividing the Substance.' 

2. The same] More literally, He or This (Word), with emphasis 
(comp. vii. 18). This verse takes up the first two clauses and com- 
bines them. Such recapitulations are characteristic of S. John. 

3. dj htm] Rather, tlirougli ///m. The universe was created l/jf 
the Father through the agency of the Son. Comp. i Cor. viii. 6 ; Col. 
i. 16 (where see Lightfoot's note); Rom. xi. 36; Heb. xi. 10. That no 
inferiority is necessarily implied by 'through,' as if the Son were a mere 
instrument, is shevra by 1 Cor. i. 9, where the same construction is used 
of the Father, ^through Whom ye were called, &c.' Note the climax 
in what follows ; the sphere contracts as the blessing enlarges : existence 
for everything ; life for the vegetable and animal world ; light for men. 

without him, &c.] Better, apart from Him, &c. Comp. xv. 5. 
Antithetic parallelism ; emphatic repetition by contradicting the opposite : 
frequent in Hebrew : one of the many instances of the Hebrew cast of 
S. John's style. Comp. v. 20, x. 28; i John i. 5, ii. 4, 27, 28; Ps. 
Ixxxix. 30, 31, 48, &c., &c. 

not anything] No, not one ; not even one : stronger than 'nothing.' 
Evei7 single thing, however great, however small, throughout all the 
realms of space, came into being through Him. No event takes place 
without Him, — apart from His presence and power. Matt. x. 29; Luke 
xii. 6. 

5.] S. JOHN, I. 63 

him was life ; and the life was the light of men. And the 5 
light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended 
it not. 

i/iat was made] Better, that hath been made. The aorist refers to 
the fact of creation ; the perfect to the permanent result of that fact. 
Contrast 'was made' and 'hath been made' here with 'was' in vv. i 
and 2. ' Was made' denotes the springing into life of what was once 
non-existent; 'was' denotes the perpetual pre-existence of the Word. 

Some both ancient and modem writers would give the last part of v. 
3 to V. 4, thus: IViat which hath been made in Him was life ; i.e. those 
who were born again by union with Him felt His influence as life with- 
in them. It is very difficult to decide between the two punctuations. 
Tatian {Orat. ad Graecos, XIX.) has 'All things [were] by Him and with- 
out Him hath been made not even one thing. ' See on v. 5. 

4. In him was life] He was the well-spring from which every 
form of life — physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, eternal — flows. See 
on V. 26. 

Observe how frequently S. John's thoughts overlap and run into one 
another. Creation leads on to life, and life leads on to light. Without 
life creation would be unintelligible; without light all but the lowest 
forms of life would be impossible. 

the light] Not 'light,' but 'the Light,' the one true Light; absolute 
Truth both intellectual and moral, free from all ignorance and all stain. 
The Source of life is the Source of light. 

the light of men] Man shares life with all organic creatures ; light, or 
Revelation, is for him alone. The communication of Divine truth before 
the Fall is specially meant. 

5. shineth] Note the present tense; the only one in the section. It 
brings us down to the Apostle's own day : now, as of old, the Light 
shines — in reason, in creation, in conscience, — and shines in vain. 
Note also the progress : in vv. i and 2 we have the period before Crea- 
tion; in V. 3, the Creation; v. 4, man before the Fall; v. 5, man after 
the Fall. 

in darkness] Better, in the darkness. The Fall is presupposed. 

and the darkness] Mark the strong connexion between the two 
halves of v. 5 as also between v. 4 and v. 5, resulting in both cases 
from a portion of the predicate of one clause becoming the subject of 
the next clause. Such strong connexions are frequent in St John. 
Sometimes the whole of the predicate is taken ; sometimes the subject 
or a portion of the subject is repeated. — By 'the darkness' is meant all 
that the Divine Revelation does not reach, whether by God's decree or 
their own stubbornness, ignorant Gentile or unbelieving Jew. 'Dark- 
ness ' in a metaphorical sense for spiritual and moral darkness is peculiar 
to S. John, viii. 12, xii. 35, 46; i John i. 5, ii. 8, 9, 11. 

comprehended it not] Or, apprehended it not: very appropriate of 
that which requires mental and moral effort. Comp. Eph. iii. 18. The 
darkness remained apart, unyielding, and unpenetrated. The words 
'the darkness apprehendeth not the light' are given by Tatian as a 

64 S. JOH N, I. [vv. 6-g. 

6 — 13- The Word revealed to Men and rejected by them, 

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 

7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, 

8 that all men through him might believe. He was not that 

9 Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That 

quotation {Orat. ad Graecos, Xili.). He flourished A.D. 150—170: so 
this is early testimony to the existence of the Gospel, this and the 
reference to v. 3 (see note) are quite beyond reasonable dispute. 

We have here an instance of what has been called the "tragic 
tone" in S. John. He frequently states a gracious fact, and in imme- 
diate connexion with it the very opposite of what might have been 
expected to result from it. The Light shines in Darkness, and (instead 
of yielding and dispersing) the darkness shut it out. Comp. vv. 10 and 
II, (ii. 24,) iii. II, 19, 32, v. 39, 40, vi. 36, 43, viii. 45, &c. The word 
rendered 'comprehended' may also mean 'overcame;' and this makes 
good sense. Comp. xii. 35. 

6—13. The Word revealed to Men and rejected by them. 

6. There was a man] Rather, TAere arose a man, in contrast to 
the 'was' in 57. i. The word waj from all eternity; John awjf, came 
into existence, in time. Comp. x. 19. Note once more the noble sim- 
plicity of language. 

sent from God] i.e. a Prophet. Comp. 'I will j^W my messenger,' 
Mai. iii. \-, 'I will send yo\x Elijah the Prophet,' iv. 5. From the Greek 
for 'send' (apostello) comes our word 'Apostle.' 

whose name was John] In the Fourth Gospel John is mentioned 20 
times, and is never once distinguished as ' the Baptist.' The other three 
Evangelists carefully distinguish the Baptist from the son of Zebedee : 
to the writer of the Fourth Gospel there is only one John. This in itself 
is strong incidental evidence that he himself is the other John. See on 
xi. 16. 

7. for a wit7tess] Better, for witness, i.e. to bear witness, not to 
be a witness: what follows shews the meaning. The word 'witness' 
and 'to bear witness' are very frequent in S. John's writings, and this 
frequency should be marked by retaining the same translation through- 
out : testimony to the truth is one of his favourite thoughts. 

through him] i.e. through the Baptist, the Herald of the Truth. 
Comp. V. 33; Acts X. 37, xiii. 24. 

8. 7iot that Light] Better, not the Light. The Baptist was not 
the Light, but 'the lamp that is lighted and shineth' (see on v. 35). He 
was lumen illuminatiim, not lumen illut?iinans. At the close of the 
first century it was still necessary for S. John to insist on this. At 
Ephesus, where this Gospel was written, S. Paul in his third missionary 
journey had found disciples still resting in 'John's baptism,' Acts xix. 
I — 6. 'By lamp-light we may advance to the day' (Augustine). 

but was sent to] 'was sent' is not in the Greek. 'But (in order) that' 

vv. lo, II.] S. JOHN, I. 6$ 

Avas the true Light, which lighteth every man fAaf cometh 
into the world. He was in the world, and the world was 1° 
made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto " 

is an elliptical phrase occurring several times in this Gospel. It calls 
attention to the Divine purpose. Comp. ix. 3, xiii. 18, xiv. 31, xv. 25. 

9. 7'Aa( 7vas, &c.] This verse is ambiguous in the Greek. Most 
of the Ancient Versions, Fathers, and Reformers agree with our trans- 
lators. Many modern commentators translate — the true Light, which 
lighteth every man, was coming into the world : but 'was' and 'com- 
ing' are almost too far apart in the Greek for this. There is yet a 
third way ; — there was the true Light, which lighteth every man by 
coming into the world. 'Was' is emphatic : 'there was the true Light,' 
even while the Baptist was preparing the way for Him. The Baptist 
came once for all ; the Light was ever coming. 

The word for 'true' {alethinos) is remarkable: it means true as op- 
posed to 'spurious,' not true as opposed to 'lying.' It is in fact the 
old English 'very,' e.g. 'very God of very God.' Christ then is the 
true, the genuine, the perfect Light, just as He is 'the perfect Bread' 
(vi. 32) and 'the perfect Vine' (xv. i) : not that He is the only Light, 
and Bread, and Vine, but that He is in reality what all others are in 
figure and imperfectly. All words about t7-iith are very characteristic 
of S. John. 

eve>y man^ not 'all men:' the Light illumines each one singly, not all 
collectively. God deals with men separately as individuals, not in 
masses. But though every man is illumined, not every man is the 
lietter for it : that depends upon himself. 

that cometh into the worldl A Jewish phrase for being born, fre- 
quent in S. John (ix. 39, xi. 27, xvi. 28); see on xviii. 37. 'The world' 
is another of the expressions characteristic of S. John : it occurs nearly 
80 times in the Gospel and 22 in the First Epistle. This verse, Hippo- 
lytus tells us {Reftct. VII. x.), was used by Basilides in defending his 
doctrine, and as he began to teach about a.d. 125, this is very early 
evidence of the use of the Gospel. 

10. and the %vorld'\ Note three points; (i) the close connexion 
obtained by repetition, as in vv. 4 and 5 ; (2) the tragic tone, as in v. 5; 
(3) the climax. 'He was in the world' (therefore the world should have 
known Him); 'and the world was His own creature' (therefore still 
more it should have known Him); 'and (yet) the world knew Him 
not.' 'And ' = 'and yet' is very frequent in S. John ; but it is best not 
to put in the 'yet;' the simple 'and' is more forcible. Comp. vv. 5 
and II. 

Note that 'the world ' has not the same meaning in vv. 9 and 10. 
Throughout N.T. it is most important to distinguish the various mean- 
ings of 'the world.' It means (i) 'the universe;' Rom. i. 20: (2) 'the 
earth;' v. 9; Matt. iv. 8: (3) 'the inhabitants of the earth;' v. 29, iv. 
42 : (4) 'those outside the Church,' alienated from God; xii. 31, xiv. 17, 
and frequently. In this verse the meaning slips from (2) to (4). 

S. JOHN e 

66 S. JOHN, I. [vv. 12, 13. 

,2 his own, and his own received him not. Rut as many as 

received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of 

13 God, eveii to them that beheve on his name : which were 

huw him nof\ Did not acquire knowledge of its Creator ; did not 
recognise and acknowledge Him. Comp. Acts xix. 15. 

11. tuUo his (Twn] In the Greek the first ' own ' is neuter, the second is 
masculine, and this difference should be preserved : He came unto His 
0Z071 inlieritaiice ; and His own people received Him tiot (see on vi. 37). 
In the parable of the Wicked Husbandmen (Matt. xxi. 33 — 41) the 
vineyard is ' His own inheritance, ' the husbandmen are ' His own 
people,' the Jews. Or, for 'His own inheritance^ we might say 'His 
own home,'' as in xix. 27, where the Greek is the same. The tragic 
tone is very strong here as in vv. 5 and 10. 

received'^ A stronger word than 'knew.' The exact meaning of the 
Greek word is 'to accept what is offered.^ Mankind in general did not 
recognise the Messiah; the Jews, to whom He was specially sent, did 
not welcome Him. See on xix. 16. 

Once more there is a climax; — 'He was' [v. 9); 'He was in the 
world' {v. 10) ; 'He came unto His own inheritance' {v. 1 1). 

12. received^ Not the same Greek word as before : this denotes the 
spontaneous acceptance of the Messiah by individuals, whether Jews or 
Gentiles. He was not specially offered to any individuals as He was to 
the Jewish nation. 

power"] i.e. right, liberty, authority. We are bom with a capa- 
city for becoming sons of God ; that we have as men. He gives us a 
right io become such ; that we receive as Christians. Comp. v. 27, x. 

to becomel Christ is from all eternity the Son of God ; men are em- 
powered to become sons of God. Comp. Matt. v. 45. 

the sons of God] Omit 'the:' cMldren 0/ God. Both S. John and 
S. Paul insist on the fundamental fact that the relation of believers to 
God is 2i filial one. S. John gives us this fact on the human side; man 
'must be born again' (iii. 3). S. Paul gives us the Divine side; God by 
'adoption' makes us sons (Rom. viii. 16, 17, 21, 23; Gal. iv. 5). 

eveti to them that believe] Explains who are the sons of God. The 
test of a child of God is no longer descent from Abraham, but belief 
in God's Son. 

on his name] The construction ' to believe on' is characteristic of S. 
John : it occurs about 35 times in the Gospel and 3 times in the First 
Epistle; elsewhere in N.T. about 10 times. It expi-esses the very 
strongest belief; motion to and repose on the object of belief 'His 
Name' is a frequent phrase in Jewish literature, both O. and N.T. It 
is not a mere periphrasis. Names were so often significant, given some- 
times by God Himself, that a man's name told not merely 7vho he was, 
but what he was: it was an index of character. So 'the Name of the 
Lord' is not a mere periphrasis for 'the Lord;' it suggests His attributes 
and His relations to us as Lord. Perhaps the name of Logos is specially 
meant here; and the meaning would then be to give one's entire ad- 

V. 14.] S. JOHN, I. (fj 

born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the 
will of man, but of God. 

14 — 18. The Incarnate Word's revelation of the Father. 
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, 14 

hesion to Him as the Incarnate Son, the expression of the Will and 
Nature of God. Comp. iii. 18, xx. 31. 

13. S. John denies thrice most emphatically that human generation 
has anything to do with Divine regeneration. Man cannot become a 
child of God in right of human parentage : descent from Abraham con- 
fers no such 'power.' A bitter word to Jewish exclusiveness. 

were born'\ Literally, •j^^ begotten. Comp. i John v. i, 4, i8. 

not of blood] The blocJT was regarded as the seat of physical life. 
Gen. ix. 4; Lev. xvii. 11, 14, &c. 

nor of the will of the flesh] Better, nor yet from will of flesh, i.e. 
from any fleshly impulse. A second denial of any physical process. 

nor of the will of man] Better, nor yet from will of man, i.e. from 
the volition of any earthly father: it is the Heavenly Father who wills 
it. A third denial of any physical process. 

There is an interesting false reading here. Tertullian (c. A.D. 200) 
had 'was born' for 'were born,' making it refer to Christ; and he ac- 
cused the Valentinians of corrupting the text in reading 'were born,' 
which is undoubtedly right. This shews that as early as A.D. 200 there 
were corruptions in the text, the origin of which was already lost. Such 
things take some time to grow : by comparing them and tracing their 
roots and branches we arrive at a sure conclusion that this Gospel can- 
not have been written later than a.d. 85 — 100. See on v. 18 and ix. 

14 — 18. The Incarnate Word's revelation of the Father, 

14. And the Woj'd was made flesh] Ox, "bQCSiVixe flesh. This is the 
gulf which separates S. John from Philo. Philo would have assented to 
what precedes; from this he would have shrunk. From v. 9 to 13 we 
have the subjective side ; the inward result of the Word's coming to those 
who receive Him. Here we have the objective; the coming of the Word 
as a historical fact. The Logos, existing from all eternity with the 
Father [w. i and 2), not only manifested His power in Creation (v. 3) 
and in influence on the minds of men {vv. 9, 12, 13), but manifested 
Himself in the form of a man of flesh. The important point is that the 
Word became terrestrial and material : and thus the inferior part of man 
is mentioned, the flesh, to mark His humiliation. He took the whole 
of man's nature, including its frailty. "The majestic fulness of this 
brief sentence," the Word became flesh, which afhrms once for all the 
union of the Infinite and the finite, "is absolutely unique." The Word 
became flesh ; did not merely assume a body : and the Incarnate Word 
is one, not two personalities. Thus various heresies, Gnostic and Eu- 
tychian, are refuted by anticipation. 


68 S. JOHN, I. [v. 15. 

(and we beheld liis glory, the glory as of the only begotten 

15 of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of 

him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He 

dwelt among us\ Literally, tabernacled among us, dwelt as in a tent. 
The Tabernacle had been the seat of the Divine Presence in the wilder- 
ness : when God became incarnate in order to dwell among the Chosen 
People, 'to tabernacle' was a natural word to use. The word forms a 
link between this Gospel and the Apocalypse : it occurs here, four times 
in the Apocalypse, and nowhere else. Our translators render it simply 
'dwell,' which is inadequate. Rev. vii. 15, xii. 12, xiii. 6, xxi. 3 

among us'\ In the midst of those of us who witnessed His life. 

we beheld'\ Or, contemplated. Comp. i John i. i. No need to 
make a parenthesis. 

his glory] The Shechinah. Comp. ii. ri, xi. 40, xii. 41, xvii. 5, 24; 
2 Cor. iii. 7 — 18; Rev. xxi. 11. There is probaiily a special reference 
to the Transfiguration (Luke ix. 32; 2 Pet. i. 17); and possibly to the 
vision at the beginning of the Apocalypse. In any case it is the 
Evangelist's own experience that is indicated. Omit 'the' before the 
second 'glory.' 

as of] i.e. exactly like. The glory is altogether such as that of an 
only-begotten son. Comp. Matt. vii. 29. He taught exactly as one 
havdng full authority. No article before 'only-begotten;' He was an 
only-begotten Son, whereas Moses and the Prophets were but servants. 

only begotten] Unigenitiis. The Greek word is used of the widow's 
son (Luke vii. 12), Jairus' daughter (viii. 42), the demoniac boy (ix. 38), 
Isaac (Heb. xi. 17). As applied to Christ it occurs only in S. John's 
writings; here.Z'. 18, iii. 16, 18; r John iv. g. It marks off His unique 
Sonship from that of the 'sons of God' {v. 12). 

of the Father] Literally, from the presence of a father; an only son 
sent on a mission from a father: comp. v. 6. 

full] Looks forward to 'fulness' in v. 16. 

grace] The original meaning of the Greek word is 'that which causes 
pleasure.' Hence (r) comeliness, winsomeness: 'the words of grace' in 
Luke iv. 22 are 'winning words.' (2) Kindliness, goodwill: Luke ii. 52; 
Acts ii. 47. (3) 'Y\\G. favour of God towards sinners. This distinctly 
theological sense has for its central point \\-\&freencss of God's gifts : they 
are not earned, He gives them spontaneously through Christ. 'Grace' 
covers all these three meanings. The third at its fullest and deepest is 
the one here. It is as the Idfe that the Word is 'full of grace,' for 
it is 'by grace' that we come to eternal life. Eph. ii. 5. 

truth] It is as the Light that the Word is 'full of truth.' 

15. ba7-e witness] Better, bears witness. At the end of a long life 
this testimony of the Baptist abides still fresh in the heart of the aged 
Apostle. Three times in 20 verses (15, 27, 30) he records the cry which 
was such an epoch in his own life. The testimony remains as a memoiy 
for him, a truth for all. 

and cried] Better, and cries. The word indicates strong emotion, 
characteristic of a prophet. Comp. vii. 28, 37, xii. 44; Is. xl. 3. 

vv. i6, 17.] S. JOHN, I. 69 

that cometh after me is preferred before me : for he was 
before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and 16 
grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace '7 

of whom I spahe\ As if his first utterance under the influence of the 
Spirit had been scarcely intelligible to himself. 

He that cometh after, &c.] The exact meaning seems to be — 'He who 
is coming after me (in His ministry as in His birth) has become superior 
to me, for He was in existence from all eternity before me.' Christ's 
pre-existence in eternity a great deal more than cancelled John's pre- 
existence in the world ; and as soon as He appeared as a teacher He at 
once eclipsed His forerunner. But this is not quite certain. The words 
translated 'is preferred before me,' or 'is become superior to me,' 
literally mean 'has come to be before me;' and this may refer to time 
and not to dignity. But the perfect tense 'has come to be, has become' 
points to dignity rather than time. Moreover if 'has become before me' 
refers to time, this is almost tautology with 'for He was before me,' 
which must refer to time. 

he was before me\ The Greek is peculiar, being the superlative instead 
of the comparative ; not simply ^ prior to me, ' but '■first of me. ' Perhaps 
it means 'before me and first of all.' 

16. The testimony of the Baptist to the incarnate Word is con- 
firmed by the experience of all believers. The Evangelist is the 

And'\ The true reading gives Because. 

fulness'] The Greek word, pleronia, is 'a recognised technical term 
in theology, denoting the totality of the Divine powers and attributes.' 
This fulness of the Divine attributes belonged to Christ [v. 14), and by 
Him was imparted to the Church, which is His Body (Eph. i. 23); and 
through the Church each individual believer in his degree receives a 
portion of it. See Ligbtfoot on Colossians, i. 19 and ii. 9. 'Of His 
fulness' means literally 'out of His fulness,' as from an inexhaustible 

all we] shews that the Evangelist and not the Baptist is speaking. 

grace for grace] lAtexsWy , gi'ace in. the place Of grace, one grace suc- 
ceeding another, and as it were taking its place. There is no reference 
to the Christian dispensation displacing the Jewish. The Jewish dis- 
pensation would have been called 'the Law,' not 'grace;' see next 
verse, and comp. xvii. 22. 

17. The mention of 'grace' reminds the Evangelist that this was the 
characteristic of the Gospel and marked its superiority to the Law; for 
the Law could only condemn transgressors, grace forgives them. 

For] Better, Because. 

by Afoses] The preposition translated 'by' in zjv. 3, 10, 17, and 
'through' in v. 7, is one and the same in the Greek. The meaning in all 
five cases is 'by means of.' Moses did not give the Law any more than 
he gave the manna (vi. 32) : he was only the mediate agent by whose 
hand it was given (Gal. iii. 19). 

•JO S. JOHN, I. [v. i8. 

i8 and truth came by Jesus Christ. No 7nan hath seen God 
at any time ; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom 
of the Father, he hath declared hi>n. 

trutK\ Like grace, truth is opposed to the Law, not as truth to false- 
hood, but as perfection to imperfection. 

came\ Note the change from 'was given.' The grace and truth which 
came through Christ were His own; the Law given through Moses was 
not his own. 

Jesus Christ'\ S. John no longer speaks of the Logos : the Logos has 
become incarnate (v. 14) and is spoken of henceforth by the names 
which He has borne in history. 

18. The Evangelist solemnly sums up the purpose of the Incarnation 
of the Logos — to be a visible revelation of the invisible God. It was in 
this way that 'the truth came through Jesus Christ, 'for the truth cannot 
be fully known, while God is not fully revealed. 

No man] Not even Moses. Until we see 'face to face' (i Cor. xiii. 
12) our knowledge is only partial. Symbolical visions, such as Ex. 
xxiv. 10, xxxiii. 23; i Kings xix. 13; Is. vi. i, do not transcend the 
limits of partial knowledge. 

hath seeii] With his bodily eyes. 

at any time] Better, ever yet ; 'no one hath ever yet seen God;' but 
some shall see Him hereafter. 

the only begotten Son] The question of reading here is very interest- 
ing. Most MSS. and versions have 'the only-begotten Son' or 'only- 
begotten Son.' But the three oldest and best MSS. and two others of 
great value have 'only-begotten God.^ The test of the value of a MS., 
or group of MSS., on any disputed point, is the extent to which it 
admits false readings on other points not disputed. Judged by this test 
the group of MSS. which read 'only-begotten God' is very strong; 
while the far larger group of MSS. which have 'Son' for 'God' is com- 
paratively weak, for the same group of MSS. might be quoted in de- 
fence of a multitude of readings which no one would think of adopting. 
Again, the revised Syriac, which is among the minority of versions that 
support 'God,' is here of special weight, because it agrees with MSS. 
from which it usually differs. We conclude, therefore, that the very un- 
usual expression 'only-begotten God' is the true reading, which has been 
changed to the usual 'only-begotten Son,' a change which in an old 
Greek MS. would involve the alteration of only a single letter. Both 
readings can be traced up to the second century, which again is evidence 
that the Gospel was written in the first century. Such dilTerences take 
time to spread themselves widely. See ox\v. 13 and ix. 35. 

in the dosom] Literally, into the bosom, which may mean that the 
return to glory after the Ascension is meant. Comp. Mark ii. 1, xiii. 
16; I>uke ix. 6r. On the other hand the Greek for 'which is' points 
to a timeless relation. 

hath declared] Better, declared, acted as His interpreter. The Greek 
word is used both in the LXX. and in classical authors of interpreting 

V. 19.] S. JOHN, I. 71 

19 — 37. The Testimony of the Baptist. 
19 — 28. His Testimony to the Deputation from J^ erusalem. 
And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent 19 

the Divine Will. On the emphatic use of 'He' here comp. v. 33 and 
see on X. i. In the First Epistle this pronoun {ekeinos) is used specially 
for Christ; ii. 6, iii. 3, 5, 7, 16, iv. 17. 

In this prologue we notice what may be called a spiral movement. 
An idea comes to the front, like the strand of a rope, retires again, and 
reappears later on for development and further definition. Meanwhile 
another idea, like another strand, comes before us, and retires to re- 
appear in like manner. Thus the Word is presented to us in v. i, is 
withdrawn, and again presented to us in v. 14. The Creation comes 
next in v. 3, disappears, and returns again in v. 10. Then 'the Light' 
is introduced in v. 5, withdrawn, and reproduced in vv. 10, 11. Next 
the rejection of the Word is put before us in v. 5, removed, and again 
put before us in zrv. 10, 11. Lastly, the testimony of John is mentioned 
in vv. 6, 7, repeated in v. 15, taken up again in v. 19, and developed 
through the next two sections of the chapter. 

We now enter upon the first main division of the Gospel, which ex- 
tends to the end of chap, xii., the subject being Christ's Ministry, 
or. His Revelation of Himself to the World, and that in three 
parts; THE Testimony (i. 19 — ii. 11), the Work (ii. 13 — xi. 57), and 
THE Judgment (xii.). These parts will be subdivided as we reach 
them. 19 — 37 The Testimony of the Baptist (i) to the deputation 
from Jerusalem, (2) to the people, (3) to S. Andrew and S. John : 
38 — 51 The Testitnony oj the Disciples: ii. i — 11 The Testitnony of the 
First Sign. 

19 — 37. The Testimony of the Baptist. 

19 — 28. His Testimony to the Deputation from Jerusalem. 

This section describes a crisis in the Baptist's ministry. He had 
already attracted the attention of the Sanhedrin. It was a time of 
excitement and expectation respecting the Messiah. John evidently 
spoke with an authority greater than other teachers, and his success was 
greater than theirs. The miracle attending his birth, connected with 
the public ministry of Zacharias in the Temple, was probably well 
known. He had proclaimed that a new dispensation was at hand 
(Matt. iii. 2), and this was believed to refer to the Messiah. But what 
was John's own position? Was he the Messiah ? This uncertainty led 
the authorities at Jerusalem to send and question John himself as to his 
mission. No formal deputation from the Sanhedrin seems to have been 
sent. The Sadducee members, acquiescing in the Roman dominion, would 
not feel much interest. But to the Pharisee members, who represented 
the religious and national hopes of their countiymen, the question was 
vital ; and they seem to have sent an informal though influential depu- 

72 S. JOHN, I. [vv. 20, 21. 

priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art 

20 thou ? And he confessed, and denied not ; but confessed, I 

21 am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then ? Art 

tation of ministers of religion (v. 19) from their own party (v. 24). S. 
John was probably among the Baptist's disciples at this time, and heard 
his master proclaim himself not the Messiah, but His Herald. It was 
a crisis for him as well as for his master, and as such he records it. 

19. (Ae record] Better, tAe witness ; see on v. 7 and comp. iii. 1 1, 
V. 31. 

(Ae yews] This term in S. John's Gospel commonly means iAe 
opponents of CArist, a meaning not found in the Synoptists, who seldom 
use the term. Matt, xxviii. 15; Mark vii. 3; Lul<e vi. 3, xxiii. 51, are 
the only instances excepting the title ' King of the Jews. ' In them it is the 
sects and parties (Pharisees, Scribes, Herodians, &c.) that are the typical 
representatives of hostility to Christ. But S. John, writing later, with 
a fuller realisation of the national apostasy, and a fuller experience of 
Jewish malignity in opposing the Gospel, lets the shadow of this know- 
ledge fall back upon his narrative, and ' the Jews ' are to him not his 
fellow countrymen, but the persecutors and murderers of the Messiali. 
' The name of a race has become the name of a sect.' He uses the 
term about 70 times, almost always with this shade of meaning. 

priests] The Baptist himself was of priestly family (Luke i. 5); 
hence priests were suitable emissaries. The combination ' priests and 
Levites ' occurs nowhere else in N. T. Together they represent tlie 

Levites] Levites were commissioned to teacA (2 Chron. xxxv. 3 ; Neh. 
viii. 7 — 9) as well as serve in the Temple ; and it is as teachers, similar 
to the Scribes, that they are sent to the Baptist. The mention of Levites 
as part of the deputation is the mark of an eyewitness. Excepting 
in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke x. 32), Levites are 
not mentioned by the Synoptists, nor elsewhere in N.T., excepting 
Acts iv. 36. Had the Evangelist been constructing a story out of 
borrowed materials, we should probably have had Scribes or Elders 
instead of Levites. These indications of eyewitness are among the 
strong proofs of the authenticity of this Gospel. 

WAo art tAou?] with a strong emphasis on the 'thou.' 

20. confessed, and denied not] Antithetic parallelism, as in v. 3. 
but confessed] Rather, and. lie confessed, to introduce 7vkat he con- 

/ am not tAe CArist] 'I ' is emphatic, implying that some one else not 
far distant is the Christ. Throughout the section (20 — 34) John 
contrasts himself with the Christ by an emphasis on 'I.' 

tAe CArist] It is to be regretted that our translators have so often 
omitted the definite article before 'Christ,' although it is inserted in the 
Greek. In the Gospel narratives the article should always be preserved 
in English as here. Comp. Matt. xvi. 16, xxvi. 63; Mark viii. 29; and 
contrast Malt. xxiv. 5; Luke xxiii. 35, 39, &c. To us 'Christ' is a 

vv. 22—24.] S. JOHN, I. -]■}, 

thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that 
prophet ? And he answered, No. Then said they unto 22 
him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them 
that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I am 23 
the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make 
straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet 
Esaias. And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. 24 

proper name, but to the Evangelists it is a title, '■the Christ,' the 
Messiah so long expected. See Lightfoot, On Revision, p. 100. 

21. What then ?] ' What then are we to think?' or, ' What then art 

Art thou Eliasl\ The Scribes taught that Elijah would come again 
before the coming of the Messiah (Matt. xvii. 10), and this belief is re- 
peatedly alluded to in the Talmud. Comp. Mai. iv. 5. 

I a7n not] A forger would scarcely have ventured on this in the face 
of Matt. xi. 14, where Christ says that John is Elijah. But Christ is 
there speaking figuratively (comp. Luke i. 17); John is here speaking 
literally. He says he is not Elijah returned to the earth again. 

that prophet] Rather, the Prophet, the well-known Prophet of Deut. 
xviii. 15, who some thought would be a second Moses, others a second 
Elijah, others the Messiah. From vii. 40, 41 we see that some distin- 
guished 'the Prophet' from the Messiah; and from Matt. xvi. 14 it 
appears that Jeremiah or other prophets were expected to return. 
Comp. 2 Esdras ii. 18; i Mace. xiv. 41. This verse alone is almost 
enough to prove that the writer is a Jew. Who but a Jew would 
know of these expectations? Or if a Gentile chanced to know them, 
would he not explain them to his readers? In v. 25, vi. 14, 48, 69 our 
translators have repeated the error of translating the definite article by 
'that' instead of 'the.' 

No] The Baptist knows that 'the Prophet' is the Messiah. His 
replies grow more and more abrupt; ' I am not the Christ,' 'I am not,' 

22. Who art thou?] They continue asking as to his person; he 
replies as to his office. In the presence of the Messiah the personality 
of His Forerunner is lost. 

23. I am the voice, &c.] Or, I am a 7)oice. The Synoptists use these 
words of the Baptist as fulfilling prophecy. From this verse it would 
seem as if they were first so used by himself. The quotation is almost 
exact from the LXX. John was a Voice making known the Word, 
meaningless without the Word. There is an almost certain reference to 
this passage (19 — 23) in Justin Martyr, Trypho, Lxxxviii., which is 
evidence that this Gospel was known before a.d. 150. 

24. And they which, &c.] Perhaps the better reading is, ««</ there 
had been sent some of the Pharisees. S. John mentions neither Sad- 
ducees nor Herodians; only the Pharisees, the sect most opposed to 
Christ, is remembered by the Evangelist who had gone furthest from 

74 S. JOHN, I. [vv. 25—29. 

25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest 
thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither 

26 //i^/ prophet ? John answered them, saying, I baptize with 
water : but there standeth one among you, whom ye know 

27 not ; he it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, 

28 whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose. These 
things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John 
was baptizing. 

29 — 34. The Testimony of the Baptist to the people. 

29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and 

26. Why baptizest thou then ?] * What right have you to treat Jews 
as if they were proselytes and make them submit to a rite which im- 
plies that they are impure?' Had they forgotten Zech. xiii. i; Ezek. 
xxxvi. 25? 

be not that Christ, &c.] Better, art not the Christ, nor yet Elijah, 
nor yet the Prophet, See on z*. 21. 

26. ' You ask for my credentials; and all the while He Who is far 
more than credentials to me is among you. I am not a prophet to fore- 
tell His coming, but a herald to proclaim that He has come.' 

27. He it w] These words and ' is preferred before me ' are want- 
ing in authority : the sentence should run, He that cometh after me, 
wiiose shoe's latchet, &c., is standing in the midst of you, and 
ye know Him not. ' Ye ' is emphatic ; ' Whom ye who question me 
know not, but Whom I, the questioned, know.' 

28. Bethabara] The true reading is Bethany, which was changed to 
Bethabara owing to the powerful influence of Origen, who could find no 
Bethany beyond Jordan known in his day. But in 200 years the very 
name of an obscure place might easily perish. Origen found ' Bethany' 
in almost all the MSS. The site of Bethabara or Bethany is lost now, 
but it must have been near Galilee : comp. v. 29 with v. 43, and see on 
the 'four days,' xi. 17. It is possible to reconcile the two readings. 
Bethabara has been identified with 'Abarah, one of the main Jordan 
fords about 14 miles south of the sea of Galilee : and ' Bethania beyond 
Jordan ' has been identified with Bashan ; Bethania or Batanea being 
the Aramaic form of the Hebrew Bashan, meaning ' soft level ground.' 
Thus Bethabara is the village or ford ; Bethania, the district on the 
east side of the ford. See Condcr, Handbook 0/ the Bible, pp. 315, 
320. Bui see Appendix D. 

29 — 34. The Testimony of the Baptist to the peoi'le. 

29. The next day] These words prevent us from inserting the 
Temptation between vv. 28 and 29. The fact of the Baptist knowing 
who Jesus is shews that the Baptism, and therefore the Temptation', 
must have preceded the deputation from Jcnisalem. The Evangelist 

vv. 30—32.] S. JOHN, I. 75 

saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the 
sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me 30 
Cometh a man which is preferred before me : for he was 
before me. And I knew him not : but that he should be 31 
made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing 
with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the 32 
Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode 

assumes that his readers are well acquainted with the history of the 
Baptism and Temptation. 

the Lamb of God'\ Evidently some Lamb well known to John's 
hearers is meant, viz. the Lamb of Is. liii. (comp. Acts viii. 32); but 
there may be an indirect allusion to the Paschal Lamb. With ' Behold' 
comp. xix. 5, 14: with 'of God' comp. Gen. xxii. 8. 

which taketh away, &c.] These words seem to make the reference to 
Is. liii., esp. vv. 4, 5, 10, clear. The marginal reading, beat-etk, is not 
right here (i John iii. 5). 

the sin] Regarding it as one great burden or plague. 

of the zvorld] Isaiah (liii. 8) seems to see no further than the redemp- 
tion of the Jews : ' for the transgression of my people was he stricken.' 
The Baptist knows that the Messiah comes to save the whole human 
race, even those hostile to Him. 

30. of whom] The best text gives, in toehalf of whom. 

31. And I knevj him not] Or, / also knew Him not ; I, like you, 
did not at first know Him to be the Messiah. There is no contradiction 
between this and Matt. iii. 14. (i) 'I knew Him not ' need not mean 
' I had no knowledge of Him whatever.' (2) John's professing that he 
needed to be baptized by Jesus does not prove that he had already 
recognised Jesus as the Messiah, but only as superior to himself. 

tliat he should be made manifest] This was the Baptist's second duty. 
He had (i) to prepare for the Messiah by preaching repentance; (■2) to 
point out the Messiah. The word for 'manifest' is one of S. John's 
favourite words {phaneroun); ii. 11, iii. 21, vii. 4, ix. 3, xvii. 6, xxi. i, 
14; I John i. 2, ii. 19, 28, iii. 2, 5, 8, 9; Rev. iii. 18, xv. 4. 

therefore am I corn e] Better, for this cause (xii. 18, 27) came I (comp. 
v. 16, 18, vii. 22, viii. 47). 

baptizing with water] In humble contrast to Him Who baptizeth 
with the Holy Ghost' {v. 33). ' With water' is literally 'in water ^ 
here and v. 26. 

32. bare record] Better, ^ar^ witness ; comp. w. 7, 8, 15, 19, 34. 
J saw] Better, /bave beheld, or contetnplated {i Johniv. 12, 14), the 

perfect of the verb used in vv. 14 and 38. 

like a dove] This was perhaps visible to Christ and the Baptist alone. 
A real appearance is the natural meaning here and is insisted on by S. 
Luke (iii. 22).. And if we admit the 'bodily shape' at all, there can be 
no sound reason for rejecting the dove. The marvel is that the Holy 
Spirit should be visible in any way (comp. ' the tongues of fire,' Acts 
ii. 3), not that He should assume the form of a dove in particular. Of 

76 S. JOHN, I. [vv. 33, 34- 

33 upon him. And I knew him not : but he that sent me to 
baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom 
thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, 

34 the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And 
I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. 

course this visible descent of the Spirit made no chnnge in the nature of 
Christ. It served two purposes, (i) to make the Messiah ]<no\vn to the 
Baptist, and through him to the world ; (2) to mark the olhcial com- 
mencement of the ministry of the Messiah, like the anointing of a king. 
The whole incident is very parallel to the Transfiguration. In both 
Christ is miraculously glorified previous to setting out to suffer; in 
both a voice from heaven bears witness to Him; at both 'the goodly 
fellowship of the Prophets ' is nobly represented. 

33. And I kiiezu him not} Or, as before, /also knew Him not. The 
Baptist again protests, that but for a special revelation he was as ignorant 
as others that Jesus was the Messiah. 

he that sent me] The special mission of a Prophet. Comp. v. 6. 
the same said unto me] Better, lie said unto me : see on x. i. l-Vhen 
this revelation was made we are not told. 

a}id remaining on him] Better, and abiding on Hi/n. It is the same 
word as is used in v. 32, and one of which S. John is very fond; but 
our translators have obscured this fact by capriciously varying the trans- 
lation, sometimes in the same verse [v. 39, iv. 40; i John ii. 24, iii. 
24). Thus, though most often rendered 'abide,' it is also rendered 
'remain' (ix. 41, xv. 11, 16), 'dwell' (i. 39, vi. 56, xiv. 10, 17), ' con- 
tinue' (ii. 12, viii. 31), 'tarry' (iv. 40, xxi. 22, 23), ' endure ' (vi. 27), 
' be present ' (xiv. 25). In i John ii. 24 it is translated in three different 
ways. See on xv. 9. 

which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost] See on xiv. 26. This phrase, 
introduced without explanation or comment, assumes that the readers 
of this Gospel are well aware of this office of the Messiah, i. e. are 
well-instructed Christians. The word baptizeth is appropriate, (1) to 
mark the analogy and contrast between the office of the Baptist and 
that of the Messiah; (2) because the gift of the Spirit is constantly 
represented as an out-pouring, ' With,' as in vv. 26 and 31, is liter- 
ally 'in.' 

34. And I saw, and bare record] Better, And /ha.Ye seen a/.-d ha,ve 
borne witness. ' I have seen ' is in joyous contrast to ' I knew Him 
not,' ■w. 31, 33. 'Have borne witness' is the same verb as in z^'. 
7, 8 and 32 : hence ' witness ' is preferable to ' record ' both here and in 
V. 32. 

the Son of God] The Messiah. This declaration of the Baptist 
agrees with and confirms the account of the voice from heaven (Matt. iii. 

These verses, 32 — 34, prove that S. John does not, as Philo does, 
identify the Logos with the Spirit, 

vv. 35—38.] S. JOHN, I. 77 

35 — 37. The Testimony of the Baptist to Atidrew and yohn. 

Again the next day after John stood, and two of his 35 
disciples ; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, 36 
Behold the Lamb of God. And the two disciples heard 37 
him speak, and they followed Jesus, 

38 — 51. The Testi??tony of Disciples. 
Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith 38 

35—37. The Testimony of the Baptist to Andrew and John. 

35. Again] Referring to 7/. 29 : it should come second; The ttext 
day again Jo/m was standing. 

The difference between this narrative and that of the Synoptists 
(Matt. iv. 18; Mark i. 16; Luke v. 2) is satisfactorily explained by sup- 
posing this to refer to an earlier and less formal call of these first four 
disciples, John and Andrew, Peter and James. Their call to be Apostles 
was a very gradual one. Two of them, and perhaps all four, began by 
being disciples of the Baptist, who directs them to the Lamb of God 
{v. 36), Who invites them to His abode {v. 39) : they then witness His 
miracles (ii. 2, &c. ); are next called to he 'fishers of men' (Matt. iv. 19); 
and are finally enrolled with the rest of the Twelve as Apostles (Mark 
iii. 13). See note on Mark i. 20. 

Two of his disciples'] One of these we are told was S. Andrew {v. 40) ; 
the other was no doubt S. John himself. The account is that of an 
eyewitness; and his habitual reserve with regard to himself hilly ac- 
counts for his silence, if the other disciple ruas himself. If it was some 
one else, it is difficult to see why S. John pointedly omits to mention 
his name. 

There was strong antecedent probability that the first followers of 
Christ would be disciples of the Baptist. The fact of their being so is 
one reason of the high honour in which the Baptist has been held from 
the earliest times by the Church. 

36. looking upon] having looked on with a fixed penetrating gaze. 
Comp. V. 42; Mark x. 21, 27; Luke xx. 17, xxii. 61. 

Behold the Lamb of God] This seems to shew that these disciples 
were present the previous day [v. 29) : hence there was no need to say 
more than this. This appears to have been the last meeting between 
the Baptist and Christ. 

37. heard him speak] Although the declaration had not been ad- 
dressed to them in particular. 

they followed Jestis] The first beginning of the Christian Church. 
But we are not to understand that they have already determined to be- 
come His disciples. 

38 — 51. The Testimony of Disciples. 

38. saw them] Same verb as in vv. 14 and 32. The context shews 
that He saw into their hearts as well. For ' Then ' read But. 

78 S. JOHN, I. [vv. 39—41. 

unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him. Rabbi, 
(which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest 

39 thou? He saith unto tliem, Come and see. They came 
and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day : 

40 for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two which 
heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon 

41 Peter's brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, 

IVhat seek ye?] i.e. in Me. He does not ask ' Whom seek ye?' It 
was evident that tiiey sought Him. 

Kabbi\ A comparatively modern word when S. John wrote, and there- 
fore all the more requiring explanation to Gentile readers. S. John 
often interprets between Hebrew and Greek; thrice in this section. 
(Comp. w. 41, 42.) 

where dwellest thou?] Better, ivhere abidest Thou? (See on v. 33.) 
They have more to ask than can be answered on the spot. Perhaps 
they think Him a travelling Rabbi staying with friends close by; and 
they intend to visit Him at some future time. He bids them come at 
once : now is the day of salvation. 

39. Come and see] The more probable reading gives, Come and ye 
shall see. 

they came] Insert, tlierefore. 

that day] That memorable day. 

it was about the tenth hojir] S. John remembers the very hour of this 
crisis in his life: all the details of the narrative are very lifelike. 

It is sometimes contended that S. John reckons the hours of the day 
according to the modern method, from midnight to midnight, and not 
according to the Jewish method, from sunset to sunset, as everywhere 
else in N.T. and in Josephus. It is antecedently improbable that 
S. John should in this point vary from the rest of N. T. writers; and we 
ought to require strong evidence before accepting this theory, which 
has been adopted mainly in order to escape from the difliculty of xix. 
14, where see notes. Setting aside xix. 14 as the cause of the question, 
we have four passages in which S. John mentions the hour of the day, 
this, iv. 6, 52 and xi. 9. None of them are decisive: but in no single 
case is the iDalance of probability strongly in favour of the modern 
method. See notes in each place. Here either 10 A.M. or 4 p.m. 
would suit the context : and while the antecedent probability that 
S. John reckons time like the rest of the Evangelists will incline us 
to 4 P.M., the fact that a good deal still remains to be done on this day 
makes 10 a.m. rather more suitable. Origen knows nothing of S. Jolm's 
using the modern method of reckoning. 

40. Andrew, Simon Peter s brother] Before the end of the first cen- 
tury, therefore, it was natural to describe Andrew by his relationship to 
his far belter known brother. In Church History S. Peter is everything 
and S. Andrew nothing : but would there have been an Apostle Peter 
but for Andrew. In the lists of the Apostles S. Andrew is always in 

V. 42.] S. JOHN, I. 79 

and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, 
being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. 42 
And when Jesus beheld him, he said. Thou art Simon the 
son of Jona : thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by in- 
terpretation, A stone. 

the first group of four, but he is outside the chosen three, in spite of 
this early call. 

41. He first findeth, &c.] The meaning of 'first' becomes almost 
certain when we remember S. John's characteristic reserve about him- 
self. Both disciples hurry to tell their own brothers the good tidings, 
that the Messiah has been found : S. Andrew finds his brother yfrj-/, and 
afterwards S. John finds his; but we are left to infer the latter point. 

S. Andrew thrice brings others to Christ; Peter, the lad with the 
loaves (vi. 8), and certain Greeks (xii. 11); and excepting Mark xiii. 3 
we know scarcely anything else about him. Thus it would seem as if in 
these three incidents S. John had given us the key to his character. 
And here we have another characteristic of this Gospel — the lifelike 
way in which the less prominent figures are sketched. Besides 
Andrew we have Philip, i. 44, vi. 5, xii. 21, xiv. 8; Thomas, xi. 16, xiv. 
5 ; XX. 24 — 29 ; Nathanael, i. 45 — 52 ; Nicodemus, iii. i — 12, vii. 50 — 52, 
xix. 39; Martha and Mary, xi., xii. i — 3. 

We have found'\ This does not prove that S. John is still with him, 
only that they were together when their common desire and expecta- 
tion were fulfilled. 

Messias"] The Hebrew form of this name is used by S. John only, 
here and iv. 25. Elsewhere the LXX. translation, 'the Christ,' is used. 
Here 'the' before ' Christ' should be omitted. 

42. beheld] Same word as in v. 36, implying a fixed earnest look ; 
what follows shews that Christ's gaze penetrated to his heart and read 
his character. 

Simon the son of jfojia] The true reading here and xxi. 15, 16, 17 
is Sitnon the son ofiolasi.. There is a tradition that his mother's name was 
Johanna. The Greek form lond may represent two distinct Hebrew 
names, Jonah and Johanan=John. There is no need to make Christ's 
knowledge of his name and parentage miraculous ; Andrew in bringing 
Simon would naturally mention them. 

A stone] The margin and text should change places, Peter, being in 
the text and 'a stone' in the margin, like 'the Anointed' in v. 41. This 
new name is given with reference to the new relation into which the 
person named enters ; comp. the cases of Abraham, Sarah, Israel. It 
points to the future office of Simon rather than to his present character. 
The form Cephas occurs nowhere else in the Gospels or Acts: but 
comp. I Cor. i. 12, iii. 22, ix. 5; xv. 5, Gal. i. 18, ii. 9, 11, 14. 

There is no discrepancy between this and Matt. xvi. 18. Here Christ 
gives the name Peter; there he reminds S. Peter of it. It is quite clear 
from this that S. Peter was not first called among the Apostles, a point 
on which the Synoptists leave us in doubt. 

8o S. JOHN, I. [vv. 43— 46. 

43 The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and 

44 findeth Philip, and saith unto him. Follow me. Now Philip 

45 was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip 
findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, 
of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, 

46 Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael 

43. The day following] Better, as in vv. 29, 35, The next day; the 
Greek is the same in all three verses. We thus have four days accu- 
rately marked, (i) v. 19; (2) v. 29; (3) v. 35; (4) v. 44. A writer of 
fiction would not have cared for such minute details; they might 
entangle him in discrepancies. They are thoroughly natural as coming 
from an eyewitness. See on ii. i. 

Folloru me\ In the Gospels these words seem always to be the call 
to become a disciple. Matt. viii. 22, ix. 9, xix. 21 ; Mark ii. 14, x. 21; 
Luke v. 27, ix. 59; John xxi. 19. With two exceptions they are always 
addressed to those who afterwards became Apostles. 

44. PhUlp was of Bethsaida'] In the Synoptists Philip is a mere 
name in the lists of the Apostles: our knowledge of him comes from S. 
John. See above on v. 42 and on xiv. 8. The local knowledge dis- 
played in this verse is very real. S. John would possess it ; a writer in 
the second century would not, and would not care to invent. This is 
Bethsaida of Galilee on the western shore, not Bethsaida Julias. See 
note on Matt. iv. 13. 

45. N^athanael]=' G'l^i of God.' The name occurs Num. i. 8 ; i 
Chron. ii. 14; i Esdras i. 9, ix. 22. Nathanael is commonly identified 
with Bartholomew; (i) Bartholomew is only a patronymic and the 
bearer would be likely to have another name (comp. Barjona of Simon, 
Barnabas of Joses); (2) S. John never mentions Bartholomew, the Sy- 
noptists never mention Nathanael ; (3) the Synoptists in their lists place 
Bartholomew next to Philip, as James next his probable caller John, 
and Peter (in Matt, and Luke) next his caller Andrew; (4) all the other 
disciples mentioned in this chapter become Apostles, and none are so 
highly commended as Nathanael; (5) All Nathanael's companions 
named in xxi. 2 were Apostles (see note there). But all these rea- 
sons do not make the identification more than probable. The framers 
of our Liturgy do not countenance the identification: this passage ap- 
pears neither as the Gospel nor as a Lesson for S. Bartholomew's Day. 

We have found him, of whom, &c.] "A most correct representation 
of the current phraseology, both in regard to the divisions of the O.T., 
and the application of the Messianic idea." S. p. 35. 

Moses] viz. in Deut. xviii. 15 and in all the Messianic types, promises 
to Adam, Abraham, &c. 

Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph] The words are Philip's, and 
express the common belief about Jesus. It was natural to say He was 
•of or 'from Nazareth,' as His home had been there; still more natural 
to call him 'the son of Joseph.' The conclusion that the Evangelist is 
ignorant of the birth at Bethlehem, or of the miraculous nature of that 

w. 47— 49-] S. JOHN, I. 8i 

said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of 
Nazareth ? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. Jesus 47 
saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an 
Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile. Nathanael saith 48 
unto him. Whence knowest thou me ? Jesus answered and 
said unto him. Before that Philip called thee, when thou 
wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered 49 

birth, cannot be drawn from this passage. Rather, we may conclude 
that he is a scrupulously honest historian, who records exactly what was 
said, without making additions of his own. 

46. Can there a7iy good thing, &c.] All Galileans were despised for 
their want of culture, their rude dialect, and contact with Gentiles. 
They were to the Jews what Boeotians were to the Athenians. But here 
it is a Galilean who reproaches Nazareth in particular. Apart from the 
Gospels we know nothing to the discredit of Nazareth; neither in O.T. 
nor in Josephus is it mentioned ; but what we are told of the people by 
the Evangelists is mostly bad. Christ left them and preferred to dwell 
at Capernaum (Matt. iv. 13); He could do very little among them, 
'because of their unbelief (xiii. 58), which was such as to make Him 
marvel (Mark vi. 6); and once they tried to kill Him (Luke iv. 29). 
S. Augustine would omit the question. Nathanael 'who knew the 
Scriptures excellently well, when he heard the name Nazareth, was 
filled with hope, and said. From Nazareth something good can come.' 
But this is not probable. Possibly he meant no more than ' Can any 
good thing come out of despised Galilee? ' Nazareth being in Galilee. 

Covie and see] The best cure for ill-founded prejudice. Philip shews 
the depth of his own conviction in suggesting this test, which seems to 
have been in harmony with the practical bent of his own mind. See on 
xii. 21 and xiv. 8. 

47. saw Nathanael coming] This contradicts the theory that Christ 
overheard Nathanael's question. S. John represents Christ's knowledge 
of Nathanael as miraculous; as in v, 42 He appears as the searcher of 

flw Israelite indeed] In character as well as by birth: what follows 
shews what is meant. The 'guile' may refer to the 'subtilty' of Jacob 
(Gen. xxvii. 35) before he became Israel : 'Behold a son of Israel, who 
is in no way a son of Jacob. ' The 'supplanter' is gone; the 'prince' 
remains. His guilelessness appears in his making no mock repudiation 
of the character attributed to him (^. 48). He is free from 'the pride 
that apes humility.' 

48. under the fig tree] This probably means 'at home,' in the re- 
tirement of his own garden (i Kings iv. 25; Mic. iv. 4; Zee. iii. 10); 
the Greek implies motion to under. Nathanael had perhaps been pray- 
ing or meditating there; he seems to see that Christ knew what his 
thoughts had been there. It was under a fig tree that S. Augustine 
heard the famous ' Tolle, lege. ' 

S. JOHN 6 

82 S. JOHN, I. [vv. 50, 51. 

and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God ; thou 

50 art the King of Israel. Jesus answered and said unto him, 
Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, 
beUevest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. 

51 And he saith unto him, Venly, verily, I say unto you, 
Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God 
ascending and descending upon the Son of man. 

49. ' ihou art the Son of God'\ We know from other passages that 
this was one of the recognised titles of the Messiah; xi. 27; Matt. xxvi. 
63; Markiii. 11, v. 7; Luke iv. 41. 'Son of David' was more common. 

the King of Israel\ Omit 'the.' This phrase "is especially important, 
because it breathes those politico-theocratic hopes, which since the 
taking of Jerusalem, Christians at least, if not Jews, must have entirely 
laid aside." S. How could a Christian of the second century have 
thrown himself back to this? 

50. believcst thou?\ Or possibly, thou bdievcst. Comp. xvi. 31, 
XX. 29. The interrogative form is here best: He who marvelled at the 
unbelief of the people of Nazareth here expresses joyous surprise at the 
ready belief of the guileless Israelite of Cana. 

61. Verily, verily} The double 'verily' occurs 25 times in this 
Gospel, and nowhere else, always in the mouth of Christ. It introduces 
a truth of special solemnity and importance. The single 'verily' occurs 
about 30 times in Matt., 14 in Mark, and 7 in Luke. The word repre- 
sents the Hebrew 'Amen,' which in the LXX. never means 'verily.' In 
the Gospels it has no other meaning. The 'Amen' at the end of 
sentences (Matt. vi. 13, xxviii. 20; Mark xvi. 20; Luke xxiv. 53; John 
xxi. 25) is in every case of doubtful authority. 

unto you] Plural; all present are addressed, Andrew, John, Peter 
(James), and Philip, as well as Nathanael. 

Hereafter] Better, from hencefortli ; from this point onwards 
Christ's Messianic work of linking earth to heaven, and re-establishing 
free intercourse between man and God, goes on. But the word is 
wanting in the best MSS. 

heaven open] Better, the heaven opened; made open and remaining 

the angels of God] Like v. 47, an apparent reference to the life of 
Jacob, perhaps suggested by the scene, which may have been near to 
Bethel. This does not refer to the angels which appeared after the 
Temptation, at the Agony, and at the Ascension : rather to the perpetual 
intercourse between God and the Messiah during His ministry. 

the Son of man] This phrase in all four Gospels is invariably used 
by Christ Himself of Himself as the Messiah, upwards of 80 times in 
all. None of the Evangelists direct our attention to this strict limitation 
in the use of the expression: their agreement on this striking point is 
evidently undesigned, and therefore a strong mark of their veracity. 
See notes on Matt. viii. 20; Mark ii. 10. In O. T. the phrase 'Son of 

vv. 1—4.] S. JOHN, II. B3 

Chap. II. i — 11. T/ie Testi77iony of the First Sign. 

And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Gali- 2 
lee ; and the mother of Jesus was there : and both Jesus 2 
was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when 3 
they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They 
have no v/ine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I 4 

Man' has three distinct uses; (i) in the Psalms, for the ideal man; viii. 
4—8, Ixxx. 17, cxliv. 3, cxlvi. 3 : (2) in Ezekiel, as the name by which the 
Prophet is addressed by God; ii. i, 3, 6, 8, iii. i, 3, 4, &c., &c., more 
than 80 times in all ; probably to remind Ezekiel, that in spite of the 
favour shewn to him, and the wrath denounced against the children of 
Israel, he, no less than they, had a mortal's frailty: (3) in the 'night 
visions' of Dan. vii. 13, 14, where 'One like a son of man came with 
the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days. ..and there was 
given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, 
nations, and languages should serve Him, &c.' That 'Son of man 
henceforth became one of the titles of the looked-for Messiah' may be 
doubted. Rather, the title was a nno one assumed by Christ, and as 
yet only dimly understood (comp. Matt. xvi. 13). 

This first chapter alone is enough to shew that the Gospel is the work 
of a Jew of Palestine, well acquainted with the Messianic hopes, and 
traditions, and phraseology current in Palestine at the time of Christ's 
ministry, and able to give a lifelike picture of the Baptist and of Christ's 
first disciples. 

Chap. II. 1—11. The Testimony of the First Sign, 

1. the tJiird day] From the calling of Philip (i. 43), the last date 
given, making a week in all ; the first week, perhaps in contrast to the 
last week (xii. i). 

Cana of Galilee] To distinguish it from Cana of Asher (Josh. xix. 
■28). This Cana is not mentioned in O.T. ; it was the home of 
Nathanael (xxi. 2), and \% now generally identified with Kanet el-Jelil, 
about six miles N. of Nazareth. 

was there] Staying as a friend or relation of the family; she speaks 
to the servants as if she were quite at home in the house {v. 5). Joseph 
has disappeared : the inference (not quite certain) is that in the interval 
between Luke ii. 51 and this marriage — about 17 years— he had died. 

2. a7id his disciples] Now five or six in number, Andrew, John, 
Peter, Philip, Nathanael, and probably James. For 'both Jesus' read 
'Jesus also.' 

3. when they wanted wine] Better, when the wine failed. Perhaps 
the arrival of these six or seven guests caused the want ; certainly it 
would make it more apparent. To Eastern hospitality such a mishap 
on such an occasion would seem a most disgraceful calamity. 

They have no wine] Much comment has here obscured a simple text. 
The family in which she was a guest was in a serious difficulty. Per- 


84 S. JOHN, II. [vv. s, 6. 

; to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother 
saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do //. 

3 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the 
manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three 

haps she felt herself partly responsible for the arrangements : certainly 
she would wish to help. What more natural than that she should turn 
to her Son and tell Him the difficulty ? Probably she did not expect a 
miracle, still less wish Him to break up the party, or begin a discourse 
to distract attention from the want. The meaning simply is — 'They 
have no wine; what is to be done?' 

4. Woman, what have I to do with theefl S. John alone of all the 
Evangelists never gives the Virgin's name. Here, as so often, he 
assumes that his readers know the main points in the Gospel narrative: 
or it may be part of the reserve which he exhibits with regard to all 
that nearly concerns himself. Christ's Mother had become his mother 
(xix. 26, 27). He nowhere mentions his brother James. 

Treatises Iiave been written to shew that these words do not contain 
a rebuke ; for if Christ here rebukes His Mother, it cannot be main- 
tained that she is immaculate. ' Woman' of course implies no rebuke; 
the Greek might more fairly be rendered 'Lady'(comp. xix. 26). At the 
same time it marks a difference between the Divine Son and the earthly 
parent : He does not say, 'Mother.' But 'what have I to do with thee?' 
does imply rebuke, as is evident from the other passages where the 
phrase occurs, Judg. xi. 12; i Kings xvii. 18; 2 Kings iii. 13; Matt, 
yiii. 29 ; Mark i. 24 ; Luke viii. 28. Only in one passage does the mean- 
ing seem to vary: in 2 Chron. xxxv. 21 the question seems to mean 
'why need we quarrel?' rather than 'what have we in common?' But 
such a meaning, if possible there, would be quite inappropriate here. 
The further question has been asked,— what was she rebuked for? 
Chrysostom thinks for vanity; she wished to glorify herself through her 
Son. More probably for interference : He will help, but in His own 
way, and in His own time. Comp. Luke ii. 51. 

mine hour] The meaning of 'My hour'' and 'His hour' in this 
Gospel depends in each case on the context. There cannot here be any 
reference to His death; rather it means His hour for 'manifesting forth 
His glory' {v. 11) as the Messiah by working miracles. The exact 
moment was still in the future. Comp. vii. 8, where He for the moment 
refuses what He soon after does; and xii. 23, xvii. i, which confirm the 
meaning here given to 'hour.' 

5. Between the lines of His refusal her faith reads a better answer to 
her appeal. 

6. six waterpots of stone'] As an eyewitness S. John remembers 
their number, material, and size. The surroundings of the first miracle 
would not easily be forgotten. It is idle to seek for any special mean- 
ing in the number six. Vessels of stone were preferred as being less 
liable to impurity. 

purifying] Comp. Matt. xv. 2; Mark vii. 3 (see note); Luke xi. 39. 

vv. 7— lo.] S. JOHN, II. 85 

firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots 7 
with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he 8 
saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor 
of the feast. And they bare //. When the ruler of the 9 
feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew 
not whence it was : (but the servants which drew the water 
knew ;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, and 10 
saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth 
good wine ; and when men have well drunk, then that which 

tjvo or three firkins'\ 'Firkin' is an almost exact equivalent of the 
Greek metretes, which was about nine gallons. The six pitchers, 
therefore, holding from 18 to -27 gallons each, would together hold 106 
to 162 gallons. 

7. Fill the waterpots] It is difficult to see the meaning of this command, 
if (as some contend) only the water which was drawn out was turned 
into wine. The pitchers had been partially emptied by the ceremonial 
ablutions of the company, i.e. pouring water over their hands. Note 
that in His miracles Christ does not create ; He increases the quantity, 
or changes the quality of things already existing. 

to the bj-inil His Mother's words {v. 5) have done their work. Our 
attention seems here to be called to the great quantity of water changed 
into wine. 

9. ruler of the feast] Perhaps manager of the feast would be better. 
It is doubtful whether the head-waiter, who managed the feast and 
tasted the meat and drink, is meant, or the rex convivii, arbiter bibendi, 
the guest elected by the other guests to preside. The bad taste of his 
remark inclines one to the former alternative : Ecclus. xxxii. i, 1 is in 
favour of the second. In any case the translation should be uniform in 
these two verses, not sometimes 'governor,' sometimes 'ruler.' It is 
the same Greek word in all three cases, a word occurring nowhere 
else in N. T. The words also for 'water-pot' or 'pitcher' and for 
'draw out' are peculiar to this Gospel; but they occur again iv. 7, 
15, 28. 

the water that was made wine] Or, the water now become wine. The 
Greek seems to imply that all the water had become wine; there is 
nothing to mark a distinction between what was now wine and what still 
remained water. It is idle to ask at what precise moment the water 
became wine : nor is much gained by representing the miracle as a series 
of natural processes (rain passing through the vine into the grapes, 
being pressed out and fermented, &c.) compressed into an instant. 
Such compression is neither more nor less intelligible than simple 
transition from water to wine. Moreover there was no vine. 

which drew] Better, who had drawn. 

called] Rather, calleth. 

10. when men have well drmik] Our translators have timidly 
shrunk from giving the full coarseness of the man's joke: it should be 

86 S. JOHN, II. [v. II. 

is worse : hit thou hast kept the good wine until now. 
II This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and 
manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on 

zvhcn they have become drunken, when they are drtink. In Matt. xxiv. 
49; Acts ii. 15; I Cor. xi. 21 ; i Thess. v. 7; Rev. xvii. ■2, 6, we have 
the same word rightly translated. Tyndall and Cranmcr were more 
courageous here ; they have ' be dronke ; ' and the Vulgate has inebrlati 
fuerint. The error comes from the Geneva Bible. Of course he does 
not mean that the guests around him are intoxicated : it is a jocular 
statement of his own experience at feasts. Omit ' then.' 

thou hast kept the good wine until now] This was true in a sense of 
which he never dreamed. The True Bridegroom was there, and had 
indeed kept the best dispensation until the last. 

11. This beginning, Sec] Better, this, as a beginning of His 
signs, did j'esus in Cana ; i.e. it is the first miracle of all, not merely 
the first at Cana. Thus S. John agrees with the Synoptists in repre- 
senting the Messianic career as beginning in Galilee. This verse is 
conclusive against the miracles of Christ's childhood recorded in the 
Aprocryphal Gospels. See on iv. 48. Our translators often in this 
Gospel, though very rarely in the other three, turn 'signs' into 
' miracles.' 

manifested] The same Greek word occurs in connexion with His last 
miracle, xxi. i, 14, and the same English word should be used in all the 
passages. Comp. vii. 4 and see on i. 31. 

his glory] This is the final cause of Christ's 'signs,' His own and 
His Father's glory (xi. 4), and these two are one. 

and his disciples believed on him] What a strange remark for a writer 
in the second century to make! His disciples believed on Him? Of 
course they did. Assume that a disciple himself is the writer, and all 
is explained : he well remembers how his own imperfect faith was con- 
firmed by the miracle. A forger would rather have given us the effect on 
the guests. Three times in this chapter does S. John give us the disciples' 
point of view, here, v. 17 and v. 22; very natural in a disciple, not 
natural in a later writer. See on xi. 15 and xxi. 12. 

Two objections have been made to this miracle (1) on rationalistic, 
(2) on 'Temperance' grounds, (i) It is said that it is a wasteful 
miracle, a parade of power, unworthy of a Divine Agent : a tenth of 
the quantity of wine would have been ample. But the surplus was not 
wasted any more than the twelve baskets of fragments (vi. 13); it 
would be a valuable present to a bridal pair. (2) It is urged that Christ 
would not have supplied the means for gross excess; and to avoid this 
supposed difficulty it is suggested that the wine made was not in- 
toxicating, i.e. was not wine at all. But in all His dealings with men 
God allows the possibility of a temptation to excess. All His gifts may 
be thus abused. The 5000 might have been gluttonous over the loaves 
and fishes. 

V. 12.] S. JOHN, II. 87 

After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his i* 
mother, and his brethren, and his disciples : and they con- 
tinued there not many days. 

Christ's honouring a marriage-feast with His first miracle gives His 
sanction (i) to marriage, (2) to times of festivity. 

Four hundred years had elapsed since the Jews had seen a miracle. 
The era of Daniel was the last age of Jewish miracles. Since the 
three children walked in the burning fiery furnace, and Daniel had 
remained unhurt in the lions' den, and had read the hand-writing on 
the wall, no miracle is recorded in the history of the Jews until Jesus 
made this beginning of His 'signs' at Cana of Galilee. No wonder 
therefore, that the almost simultaneous appearance of a Prophet like 
John and a worker of miracles like Jesus attracted the attention of all 

12. "Now follows a section of which we can only say with M. 
Renan, that it constitutes a decisive triumph for our Gospel. ...If it 
is at all an artificial composition, with a dogmatic object, why should 
the author carry his readers thus to Capernaum — for nothing?" S. p. 52. 
If S. John wrote it, all is simple and natural. He records this visit to 
Capernaum because it actually took place, and because he well remem- 
bers those ' not many days.' 

7uent d(nvn\ Capernaum (the modern Tell-Hum) being on the shore 
of the lake. It was situated in one of the most busy and populous dis- 
tricts of Palestine, and was therefore a good centre. 

his mother, and his brethren'] Natural ties still hold Him; in the 
next verse they disappear. On the vexed question of the ' brethren of 
the Lord ' see the Introduction to the Epistle of S. jfames. It is im- 
possible to determine with certainty whether they are (i) the children of 
Joseph and Mary, born after the birth of Jesus; {2) the children of 
Joseph by a former marriage, whether levirate or not; or (3) adopted 
children. There is nothing in Scripture to warn us against (i), the most 
natural view antecedently ; but it has against it the general consensus of 
the Fathers, and the prevailing tradition of the perpetual virginity of 
S. Mary. Jerome's theory, that they were our Lord's cousins, sons of 
Alphaeus, is the one most commonly adopted, but vii. 5 (see note there) 
is fatal to it, and it labours under other difficulties as well. (2) is on the 
whole the most probable. 

continued there] Better, abode there. See on i. 33. 

not 7Jiany days] Because the Passover was at hand, and He must be 
about His Father's business. 

II. 13— XI. 57. The Work. 

We here enter on the second portion of the first main division of the 
Gospel, thus subdivided: — The Work (i) among Jezvs, (2) among 
Samaritans, (3) among Galileans, (4) among mixed multitudes. 

88 S. JOHN, II. [vv. 13—16. 

II. 13— XL 57. The Work. 
II. 13 — III. 36. The Work among Jews. 
13 And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up 
to Jerusalem, 

14 — 22. The First Cleansmg of the Temple. 

,4 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep 

,5 and doves, and the changers of money sitting : and when he 

had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of 

the temple, and the sheep and the oxen ; and poured out 

,6 the changers' money, and overthrew the tables ; and said 

II. 13— III. 36. The Work among Jews. 

13. Attd the Jews' passover\ Or, the passover of the Jews. An 
indication that this Gospel was written outside Palestine : one writing 
in the country would hardly have added 'of the Jews.' It is perhaps 
also an indication that this Gospel was written after a Passover of the 
Christians had come into recognition. Passovers were active times in 
Christ's ministry ; and this is the first of them. It was possibly the 
nearness of the Passover which caused this traffic in the Temple Court. 
It existed for the convenience of strangers. Certainly the nearness of 
the Feast would add significance to Christ's action. While the Jews 
were purifying themselves for the Passover He purified the Temple. 
S. John groups his narrative round the Jewish festivals : we have 
(i) Passover; (2) Purim (?), v. i; (3) Passover, vi. 4; (4) Tabernacles, 
vii. 2; (5) Dedication, x. 22; (6) Passover, xi. 55. 

14 — 22. The First Cleansing of the Temple. 

14. in the temple] i.e. within the sacred enclosure, in the Court of 
the Gentiles. The traffic would be very great at the approach of the 
Passover. The account is very graphic, as of an eyewitness. Note 
especially ' the changers of money sitting:' the sellers of cattle, &c., 
would stand. . 

changers of money] Not the same Greek word as m v. 15. Ihere 
the word points to the commission paid on exchanges; here the word 
indicates a change from large to small coins. 

15. when he had made a scourge] Peculiar to this account ; not in 
the similar narrative of the Synoptists. 

and the sheep, &ic.] Rather, Tooth, the sheep and the oxen. 'AH does not 
refer to the sellers and exchangers, but anticipates the sheep and the 
oxen. The men probably fled at once. The order is natural; first the 
driving out of the cattle, then the pouring out of the money and over- 
turning the tables. The word for 'money' literally means 'somethmg 
cut up small,' hence 'change.' The common exchange would be foreign 
money for Jewish, payments to the Temple being necessarily made in 
Jewish coin. 

vv. 17, 18.] S. JOHN, II. 89 

unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence ; make 
not my Father's house a house of merchandise. And his 17 
disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of 
thine house hath eaten me up. 

Then answered the Jews and said unto him. What sign 18 
shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things ? 

16. said unto them that sold doves'] The doves could not be driven 
out. He calls to the owners to take the cages away. Comp. Luke 
ii. 24. 

my Father's house\ A distinct claim to Messiahship : it reminds 
us of ' about My Father's business ' (which may also mean * in My 
Father's house') spoken in the same place some 17 years before, Luke 
ii. 49. Possibly some who heard the Child's claim heard the Man's 
claim also. 

an house of trierchandise] Two years later things seem to have grown 
worse instead of better ; the Temple has then become ' a den of 
robbers' or 'a bandits' cave.' See notes on Matt. xxi. 13 and Mark 
xi. 17. 

17. remembered] Then and there. Who could know this but a 
disciple? Who would think of inventing it? See above on z*. 1 1. 

ivas written] Better, is tvritten ; in the Greek it is the perf. part, 
pass, with the auxiliary, which S. John almost always uses in quotations, 
while the Synoptists commonly use the perf. pass. Comp. vi. 31,45, x. 
34, xii. 14 (xix. 19). 

hath eaten me tip] Rather, will devour, or consume me, i.e. wear 
me out. Ps. Ixix. 9, a psalm referred to again xv. 25 and xix. 28. 

It is difficult to believe that this cleansing of the Temple is identical 
with the one placed by the Synoptists at the last Passover in Christ's 
ministry; difficult also to see what is gained by the identification. If 
tliey are the same event, either S. John or the Synoptists have made a 
gross blunder in chronology. Could S. John, who was with our Lord 
at both Passovers, make such a mistake? Could S- Matthew, who was 
with Him at the last Passover, transfer to it an event which took place 
at the first Passover, a year before his conversion? When we consider the 
immense differences which distinguish the last Passover from the first in 
Christ's ministry, it seems incredible that anyone who had contemporary 
evidence could through any lapse of memory transfer a very remarkable 
incident indeed from one to the other. On the other hand the diffi- 
culty of believing that the Temple was twice cleansed is very slight. 
Was Christ's preaching so universally successful that one cleansing would 
be certain to suffice? And if two years later He found that the evil had 
returned, would He not be certain to drive it out once more? Differ- 
ences in the details of the narratives corroborate this view. 

18. the yews] See on i. 19. 

What sign shewest thou] We have a similar question Matt. xxi. 23, 
but the widely different answer shews that the occasion is not the same. 
Such demands would be made often. 

90 S. JOHN, II. [vv. 19—21. 

19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, 

20 and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, 
Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt 

21 thou rear it up in three days ? But he spake of the temple 

19. Destroy this temple] It is S. Matthew (xxvi. 61) and S. Mark 
(xiv. 58, see notes) who tell us that this saying was twisted into a 
charge against Christ, but they do not record the saying. S. John, who 
does record the saying, does not mention the charge. Such coincidence 
can scarcely be designed, and is therefore evidence of the truth of both 
statements. See on xviii. 11. The word used in these three verses for 
'temple' means the central sacred building {naos), whereas that used in 
z/. 14 means the whole sacred enclosure {hieron). The latter is never 
used figviratively. 

raise it up\ In the charge His accusers turn this into build, a word 
not appropriate to raising a dead body. There is no contradiction 
between Christ's declaration and the ordinary N.T. theology, that the 
Son was raised by the Father. The expression is figurative throughout ; 
and 'I and My Father are one.' Comp. x. 18. This throwing out 
seeds of thought for the future, which could not bear fruit at the time, 
is one of the characteristics of Christ's teaching. 

20. Forty and six years, &c.] This was the third Temple. Solomon's 
Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Zerubbabel's was rebuilt 
by Herod the Great. The Greek implies that the building began 46 
years ago, but not that it is now completed. "The building of the 
Temple, we are told by Josephus {Ant. XV. ii. 1), was begun in 
tjie 1 8th year of Herod the Great, 734 — 735 a. u.c. Reckoning 46 
years from this point, we are brought to 781 or 782 A. U.C. = 28 or 29 
A.D. Comparing this with the data given in Luke iii. i, the question 
arises, whether we are to reckon the 15th year of Tiberius from his 
joint reign with Augustus, which began A.D. 12; or from his sole reign 
after the death of Augustus, A.D. 14. This would give us A.D. 27 or 29 
for the first public appearance of the Baptist, and at the earliest A.D. 28 
or 30 for the Passover mentioned in this chapter." S. p. 65. So that 
there seems to be exact agreement between this date and that of S. 
Luke, if we count S. Luke's 15 years from the joi/tt reign of Tiberius. 
It is incredible that this coincidence can have been planned ; it involves 
an intricate calculation, and even with the aid of Josephus absolute cer- 
tainty cannot be obtained. " By what conceivable process could a 
Greek in the second century have come to hit upon this roundabout ex- 
pedient for giving a fictitious date to his invention?" S. p. 67. 

rear it up] Better, raise zV «/; the same verb as in 7/. 19. For other 
instances of gross misunderstanding of Christ's words comp. iii. 4, 9, 
iv. II, 15, 33, vi. 34, 52, vii. 35, viii. 22, 33, 52, xi. 12, xiv. 5. 

21. spal'e] Or, was speaking. Setting aside inspiration, S. John's 
explanation must be admitted as the true one. What better in- 
terpreter of the mind of Jesus can be found than 'the disciple whom 
Jesus loved?' And he gives the explanation not as his only, but 

vv. 22—25.] S. JOHN, II. 91 

of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, 22 
his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them ; 
and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus 
had said. 

23 — 25. Belief without Devotion. 

Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the 23 
feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the 
miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself 24 
unto them, because he knew all me?i, and needed not that 25 
any should testify of man : for he knew what was in man. 

as that of the disciples generally. Moreover it explains the 'three 
days,' which interpretations about destroying the old Temple religion 
and raising up a new spiritual theocracy do not. 

22. was risen] Better, was raised. Comp. xxi. 14; Acts iii. 15, 
iv. 10, V. 30. 

/lis disciples remembered] They recollected it when the event that 
explained it took place ; meanwhile what had not been understood had 
been forgotten. Would anyone but a disciple give us these details 
about the disciples' thoughts ? See on v. 11. 

the scripture] O.T. prophecy, viz., Ps. xvi. 10 ; see on x. 35. 

had said] Better, spake, on the present occasion. 

23 — 25. Belief without Devotion. 

23. in Jerusalem at, &c.] More accurately, in yeriisalem, at the 
Passover, during the Feast. Note the exactness of detail. 

when, they saw the miracles] None of these have been recorded. 
Comp. iv. 45, XX. 30. Faith growing out of such soil would be likely 
to cease when the miracles ceased. ' When they saw ' should perhaps 
be ^whilst they saw,' as if implying 'and no longer.' For 'miracles' 
read signs, as in z/. 11. 

24. did not commit] The same verb as 'many beliez'ed'' in v. 23. 
'Many trusted in His name; but Jesus did not trust Himself unto 
them.' The antithesis is probably intentional. 

25. And needed tiot] Better, a;/^ because He had no need. 

for he knew] Better, for He of Himself knew. We have instances 
of this supernatural knowledge in the cases of Peter, i. 42; Nathanael, 
i. 47, 48 ; Nicodemus, iii. 3 ; the woman at the well, iv. 29 ; the 
disciples, vi. 61, 64; Lazarus, xi. 4, 15 ; Judas, xiii. 11 ; Peter, xxi. 17. 

Chap. III. 1 — 21. The discourse with Nicodemus. 

This is the first of the eleven discourses of our Lord which form 
the main portion, and are among the great characteristics, of tliis 
Gospel. They have been used as a powerful argument against its 
authenticity ; (i) because they are unlike the discourses in the Sy- 
noptic Gospels, (2) because they are suspiciously like the First Epistle 

92 S. JOH N, III. [v. I. 

Chap. III. i — 21. The discourse with Nicodemus. 
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a 

of S. John, which all admit was written by the author of the Fourth 
Gospel, (3) Ijecause this likeness to the First Epistle pervades not 
only the discourses of our Lord, but those of the Baptist also, as well 
as the writer's own reflections throughout the Gospel. The inference 
is that they are, as much as the speeches in Thucydides, if not as 
much as those in Livy, the ideal compositions of the writer himself 

On the question as a whole we may say at once with Matthew 
Arnold {Literature and Dogma, p. 170), "the doctrine and discourses 
of Jesus cannot in the main be the writer's, because in the main they 
are clearly out of his reach." ' Never man spake like this man ' (vii. 
46) ; not even S. John, and still less any one else, could invent such 

But the objections urged above are serious and ought to be answered, 
(i) The disccarses in S. John are unlike those in the Synoptists, but 
we must beware of exaggerating the unlikeness. They are longer, 
more reflective, less popular. But they are for the most part addressed 
to the educated and learned, to Elders, Pharisees, and Rabbis: even 
the discourse on the Bread of Life, which is spoken before a mixed 
multitude at Capernaum, is largely addressed to the educated portion 
of it (vi. 41, 52), the hierarchial party opposed to Him. The discourses 
in the first three Gospels are mostly spoken among the rude and 
simple-minded peasants of Galilee. Contrast the University Sermons 
with the Parish Sermons of an eminent modern preaclier, and we 
should notice similar differences. This fact will account for a good 
deal. But (a) the discourses both in S. John and in the Synoptists 
are translations from an Aramaic dialect. Two translations may differ 
very widely, and^ yet both be faithful ; they may each bear the impress 
of the translator's own style, and yet accurately represent the original. 
This will to a large extent answer objections (2) and (3). And we 
must _ remember that it is possible, and perhaps probable, that the 
peculiar tone of S. John, so unmistakeable, yet so difficult to analyse 
satisfactorily, may be a reproduction, more or less conscious, of that 
of his Divine Master. 

But on the other hand we must remember that an eventful life 
of half a century separates the time when S. John heard these dis- 
courses from the time when he committed thern to writing. Christ 
had promised (xiv. 26) that the Holy Spirit should 'bring all things 
to the remembrance ' of the Apostles ; but we have no right to assume 
that in so doing He would override the ordinary laws of psychology. 
Material stored up so long in the breast of the Apostle could not 
fail to be moulded by the working of his own mind. And therefore 
we may admit that in his report of the sayings of Christ and of the 
Baptist there is an element, impossible to separate now, which comes 
from himself. His report is sometimes a literal translation of the 
very words used, sometimes the substance of what was said put into 

V. 2.] S. JOHN, III. 93 

ruler of the Jews : the same came to Jesus by night, and 2 
said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come 
from God : for no man can do these miracles that thou 

his own words : but he gives us no means of distinguishing where the 
one shades off into the other. 

Cardinal Newman has kindly allowed the following to be quoted 
from a private letter written by him, July 15th, 1878. "Every one 
writes in his own style. S. John gives our Lord's meaning in his 
own way. At that time the third person was not so commonly used 
in history as now. When a reporter gives one of Gladstone's speeches 
in the newspaper, if he uses the first person, I understand not only the 
matter, but the style, the words, to be Gladstone's : when the third, I 
consider the style, &c. to be the reporter's own. But in ancient times 
this distinction was not made. Thucydides uses the dramatic method, 
yet Spartan and Athenian speak in Thucydidean Greek. And so every 
clause of our Lord's speeches in S. John may be in S. John's Greek, 
yet every clause may contain the matter which our Lord spoke in 
Aramaic. Again, S. John might and did select or condense (as being 
inspired for that purpose) the matter of our Lord's discourses, as that 
with Nicodemus, and thereby the wording might be S. John's, though 
the matter might still be our Lord's." 

1. There was a man] Better, Now f/iere was a man. The con- 
junction shows the connexion with what precedes : Nicodemus was 
one of the 'many' who 'believed in His name,' when they beheld 
His signs (ii. 23). 

Nicodemiis\ He is mentioned only by S. John. It is impossible 
to say whether he is identical with the Nicodemus of the Talmud, 
also called Bunai, who survived the destruction of Jerusalem. The 
name was common both among Greeks and Jews. Love of truth and 
fear of man, candour and hesitation, seem to be combined in his cha- 
racter. Comp. vii. 50, xix. 39. In xix. 39 his timidity is again noted 
and illustrated. 

a ritler of the yexvs'\ A member of the Sanhedrin, vii. 50. Comp. 
xii. 42 ; Luke xxiii. 13, xxiv. 20. His coming by night is to avoid 
the hostility of his colleagues : the Sanhedrin was opposed to Jesus. 
Whether or no S. John was present at the interview we cannot be 
certain : probably he was. Nicodemus would not fear the presence of 
the disciples. 

2. we knowl Others are disposed to believe as well as Nicodemus. 
a teacher come from God] In the Greek the order is, that Thou 

art come from God as teacher. We are not sure that ' come from God ' 
points to the Messiah, ' He that should come.' But if so, we see the 
timidity of Nicodemus ; he begins with an admission of Christ's Messiah- 
ship, and ends with the weak word ' teacher ;' the Messiah was never 
thought of as a mere teacher. But ' come from God ' may only mean 
divinely se^it, as a Prophet (i. 6), or even less. 
these miracles] Better, these signs, as in ii. 11. 

94 S. JOHN, III. [vv. 3-5- 

3 doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said 
unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee. Except a man be 

4 born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus 
saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? 
can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and 

5 be born? Jesus answered. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, 
Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot 

except God be with /lim] A similarly weak conclusion, shewing 
timidity : one expects 'unless he be a Prophet,' or ' the Messiah.' 

3. yesus answered] He answers his thoughts before they are ex- 
pressed. See on ii. 25, and on i. 51. 

liorti again] The word translated 'again' may mean either 'from 
the beginning,' or ' from above.' By itself it cannot exactly mean 
'again.' S. John uses the same word v. 31; xix. 11, 23. In all three 
places, (see especially xix. 11), it means 'from above,' which is perhaps 
to be preferred here: ' from the beginning' would make no sense. To 
be 'bom from above' recalls being 'born of God' in i. 13, (comp. 
I John iii. 9, iv. 7, v. i, 4, 18). Of course being 'born from above' 
is necessarily being ' born again ;' but ' again ' comes not so much 
from the Greek word, as from the context. Comp. ' v,Tt/j/ 1 say tinto 
you, except ye be converted and become as little children , ye shall not 
enter into the kingdom of heaven.'' Matt, xviii. 3. 

There is a probable reference to this passage (3 — 5) in Justin Martyr, 
Apol. I. Ixi. If so, we have evidence that this Gospel was known 
before a.d. 150. See on i. 23 and ix. i. 

he cannot see] i.e. so as to partake of it. Comp. to 'see corruption,' 
Ps. xvi. 10; to 'see evil,' xc. 15; to 'see death,' John viii. 51; Luke 
ii. 26. 

the kingdom of God] This i^hrase, so frequent in the Synoptists, 
occurs only here and z/. 5 in S. John. We may conclude that it was 
the very phrase used. 

4. whe7t he is old] He purposely puts the most impossible case; 
the words do not imply that he was an old man himself. It is difficult 
to believe that Nicodemus really supposed Christ to be speaking of 
ordinary birth; the metaphor of 'new birth' for spiritual regeneration 
cannot have been unfamiliar to him. Either he purposely misunder- 
stands, in order to reduce Christ's words to an absurdity; or, more 
probably, not knowing what to say, he asks what he knew to be a 
foolish question. 

the second time] This expression has contributed to the word which 
probably means 'from above,' being translated 'again.' But 'to enter 
a second time into his mother's womb' is simply a periphrasis for 'to be 
born' in the case of an adult. The word which means 'from above' is 
not included in the periphrasis. It is precisely that which perplexes 
Nicodemus ; so he leaves it out. 

5. of water and of the Spirit] Christ leaves the foolish question of 
Nicodemus to answer itself: He goes on to explain what is the real 

vv. 6—8.] S. JOHN, III. 95 

enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the 6 
flesh is flesh ; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 
Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. ^ 
The wind bloweth where it Usteth, and thou hearest the s 

point, and what Nicodemus has not asked, the meaning of 'from above:' 
'of water and (of the) Spirit.' The outward sign and inward grace of 
Christian baptism are here clearly given, and an unbiassed mind can 
scarcely avoid seeing this plain fact. This becomes still more clear 
when we compare i. 26 and 33, where the Baptist declares 'I baptize 
with water;' the Messiah 'baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.' The Fathers, 
both Greek and Latin, thus interpret the passage with singular una- 
nimity. Thus once more S. John assumes without stating the primary 
elements of Christianity. Baptism is assumed here as well known to his 
reader, as the Eucharist is assumed in chap. vi. To a well-instructed 
Christian there was no need to explain what was meant by being born 
of water and the Spirit. The words therefore had a threefold meaning, 
past, present, and future. In the past they looked back to the time 
when the Spirit moved upon the water causing the birth from above of 
Order and Beauty out of Chaos. In the present they pointed to the 
divinely ordained (i. 33) baptism of John : and through it in the future 
to that higher rite, to which John himself bore testimony. 

6. The meaning of 'birth from above' is still further explained by an 
analogy. What a man inherits from his parents is a body with animal 
life and passions; what he receives from above is a spiritual nature with 
heavenly aspirations and capabilities. What is born of sinful, human 
nature is sinful and human; what is born of the Holy Spirit is spiritual 
and divine. 

7. Ye 7nust\ The declaration is brought more closely home. In 
■ini. 3 and 5 Christ had made a very general statement, 'except a man.' 
He now shews that none are exempt from it. 'Ye, the chosen people, 
ye, the Pharisees, ye, the rulers, must all be born from above.' 

8. The tvind hlcnveth, &c. ] This verse is sometimes taken very 
differently : the Spirit breatketh where He willeth, and thou hearest His 
voice, but canst not tell whence He cometh and whither He goeth; so is 
every 07ie {born) who is born of the Spirit. The advantages of this 
rendering are (i) that it gives to Pnenma the meaning which it almost 
invariably has in more than 350 passages in N.T. in which it occurs, of 
which more than 20 are in this Gospel. Although /w^z^wa may mean 
'the breath of the wind,' yet its almost invariable use in N.T. is 'spirit' 
or 'the Spirit, 'while a«i?W(7j is used for 'wind:' (2) that it gives a better 
meaning to 'willeth,' a word more appropriate to a person than to any- 
thing inanimate: (3) that it gives io phone the meaning which it has in 
14 other passages in this Gospel, viz., 'articulate voice,' and not 'inar- 
ticulate sound.' On the other hand this rendering (i) gives to/««the 
meaning 'breathes,' a meaning quite unknown in N.T. : (2) uses the 
expression 'the voice of the Spirit,' also unknown to Scripture: (3) re- 
quires the insertion of 'born' in the last clause, in order to make sense. 

96 S. JOHN, III. [vv. 9—11. 

sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and 

whither it goeth : so is every one that is born of the Spirit. 

9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these 

lothmgs be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou 

II a master of Israel, and knowest not these things ? Verily, 

verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and 

testify that we have seen ; and ye receive not our witness. 

For the usual rendering maybe pleaded (r) that it gives io fttci the 
meaning which it has everywhere else in N.T., viz. in vi. i8 and five 
other passages. Although /««' may mean 'breathes,' yet its invariable 
use in N. T. is of the 'blowing' of the wind, while another word (xx. 
22) is used for 'breathe:' (2) that it gives the most literal meaning to 
'hearest:' (3) that the last clause makes excellent sense without any 
repetition of 'born.' The Aramaic word probably used by our Lord 
has both meinings, 'wind' and 'spirit,' so that it is not impossible that 
both meanings are meant to run concurrently through the passage. 
"It was late at night when our Lord had this interview with the Jewish 
teacher. At the pauses in the conversation, we may conjecture, they 
heard the wind without, as it moaned along the narrow streets of 
Jerusalem; and our Lord, as was His wont, took His creature into His 
service — the service of spiritual truth. The wind was a figure of the 
Spirit. Our Lord would have used the same word for both." (I-iddon.) 
There is a clear reference to this passage in the Ignatian Epistles, 
Philad. VII. Thus we have evidence of the Gospel being known 
certainly as early as A. D. 150, and probably A.D. 115. 

so is every one] i.e. such is the case of every one: he feels the spiritual 
influence, but finds it incomprehensible in its origin, which is from 
. above, and in its end, which is eternal life. 

l?orn of the Spirit] The Sinaitic MS. and two ancient versions read, 
born of -water and of the Spirit. The inserted words are a gloss. 

9. Hoiv can these things be?] He is bewildered ; there is no appear- 
ing not to understand, as in v. 4. 'Be,' come to pass (see on i. 6). 

10. Art thou a master of Israel] Better, a;V thou the teacher of 
Israel, the well-known Rabbi, a representative of the supreme authority 
in the Church? 

11. We speak that we do know] The plural is no proof that any of 
the disciples were present, though S. John at least may have been ; nor 
does it necessarily include more than Christ Himself. The plurals may 
be rhetorical, giving the saying the tone of a proverb; but the next verse 
seems to shew that they do include others. Christ and his disciples tcU 
of earthly things, Christ alone of heavenly. 

testify^ Or, bear witness of (see on i. 7). 

tue have scoi] Of which we have immediate knowledge. Comp. 
i. 18; xiv. 7, 9. 

and ye receive not] The tragic tone once more; see on i. 5. *Ye 
teachers of Israel,' the very men who should receive it. 

vv. 12—16.] S. JOHN, III. 97 

If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how 12 
shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly thmgs ? And no 13 
j/ia?i hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down 
from heaven, evefi the Son of man which is in heaven. And 14 
as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so 
must the Son of man be lifted up : that whosoever believeth 15 
in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God 16 

12. earthly things] Things which take place on earth, even though 
originating in heaven, e.g. the 'new birth,' which though 'from 
above,' must take place in this world. See notes on i Cor. xv. 40 and 
James iii. 15. 

heavenly things] The mysteries which are not of this world, the 
Divine counsels respecting man's salvation. 

13. tio man hath ascended up to heaven] No man has been in 
heaven, so as to see and know these heavenly things, excepting Christ. 

came down from heaven] Literally, out of heaven; at the Incarna- 
tion. On ' the Son of Man ' see on i. 51. 

■which is in heaven] These words are omitted in the best MSS. If 
they are retained, the meaning is 'Whose proper home is heaven.' 
Or the Greek participle may be the imperfect tense (comp. vi. 62, ix. 
25, xvii. f,), which was in heaven before the Incarnation. It is doubtful 
whether in this verse we have any direct allusion to the Ascension, 
though this is sometimes assumed. 

14. the serpent] We here have some evidence of the date of the 
Gospel. The Ophitic is the earliest Gnostic system of which we have 
full information. The serpent is the centre of the system, at once its 
good and evil principle. Had this form of Gnosticism been prevalent 
before this Gospel was written, this verse would scarcely have stood 
thus. An orthodox writer would have guarded his readers from 
error: an Ophitic writer would have made more of the serpent. 

even so] Christ here testifies to the prophetic and typical character of 
the O.T. 

vnist] It is so ordered in the counsels of God. Heb. ii. 9, 10. 

be lifted tip] On the cross : the lifting up does not refer to the exalta- 
tion of Christ to glory. The glory to which the cross led {crux scala 
coeli) is not included. Comp. viii. 28 and xii. 32; and for other 
symbolic language about His death comp. Matt. xii. 40. 

15. That] The eternal life of believers is the purpose of the 'must' 
in V. 14. For 'should' read may both here and in v. 16. 

not perish, but] These words are not genuine here, but have been 
taken from the next verse. When they are struck out it is better to take 
'in Him' with 'have' than with 'believeth:' that every one who be- 
lieveth may have in Him eternal life. 

16 — 21. It is much disputed whether what follows is a continuation 
of Christ's discourse, or the comment of the Evangelist upon it. The 
fact that terms characteristic of S. John's theology are put into the 
mouth of Christ, e.g. 'only- begotten' and 'the Light,' cannot settle the 

S. JOHN 7 

98 S. JOHN, III. [w. 17, 18. 

so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that 
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have 

17 everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world 
to condemn the world; but that the world through him 

,8 might be saved. He that believeth on him is not con- 
demned : but he that believeth not is condemned already, 
because he hath not believed in the name of the only 

question : the substance may still be our Lord's, though the wording is 
S. John's. It seems unlikely that S. John would give us no indication 
of the change from Christ's words to his own, if the discourse with 
Nicodemus really came to a full stop in v. 15. See on vv. 31 — 36. 

16. For\ Explaining how God wills eternal life to every one that 

loved the world^ The whole human race: see on i. 10. This would 
be a revelation to the exclusive Pharisee, brought up to believe that God 
loved only the chosen people. The word for 'love,' agapAn, is very 
frequent both in this Gospel and in the First Epistle, and may be con- 
sidered characteristic of S. John. 

that he gave his only begotteit] This would be likely to remind 
Nicodemus of the offering of Isaac. Comp. i John iv. 9; Heb. xi. 17; 
Rom. viii. 32. See note on i. 14. 

everlasting life'] The Greek is the same as in the previous verse, and 
the translation should be the same, eternal life. 'Eternal life' is one 
of the phrases of which S. John is fond. It occurs 17 times in the 
Gospel (only eight in the Synoptics) and six times in the First Epistle. 
In neither Gospel nor Epistle is 'eternal' (aionios) applied to anything 
but 'life.' On aiSnios, which of itself does not necessarily mean 'ever- 
lasting' or 'unending,' see note on Matt. xxv. 46. 

17. the world] Note the emphatic repetition : the whole human 
race is meant, as in v. 16, not the Gentiles in particular. 

not. condemn] This does not contradict ix. 39, 'For judgment 
am I come into this world.' Comp. Luke ix. 56. Since there are 
sinners in the world Christ's coming involves a separation of them from 
the good, a judgment, a sentence: but this is not the purpose of His 
coming; the purpose is salvation. 'Condemn' is too strong here for 
the Greek word, which is simply to Judge between good and bad ; but 
the word frequently acquires the notion of ' condemn ' from the context 
(see on v. 29). Note the change of construction; not, 'to save the 
world,' but 'that the world might be saved through Him.' The world 
can reject Him if it pleases. 

18. is not condemned... is condemned already] Better, is «c/ Judged 
...hath been Judged already. The change of tense from present to 
perfect must be preserved. Unbelievers have no need to be sentenced 
by the Messiah; their unbelief is of itself their sentence. The next 
verse explains how this is. 'Judge ' and 'judgment ' are among S. John's 
characteristic words. 


vv. 19—21.] S. JOHN, III. 99 

begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that ,9 
light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather 
than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one so 
that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, 
lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth 
truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made 
manifest, that they are wrought in God. 

19. And this is the condeninatioii\ Rather, But the Judgment is 
tMs ; this is what it consists in: comp. xv. 12, xvii. 3. 

and vien loved darkfiess, &c.] The tragic tone again (see on i. 5). 
Both words should have the article, loved the darkness rather than the 
light. An understatement; they hated the Light. There is probably 
no allusion to Nicodemus coming to Jesus by night. He chose the 
darkness, not because his deeds were evil, but because they were good. 
He wished to conceal, not an evil deed from good men, but a good deed 
from evil men. 

deeds'] Better, works here and vv. 20, 21. 

20. doeth evil] The Greek word for 'doeth' is not the same as that 
in the next verse; but it is not quite certain that any distinction of 
meaning is intended, although v. 29 inclines one to think so. There 
the words are paired in precisely the same way as here. On the other 
hand in Rom. vii. 15 — 20 these same two words are interchanged 
indifferently, each being used both of doing good and of doing evil. 
In order to make a distinction practiseth evil has been suggested. But 
' evil' also requires re-translation, for in the Greek it differs from ' evil ' in 
v. 19. The meaning in this verse is rather 'frivolous, good-for-nothing, 
worthless.' He that practiseth worthless things (the aimless trifler), 
hateth the light, which would show him the true value of the inanities 
which fill up his existence. 

lest his deeds should] Better, in order that his works may not. 

reproved] The margin gives 'discovered.' In viii. 9 the same word 
is translated 'convict,' in viii. 46 'convince,' and in xvi. 8 'reprove' 
with 'convince' in the margin. Of all these 'convict' is perhaps the 
best ; in order that his works may not be convicted of being worth- 
less, proved to be what they really are. See note on Matt, xviii. 15. 

21. doeth truth] Or, as in i John i. 6, doeth the ti'ttth, the opposite of 
'doing' or 'making a lie,' Rev. xxi. 27, xxii. 15. It is moral rather 
than intellectual truth that is meant. To ' do the truth ' is to do that 
which is true to the moral law (comp. viii. 32), that which has true 
moral worth, as opposed to 'practising worthless things.' In i Cor. 
xiii. 6 we have a similar antithesis: 'rejoicing with the /n^//? ' is opposed 
to 'rejoicing in i>iiquity.^ 

that his deeds rnay be made manifest] ' His ' is emphatic, ^ his deeds ' 
as opposed to those of him that doeth evil. ' Be made manifest ' 
balances 'be reproved.' The one fears to be convicted; the other 
courts the light, not for self-glorification, but as loving that to which he 
feels his works are akin. See on i. 31. 

loo S. JOHN, III. [vv. 22, 23. 

22 — $6. The Baptism and Filial Testimony of John. 

22 After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the 
land of Judea ; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. 

23 And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, 

wrought in God] Better, have been wrought in God. This is his 

reason for wishing them to be made manifest; it is a manifestation of some- 
thing divine. The Greelc for ' that ihey are ' may mean ' because they 

These three verses (19 — 21) shew that before the Incarnation there 
were two classes of men in the world ; a majority of evil-doers, whose 
antecedents led them to shun the Messiah; and a small minority of 
righteous, whose antecedents led them to welcome the Messiah. They 
had been given to Him by the Father (vi. 37, xvii. 6); they recognised 
His teaching as of God, because they desired to do God's will (vii. 17). 
Such would be Simeon, Anna (Luke ii. 25, 36), Nathanael, the dis- 
ciples, &c. 

We have no means of knowing how Nicodemus was affected by this 
interview, beyond the incidental notices of him vii. 50, 51, xix. 39, 
which being so incidental shew that he is no fiction. 

22—36. The Baptism and Final Testimony of John. 

22, 23. We have here a mark of authenticity similar to ii. 12. These 
passages "it is impossible to regard as embodiments of dogma. It is 
equally impossible to regard them as fragments detached from the mass 
of tradition. The only conclusion remains, that they axe facts lodged iu 
the memory of a living 'uiitness of the eveftts described." S. p. 86. 
8. John records them, not for any theological purpose, but because he 
was there, and remembers what took place. 

and baptized^ Or, was baptizing during his stay there, through his 
disciples (iv. 2). Christ's baptism was not yet in the Name of the 
Trinity (vii. 39) as ordered to the Apostles (Matt, xxviii. 19). It was a 
continuation of John's baptism, accompanied by the operation of the 
Spirit {v. 5). We have abundant evidence that John baptized before 
Christ's public ministry commenced, and that the disciples baptized 
after His ministry closed. That the one baptism should be the off- 
spring of the other is probable enough antecedently; "yet this is the 
one passage in which it is positively stated that our Lord authorised 
baptism during His lifetime." S. p. 85. 

23. John also 7vas baptizing] Not as a rival to the Messiah, but still 
in preparation for Ilim. Although John knew that the Messiah had 
come, yet He had not yet taken the public position which John had ex- 
pected Him to take, and hence John was by no means led to suppose 
that his own office in preaching repentance was at an end. There is no 
improbability in Jesus and John baptizing side by side. But with this 
difference; Jesus seldom, if ever, administered His own baptism; John 
apparently always did administer his. 

Aenon] The name means 'springs.' The identifications of both 

vv. 24—27.] S. JOHN, III. loi 

because there was much water there : and they came, and 
were baptized. For John was not yet cast into prison. 24 
Then there arose a question between sotjie of John's disciples 25 
and the Jews about purifying. And they came unto John, 26 
and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond 
Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same 
baptizeth, and all men come to him. John answered and 27 
said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him 

Aenon and Salim remain uncertain. The most probable conjecture is 
the Wady Far'ah, running from Mount Ebal to Jordan, an open vale, 
full of springs. There is a Salim three miles south of the valley, and 
the name of Aenon survives in 'Ainftn, a village four miles north of the 

7}iuch watei-X For immersion ; the Greek means literally many 
waters. The remark shews that these places were not on the Jordan. 
It would be gratuitous to say of the Jordan that ' there was much water 

24. This corrects the impression, naturally derived from the Synop- 
tists, that Christ's public ministry did not commence till after the im- 
prisonment of the Baptist. The whole of these first three chapters and 
part of the fourth must be placed before Matt. iv. 12, where there are 
great gaps in the history. 

25. Then there arose] Better, there arose therefore; i.e. in conse- 
quence of John's baptizing at Aenon. 

a question'] Or, questioning. 

between some of John^ disciples and the yeivs] Better, on the part 
of yohn^s disciples with a Jew. 'A Jew ' for 'Jews ' is the reading of 
the best authorities. We do not know what the question was ; probably 
the efficacy of John's baptism as compared with Christ's, or as com- 
pared with the ordinary ceremonial washings, for purifying from sin. 
There is noilue as to who this Jew was. His question makes the dis- 
ciples of John go at once to their master for his opinion about Jesus and 
His success. 

26. to whom thou barest witness] Rather, to whom thou hast 
borne witness. This was the monstrous thing in their eyes ; that One 
who seemed to owe His position to the testimony of John should be con- 
peting with him and surpassing him. 

behold, the same] Or perhaps, behold, this fellow, expressing astonish- 
ment and chagrin, and perhaps contempt. 

all men] An exaggeration very natural in their excitement. The 
picture is very true to life. Comp. the excited statement of the 
Samaritan woman, iv. 29 ; and of the Pharisees, xii. 19 ; contrast 
V. 32 and see on vi. 15. 

27. A man can receive nothing, &c.] Comp. xix. 11. The meaning 
of John's declaration is given in two ways: (i) 'Jesus could not have 
this great success, unless it were granted Him from Heaven. This 

I02 S. JOHN, III. [vv. 28—30. 

28 from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I 

29 am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that 
hath the bride is the britlegroom : but the friend of the 
bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth 
greatly because of the bridegroom's voice : this my joy 

30 therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. 

ought to satisfy you that He is sent by God ;' (2) ' I cannot accept the 
position of supremacy, which you would thrust upon me; because I 
have not received it from Heaven.' The former is better, as being a 
more direct answer to 'all men come to Him.' But it is quite possible 
that both meanings are intended. 

be givenl More literally, have \iBen given. 

28. Y'e yoiirsclves'\ Though you are so indignant on my account. 
bear me wilness, that I said\ They had appealed to his testimony 

(v. ■26); he turns it against them. 

before hi?n'\ 'Before Him, of whom you complain, whom I proclaim 
to be the Christ.' In i. 26, 30, John spoke less clearly. 

29. John explains by a figure his subordination to the Messiah. 

He that hath the bride\ Here only in this Gospel does this well- 
known symbol occur. It is frequent both in O. T. and N. T. Is. liv. 
5; Hos. ii. 19, 20; Eph. V. 32; Rev. xix. 7; xxi. 2, 9. Comp. 
Song of Solomon, /aw/w ; Matt. ix. 15, xxv. i. In O. T. it syni- 
Dolizes the relationship between Jehovah and His chosen people, in 
N. T. that between Christ and His Church. 

the friend of tlie bridegroom] The special friend, appointed to 
arrange the preliminaries of the wedding, to manage and preside at 
the marriage feast. Somewhat analogous to our 'best man,' but his 
duties were very much more considerable. A much closer analogy 
may be found among the lower orders in the Tyrol at the present 
day. Here the Messiah is the Bridegroom and the Church His Bride ; 
John is His friend who has prepared the heart of the Bride and 
arranged the espousal. He rejoices to see the consummation of his 

heareth him"] i.e. listens attentively to do his bidding. 

because of the bridegroom^ s voice\ Heard in the midst of the 

is fulfilhd] i.e. has 'be&nfulfiHed&ndi still remains complete. Comp. 
XV. II, xvi. 24, xvii. 13; I John i. 4. 

30. mtcsti It is so ordained in the counsels of God. Comp. zv. 7, 
14, ix. 4, x. 16, XX. 9. This joy of the friend of the Bridegroom, in full 
view of the inevitable wane of his own influence and dignity, is in 
marked contrast to the jealousy and vexation of his disciples. 

31 — 36. A question is raised with regard to this section similar 
to that raised about vv. 16 — 21. Some regard what follows not as 
a continuation of the Baptist's speech, but as the Evangelist's comment 
upon it. But, as in the former case, seeing that the Evangelist gives 
us no intimation that he is taking the place of the speaker, and that 


vv. 31, 32.] S. JOHN, III. 103 

He that cometh from above is above all : he that is of the 31 
earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth : he that cometh 
from heaven is above all. And what he hath seen and 
heard, that he testifieth ; and no man receiveth his testimony. 

there is nothing in what follows to compel us to suppose that there 
is such a transition, it is best to regard the Baptist as still speaking. 
It is, however, quite possible that this latter part of the discourse is 
more strongly coloured with the Evangelist's own style and phrase- 
ology, while the substance still remains the Baptist's. Indeed a change 
of style may be noticed. The sentences become less abrupt and more 
connected; the stream of thought is continuous. 

"The Baptist, with the growing inspiration of the prophet, unveils 
before his narrowing circle of disciples the full majesty of Jesus ; 
and then, as with a swan-like song, completes his testimony before 
vanishing from history." Meyer, in loco. 

There is no contradiction between this passage and Matt. xi. 2 — 6, 
whatever construction we put on the latter (see notes there). John 
was 'of the earth,' and therefore there is nothing improbable in his 
here impressing on his disciples the peril of not believing on the 
Messiah, and yet in prison feeling impatience, or despondency, or even 
doubt about the position and career of Jesus. 

31. that coviethfrotn above\ i.e. Christ. Comp. v. 13, viii. 23, He 
'is above all,' John included. No one, however exalted a Prophet, 
can rival Him. 

is earthly'] There is loss instead of gain in obliterating the em- 
phatic repetition of the words 'of the earth' as they appear in the 
Greek. He that is of the earth, of the earth he is, and of the earth 
he speaketh. This was John's case : he spoke of ' earthly things ' (see 
on V. 12), Divine Truth as manifested in the world, and as revealed 
to him. He could not, like Christ, speak from immediate knowledge 
of 'heavenly things.' Note that 'speaking of the earth ^ is a very 
different thing from 'speaking of the tvorld^ (i John iv. 5). The one 
is to speak of God's work on earth ; the other of what opposes, or at 
least is other than, God's work. 

he that cometh from heaven] A repetition with further development, 
very characteristic of S. John's style. 

32. what he hath seen and heard] In His pre-existence with 
God ; V. II, i. 18. He has immediate knowledge of heavenly things. 

that he testifieth] Better, that he witnessetli (see on i. 7). Precisely 
this is the substance of His witness. 

and 710 man] The tragic tone again; see on i. 5, and comp. v. 11. 
' No man ' is an exaggeration resulting from deep feeling : com- 
paratively speaking none, so few were those who accepted the Messiah. 
Comp. the similar exaggeration on the other side, v. 26, 'all men 
come to Him.' These extreme contradictory statements, placed in 
such close proximity, confirm our trust in the Evangelist as faithfully 
reporting what was actually said. He does not soften it down to make 
it look plausible. 

104 S. JOHN, III. [vv. 33-36. 

33 He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that 

34 God is true. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the 
words of God : for God giveth not the Spirit by measure 

35 unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all 
56 tilings into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath 

everlasting life : and he that believeth not the Son shall 
not see life ; but the wrath of God abideth on him. 

receiveth his testimony] Better, receiveth His witness. The Baptist 
takes up Christ's words in v. 11. 

33. The Baptist shews at once that 'no man' is hyperbolical; there 
are some who received the testimony. 

hatk received. ..hath sel to his seat] Better, received... set his seal. 

his testimony] his witness. 'His' is emphatic, balancing 'God.' 
' He that received Christ^s witness, set his seal that God is true.' To 
believe the Messiah is to believe God, for the IVIessiah is God's inter- 
preter, i. 18. The metaphor is from sealing a document to express 
one's trust in it and adherence to it. Comp. vi. 27 ; i Cor. ix. 2. On 
' true ' see note on i. 9 ; ' true ' here is opposed to ' lying ' not to 
' spurious.' 

34. whom God hath sent] Better, whom God sent, viz. Christ ' who 
Cometh from above,' v. 31. 

God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him] ' God ' is of doubtful 
authority; 'unto Him' is not in the Greek. We must translate He 
giveth not the Spirit by fneasure ; or, the Spirit giveth not by measure. 
The former is better, and ' He ' probably means God ; so that the only 
question is whether ' unto Him ' is rightly supplied or not. In trans- 
lation it is best to omit the words, altliough there is a direct reference 
to Jesus. 'Not by measure giveth He the Spirit,' least of all to 
Jesus, 'for it pleased (the Father) thct in Him the whole plenitude (of 
Divinity) should have its permanent abode,' Col. i. 19. Some take 
' He' as meaning Christ, who gives the Spirit fully to His disciples. 

35. toveth the Son] Comp. v. 20. This is the reason for His 
giving all things into His hand. Christ is thus made 'Head over 
all things ' (Eph. i. 22), and ' Lord of all ' (Acts x. 36). 

36. hath everlasting life] Or, eternal life (see on v. 16). Note 
the tense ; 'hath' not 'shall have.' Believers are already in possession 
of eternal life. Christians often think of eternal life as something yet 
to be won. It has been already given to them ; the question is whether 
they will lose it again or not. The struggle is not to gain but to retain. 
Comp. xvii. 3. 

he that believeth not] This may also mean he that obeyeth not, and 
this is better, for it is not the same word as ' he that believeth ' with 
the negative added. The same correction seems to be needed. Acts 
xiv. 2, xix. 9; Rom. xi. 30 (see margin). Comp. Ileb. iv. 6, 11; 
I Pet. iv. 17. 

shall not see] Not only has not beheld, but has no prospect of 

vv. 1—5.] S. JOHN, IV. 105 

Chap. IV. i — 42. The Work among Sa?naritans. 

When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had 4 
heard that Jesus made and baptized moe disciples than 
John, (though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) ^ 
he left Judea, and departed again into Galilee. And he \ 
must needs go through Samaria. Then cometh he to a 

the wrath of God"] This phrase occurs nowhere else in the Gospels. 
It is the necessary complement of the love of God. If there is love 
for those wfho believe, there must be wrath for those who refuse to 
believe. Comp. Matt. iii. 7; Luke iii. 7; Rom. i. 18, ix. 22, xii. 19. 

abideth'X Not 'shall come to him :' this is his portion already. He 
is under a ban until he believes, and he refuses to believe : therefore 
the ban remains. He, like the believer, not only ivill have but has 
his portion ; it rests with him also, whether the portion continues his. 
He has to struggle, not to avert a sentence, but to be freed from it. 

Chap. IV. 1 — 42. The Work among Samaritans. 

1. When therefore the Lord hnew] The ' therefore ' refers us back 
to iii. 26. Of the many who came to Christ some told the Pharisees of 
His doings, just as others told John. 

the Pharisees] See on i. 24. 

made and baptized] Literally, is making and baptizing, the very 
words of the report are given. This is important as shewing the 
meaning of the next verse, which is a correction not of the Evangelist's 
own statement but of the report. In the Authorised Version S. John 
seems to be correcting himself : he is really correcting the report carried 
to the Pharisees. 

than John] They did not object so much to John's making dis- 
ciples. He disclaimed being the Messiah, and he took his stand on 
the Law. Moreover, he ' did no miracle.' They could understand 
his position much better than that of Jesus, and feared it less. See on 
vi. 15. 

2. Jesus himself baptized not] Because baptizing is the work of 
a minister, not of the Lord. Christ baptizes with the Holy Spirit 

3. He left JtidcEci] The stronghold of the Pharisees and of the party 
opposed to Christ. We are to infer, therefore, that this report made 
them commence operations against Him. 

departed again into Galilee] ' Again ' is somewhat wanting in au- 
thority. It points to the period from i. 43 to ii. 12. Christ had come 
up from Capernaum to Jerusalem for the Passover (ii. 13) : He now 
returns to Galilee. It is sometimes assumed that this visit to Galilee 
marks the beginning of the Galilean ministry recorded by the Sy- 
noptists (comp. Matt. iv. 12). This may be correct, but it is not quite 
certain. See note on Mark i. 14, 15. 

4. he must needs go through Samaria] There was no other way, 

io6 S. JOHN, IV. [v. s. 

city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel 

unless he crossed the Jordan and went round by Perea, as Jews some- 
times did to avoid annoyance from the Samaritans (on the Samari- 
tans, see note on Matt. x. 5). As Christ was on his way /rciw Jerusalem, 
and escaping from the ruling party there, He had less reason to fear 
molestation. Comp. Luke ix. 53. 

5 — 42. Doubt has been thrown on this narrative in three different 
ways, (i) On a priori grounds. How could the Samaritans, who re- 
jected the prophetical books, and were such bitter enemies of the Jews, 
be expecting a Messiah? The narrative is based on a fundamental 
mistake. But it is notorious that the Samaritans did look for a Mes- 
siah, and are looking for one to the present day. Though they rejected 
the Prophets, they accepted the Pentateuch, with all its Messianic 
prophecies. (2) On account of Acts viii. 5. How could Philip go and 
convert the Samaritans, if Christ had already done so? But is it to be 
supposed that in two days Christ perfected Christianity in Samaria (even 
allowing, whaL is not certain, that Christ and Philip went to the same 
town), so as to leave nothing for a preacher to do afterwards? Many 
acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah who afterwards, on finding Him to be 
very different from the Messiah they expected, fell away. This would 
be likely enough at Samaria. The seed had fallen on rocky ground. 
(3) On the supposition that the narrative is an allegory, of which the 
whole point lies in the words 'thou hast had five husbands, and he whom 
thou now hast is not thy husband.' The five husbands are the five 
religions from Babylon, Culhah, Ava, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, 
brought to Samaria by the colonists from Assyria (^ Kings xvii. 24) ; 
and the sixth is the adulterated worship of Jehovah. If our interpreting 
Scripture depends upon our guessing such riddles as this, we may well 
despair of the task. But the allegory is a pure fiction, i. When S. 
John gives us an allegory, he leaves no doubt that it is an allegory 
There is not the faintest hint here. 2. It would be extraordinary that 
in a narrative of 38 verses the whole allegory should be contained in less 
than one verse, the rest being mere setting. This is like a frame a yard 
w ide round a miniature. 3. There is a singular impropriety in making 
the five heathen religions 'husbands,' while the worship of Jehovah is 
represented by a paramour. 

The narrative is true to what we know of Jews and Samaritans at 
this time. The topography is well preserved. 'The gradual develop- 
ment of the woman's belief is psychologically true.' These and other 
points to be noticed as they occur may convince us that this narrative 
cannot be a fiction. Far the easiest supposition is that it is a faithful 
record of actual facts. 

6. I'heti Cometh he\ Better, /^^ r<?OT^/A therefore ; because that was 
His route. 

a city of Satnaria\ City is used loosely, and must not be supposed 
to imply anything large. Capernaum, which Josephus calls a village, 
the Evangelists call a city. 'Town' would be belter as a transla- 
tion. Samaria is the insignificant province of Samaria into which 

vv. 6—8.] S. JOHN, IV. 107 

of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob's 6 
well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his 
journey, sat thus on the well : and it was about the sixth 
hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water : ^ 
Jesus saith unto her. Give me to drink. (For his disciples 8 

the old kingdom of Jeroboam had dwindled. Omit 'which is' before 

called Sychar] 'Called' may be another indication that this Gospel 
was written outside Palestine or it may mean that Sychar was a nick- 
name ('liar' or 'drunkard'). In the one case Sychar is a different place 
from Sychem or Shechem, though close to it, viz. the modern Askar : 
in the other it is another name for Sychem, the Neapolis of S. John's 
day, and the modern Naplus. The former view is preferable, though 
certainty is impossible. Would S. John have written 'Neapolis' if 
Sychem were meant? He writes Tiberias (vi. i, 23, xxi. i): but 
Tiberias was probably a new town as well as a new name, whereas 
Neapolis was a new name for an old town; so the analogy is not perfect. 
Eusebius and Jerome distinguish Sychar from Sychem. Naplus has 
many wells close at hand. 

that y acob gave to his son Joseph'] Gen. xxxiii. 19, xlviii. 22; Josh, 
xxiv. 32. Abraham bought the ground, Jacob gave it to Joseph, and 
Joseph was buried there. 

6. Jacob's well] Or, spring {v. 11). It still exists, but without 
spring-water; one of the few sites about which there is no dispute, in 
the entrance to the valley between Ebal and Gerizim. 

sat thus on the ivcll] Or, 'Was sitting thus (just as He was) by the 
spring. All these details mark tlie report as of one who had full 

about the sixth hour] See on i. 39. This case again is not decisive 
as to S. John's mode of reckoning the hours. On the one hand, noon 
was an unusual hour for drawing water. On the other, a woman whose 
life was under a cloud [v. 18) might select an unusual hour; and at 
6 P.M. numbers would probably have been coming to draw, and the 
conversation would have been disturbed. Again, after 6 p. M. there 
would be rather short time for all that follows. These two instances 
(i. 39 and this) lend no strong support to the antecedently improbable 
theory that S. John's method of counting the hours is different from the 

7. a woman of Sama7-ia'\ i.e. of the province; not of the city of 
Samaria, at that time called Sebaste, in honour of Augustus, who had 
given it to Herod the Great. Herod's name for it survives in the modern 
Sebustieh. A woman of the city of Samaria would not have come all 
that distance to fetch water. In legends this woman is called Photina. 

Give tne to drink] Quite literal, as the next verse shews. He asked 
her for refreshment because His disciples had gone away. 'Give me the 
spiritual refreshment of thy conversion ' is a meaning read into the words 
and not found in them. 

io8 S. JOHN, IV. [vv. 9- 1 1. 

9 were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) Then saith 
the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being 
a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria ? 

'° For the Jews have no deaHngs with the Samaritans. Jesus 
answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of 
(iod, and who it is that saith to thee. Give me to drink ; 
thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given 

 I thee Hving water. The woman saith unto him. Sir, thou 
hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep : from 

8. to buy mcat'\ i. e. food, not necessarily flesh. The meat-offering 
was tine flour and oil without any flesh. Lev. ii. i. The Greek word 
here means 'nourishment.' 

9. woman of Samaria] In both places in this verse we should 
rather have Samaritan woman : the Greek is not the same as in v. 7. 
The adjective lays stress 011 the national and religious characteristics. 
For 'then' read therefore, as in v. 5. 

How is iV] Feminine pertness. She is half-amused and half- 

being a J civ] She knew Him to be such by His dress and by His 

for the Jnvs, &c.] Omit the articles; for Jews have no dealings with 
Samaritans. This is a remark, not of the woman, but of S. John, to 
explain the woman's question. As He was on his way from Jenisalem 
she probably thought He was a Judaean. The Galileans seem to have 
been less strict ; and hence His disciples went to buy food of Samaritans. 
Some important authorities omit tlie remark. 

10. the gift of God} What lie is ready to give thee, what is now 
held out to thee, thy salvation. For 'knewest' read hadst known. 
Comp. xi. 21, 32, xiv. 28, where we have the same construction; and 
contrast v. 46 and viii. 19, where the A. V. makes the converse mistake 
of translating imperfects as if they were aorists. 

thou wouldest have asked of hi//!] instead of His asking of thee: 
•thou' is emphatic. 'Spiritually our positions are reversed. It is 
thou who art weary, and foot-sore, and parched, close to the well, yet 
unable to drink ; it is I who can give thee the water from the well, and 
quench thy thirst for ever.' There is a scarcely doubtful reference to 
this passage in the Ignatian Epistles, Ko/nans, vii. See on vi. 33, to 
which there is a clear reference in this same chapter. The passage with 
these references to the Fourth Gospel is found in the Syriac as well as 
in the shorter Greek versions of Ignatius; so that we have almost certain 
evidence of this Gospel being known as early as A. D. 115. See on 
iii. 3. 

11. ^■/r] A decided change from the pert 'How is it?' in v. 9. His 
words and manner already begin to impress her. 

the well is deep] Not the same word for 'well' as in v. 6. There the 
spring in the well is the chief feature: here it is rather the deej> hole 

vv. 12—14.] S. JOHN, IV. 109 

whence then hast thou that living water ? Art thou greater 12 
than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank 
thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus 13 
answered and said unto her. Whosoever drinketh of this 
water shall thirst again : but whosoever drinketh of the 14 

in which the spring was. Earlier travellers have called it over a 100 
feet deep : at the present time it is about 75 feet deep. 

that living ■water'\ Better, the living 7vater, of which Thou speakest. 
She thinks He means spring-water as distinct from cistern-water. 
Comp. Jer. ii. 13, where the two are strongly contrasted. In Gen. xxvi. 
19, as the margin shews, 'springing water' is literally 'living water,' 
viva aqna. What did Christ mean by the 'living water?' Among the 
various answers we may at once set aside any reference to baptism. 
Faith, God's grace and truth, Christ Himself, are other answers. The 
difference between them is at bottom not so great as appears on the 
surface, Christ here uses the figure of water, as elsewhere of bread 
(vi.) and light (viii. 12), the three most necessary things for life. But 
lie does not here idc7itify Himself with the living water, as He does 
with the Bread, and the Light: therefore it seems better to understand 
the living water as the 'grace and truth' of which He is full (i. 14). 
Comp. Ecclus. XV. 3; Baruch iii. 12. 

12. Art thoic greater'] 'Thou' is very emphatic; Stirely Thou art 
not greater. Comp. viii. 53. The loquacity of the woman as con- 
trasted with the sententiousness of Nicodemus is very natural, while on 
the other hand she shews a similar perverseness in misunderstanding 
spiritual metaphors. 

our father Jacob] The Samaritans claimed to be descended from 
Joseph; with how much justice is a question very much debated. 
Some maintain that they were of purely heathen origin, although they 
were driven by calamity to unite the worship of Jehovah with their own 
idolatries: and this view seems to be in strict accordance with 2 Kings 
xvii. 23 — 41. Renegade Jews took refuge among them from time to 
time; but such immigrants would not affect the texture of the nation 
more than the French refugees among ourselves. Others hold that the 
Samaritans were from the first a mongrel nation, a mixture of heathen 
colonists with Jewish inhabitants, left behind by Shalmaneser. But 
there is nothing to shew that he did leave any behind (2 Kings 
xviii. 11); Josephus says {Attt. IX. xiv. i) that 'he transplanted a// the 
people.' When the Samaritans asked Alexander the Great to excuse 
them from tribute in the Sabbatical year, because as true sons of 
Joseph they did not till their land in the seventh year, he pronounced 
their claim an imposture, and destroyed Samaria. Our Lord calls a 
Samaritan a 'stranger' (Luke xvii. 18), literally 'one of a different 

which gave us the well] This has no foundation in Scripture, but no 
doubt was a Samaritan tradition. She means, the well was good enough 
for him, and is good enough for us; hast Thou a better? 

no S. JOHN, IV. [vv. 15—20. 

water that I shall give him shall never thirst ; but the water 
that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water spring- 
is ing up into everlasting life. The w-oman saith unto him, 
Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come 
,6 hither to draw. Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, 

17 and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have 
no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I 

18 have no husband : for thou hast had five husbands ; and he 
whom thou now hast is not thy husband : in that saidst 

19 thou truly. The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that 

20 thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this moun- 

13. 14. Christ leaves her question unanswered, like that of Nicodemus 
(iii. 4, 5), and passes on to develop the metaphor rather than explain 
it, contrasting the literal with the figurative sense. Comp. iii. 6. 

14. shall 7iever tliirst\ Literally, Will certainly not tMrst for ever, 
for the craving is satisfied as soon as ever it recurs. See on viii. 51. 

springing up into everlasting lifc\ Not that eternal life is some 
yi//?^r^ result to be realised hereafter; it is the immediate result. The 
soul in which the living water flows has eternal life. See on v, 36 and 
iii. t6. 

15. She still does not understand, but does not wilfully misunder- 
stand. This wonderful water will at any rate be worth having, and she 
asks quite sincerely (not ironically) for it. Had she been a Jew, she 
could scarcely have thus misunderstood, this metaphor of ' water' and 
' living water ' is so frequent in the Prophets. Comp. Isa. xii. 3, xliv. 3; 
Jer. ii. 13; Zech. xiii. i, xiv. 8. But the Samaritans rejected all but 
the Pentateuch. 

to dra7a] Same word as in ii. 8, 9; peculiar to this Gospel. 

18. Go, call thy Iiusband'\ Not tliat the man was wanted, either as 
a concession to Jewish propriety, which forbad a Rabl)i to talk with a 
woman alone, or for any other reason. By a seemingly casual request 
Christ lays hold of her inner life, convinces her of sin, and leads 
her to repentance, without which her request, 'Give me this water,' 
could not be granted. The husband who was no husband was the 
plague-spot where her healing must begin. 

17. hast well said~\ i.e. saidst rightly. Comp. viii. 48; Matt. xv. 
7; Luke xx. 39. There is perhaps a touch of irony in the 'well.' 

18. five husbands^ To be understood quite They were 
cither dead or divorced, and she was now living with a man without 
being married to him. 

in that saidst thou trulyl Better, this (one thing) thou hast saA^ truly. 
Christ exposes the falsehood which lurks in the literal truth of her 

19. a prophet^ One divinely inspired with supernatural knowledge, 
I Sam. ix. 9. Note the gradual change in her attitude of mind towards 

V. 21.] S. JOHN, IV. Ill 

tain ; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men 
ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe n 
me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this moun- 

Him. First, off-hand pertness (v. 9); then, respect to His gravity of 
manner and serious words (z/. 11); next, a misunderstanding belief in 
what He says {v. 15); and now, reverence for Him as a ' man of God.' 
Comp. the parallel development of faith in the man born blind (see on 
ix. 11) and in Martha (see on xi. 21). 

20. Convinced that He can read her life she shrinks from inspection 
and hastily turns the conversation from herself. In seeking a new 
subject she naturally catches at one of absorbing interest to every 
Samaritan. Mount Gerizim shorn of its temple suggests the great 
national religious question ever in dispute between them and the Jews. 
Here was One who could give an authoritative answer about it; she 
will ask Him. To urge that such a woman would care nothing about 
the matter is unsound reasoning. Are irreligious people never keen 
about religious questions now-a-days? Does an immoral life destroy all 
interest in Romanism, Ritualism, and the like? 

in this ?noimtaiii\ Gerizim ; her not naming it is very lifelike. The 
Samaiitans contended that here Abraham offered up Isaac, and after- 
wards met Melchisedek. The former is more credible than the latter. 
A certain Manasseh, a man of priestly family, married the daughter of 
Sanballat the Horonite (Neh. xiii. 28), and was thereupon expelled 
from Jerusalem. He fled to Samaria and helped Sanballat to set up a 
rival worship on Gerizim. It is uncertain whether the temple on 
Gerizim was built then (about B.C. 410) or a century later; but it was 
destroyed by John Hyrcanus B.C. 130, after it had stood 200 years or 
more. Yet the Samaritans in no way receded from their claims, but 
continue their worship on Gerizim to the present day. 

ye say'\ Unconsciously she admits that One, whom she has just con- 
fessed to be a Prophet, is against her in the controversy. Comp. 
Deut. xii. 13. 

21 — 24. "We shall surely be justified in attributing the wonderful 
words of verses 21, 23, 24, to One greater even than S. John. They 
seem to breathe the spirit of other worlds than ours — * of worlds whose 
course is equable and pure;' where media and vehicles of grace are un- 
needed, and the soul knows even as it is known. There is nothing so - 
like them in their sublime infinitude of comprehension, and intense 
penetration to the deepest roots of things, as some of the sayings in the 
Sermon on the Mount (Matt. v. 45, vi. 6). It is words like these that 
strike home to the hearts of men, as in the most literal sense Divine. " 
S. p. 95. 

21. believe me] This formula occurs here only ; thi usual one is ' I 
say unto you.' 

ike hour cometh] No article in the Greek; there cometh an hour. 
Christ decides neither for nor against either place. The utter ruin on 
Gerizim and the glorious building at Jerusalem will soon be on an 
equality. Those who would worship the Father must rise above such 

112 S. JOHN, IV. [vv. 22, 23. 

22 tain, norj<?/at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship 
ye know not what : we know what we worship : for salvation 

23 is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the 
true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in 

distinctions of place. A time is coming when all limitations of worship 
will disappear. 

22. ye know not what'] Or, that which ye know not. The Samaritan 
religion, even after being purified from the original mixture with idolatry 
(2 Kings xvii. 33, 41), remained a mutilated religion; the obscurity of 
the Pentateuch (and of that a garbled text) unenlightened by the clearer 
revelations in the Prophets and other books of O.T. Such a religion 
when contrasted with that of the Jews might well be called ignorance. 

we know what we worships Or, we worship that which we know. 
The first person plural here is not similar to that in iii. 1 1 (see note there), 
though some would take it so. Christ here speaks as a Jew, and in 
such a passage there is nothing surprising in His so doing. As a rule 
Christ gives no countenance to the view that He belongs to the Jewish 
nation in any special way, though the Jewish nation specially belongs to 
Him (i. ii): He is the Saviour of the world, not of the Jews only. 
But here, where it is a question whether Jew or Samaritan has the 
larger share of religious truth, He ranks Himself both by birth and 
by religion among the Jews. 'We,' therefore, means 'we Jews.' 

salvation is of the 'Jcivs'\ Literally, the salvation., the expected salva- 
tion, is of the yews; i.e. proceeds from them (not belongs to \\\tvcv), in 
virtue of the promises to Abraham (Gen. xii. 3, xviii. 18, xxii. 18) and 
Isaac (xxvi. 4). This verse is absolutely fatal to the theory that this 
Gospel is the work of a Gnostic Greek in the second century (see on 
xix. 35). That salvation proceeded from the Jews contradicts the fun- 
damental principle of Gnosticism, that salvation was to be sought in the 
higher knowledge of which Gnostics had the key. Hence those who 
uphold such a theory of authorship assume, in defiance of all evidence, 
that this verse is a later interpolation. The verse is found in all MSS. 
and versions. 

23. the hour cotncth'] As before, there cometh an hour. What 
follows, and it is now here, could not be added in v. 21. The local 
worship on Gerizim and Zion must still contuiue for a while; but there 
are already a few who are rising above these externals to the spirit of 
true worship, in which the opposition between Jew and Samaritan 

the true worshippers'] The same word for 'true' as in i. 9 (see note 
there); 'true' as opposed to what is 'spurious' and 'unreal.' Worship 
to be genuine, real, and perfect must be offered in spirit and truth. 

in spirit] This is opposed to all that is carnal, material, and of the 
earth earthy; — 'this mountain,' the Temple, limitations of time and 
place. Not that such limitations are wrong ; but they are not of the 
essence of religion, and become wrong when they are mistaken for the 
essence of religion. 

vv. 24— 26.] S. JOHN, IV. 113 

truth : for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is 24 
a Spirit : and they that worship him must worship him in 
spirit and in truth. The woman saith unto him, I know 25 
that Messias cometh, which is called Christ : when he is 
come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that 26 
speak unto thee am he. 

in truth\ (Omit 'in') i.e. in harmony with the Nature and Will of 
God. In the sphere of intellect, this means recognition of His Pre- 
sence and Omniscience ; in the sphere of action, conformity with His 
absolute Holiness. 'Worship in spirit and truth,' therefore, implies 
prostration of the inmost soul before the Divine Perfection, submission 
of every thought and feeling to the Divine Will. 

for the Father seeketh, &c.] Better, for such the Father also seeketh 
for His worshippers. ' Such' is very emphatic; 'this is the character 
which He also desires in His worshippers.' The 'also' must not be 
lost. That worship should be 'in spirit and truth' is required by the 
fitness of things: moreover God Himself desires to have it so, and 
works for this end. Note how three times in succession Christ speaks 
of God as the Father (vv. 11, 23) : perhaps it was quite a new aspect 
of Him to the woman. 

24. God is spirit, and must be approached in that part of us which 
is spirit, in the true temple of God, ' which temple ye are.' Even to 
the chosen three Christ imparts no truths more profound than these. 
He admits this poor schismatic to the very fountain-head of religion. 

25. Alessias'] See note on i. 41. There is nothing at all improbable 
in her knowing the Jewish name and using it to a Jew. The word 
being so rare in N.T. we are perhaps to understand that it was the 
very word used; but it may be S. John's equivalent for what she said. 
Comp. V. 29. Throughout this discourse it is impossible to say how 
much of it is a translation of the very words used, how much merely 
the substance of what was said. S. John would obtain his information 
from Christ, and possibly from the woman also during their two days' 
stay. The idea that S. John was left behind by the disciples, and 
heard the conversation, is against the whole tenour of the narrative and 
is contradicted by w. 8 and 27. 

xvhich is called Christ'] Probably a parenthetic explanation of the 
Evangelist's (but contrast i. 41), not the woman's. The Samaritan 
name for the expected Saviour was 'the Returning One,' or (according 
to a less probable derivation) 'the Converter.' 'The Returner' points 
to the belief that Moses was to appear again. 

-wheft he is come\ Or, when He comes. 'He' is in emphatic con- 
trast to other teachers. 

all things] In a vague colloquial sense. 

26. am he] This is correct, although ' He' is not expressed in the 
Greek. It is the ordinary Greek affirmative (comp. Luke xxii. 70) ; 
there is no reference to the Divine name 'I AM,' Ex. iii. 14; Deut. 
xxxii. 39. This open declaration of His Messiahship is startling wher 

s. JOHN 8 

114 S. JOHN, IV. [vv. 27— 31. 

27 And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he 
talked with the woman : yet no man said, What seekest 

i8 thou? or, Why talkest thou with her? The woman then 
left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith 

29 to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that 

30 ever I did : is not this the Christ ? Then they went out of 
the city, and came unto him. 

31 In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, 

we remember Matt. xvi. 20, xvii. 9; Mark viii. 30. But one great 
reason for reserve on this subject, lest the people should ' take him by 
force to make him a king' (vi. 15), is entirely wanting here. There 
was no fear of the Samaritans making political capital out of Him. 
Moreover it was one thing for Christ to avow Himself when He saw 
that hearts were ready for the announcement; quite another for disci- 
ples and others to make Him known promiscuously. 

27. talked with the womaii\ Rather, was talking with a woman, 
contrary to the precepts of the Rabbis. ' Let no one talk with a wo- 
man in the street, no not with his own wife.' The woman's being a 
Samaritan would increase their astonishment. 

What seekest thou ?] Probably both questions are addressed (hypo- 
thelically) to Christ; not one to the woman, and the other to Him. 

28. The wotnan then'] Better, The wo/nan therefore; because of 
the interruption. 

left her •waterpot] Same word for 'waterpot' as in the miracle at 
Cana, and used nowhere else. Her leaving it shews that her errand is 
forgotten, or neglected as of no moment compared with what now lies 
before her. This graphic touch comes from one who was there, and 
saw, and remembered. 

29. all things that ever I did] How natural is this exaggeration ! 
In her excitement she states not what He had really told her, but wliat 
she is convinced He could have told her. Comp. 'all men' in iii. 2C1, 
and 'no man' in iii. 32. This strong language is in all three cases 
thoroughly in keeping with the circumstances. 

is not this the Christ?] Rather, Is this, can this be, the Christ? A 
similar error occurs xviii. 17, 25. Although she believes it she thinks it 
almost too good to lie true. Moreover she does not wish to seem too 
positive and dogmatic to those who do not yet know the eviilence. 
The form of question is similar to that in v. 33 : both are put in a form 
that anticipates a negative answer ; ;/«;« not no/ine. 

30. went out and came] Literally, went out rtM(/ were com- 
ing. The change of tense from aorist to imperfect gives vividness. 
We are to see them coming along across the fields as we listen to the 
conversation that follows, 31 — 38. 

31. In the mean while] Between the departure of the women and 
the arrival of her fellow-townsmen. 

vv. 32— 36.] S. JOHN, IV. 115 

Master, eat. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat 32 
that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to 33 
another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat ? Jesus 34 
saith unto them. My meat is to do the will of him that 
sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are 35 
yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say 
unto you. Lift up your eyes, and look on the. fields ; for 
they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth 36 

Master, mi] Better, Rabbi, eat. Here and in ix. 7 and xi. 8 our 
translators have rather regrettably turned 'Rabbi' into 'Master,' (comp. 
Matt. xxvi. ■25, 49; Mark ix. 5, xi. 21, xiv. 45); while 'Rabbi' is 
retained i. 38, 49, iii. 2, 26, vi. 25 (comp. Matt, xxiii. 7, 8). Appa- 
rently their principle was that wherever a disciple addresses Christ, 
'Rabbi' is to be translated 'Master;' in other cases 'Rabbi' is to be 
retained; thus obscuring the view which the disciples took of their own 
relation to Jesus. He was their Rabbi. 

32. I have meat, &c.] The pronouns 'I' and 'ye' are emphatically 
opposed. His joy at the woman's conversion prompts Him to refuse 
food: not of course that His human frame could do without it, but 
that in His delight He feels for the moment no want of food. 

33. Hath any man brought him] The emphasis is on 'brought.' 
' Surely no one hath brought Him any thing to eat.' Another instance 
of dulness as to spiritual meaning. In ii. 20 it was the Jews; in iii. 4 
Nicodemus; in z/. 11 the Samaritan woman; and now the disciples. 
Comp. xi. 12, xiv. 5. These candid reports of what tells against the 
disciples add to the trust which we place in the narratives of the Evan- 

34. My meat is to do the will, &c.] Literally, My food is that I 
may do the ivill of Him that sent Me and thus finish His work. It is 
Christ's aim and purpose that is His food. Comp. v. 36, viii. 56. These 
words recall the reply to the tempter ' man doth not live by bread 
alone,' and the reply to His parents ' Wist ye not that I must be about 
my Father's business.' Luke iv. 4, ii. 49. 

35. Say not ye\ The pronoun is again emphatic. 

There are yet four months, &c.] This cannot be a proverb. No 
such proverb is known ; and a proverb on the subject would have to be 
differently shaped ; e.g. ' From seedtime to harvest is four months,' or 
something of the kind. So that we may regard this saying as a maik 
of time. Harvest began in the middle of Nisan or April. Four 
months from that would place this event in the middle of December: 
or, if (as some suppose) this was a year in which an extra month was 
inserted, in the middle of January. 

are white already to harvest] In the green blades just shewing 
through the soil the faith of the sower sees t'ne white ears that will 
soon be there. So also in the flocking of these ignorant Samaritans to 
Him for instruction Christ sees the abundant harvest of souls that is 


fi6 S. JOHN, IV. [vv. 37— 39. 

receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal : that 

both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice to- 

37 gether. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and 

3S another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye 

bestowed no labour : other men laboured, and ye are entered 

33 into their labours. And many of the Samaritans of that 

to follow. 'Already' is the last word in the Greek sentence; and from 
very ancient times there has been a doubt whether it belongs to this 
sentence or the next. Some of the best MSS. give 'aheady' to the 
next sentence; 'already he that reapeth receiveth wages.' But MS. 
authority in punctuation is not of much weight. The received punc- 
tuation is perhaps better; 'already' at the end of v. 35 being in 
emphatic contrast to ' yet' at the beginning of it. 

36. %into life eterna[\ Another small change without reason (comp. 
xii. 25, xvi'. 3). Our translators vary between 'eternal life,' 'life 
eternal,' 'everlasting life,' and 'life everlasting' (xii. 50). The Greek 
is in all cases the same, and should in all cases be translated ' eternal 
life.' See on iii. 16. Here '■into eternal life' would perhaps be better: 
'eternal life' is represented as the granary into which the fruit is 
gathered, not the future result of the gathering. See on v. 14. Comp. 
for similar imagery, ' The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers 
are few, Sic' Matt. ix. 37, 38. 

that both\ i.e. In order that both: shewing that this was God's pur- 
pose and intention. 

he that soiveth'\ Christ, not the Prophets. The Gospel is not the 
fruit of which the O. T. is the seed ; rather the Gospel is the seed for 
which the O. T. prepared the ground. 

he that reapeth^ Christ's ministers. 

37. And herein is that saying trtte] Rather, For herein is the say- 
i'^S (pi'oved) true, i.e. is shown to be the genuine proverb capable of 
realisation, not a mere empty phrase. 'True' is opposed to 'unreal' 
not to 'lying.' See on v. 23, i. 9 and vii. 28. ' Herein ' refers to what 
precedes: comp. xv. 8 and 'by this' which represents the same Greek 
in xvi. 30. 

38. I sent you, &c.] The pronouns are again emphatically opposed, 
as in V. 32. 

other men] Christ, the Sower; but put in the plural to balance 'ye' 
in the next clause. In ?'. 37 both are jiut in the singular for the sake 
of harmony; 'One soweth' (Christ), 'another reapeth' (the disciples). 
All the verbs in this verse are perfects excepting 'sent;' have not 
laboured, have laboured, have entered. 

39. many of the Samaritans] Strong proof of the truth of v. 35. 
These Samaritans outstrip the Jews, and even the Apostles, in their 
readiness to believe. The Jews rejected the testimony of their own 
Scriptures, of the Baptist, of Christ's miracles and teaching. The 
Samaritans accept the testimony of the woman, who had suddenly be- 
come an Apostle to her countrymen. 

vv. 40— 44-] S. JOHN, IV. 117 

city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which 
testified, He told me all that ever I did. So when the 40 
Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that 
he would tarry with them : and he abode there two days. 
And many moe believed because of his own word ; and ^^ 
said unto the woman. Now we believe, not because of thy 
saying : for we have heard him ourselves, and know that 
this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world. 

43 — 54. The Work among Galileatis. 

Now after two days he departed thence, and went into 43 
Galilee. For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hatli no 44 

40. besought hini] Or, kept beseeching Him. How different from 
His own people at Nazareth; Matt. xiii. 58; Luke iv. 29. Comp. the 
thankful Samaritan leper, Luke xvii. 16, 17. 

tarry with tliem\ Better, atoide zvith them. See on i. 33. They per- 
haps mean, take up His abode permanently with them, or at any rate 
for some time. 

42. thy saying] Not the same word as in v. 39, the Greek for 
which is the same as that translated 'word' in v. 41. Vv. 39 and 41 
should be alike, viz. 'word,' meaning 'statement' in v. 39 and 'teach- 
ing' in V. 41. Here we should have 'speech' or 'talk.' In classical 
Greek lalia has a slightly uncomplimentary turn, 'gossip, chatter.' But 
this shade of meaning is lost in later Greek, though there is perhaps a 
slight trace of it here; 'not because of thy talk;' but this being doubt- 
ful, 'speech' will be the safer translation. The whole should run, no 
longer is it because of thy speech that we believe. In viii. 43 lalia 
is used by Christ of His own words ; see note there. 

we have heard him ourselves] Better, we have heai-d for ourselves. 
There is no 'Him' in the Greek. 'The Christ' is also to be omitted. 
It is wanting in the best MSS. 

the Saviour of t)ie world] It is not improbable that such ready hearers 
would arrive at this great truth before the end of those two days. It 
is therefore unnecessary to suppose that S. John is here unconsciously 
giving one of his own expressions (i John iv. 14) for theirs. 

43—54. The Work among Galileans. 

43. after two days] Literally, after the two days mentioned in 
V. 40. 

and went] These words are wanting in the best MSS. 

44. For Jesus himself testified] This is a well-known difficulty. As 
in XX. 17, we have a reason assigned which seems to be the very 
opposite of what we should expect. This witness of Jesus would 
account for His not going into Galilee: how does it account for His 
going thither? It seems best to fall back on the old explanation of 

ii8 S. JOHN, IV. [vv. 45— 49. 

45 honour in his own country. Then when he was come into 
Gahlee, the GaUleans received him, having seen all the 
ihitigs \\-\dX\iQ did at Jerusalem at the feast: for they also 

46 went unto the feast. So Jesus came again into Cana of 
Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was 
a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. 

47 When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judea into 
Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would 
come down, and heal his son : for he was at the point of 

48 death. Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and 
4y wonders, ye will not believe. The nobleman saith unto 

Ori'T-en, that by 'his own countiy' is meant Juclaea, 'the home of the 
rrophets.' Moreover, Judaea fits in with the circumstances. He had 
not only met with Httle honour in Judaea; He had been forced to 
retreat from it. No Apostle had been found there. The appeal to 
Judaea had in the main been a failure. 

45. all the things that he did] Of these we have a passing notice ii. 
-23. 'The Feast' means the Passover, but there is no need to name it, 
because it has already been named, ii. -23. 

46. tvhere he made the zvater wine] and therefore would be likely to 
find a favourable hearing. For ' So Jesus came ' read He caj/te there- 
fore. See on vi. 14. 

7iobleman'\ Literally, kin^s man, i.e. officer in the service of the 
king, Herod Antipas ; but whether in a civil or military office, there is 
nothing to shew. 'Nobleman' is, therefore, not at all accurate: the 
word has nothing to do with birth. It has been conjectured that this 
official was Cliuza (Luke viii. 3), or Manaen (Acts xiii. i). 

47. that he would come down] Literally, in order that he might 
eotne do-cun ; comp. v. 34, v. 7, 36, vi. 29, 50. 

at Capernaum] 20 miles or more from Cana. 

48. signs and tvonders] Christ's miracles are never mere ' wonders' 
to excite astonishment; they are 'signs' of heavenly truths as well, and 
this is their primary characteristic. Where these two words are joined 
together 'signs' always precedes, excepting four passages in the Acts, 
where we have 'wonders and signs.' This is the only passage in 
which S. John uses 'wonders' at all. In ii. 11 the word translated 
' miracles ' is the same as the one here translated 'signs.' See below, 

V. 54. 

ye will not believe] In marked contrast to the ready belief of the 
Samaritans. The form of negation in the Greek is of the strong 
kind ; ye will in no wise heliroe. See note on 1 Cor. i. ir. Faith based 
on miracles is of a low type comparatively, but Christ does not reject it. 
Comp. X. 38, xiv. 1 1, XX. 29. This man's faith is strengthened by being 
put to test. The words are evidently addressed to him and those about 
him, and they imply that those addressed are Jews. 

vv. 50-54.] S. JOHN, IV. 

him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto so 
him, Go thy way ; thy son hveth. And the man beheved 
the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his 
way. And as he was now going down, his servants met 51 
him, and told hhn, saying, Thy son liveth. Then inquired 52 
he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they 
said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left 
him. So the father knew that // was at the same hour, in 53 
the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself 
believed, and his whole house. This is again the second 54 

49. ere my child diel This shews both the man's faith and its 
weakness. He believes that Christ's presence can save the child ; 
he does not believe that He can save him without being present. 

50. the man believed'^ The father's faith is healed at the same time 
as the son's body. 

had spoken'\ Better, spake; aorist, not pluperfect. 

52. began to atnend\ Or, was somewhat better; a colloquial 
expression. The father fancies that the cure will be gradual. The 
fever will depart at Christ's word, but will depart in the ordinary way. 
He has not yet fully realised Christ's power. The reply of the servants 
shews that the cure was instantaneous. 

Yesterday at the seventh hour] Once more we have to discuss S. John's 
method of counting the hours of the day. (See on i. 39 and iv. 6.) 
Obviously the father set out as soon after Jesus said 'thy son liveth' as 
possible; he had 20 or 25 miles to go to reach home, and he would not 
be likely to loiter on the v/ay. 7 A.M. is incredible; he would have 
been home long before niglitfall, and the servants met him some dis- 
tance from home. 7 P. M. is improbable ; the servants would meet him 
before midnight. Thus the modern method of reckoning from midnight 
to midnight does not suit. Adopting the Jewish method from sunset to 
sunset, the seventh hour is i p. M. He would scarcely start at once in the 
mid-day heat ; nor would the servants. Supposing they met him after 
sunset, they might speak of i P.M. as ' yesterday.' (But see on xx. 19, 
where S . John speaks of the late hours of the evening as belonging to 
the day be/ore sunset.) Still, 7 P.M. is not impossible, and this third in- 
stance must be regarded as not decisive. But the balance here seems to 
incline to what is antecedently more probable, that S. John reckons 
the hours, like the rest of the Evangelists, according to the Jewish 

53. himself believed] This is the last stage in the growth of the 
man's faith, a growth which S. John sketches for us here as in the case 
of the Samaritan woman. In both cases the spiritual development is 
thoroughly natural, as also is the incidental way in which S. John places 
it before us. 

and his whole house'] The first converted family. 

54. This is again the second, &c.] Rather, This again as a second 

I20 S. JOHN, IV. [v. 54. 

miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judea into 

miracle (or sign) did Jesus, after He had come out ofyudaea into Galilee. 
Both first and second had similar results : the first confirmed the faith of 
the disciples, the second that of this official. 

The question whether this foregoing narrative is a discordant account 
of the healing of the centurion's servant (Matt. viii. 5 ; Luke vii. 2) has 
been discussed from very early times, for Origen and Chrysostom con- 
tend against it. Irenaeus seems to be in favour of the identification, 
but we cannot be sure that he is. He says, 'He healed the son of the 
centurion though absent with a word, saying. Go, thy son liveth.' 
Irenaeus may have supposed that this official was a centurion, 01 'cen- 
turion ' may be a slip. Eight very marked points of difference be- 
tween the two narratives have been noted. Together they amount to 
something like proof that the two narratives cannot refer to one and the 
same fact, unless we are to attribute an astonishing amount of care- 
lessness or misinformation either to the Synoptists or to S. John. 

(i) Here a 'king's man' pleads for his son; there a centurion for his 

(2) Here he pleads in person ; there the Jewish elders plead for 

(3) Here the father is probably a Jew; there the centurion is cer- 
tainly a Gentile. 

(4) Here the healing words are spoken at Cana ; there at Caper- 

(5) Here the malady is fever; there paralysis. 

(6) Here the father wishes Jesus to come; there the centurion begs 
him not to come. 

(7) Here Christ does not go; there apparently he does. 

(8) Here the father has weak faith and is blamed (z/. 48); there the 
centurion has strong faith and is commended. 

And what difficulty is there in supposing two somewhat similar 
miracles? Christ's miracles were 'signs;' they were vehicles for con- 
veying the spiritual truths which Christ came to teach. If, as is 
almost certain. He often repeated the same instructive sayings, may He 
not sometimes have repeated the same instructive acts? Here, there- 
fore, as in the case of the cleansing of the Temple (ii. 13 — 17), it 
seems wisest to believe that S. John and the Synoptists record dilTerent 

Chaps. V.— XI. The Work among mixkd multiti;des, 

The Work now becomes a conflict between Christ and "the Jews;" 
for as Christ reveals Himself more fully, the opposition between Him 
and the ruling party becomes more intense; and the fuller revelation 
which excites the hatred of His opponents serves also to sift the 
disciples; some turn back, others are strengthened in their faith by what 
they see and hear. The Evangelist from time to time points out the 

V. I.] S. JOHN, V. 121 

Chaps. V, — XI. The Work among mixed inidtitiideSy 

chiefly Jews. 

Chap. V. Christ the Source of Life. 

I — g. The Sign at the Pool of Bethesda. 

After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went 5 

opposite results of Christ's work: comp. vi. 60 — 71, vii. 40 — 52, ix. 
13—41, X. 19, 21, 39—42, xi. 45—57. 

Thus far we have had the announcement of the Gospel to the world, 
and the reception it is destined to meet with, set forth in four typical 
instances; Nathanael, the guileless Israelite, truly religious according 
to the light allowed him; Nicodemus, the learned ecclesiastic, skilled in the 
Scriptures, but ignorant of the first elements of religion ; the Samaritan 
tvoman, immoral in life and schismatical in religion, but simple in heart 
and readily convinced; and the royal official, weak in faith, but pro- 
gressing gradually to a full conviction. But as yet there is little evi- 
dence of hostility to Christ, although the Evangelist prepares us for it 
(i. II, ii. 18 — 20, iii. 18, 19, 26, iv. 44). Henceforth, however, hos- 
tility to Him is manifested in every chapter of this division. Two 
elements are placed in the sharpest contrast tliroughout ; the Messiah's 
clearer manifestation of His Person and Work, and the growing 
animosity of * the Jews' in consequence of it. Two miracles form the 
introduction to two great discourses: two miracles illustrate two dis- 
courses. The healing at Bethesda and the feeding of the 5000 lead to dis- 
courses in which Christ is set forth as the Source and the Stipport of Life 
(v., vi.). Then He is set forth as the Source of Truth and Light ; and 
this is illustrated by His giving physical and spiritual sight to the blind 
(vii. — ix.). Finally He is set forth as Love under the figure of the Good 
Shepherd giving His life for the sheep; and this is illustrated by the 
raising of Lazarus, a work of love which costs Him His life (x., xi.). 
Thus, of four typical miracles, two form the introduction and two form 
the sequel to great discourses. The prevailing idea throughout is truth 
and love provoking contradiction and enmity. 

Chap. V. Christ the Source of Life. 

In chaps, v. and vi. the word 'life' occurs 18 times; in the rest 
of the Gospel 18 times. 

This chapter falls into two main divisions ; (i) The Sign at the Pool of 
Bethesda and its Sequel {^i — 16); (2) The Discourse on the Son as the 
Source of Life (17 — 47). 

1 — 9. The Sign at the Pool of Bethesda. 

1. After this'\ Better, After these things, a more indefinite se- 

a feast of the Jexvs\ This is the reading of highest authority, although 
some important MSS. read ^ the feast of the Jews,' probably because 
from very early times this feast was believed to be the Passover. 

122 S. JOHN, V. [vv. 2, 3. 

2 up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep 
7fiar/:d a, pool, which, is called in the Hebrew tongue Be- 

3 thesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude 

If 'a feast' is the true reading, this alone is almost conclusive against 
its being the Passover; S. John would not call the Passover 'a feast of 
the Jews.' Moreover in all other cases where he mentions Passovers 
he lets us know that they are Passovers and not simply feasts, ii. 13, 
vi. 4, xi. 55, &c. He gives us three Passovers; to make this a fourth 
would be to put an extra year into our Lord's ministry for which 
scarcely any events can be found, and of which there is no trace else- 
where. Almost every other feast, and even the Day of Atonement, 
have been suggested; but the only one which fits in satisfactorily is 
Purim. We saw from iv. 35 that the two days in Samaria were eitlier 
in December or January. The next certain date is vi. 4, the eve of 
the Passover, i. e. April. Purim, which was celebrated in March 
(14th and 15th Adar), falls just in the right place in the interval. 
This feast commemorated the deliverance of the Jews from Haman, 
and took its name from the lois which he caused to be cast (Esther iii. 
7, ix. 24, ■26, 78). It was a boisterous feast, and some have thought it 
unlikely that Christ would have anything to do with it. But we are not 
told that He went to Jerusalem in order to keep the feast ; Purim might 
be kept anywhere. More probably He went because the multitudes at 
the feast would afford great opportunities for teaching. Moreover, it 
does not follow that because some made this feast a scene of unseemly 
jollity, therefore Christ would discountenance the feast itself. 

2. there is at yeriisaleni] This is no evidence whatever that the 
Gospel was written before the destruction of Jerusalem. The pool 
would still exist, even if the building was destroyed; and such a build- 
ing, as being of the nature of a hospital, would be likely to be spared. 
Even if all were destroyed the present tense would be natural here. 
See on xi. 18. 

by the sheep market'] There is no ' market ' in the Greek, and no 
reason for supposing that it ought to be supplied. The margin is pro- 
bably right: s/ieep-gaXe. We know from Neh. iii. i, 32, xii. 39 that 
there was a sheep-gate; so called probably from sheep for sacrifice being 
sold there. It was near the Temple. The adjective for ' sheep-' occurs 
nowhere else in N.T. but here, and nowhere in O.T. but in the 
passages in Neheniiah. But so little is known of this gate, and the 
ellipsis of 'gate' is so unparalleled that we cannot regard this explana- 
tion as certain. Another translation is possible, with a change of case 
in the word for pool ; Now there is in Jerusalem, by the sheep-pool, a 
place called in the J L brew tongue Bethesda. 

in the HebrrM tongue\ ' Hebrew ' means Aramaic, the language 
spoken at the time, not the old Hebrew of the Scriptures. See on 
XX. 16. 

Bethesda] ' House of mercy,' or possibly ' House of the Portico,' or 
again ' of the Olive.' The name Bethesda does not occur elsewhere. 

vv. 4-7-] S. JOHN, V. 123 

of impotent folk^ of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the 
moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain 4 
season into the pool, and troubled the water : whosoever 
then first after the troubling of the water stepped in, was 
made whole of whatsoever disease he had. And a certain 5 
man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight 
years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had 6 
been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt 
thou be made whole ? The impotent ma7i answered him, ^ 

The traditional identification with Birket Israil is not commonly advo- 
cated now. The ' Fountain of the Virgin ' is an attractive identifica- 
tion, as the water is intermittent to this day. This fountain is connected 
with the pool of Siloam, and some think that Siloam is Bethesda. 
That S. John speaks of Bethesda here and Siloam in ix. 7, is not con- 
ckisive against this : for Bethesda might be the name of the building 
and Siloam of the pool; and the Greek for 'called' here is strictly 
'called in addition'' or 'j?<mamed,' as if the place had some other 

five porches\ Or, colonnades. These would be to shelter the sick. The 
place seems to have been a kind of charitable institution. 

3. lay a great multitude^ Better, were lying a multitude. 

blind, halt, 7vithered~\ These are the special kinds of ' impotent folk.' 

waiting for the moving of the water'] These words and the whole of 
V. 4 are almost certainly an interpolation, though a very ancient one. 
They are omitted by the best MSS. Other important MSS. omit v. 4 
or mark it as suspicious. Moreover, those MSS. which contain the 
passage vary very much. The passage is one more likely to be inserted 
without authority than to be omitted if genuine ; and very probably it 
represents the popular belief with regard to the intermittent bubbling 
of the healing water, first added as a gloss, and then inserted into the 
text. The water was probably mineral in its elements, and the people 
may or may not have been right in supposing that it was most efficacious 
when the spring was most violent. 

5. which had an infirmity, &c.] Literally, ivho had passed thirty- 
eight years in his infirmity. Not that he was 38 years old; evidently 
he was more; but he had had this malady 38 years. 

6. kneti'X Or, perceived, perhaps supernaturally (see on xvi. 19), 
but He might learn it from the bystanders: the fact was very likely 

Wilt thou'?'] Or, more strongly. Dost thou will? Note that the 
man does not ask first. Here and in the case of the man bom blind 
(ix.), as also of Malchus' ear (Luke xxii. 51), Christ heals without being 
asked to do so. Excepting the healing of the royal official's son all 
Christ's miracles in the Fourth Gospel are spontaneous. On no other 
occasion does Christ ask a question without Ijeing addressed first: why 
does He now ask a question of which the answer was so obvious? 


S. JOHN, V. [vv. 8— II. 

Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me 
into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth 

8 down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up 

9 thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made 
whole, and took up his bed, and walked : and on the same 
day was the sabbath. 

I o — 1 6 . T]ie Sequel of the Sign. 

10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured. It is 
the sabbath day : it is not lawful for thee to carry thy 

.1 bed. He answered them. He that made me whole, the 

Probably in order to rouse the sick man out of his lethargy and de- 
spondency. It was the first step towards the man's having sufficient 
faith: he be inspired with some expectation of being cured. 
The question has nothing to do with rehgious scruples; 'Art thou 
willing to be made whole, although it is the Sabbath?' 

7. / have no man] He is not only sick but friendless. 

is troubled] No doubt this took place at irregular intervals, else 
there would be no need to wait and watch for it. 

to put me bito the pool] Literally, in order to (iv. 47) throw me into 
the pool; perhaps implying that the gusli of water did not last long and 
there was no time to be lost in quiet carrying. But in this late tireek 
ballein ( = throw) has become weakened in meaning. Comp. xiii. 2, 

XX* 2 ^" 

while I am co7)iing] Unaided, and therefore slowly. 

another steppeth dowti] This seems to shew that tlie place where the 
bubbling appeared was not large. He does not say ' others step down 
before me :' one is hindrance enough. 

8. Rise, take tip thy bed] As in the case of the paralytic (Mark 
ii. 9), Christ makes no enquiry as to the man's faith. Christ knew 
that he had faith ; and the man's attempting to rise and carry his bed 
after ^8 years of impotency was an open confession of faith. His bed 
would probably be only a mat or rug, still common in the East. 

It is scarcely necessary to discuss whether this miracle can be iden- 
tical with the healing of the jiaralytic let down through the roof (Mall. 
ix.; Mark ii.; Luke v.). Time, place, details and context are all dif- 
ferent, especially the important point that this miracle was wrought on 
the Sabbath. 

10—16. The Sequel of the Sign. 

10. The Javs] The hostile party, as usual : probably members of 
the Sanhedrin (see on i. 19). They ignore the cure and notice only 
what can be attacked. They had the letter of the law very strongly on 
their side. Comp. Exod. xxiii. 12, xxxi. 14, xxxv. 2, 3; Num. xv. 32; 
Neh. xiii. 15; and especially Jer. xvii. 21. 

11. He that made me whole] The man's defiance of them in the 

w. 12—14.] S. JOHN, V. T25 

same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. Then 12 
asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, 
Take up thy bed, and walk? And he that was healed 13 
wist not who it was : for Jesus had conveyed himself away, 
a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus findeth m 
him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art 
made whole : sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto 

first flush of his recovered health is very natural. He means, 'if He 
could cure me of a sickness of 38 years He had authority to tell me to 
take up my bed.' They will not mention the cure; he flings it in their 
face. There is a higher law than that of the Sabbath, and higher 
authority than theirs, Comp. the conduct of the blind man, chap. ix. 

the same said unto we] Better, 'He said to me,' 'He' being em- 
phatic: see on X. i. 

12. ]Vhat man is that ■which'] Better, Wlio is tlie man that, 'man' 
being contemptuous, almost = 'fellow.' Once more they ignore the 
miracle, and attack the command. They ask not, ' Who cured thee, 
and therefore must have Divine authority?' but, ' Who told thee to 
break the Sabbath, and therefore could not have it?' Christ's com- 
mand was perhaps aimed at these erroneous views about the Sabbath. 

13. had conveyed himself aivay] Better, withdrew. Originally the 
word signified 'to stoop out of the way of,' 'to bend down as if to 
avoid a blow.' Here only in N.T. The word might also mean, •jwfl;« 
out of,' which would be a graphic expression for making one's way 
through a crowd. 

a miiliitnde being in that place] This is ambiguous. It may explain 
either why Jesus withdrew, viz. to avoid the crowd, or how he with- 
drew, viz. by disappearing among the crowd. Both make good sense. 

14. Afteiivard] Literally, cyfter these things, as \n v. i. Proba- 
bly the same day; we may suppose that one of his first acts after his 
cure would be to offer his thanks in the Temple. On vv. 13 and 14 
Augustine writes, 'It is difficult in a crowd to see Christ; a certain 
solitude is necessary for our mind ; it is by a certain solitude of con- 
templation that God is seen He did not see Jesus in the crowd, he 

saw Him in the Temple. The Lord Jesus indeed saw him both in the 
crowd and in the Temple. The impotent man, however, does not 
know Jesus in the crowd; but he knows Him in the Temple.' 

sin no more] Or perhaps, continue no longer in sin. Comp. [viii. 
II,] XX. 17. The man's conscience would tell him what sin. Comp. 
[viii. 7]. What follows shews plainly not merely that physical suffering 
in the aggregate is the result of sin in the aggregate, but that this 
man's 38 years of sickness were the result of his own sin. This was 
known to Christ's heart-searching eye (ii. 24, •25), but it is a conclusion 
which we may not draw without the clearest evidence in any given 
case. Suffering serves other ends than being a punishment for sin : 
'whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth;' and comp. ix. 3. 

a worse thing] Not necessarily hell : even in this life there might be 

126 S. JOHN, V. [vv. 15-17. 

15 thee. The man departed, and told the Jews that it was 
Jesus, which had made him whole. 

16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to 
slay him, because he had done these thmgs on the sabbath day. 

17 — 47. The Discourse on the Son as the Source of Life. 
t7 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, 

a worse thing than the sickness which had consumed more than half 
man's threescore and ten. So terrible are God's judgments; so awful 
is our responsibity. Comp. Matt. xii. 45 ; 2 Pet. ii. 20. 

15. told the yeivs\ Not in malice against Jesus, nor in any hope of 
converting His opponents. Neither of these is probable, nor is there 
the least evidence of either. Rather, he continues his defiance of them 
(v. \i). He had given as his authority for breaking the Sabbath 'He 
that made me whole.' Having found out that it was the famous 
teacher from Galilee, he returns to give them this additional proof of 

16. And therefore^ Better, And on this account, or, and for thia 
cause (xii. 18, 27). It is not St John's favourite particle 'therefore.' but 
a preposition and pronoun. Comp. v. 18. 

and sought to slay hint] These words are not genuine here, but 
have been inserted from v. 18. The other two verbs are both in the 
imperfect tense expressing continued action; 'used to persecute, con- 
tinued to persecute;' 'used to do, habitually did.' From which we 
may infer that some of the unrecorded miracles (ii. 23, iv. 45) were 
wrought on the Sabbath : unless the Evangelist is speaking from their 
point of view; 'because (as they said) He habitually did these things 
on the Sabbath.' 

17—47. The Discourse on the Son as the Source of Life. 

17. answered them] This was how He met their constant persecii- 
tion. The discourse which follows (see introductory note to chap, iii.) 
may be thus analysed. (S. p. 106.) It has two main divisions— I. 
The prerogatives of the Son of God (17 — 30). II. The unbelief of the 
Jeivs ill — 47). These two are subdivided as follows: I. I. Defence of 
healing on the Sabbath based on the relation of the Son to the Father 
(17, 18). 2. Intimacy of the Son with the Father further enforced (19, 
20). 3. This intimacy proved by the twofold power committed to tlie 
Son {a) of communicating spiritual life (21—27), (/') of raising the 
dead (28, 29). 4. The Son's qualification for these high powers is the 
perfect harmony of His Will with that of the Father (30). II. r. The 
Son's claims rest not on His testimony alone, nor on that of John, but 
on that of the Father (31—35). 2. The Father's testimony is evident 
(rt) in the works assigned to\he Son (36), {b) in the revelation which 
the Jews reject (37^—40). 3. Not that the Son needs honour from 
men, who are too worldly to receive Him (41 — 44). 4. Their appeal 
to Moses is vain ; his writings condemn them. 

w. i8, 19.] S. JOHN, V. 127 

17 — 30. Tin Prerogatives and Powers of tJu Son of God. 

and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to 18 
kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, 
but said also that God was his Father, making him- 
self equal with God. Then answered Jesus and said unto 19 
thtm, Verily, verily, I say unto you. The Son can do 
nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do : for 

17 — 30. The Prerogatives and Powers of the Son of God. 

17, 18. Defence of healing on ike Sabbath based on the relation of 
the Son to the Father. 

My Father worketh hitherto, &c.] Or, My Father is working 
even until now; I am working also. From the Creation up to this 
moment God has been ceaselessly working for man's salvation. From 
such activity there is no rest, no Sabbath : for mere cessation from 
activity is not of the essence of the vSabbath; and to cease to do good 
is not to keep the Sabbath but to sin. Sabbaths have never hindered 
the Father's work; they must not hinder the Son's. Elsewhere (Mark 
ii. 27) Christ says that the Sabbath is a blessing not a burden; it was 
made for man, not man for it. Here He takes far higher ground for 
Himself. He is equal to the Father, and does what the Father does. 
Mark ii. 28 helps to connect the two positions. If the Sabbath is 
subject to man, much more to the Son of Man, who is equal to the 

18, Thereforel Better, For this cause. See on v. 16, vi. 65, 
vii. 21, 22, viii. 47, ix. 23, x. 17, xii. 39, xiii. ir, xv. 19, xvi. 15. 

the more] Shewing that the persecution spoken of in tj. 16 included 
attempts to compass His death. Comp. Mark iii. 6. This 'seeking to 
kill ' is the blood-red thread which runs through the whole of this 
section of the Gospel: comp. vii. i, 19, 25, viii. 37, 40, 59, x. 31, 
xi. 53, xii. 10. 

had broken] Literally, was loosing or relaxing ; i.e. making less 
binding. As in v. 15, the A.V. puts pluperfect for imperfect. 

making himself equal] They fully understand the force of the parallel 
statements, 'My Father is working; I am working also.' 'Behold,' 
says Augustine, ' the Jews understand what the Arians fail to under- 
stand.' If Arian or Unitarian views were right, would not Christ at 
once have explained that what they imputed to Him as blasphemy was 
not in His mind at all? But instead of explaining that He by no 
means claims equality with the Father, He goes on to reafifirm this 
equality from other points of view: see especially v. 23. 

19, 20. Intimacy of the Son with the Father further enfotxed, 

19. can do nothing of himself ] It is impossible for Him to act with 
individual self-assertion independent of God, because He is the Son: 
Their Will and working are one. The Jews accuse Him of blasphemy ; 
and blasphemy implies opposition to God: but He and the Father are 
most intimately united. 

128 S. JOHN, V. [vv. 20—22. 

Avhat things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son 

20 Hkewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth 
him all things that himself doeth : and he will shew him 

21 greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the 
Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth than ; even so 

22 the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth 

but ivhat he seeth, &c.] Better, unless He seeth the Father doing it. 

20. For the Father loveth the Soii\ Moral necessity for the Son's 
doing what the Father does. The Father's love for the Son compels 
Him to make known all His works to Him; the Son's relation to the 
Father compels Him to do what the Father does. The Son continues 
on earth what He had seen in heaven before the Incarnation. 

he will shetv him, &c.] Or, Greater works than these will He shew 
Him. ' The Father will give the Son an example of greater works 
than these healings, the Son will do the like, and ye unbelievers will be 
shamed into admiration.' He does not say that they will believe. 
' Works ' is a favourite term with S. John to express the details of 
Christ's work of redemption. Comp. v. 36, ix. 4, x. 25, 32, 37, 
xiv. II, 12, XV. 24. 

21 — 29. The intimacy of the Son %uith the Father proi'ed by the two- 
fold power committed to the Son (a) of communicating spiritual life, 
(b) of causing the bodily resurrection of the dead. 

21—27. The Father imparts to the Son the power of raising the 
spiritually dead. It is very important to notice that 'raising the dead ' 
in this section is figurative ; raising from moral and spiritual death: 
whereas the resurrection {vv.2^, 29) is literal ; the rising of dead bodies 
from the graves. It is impossible to take both sections in one and the 
same sense, either figurative or literal. The wording of v. 28 and still 
more of v. 29 is quite conclusive against spiritual resurrection being 
meant there : what in that case could ' the resurrection of damnation ' 
mean? Verses 24 and 25 are equally conclusive against a bodily resur- 
rection being meant here: what in that case can 'an hour is coming, 
and now is ' mean? 

21. raiseth up the dead'\ This is one of the ' greater works ' which the 
Father sheweth the Son, and which the .Son imitates, the raising up 
those who are spiritually dead. Not all of them : the Son imparts life 
only to ' whom He will :' and He wills not to impart it to those who 
will not believe. The 'whom He will' would be almost unintelligible 
if actual resurrection from the grave were intended. 

22. For the Father judgeth no man] Rather, For not even doth the 
Father (to Whom judgment belongs) judge any f/ian. The Son there- 
fore has both powers, to make alive whom He will, and to judge : but 
the second is only the corollary of first. Those whom He does not will 
to make alive are by that very fact judged, separated off from the living, 
and left in tlie death which they have chosen. He does not make them 
dead, does not slay them. They are spiritually dead already, and will 

vv. 23—25.] S. JOHN, V. 129 

no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son : 
that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour 23 
the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not 
the Father which hath sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto 24 
you. He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that 
sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into 
condemnation ; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, 23 
verily, I say unto you. The hour is coming, and now is, 
when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God : and 

not be made alive. Here, as in iii. 17, 18, the judgment is one of con- 
demnation; but tliis comes from the context, not from the word. 

hatli committed^ Or, given ; there is no reason for varying the com- 
mon rendering. 

23. honoureth not the Father\ Because he refuses to honour the 
Father's representative. 

which hath seiit'\ Better, which sent. See on xx. 21. 

24. He that heareth'] We see from this that 'whom He will' (v, 21) 
implies no arbitrary selection. It is each individual who decides for 
himself whether he will hear and believe. 

believeth on him that sent me] Omit 'on;' there is no preposition in 
the Greek. 

hath everlasting life] Or, hath eternal life : see on iii. 16. Note the 
tense; he hath it already, it is not a reward to be bestowed hereafter: 
see on iii. 36. 

shall not come into condemnation] Better, cometh not into judg- 

is passed from death into life] Or, is passed ov&v out of death into life 
(comp. xiii. i ; i John iii. 14). This is evidently equivalent to escaping 
judgment and attaining eternal life, clearly shewing that death is spiritual 
death, and the resurrection from it spiritual also. This cannot refer to 
the resurrection of the body. 

25. Repetition of v. 24 in a more definite form, with a cheering 
addition : v. 24 says that whoever hears and believes God has eternal 
life; z'. 25 states that already some are in this happy case. 

77ie hour is coming] Better, Tliere cometli an hour: comp. iv. 
21, 23. 

and noiv is] These words also exclude the meaning of a bodily x&%\xi- 
rection; the hour for which had not yet arrived. The few cases in 
which Christ raised the dead cannot be meant; (i) the statement 
evidently has a much wider range ; (2) the widow's son, Jairus' daughter, 
and Lazarus were not yet dead, so that even of them 'and notv zj' would 
not be true; (3) they died again after their return from death, and 'they 
that hear shall live' clearly refers to eternal life, as a comparison with 
V. 24 shews. If a spiritual resurrection be understood, ' and now is' is 
perfectly intelligible : Christ's ministry was already winning souls from 
spiritual death. 


130 S. JOHN, V. [vv. 26-28. 

26 they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in 
himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 

27 and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, 

28 because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this : for the 

26. so hath he given to the Soti\ Better, sc gave He also to the Son. 
Comp. ' the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father ' (vi. 
57). The Father is the absolutely living One, the Fount of all Life. 
The Messiah, however, imparts life to all who believe; which He could 
not do unless He had in Himself a fountain of life; and this the 
Father gave Him when He sent Him into the world. The Eternal 
Generation of the Son from the Father is not here in question ; it is 
the Father's communication of Divine attributes to the Incarnate Word 
that is meant. 

27. Hath given him authority to execute judgment als6\ Better, gave 
Him anthoi'ity to execute Jiidgme?it, when He sent Him into the world. 
'Also' is not genuine. See on i. 12, and comp. x. 18. 

because he is the Son of ma)i\ Rather, because He is a son of man ; 
i.e. not because He is the Messiah, but because He is a human being. 
In the Greek neither ' son ' nor ' man ' has the article. Where ' the 
Son of Man,' i.e. the Messiah, is meant, both words have the article: 
comp. i. 51, iii. 13, 14, vi. 27, 53, 62, viii. 28, &c. Because the Son 
emptied Himself of all His glory and became a man, therefore the 
Father endowed Him with these two powers; to have life in Himself, 
and to execute judgment. 

Before passing on to the last section of this half of the discourse we 
may remark that " the relation of the Son to the Father is seldom 
alluded to in the Synoptic Gospels. But a single verse in which it is, 
seems to contain the essence of the Johannean theology. Matt. xi. 27: 
'AH things are delivered unto Me of My Father; and no man knoweth 
the Son but the Father ; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the 
Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.' This passage is 
one of the best authenticated in the Synoptic Gospels. It is found in 

exact parallehsm both in S. Matthew and S. Luke And yet once 

grant the authenticity of this passage, and there is nothing in the 
Johannean Christology that it does not cover." S- p. 109. The theory, 
therefore, that this discourse is the composition of the Evangelist, who 
puts forward his own theology as the teaching of Christ, has no basis. 
If the passage in S. Matthew and S. Luke represents the teaching of 
Christ, what reason have we for doul)ting that this discourse does so? 
To invent the substance of it was beyond the reach even of S. John ; 
how far the precise wording is his we cannot tell. This section of it 
(21 — 27) bears very strong impress of his style. 

28. 29. The intimacy between the Father and the Son further proved 
by the power committed to the Son of causing the bodily resurrection of 
the dead. 

28. Marvel not] Comp, iii. 7. Marvel not that the Son can grant 
spiritual life to them that believe, and separate from them those who will 

w. 29—31.] S. JOHN, V. 131 

hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall 
hear his voice, and shall come forth ; they that have done 29 
good, unto the resurrection of life ; and they that have done 
evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. I can of mine jo 
own self do nothing : as I hear, I judge : and my judgment 
is just ; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of 
the Father which hath sent me. 

31—47. The unbelief of the Jeivs. 
If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. 31 

not believe. There cometh an hour when He shall cause a general resur- 
rection of men's bodies, and a final separation of good from bad, a final 
judgment. He does not add 'and now is,' which is in favour of the 
resurrection being literal. 

all that are in the graves'] Not 'whom He will;' there are none 
whom He does not will to come forth from their sepulchres (see on 
xi. 7). All, whether believers or not, must rise. This shews that 
spiritual resurrection cannot be meant. 

29. done evil] Or, practised worthless things. See on iii. 20. 
tinto the resurrection of damnation] Better, unto the resurrection 

of judgment. It is the same Greek word as is used in vv. 11, 27. 
These words are the strongest proof that spiritual resurrection cannot 
be meant. Spiritual resurrection must always be a resurrection of life, 
a passing from spiritual death to spiritual life. A passing from spiritual 
death \.o judgtnent is not spiritual resurrection. This passage, and Acts 
xxiv. 15, are the only direct assertions in N.T. of a bodily resurrection 
of the wicked. It is implied, Matt. x. 28; Rev. xx. 12, 13. A 
satisfactory translation for the Greek words meaning 'judge' and 
'judgment' cannot be found: they combine the notions of 'sepa- 
rating' and 'judging,' and from the context often acquire the further 
notion of ' condemning. ' See on iii. 17, 18. 

30. The Soil's qualification for these high powers is the perfect 
harmony between His Will and that of the Father. 

I can of mine own self] Change to the first person. He identifies 
Himself with the Son. It is because He is the Son that He cannot 
act independently: it is impossible for Him to will to do anything but 
what the Father wills. 

as I hear] From the Father : Christ's judgment is the declaration 
of that which the Father communicates to Him. And hence Christ's 
judgment must be just, for it is in accordance with the Divine Will; 
and this is the strongest possible guarantee of its justice. Comp. Matt. 
xxvi. 39. 

31 — 47. The unbelief of the Jews. 

31 — 35. These claitns rest not on My testimony alone, nor on that of 
John, but on that of the Father. 

31. my witness is not true] Nothing is to be understood ; the words 


132 S. JOHN, V. [vv. 32—36. 

32 There is another that beareth witness of me ; and I 
know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is 

33 true. Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the 

34 truth. But I receive not testimony from man : but these 

35 things I say, that ye might be saved. He was a burn- 
ing and a shining light : and ye were wilhng for a season 

36 to rejoice in his light. But I have greater witness than 

are to be taken quite literally ; ' If I bear any witness other than that 
which My Father bears, that witness of Mine is not true.' In viii. 
14 we have an apparent contradiction to this, but it is only the other 
side of the same truth: 'My witness is true because it is really My 

32. There is auother'] Not the Baptist, as seems clear from v. 34 ; 
but the Father, comp. vii. 28, viii. 26. It has been already remarked 
how much there is in this Gospel about 'witness,' 'bearing witness,' 
and the like : see on i. 7. 

33. Ye sent unto Jolin, and he bare -uitness'] Better, Ye have sent 
unto John, and he hath home witness. ' What ye have heard from 
him is true; but I do not accept it, for I need not the testimony of 
man. I mention it for your sakes, not My own. If ye believe John 
ye will believe Me and be saved.' ' Ve ' and ' I ' in these two verses 
(33, 34) are in emphatic opposition. 

35. He was a bnrningand a shining light'\ A grievous mistranslation, 
ignoring the Greek article twice over, and also the meaning of the 
words ; and thus obscuring the marked difference between the Baptist and 
the Messiah : better, >4f waj- the lamp which is kindled and (so) shineth. 
Christ is the Light; John is only the lamp kindled at the Light, and 
shining only after being so kindled, having no light but what is derived. 
The word here, and Matt. vi. 22, translated 'light,' is translated 
'candle' Matt. v. 15; Mark iv. ii; Luke viii. 16, xi. 33, 36, xv. 8; 
Rev. xviii. 23, xxii. 5. 'Lamp' would be best in all places. No 
O.T. prophecy speaks of the Baptist under this figure. David is so 
called 2 Sam. xxi. 17 (see margin), and Elijah (Ecclus. xlviii. i). 
The imperfects in this verse seem to imply that John's career is closed; 
he is in prison, if not dead. 

were willing for a season'\ Like children, they were glad to disport 
themselves in the blaze, instead of seriously considering its meaning. 
And even that only for a season : their pilgrimages to the Ijanks of 
the Jordan had soon ended ; when John began to preach repentance 
they left him, sated with the novelty and offended at his doctrine. — 
For another charge of frivolity and fickleness against them in reference 
to John comp. Matt. xi. 16 — 19. 

36 — 40. The Father's testimony is evident^ (a) iti the works assigned 
to Me, (b) in the revelation which ye do not receive. 

36. / have greater witness than that of yohn'] Better, / have the 

vv. 37, 38-] S. JOHN, V. 133 

that of John : for the works which the Father hath given 
me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness 
of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father 37 
himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. 
Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his 
shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you : for 38 

■witness which is greater than John ; or, the witness which I have 
is greater than John, viz. the works which as the Messiah I have 
been commissioned to do. Among these works would be raising the 
spiritually dead to life, judging unbelievers, as well as miracles : 
certainly not miracles only ; iv. 48, x. 38. 

to finish^ Literally, in order that I may accomplish; comp. xvii. 
4. This was God's purpose. See on iv. 34, 47, ix. 3. S. John is very 
fond of the construction 'in order that,' especially of the Divine purpose. 

37 — 40. The connexion of thought in the next few verses is very 
difficult to catch, and cannot be affirmed with certainty. This is often 
the case in S. John's writings. A number of simple sentences follow 
one another with an even flow ; but it is by no means easy to see how 
each leads on to the next. Here there is a transition from the indirect 
testimony to the Messiahship of Jesus given by the works which He 
is commissioned to do {v. 36), to the direct testimony to the same given 
by the words of Scripture (37 — 40). The Jews were rejecting both. 

which hath sent vie, hath borne tvitness'] There is a difference of 
tense in the Greek which should be retained : the Father which sent 
Me (once for all at the Incarnation) He hath borne witness (for a long 
time past, and is still doing so) of Me. 

Ye have neither, &c.] These words are a reproach; therefore there 
can be no allusion (as suggested in the margin) to the Baptism or the 
Transfiguration. The Transfiguration had not yet taken place, and 
very few if any of Christ's hearers could have heard the voice from 
heaven at the Baptism. Moreover, if that particular utterance were 
meant, ' voice ' in the Greek would have had the article. Nor can 
there be any reference to the theophanies, or symbolical visions of 
God, in O.T. It could be no matter of reproach to these Jews that 
they had never beheld a theophany. A paraphrase will shew the 
meaning; 'neither with the ear of the heart have ye ever heard Him, 
nor with the eye of the heart have ye ever seen Him, in the revelation 
of Himself given in the Scriptures; and so ye have not the testimony 
of His word present as an abiding power within you.' There should 
be no full stop at 'shape,' only a comma or semi-colon. Had they 
studied Scripture rightly they would have had a less narrow view of 
the Sabbath {v. 16), and would have recognised the Messiah. 

38. And ye have not his word'\ ' And hence it is that ye have no 
inner appropriation of the word ' — seeing that ye have never received 
it either by hearing or vision. 'His word' is not a fresh testimony 
different from the 'voice' and 'shape:' all refer to the same thing, — 
the testimony of Scripture to the Messiah. 

134 S. JOHN, V. [vv. 39-41. 

39 whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the Scrip- 
tures ; for in them ye think ye have eternal life : and they 

40 are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, 

41 that ye might have life. I receive not honour from men. 

for whom he hath sent] Better, because whom He sent. This is 
the proof of the previous negation : one who had the word abiding 
in his heart could not reject Him to whom that word bears witness. 
Comp. I John ii. 14, 24. 

39. Search the Scriptures] It will never be settled beyond dispute 
whether the verb here is imperative or indicative. As far as the Greek 
shews it may be either, 'search,' or ' ye search,' and both make sense. 
The question is, which makes the best sense, and this the context 
must decide. The context seems to be strongly in favour of the 
indicative, ye search the Scriptures. All the verbs on either side are 
in the indicative; and more especially the one with which it is so closely 
connected, ' and ye will not come.' Ye sea/rh the Scriptures, atid 
(instead of their leading you to Me) ye are not willing to come to Me. 
The tragic tone once more: see on i. 5. The reproach lies not in their 
searching, but in their searching to so little purpose. Jewish study of 
the Scriptures was too often learned trifling and worse ; obscuring the 
text by frivolous interpretations, 'making it of none effect' by unholy 

for in them ye think] ' Ye' is emphatic; because ye are the people 
who think; it is your own opinion. Not that they were wrong in 
thinking that eternal life was to be found in the Scriptures ; their error 
was in thinking that they, who rejected the Messiah, had found it. 
Had they searched aright they would have found both the Messiah and 
eternal life. 

they are they] See on x. i. 

40. ye will not come to me] Not the future of ' to come, ' but the 
present of 'to will :' ye are not willing to come to Me. This is at the 
root of their failure to read Scripture aright, their hearts are estranged. 
They have no will to find the truth, and without that no intellectual 
searching will avail. Note that here again man's will is shewn to be 
free; the truth is not forced upon him; he can reject it if he likes. 
Comp. iii. 19. 

that ye might have life] 'Ye fancy ye find life in your searching of 
the Scriptures, and ye refuse to come to Me in order to have it in 

41 — 44. Not that I seek glory from men ; had I done so, you would 
hai'e received Me. Your worldliness prevents you from receiving One 
whose motives are not worldly. 

41. / receive not honour] It is nothing to Me ; I have no need of it, 
and refuse it : comp. v. 34. Glory would jierhaps be better than 
'honour' both here and in v. 44, and than 'praise' in ix. 24 and xii. 43; 
see notes there. Christ is anticipating an objection, and at the same 

vv. 42—45.] S. JOHN, V. 135 

But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. 42 
I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not : 43 
if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. 
How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, 4* 
and seek not the honour that cometh from God only ? Do 4S 
not think that I will accuse you to the Father : there is one 

time shewing what is the real cause of their unbelief. 'Glory from men 
is not what I seek ; think not the want of that is the cause of My com- 
plaint. The desire of glory from men is what blinds your eyes to the 

42. Btit I know yoti'] Once more Christ appears as the searcher of 
hearts; comp. i. 47, 50, ii. 24, 25, iv. 17, 18, 48, v. 14. 

in you] Or, in yourselves, in your hearts. ' 1 hou shalt love the 
Lord thy God with all thy heart' (Dent. vii. 5) was written on their 
broad phylacteries (see note on Matt, xxiii. 5), but it had no place in 
their hearts and no influence on their lives. It is the want of love, the 
want of will (v. 40) that makes them reject and persecute the Messiah. 

43. and ye receive me not] The tragic tone as in vv. 39, 40, 'I come 
with the highest credentials, as My Father's representative (comp. viii. 
42), and ye reject Me.' 

cotne in his own name'] As a false Messiah or as Antichrist. Sixty- 
four pretended Messiahs have been counted. Comp. Matt. xxiv. 24. 

44. How can ye believe] The emphasis is on 'ye.' How is it possible, 
for you, who care only for the glory that man bestows, to believe on 
One who rejects such glory. This is the climax of Christ's accusation. 
They have reduced themselves to such a condition that they cannot 
believe. They must change their whole view and manner of life before 
they can do so, comp. v. 47. 

from God only] Rather, from tlie only God, from Him who alone 
is God ; whereas by receiving glory from one another they were making 
gods of one another; so that it is they who really 'make themselves 
equal with God' {v. 18). The Greek is not similar to Matt. xvii. 8 or 
Luke V. 21, but to xvii. 3; i Tim. vi. 16. Comp. Rom. xvi. 27; i Tim. 
i. 17; Jude 25. Note the absence of the article before the first 'honour' 
and its presence before the second : they receive glory, such as it is, 
from one another, and are indifferent to the glory, which alone deserves 
the name. 

The whole verse should run thus, How can ye believe, seeing that ye 
receive glory one of another ; and the glory zvhich cometh frorn the only 
God ye seek not, 

45 — 47. Do not appeal to Moses ; his writings condemn you. 

Thus the whole basis of their confidence is cut away. Moses on 
whom they trust as a defender is their accuser. 

45. Do not think] As you might be disposed to do after hearing 
these reproaches. 

136 S. JOHN, V. [vv. 46, 47. 

46 that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had 
ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me : for he 

47 v/rote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall 
ye believe my words ? 

that I will accuse you] If this refers to the day of judgment (and the 
future tense seems to point to that), there are two reasons why Christ 
will not act as accuser (i) because it would be needless; there is another 
accuser ready ; (2) because He will be acting as Judge. 

there is one] Your accuser exists already; he is there with his charge. 
Note the change from future to present : Christ will not be, because 
Moses is, tiieir accuser. 

iti whom ye trust] Literally, on whom ye have set your hope. 

46. had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed >ne] Better, U ye 
believed Moses, ye woiild believe Me: the verbs are imperfects, not 
aorists. See on viii. 19 (where we have a similar mistranslation), 42, 
ix. 4I, XV. 19, xviii. 36. Contrast the construction in iv. 10, xi. 21, 32, 
xiv. 28. This proves that Moses is their accuser. 

fo7- he wrote of me] Christ here stamps with His authority the au- 
thority of the Pentateuch. He accepts, as referring to Himself, the 
Messianic types and prophecies which it contains. Comp. Luke xxiv. 
27. 44- 

47. if ye believe not] The emphatic words are 'his' and 'My.' Most 
readers erroneously emphasize 'writings' and 'words.' The comparison 
is between Moses and Christ. It was a simple matter of fact that Moses 
had written and Christ had not : the contrast between writings and 
words is no part of the argument. Comp. Luke xvi. 31 ; 'If they hear 
not Moses and the projihets, neither will they be persuaded though one 
rose from the dead.' 

myivords] Or, My sayings. It is not the plural of 'word' (\6yos) 
in V. 38, but another substantive {prjfiaTa) used by .S. John only in the 
plural. Comp. vi. 6.^,, 68, viii. 47, xii. 47, xv. 7; where the separate say- 
ings are meant; whereas in vi. 60, viii. 43, 51, xii. 48, xv, 3 it is rather 
the teaching as a whole that is meant. 

Chap. VI. 

We see more and more as we go on, that this Gospel makes no at- 
tempt to be a complete or connected whole. There are large gaps in 
the chronology. The Evangelist gives us not a biography, but a series 
of typical scenes, very carefully selected, and painted with great accu- 
racy and minuteness, but not closely connected. As to what guided 
him in his selection, we know no more than the general purpose stated 
XX. 31, and it is sufficient for us. Those words and works of Jesus, 
which seemed most calculated to convince men that He 'is ihe Christ, 
the Son of God,' were recortled by the beloved Apostle. And the fact 
that they had already been recorded by one or more of the first Evan- 
gelists did not deter him from insisting on them again ; although he 
naturally more often chose what they had omitted. In this chapter we 

vv. I, 2.] S. JOHN, VI. 137 

Chap. VI. Christ the Support of Life. 
I — 15. The Sign on the Land ; Feeding the Five Thousand. 

Alter these things Jesus went over the sea of GaUlee, 6 
which is the sea of Tiberias. And a great muhitude ^ 

have a notable instance of readiness to go over old ground in order 
to work out his own purpose. The miracle of feeding the Five 
Thousand is recorded by all four Evangelists, the only miracle that 
is so. Moreover, it is outside the Judaean ministry; so that for this 
reason also we might have expected S. John to omit it. But he 
needs it as a text for the great discourse on the Bread of Life; and 
this though spoken in Galilee was in a great measure addressed to 
Jews from Jerusalem ; so that both text and discourse fall naturally 
within the range of S. John's plan. 

As in Chap. V. Christ is set forth as the Source of Life, so in 
this chapter He is set forth as the Support of Lfe. 

Chap. VI. Christ the Support of Life. 

This chapter, like the last, contains a discourse arising out of a 
miracle. It contains moreover an element wanting in the previous 
chapter, — the results of the discourse. Thus we obtain three divisions; 
I. The Sign on the Land, the Sign on the Lake, and the Sequel of the 
Signs (i — 25). 2. The Discourse on the Son as the ^Support of Life 
(26 — 59). 3. The opposite Results [60 — 71). 

1 — 15. The Sign on the Land; Feeding the Five Thousand. 

1. After these things'] See on v. i. How long after we cannot tell; 
but if the feast in v. i is rightly conjectured to be Purim, this would 
be about a month later in the same year, which is probably a. D. 29. 
But S. John is not careful to mark tlie precise interval between the 
various scenes which he gives us. Comp. the indefmite transitions from 
the First Passover to Nicodemus, ii. 23, iii. i ; from Nicodemus to the 
Baptist's discourse, iii. 22, 25; from that to the scene at Sychar iv. i — 
4 ; &c., &c. The chronology is doubtless correct, but it is not clear : 
chronology is not what S. John cares to give us. The historical con- 
nexion with what precedes is not the same in the four accounts. Here 
it is in connexion with the miracles at Bethesda and probably after the 
death of the Baptist (see on v. 25) : in S. Matthew it is in connexion 
with the death of the Baptist : in S. Mark and S. Luke it is after the 
death of the Baptist, but in connexion with the return of the Twelve. 
The notes on Matt. xiv. 13 — 21 ; Mark vi. 40 — 44, and Luke ix. 10 — 17 
should be compared tliroughout. 

went over the sea of Galilee'] To the eastern or north-eastern shore. 
The scene shifts suddenly from Judaea (v. 18) to Galilee; but we are 
told nothing about the transit. 

which is the sea of Tiberias] (Here, v. 23 and xxi. i only). Added to 
describe the sea more exactly, especially for the sake of foreign readers. 

138 S. JOHN, VI. [vv. 3-5. 

followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did 

3 on them that were diseased. And Jesus went up into a 

4 mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. And the 

5 passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. When Jesus then 

Another slight indication that this Gospel was written outside Palestine : 
inside Palestine such minute description would be less natural. Perhaps 
we areto understand that i)\e souihe7-n half of the lake is specially intended; 
for here on the western shore Tiberias was situated. The name Tiberias 
is not found in the first three Gospels. The town was built during our 
Lord's life time by Herod Antipas, who called it Tiberias out of com- 
pliment to the reigning Emperor; one of many instances of the Herods 
paying court to Rome. Comp. Bethsaida Julias, where this miracle 
took place, called Julias by Herod Philip after the infamous daughter of 
Augustus. The new town would naturally be much better known and 
more likely Lo be mentioned when S. John wrote than when the earlier 
Evangelists wrote. 

2. a great iniiltitude\ All the greater seeing that the Baptist was 
no longer a counter-attraction, and that the Twelve had returned from 
their mission, in which they had no doubt excited attention. This 
multitude went round by land while Christ crossed the water. All the 
verbs which follow are imperfects and express continued and habitual 
action ; were following Him, because they were beholding the signs 
■which he was doing, &c., i.e. after He landed He kept on working 
miracles of healing, and these continually attracted fresh crowds. 

3. into a mountain^ Rather, into the mountain, or, perhaps the 
mountainous part of the district. The definite article indicates fami- 
liarity with the locality. Comp. v. 15. We have no means of deter- 
mining the precise eminence. 

4. And the passover'X V>^\,i&x,'^oif the Passor'er. 

a feast of the yews\ Rather, the feast of the Jews. Possibly this 
near approach of the Passover is given merely as a date to mark the 
time. As already noticed (see on ii. 13), S.John groups liis narrative 
round the Jewish festivals. ]?ut the statement may also be made as a 
further explanation of the multitude. Just before the Passover large 
bands of pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem would be passing along 
the east shore of the lake. But we find that the multitude in this case 
are quite ready {v. 74) to cross over to Capernaum, as if they had no 
intention of going to Jerusalem; so that this interpretation of the verse 
is uncertain. Still more doubtful is the theory that this verse gives a 
key of interpretation to the discourse which follows, the eating of 
Christ's flesh and blood being the antitype of the Passover. Of this 
there is no indication whatever. It is safest to regard the verse as a 
mere note to time. In any case the addition of 'the feast of the Jews' 
again indicates that the author is writing away from Palestine. From 
vii. I it would seem that Jesus did not go up to Jerusalem for this 

vv. 6-8.] S. JOHN, VI. 139 

lift up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, 
he saith unto PhiHp, Whence shall we buy bread, that these 
may eat ? And this he said to prove him : for he himself 6 
knew what he would do. Philip answered him, Two ^ 
hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, 
that every one of them may take a litde. One of his s 

6. When Jesus then, &c.] Better, Jesus therefore having lifted 
up His eyes and seen that a great multitude cometh. 

he saith imto Philip\ Why Philip? Because he was nearest to 
Him; or because his forward spirit (xiv. 8) needed to be convinced of 
its own helplessness ; or because, as living on the lake (i. 44) he would 
know the neighbourhood. Any or all of these suggestions may be 
correct. As Judas kept the bag it is not likely that Philip commonly 
provided food for the party. A more important question remains: 
"we notice that the impulse to the performance of the miracle comes 
in the Synoptists from the disciples; in S. John, solely from our Lord 
Himself." This is difference, but not contradiction : S. John's narra- 
tive does not preclude the possibility of the disciples having sponta- 
neously applied to Christ for help either before or after this conversa- 
tion with Philip. "For the rest the superiority in distinctness and . 
precision is all on the side of S. John. He knows to whom the ques- 
tion was put ; he knows exactly what Philip answered ; and again the 

remark of Andrew, Simon Peter's brother Some memories are 

essentially pictorial; and the Apostle's appears to have been one of 
these. It is wonderful with what precision every stroke is thrown in. 
Most minds would have become confused in reproducing events which 
had occurred so long ago ; but there is no confusion here. The whole 
scene could be transferred to canvas without any difficulty." S. pp. 
121 — 123. 

Whence shall we buy\ Or, whence must we buy ; the deliberative 

6. to prove him] This need not mean more than to try whether he 
could suggest any way out of the difficulty ; but the more probable 
meaning is to test his faith, to try what impression Christ's words and 
works have made upon him. 

he himself] without suggestions from others. 
would do] Or, was about to do. 

7. T7V0 hundred pennyworth] Two hundred shillingsworth would 
more accurately represent the original. The denarius was the ordi- 
nary wage for a day's work (Matt. xx. 2 ; comp. Luke x. 35) ; in weight 
of silver it was less than a shilling ; in purchasing power it was more. 
Two hundred denarii from the one point of view would be about £"}, 
from the other, nearly double that. S. Philip does not solve the diffi- 
culty; he merely states it in a practical way; a much larger amount 
than they can command would still be insufficient. See notes on Mark 
viii. 4. 

8. One of his disciples] Of course this does not imply that Philip 

HO S. JOHN, VI. [w. 9— II. 

disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him, 

9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two 

«o small fishes: but what are they among so many? And 

Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much 

grass in the place. So the men sat down, hi number about 

II five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves ; and when he 

had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the 

disciples to them that were set down ; and likewise of the 

was not a disciple; the meaning ratlier is, that a disciple had been 
appealed to without results, and now a disciple makes a communication 
out of which good results flow. There seems to have been some con- 
nexion between S. Andrew and S. Philip (i. 44, xii. 22). In the lists of 
the Apostles in Mark iii. and Acts i. S. Philip's name immediately follows 
Andrew's. On S. Andrew see notes on i. 40, 41. The particulars 
about Philiji and Andrew here are not found in the Synoptists' account. 

9. a lad'\ And therefore able to carry very little. The word is a 
diminutive in the Greek, a little lad; it might also mean 'servant,' but 
this is less likely. 

barley loavrs] The ordinary coarse food of the lower orders; Judg. 
vii. 13. S. John alone mentions their being of barley, and that they 
belonged to the lad, who was probably selling them. With homely 
food from so scanty a store Christ will feed them all. These minute 
details are the touclies of an eyewitness. 

tiao small fishes\ Better, two fishes, although the Greek {opsaria) 
is a diminutive. The word occurs in this Gospel only {v. 11, xxi. 9, 
10, 13), and literally means a little relish, i.e. anything eaten with 
bread or other food : and as salt fish was most commonly used for this 
purpose, the word came gradually to mean 'fish' in particular. Philip 
liad enlarged on the greatness of the difficulty ; Andrew insists rather 
on the smallness of the resources for meeting it. 

10. muck grass'] As we might expect early in April [v. 4). S. 
Mark (vi. 39, 40) mentions how they reclined in parterres, by hun- 
dreds and by fifties, on the green grass. This arrangement would 
make it easy to count them. 

the men sat down] The women and children were probably apart 
by themselves. S. Mattliew (xiv. 21) tells us that the 5000 included 
the men only. Among those going up to the Passover there would 
not be many women or children. 

11. 7uhen he had given thanks] The tisual grace before meat said 
by the head of the house or the host. ' He that enjoys aught without 
thanksgiving, is as though he robbed God.' Talmud. Put it seems 
clear that this giving of thanks or blessing of the food (Luke ix. 16) 
was the means of the miracle, because (i) all four narratives notice it; 
{2) it is pointedly mentioned again v. 23; (3) it is also mentioned in 
both accounts of the feeding of the 4000 (Matt. xv. 36; Mark viii. 6). 

to the disciples, and the disciples] These words are wanting in 

vv. 12—14.] S. JOHN, VI. 141 

fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he 12 
said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, 
that nothing be lost. Therefiare they gathered them to- 13 
gether, and filled twelve baskets with the firagments of the 
five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto 
them that had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen 14 
the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that 
prophet that should come into the world. 

authority ; the best texts run, He distributed to them that were lying 
down. It is futile to ask whether the muhiplication took place in 
Christ's hands only: the manner of the miracle eludes us, as in the 
turning of the water into wine. That was a change of quality, this of 
quantity. This is a literal fulfilment of Matt. vi. 33. 

12. Gather up the frag»ients\ S. John alone tells of this command, 
though the others tell us that the fragments were gathered up. It has 
been noticed as a strong mark of truth, most unlikely to have been 
invented by the writer of a fiction. We do not find the owner of For- 
tunatus' purse careful against extravagance. How improbable, from a 
human point of view, that one who could multiply food at will should 
give directions about saving fragments ! 

13. basket s\ All four accounts have the same word for basket, 
cophinus, i.e. the wallet which every Jew carried when on a journey, to 
keep himself independent of Gentile food, which would be unclean. 
Comp. Juvenal III. 14. Each of the Twelve gathered into his own 
wallet, and filled it full. Moreover in referring to the miracle the 
word cophinus is used (Matt. xvi. 9). In the feeding of the 4000 
(Matt. XV. 37; Mark viii. 8), and in referring to it (Matt. xvi. 10), a 
different word for basket, spurts, is used. Such accuracy is evidence 
of truth. See note on Mark viii. 8. S. Mark tells us that fragments 
of fish were gathered also. The remnants far exceed in quantity the 
original store. 

The expedients to evade the obvious meaning of the narrative are 
worth mentioning, as shewing how some readers are willing to 'violate 
all the canons of historical evidence,' rather than admit the possibility 
of a miracle: (i) that food had been brought over and concealed in 
the boat; (2) that some among the multitude were abundantly sup- 
plied with food and were induced by Christ's example to share their 
supply with others; {3) that the whole is an allegorical illustration of 
Matt. vi. 33. How could either (i) or (2) excite even a suspicion that 
He was the Messiah, much less kindle such an enthusiasm as is 
recorded in v. 15? And if the whole is an illustration of Matt. vi. 33, 
what meaning in the allegory can be given to this popular enthusiasm ? 
There are "rationalising expedients that are considerably more incre- 
dible than miracles." S. p. 126. 

14. Then those men] Rather, The men therefore. 

the miracle that Jestis did] Better, the sign that He did. The 
name Jesus has been inserted here, as elsewhere, because this once 

U2 S. JOHN, VI. [v. 15. 

IS When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come 
and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed 
again into a mountain himself alone. 

was the beginning of a lesson read in church. The same thing has 
been done in our own Prayer Book in the Gospels for Quinquagesima 
and the 3rd Sunday in Lent : in the Gospel for S. John's Day the 
names of both Jesus and Peter have been inserted; and in those for 
the 5th S. in Lent and 2nd S. after Easter the words 'Jesus said' have 
been inserted. In all cases a desire for clearness has caused the inser- 
tion. Comp. viii. 21. 

that prophet that should come\ Literally, the Prophet that cometh: 
the Prophet of Deut. xviii. 15 (see on i. 21). But perhaps the Greek 
participle here only represents the Hebrew participle, which is properly 
present, but is often used where a future participle would be used 
in Latin or Greek. S. John alone tells us the effect of the miracle 
on those who witnessed it: comp. ii. 11, 23. These two verses 
(14, 15) supply "a decisive proof that the narrative in the fourth 
Gospel is not constructed out of that of the Synoplists, and we might 
almost add a decisive proof of the historical character of the Gospel 
itself... The Synoptists have nothing of this... Yet how exactly it 
corresponds with the current Messianic expectations! Our Lord had 
performed a miracle; and at once He is hailed as the Messiah. But 
it is as the Jewish, not the Christian Messiah. The multitude would 
take Him by force and make Him king. At last they have found 
the leader who will lead them victoriously against the Romans and 
'restore the kingdom to Israel.' And just because He refused to do 
this we are told a few verses lower down that many of His disciples 
'went back, and walked no more with Him,' and for the same cause, a 
year later, they crucified Him. It is this contrast between the popular 
Messianic belief and the sublimated form of it, as maintained and 
represented by Christ, that is the clue to all the fluctuations and oscil- 
lations to which the belief in Him was subject. This is why He was 

confessed one day and denied the next It is almost superfluous to 

point out how impossible it would have been for a writer wholly ab 
extra to throw himself into the midst of these hopes and feelings, and 
to reproduce them, not as if they were something new that he had 
learned, but as part of an atmosphere that he had himself once 
breathed. There is no stronger proof both of the genuineness and of 
the authenticity of the fourth Gospel than the way in which it reflects 
the current Messianic idea." S. pp. 123, 124. 

15. take him by force'] Carry Him up to Jerusalem and proclaim 
Him king at the Passover. This again is peculiar to S. John. In his 
Epic he points out how the enmity of Clirist's foes increases; and 
nothing increased it so much as popular enthusiasm for Him : comp. 
iii. 26, iv. 1—3, vii. 40, 41, 46, viii. 30, ix. 30—38, x. 21, 42, xi. 45, 
46, xii. 9 — II. 

again\ Pie had come down to feed them. 

vv. 16-2 1.] S. JOHN, VI. 143 

16 — 21. The Sign on the Lake ; Walking on the Water. 

And when even was now come, his disciples went down 16 
unto the sea, and entered into a ship, and went over the sea 17 
towards Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was 
not come to them. And the sea arose by reason of a great is 
wind that blew. So when they had rowed about five and 19 
twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, 
and drawing nigh unto the ship : and they were afraid. But 20 
he saith unto them, It is I ; be not afraid. Then they 21 

into a moiinhnni Better, as in v. 3, into the moitntain, or the hill 

hifnself alone] S. Matthew and S. Mark tell us that the solitude He 
sought was for prayer. S. Luke (ix. 18) mentions both the solitary 
prayer and also a question which seems to refer to this burst of enthu- 
siasm for Christ; 'Whom say the people that I am?' Thus the various 
accounts supplement one another. 

16 — 21. The Sign on the Lake; Walking on the Water. 

16. when even was now come] S. Matthew (xiv. 15, 23) makes two 
evenings; this was in accordance with Jewish custom. It is the 
second evening that is here meant, from 6 p.m. to dark. 

went down] From Matt. xiv. 22 and Mark vi. 45 we learn that 
Christ 'constrained' His disciples to embark: this points either to 
their general unwillingness to leave Him, or to their having shared the 
wish to make Him a king by force. S. Luke omits the whole 

17. toward Capernaum] S. Mark says 'unto Bethsaida' which was 
close to Capernaum. See notes and map at Matt. iv. 13 and Luke v. i. 
For ' went over the sea' we should read were coming over the sea, i.e. 
were on their way home. 

was not come] More accurately, was not yet come. 

18. the sea arose] Literally, was beco7ning thoroughly agitated, so 
that their Master's following them in another boat seemed impossible. 
For the vivid description comp. Jonah i. 13. 

19. five and twenty or thirty furlongs] This pretty closely corre- 
sponds with 'in the midst of the sea' (Matt. xiv. 24). The lake is 
nearly seven miles across in the widest part. 

walking on the sea] There is no doubt that this means on the sur- 
face of the water, although an attempt has been made to shew that the 
Greek may mean ' on the sea-shore.' Even if it can, which is perhaps 
somewhat doubtful, the context shews plainly what is meant. How 
could they have been afraid at seeing Jesus walking on the shore? 
S. Mark tells us that it was about the fourth watch, i.e. between 3.0 
and 6.0 a.m. S. Matthew alone gives S. Peter's walking on the sea. 

20. // is /] Literally, I atn (comp. xviii. 5). 

144 S. JOHN, VI. [v. 22. 

willingly received him into the ship : and immediately the 
ship was at the land whither they went. 

22 — 25. llie Sequel of the two Signs. 
82 The day following, when the people which stood on the 

21. they willingly received him'] Rather, ihey were willing to 
receive IJim. The mistranslation seems to have arisen from a wish to 
make this account agree with that of S. Matthew and S. Mark, who 
say that he entered the boat. It is probably due to Beza, who for the 
Vulgate's volitertint 7-ecipere substitutes volente animo receperiint. S. 
John leaves us in doubt whether He entered the boat or not; he is not 
correcting the other two accounts: this would require 'but before He 
could enter it the boat was at the land.' 

iviinediatcly'l We are probably to understand that this was miracu- 
lous; not a mere favourable breeze which brought them to land before 
they had recovered from their surprise : but the point is uncertain and 

whither they zvent] Better, whither they were going, or intending 
to go. The imperfect tense helps to bring out the contrast between 
the difficulty of the first half of the voyage, when they were alone, and 
the ease of the last half, when He was with them. The word for 
' going' implies departure, and looks back to the place left. 

The Walking on the Sea cannot be used as evidence that the writer 
held Docetic views about Christ, i.e. believed that His Body was a 
mere phantom. A Docetist would have made more of the incident, 
and would hardly have omitted the cry of the disciples 'It is a spirit' 
(Matt. xiv. 26; conip. Mark vi. 49). Docetism is absolutely excluded 
from this Gospel by i. 14, and by the general tone of it throughout. 
Comp. xix. 34, 35, XX. 20, 27. 

22 — 25. The Sequel of the two Signs. 

22 — 24. We have here a complicated sentence very unusual in 
S. John (but comp. xiii. i — 4); it betrays "a certain literary awk- 
wardness, but great historical accuracy The structure of the sen- 
tence is no argument against the truth of the statements which it con- 
tains. On the contrary, if these had been fictitious, we may be sure 
that they would have been much simpler. Indeed a forger would 
never have thought of relating how the crowd got across the sea at all. 
We see the natural partiality with which the Evangelist dwells upon 
scenes with which he is familiar. He had been a fisherman on the sea 
of Galilee himself. He knew the jjoats of Tiberias from those of 
Capernaum and the other cities, and had probably friends or relations 
in that very crowd." S. pp. 126, 127. 

22. the people'] An instance of the caprice of our translators in 
creating differences. The same Greek word is translated 'multitude' 
in V. 2, 'company' in v. 5, and 'people' here, v. 24, &c. ; multitude 
would be best throughout. 

vv. 23—26.] S. JOHN, VI. 145 

other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat 
there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, 
and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, 
but that his disciples were gone away alone ; (howbeit there 23 
came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where 
they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks :) 
when the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, 24 
neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to 
Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. And when they had found 25 
him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, 
when earnest thou hither? 

26 — 59. The Discourse on the Son as the Support of Life. 
Jesus answered them and said. Verily, verily, I say 26 

on the other side of the sea] On the eastern side where the miracle 
took place. 

save that one whereinto his disciples were entered] The only words of 
this sentence that are of certain authority are save one; the rest is pro- 
bably an explanatory note. 

were gone away] Better, went away. 

23. Howbeit there came] This awkward parenthesis explains how 
there came to be boats to transport the people to the western shore 
after they had given over seeking for Christ on the eastern. 

after that t/ie Lord had given thanlis] Unless the giving thanks was 
the turning-point of the miracle it is difiicult to see why it is men- 
tioned again here: see on z/. 11. 

24. they also tooli shipping] More literally, they themselves entered 
into the boats, i.e. the boats that had come from Tiberias, driven 
in very possibly by the gale which had delayed the Apostles : ' also ' 
is not genuine. Of course there is no reason to suppose that alt who 
had been miraculously fed crossed over; but a sufficient number of them 
to be called a ' multitude. ' 

25. 071 the other side of the sea] This now means the western shore; 
in V. 22 it meant the eastern. From v. 59 we have the locality fixed 
very distinctly as the synagogue at Capernaum. 

when earnest thou] Including how? they suspect something mi- 
raculous. Christ does not gratify their curiosity : if the feeding of the 
5000, which they had witnessed, taught them nothing, what good 
would it do them to hear of the crossing of the sea? ' Camest Thou 
hither' is literally ' hast Thou come to be here:' comp. i. 15. 

26 — 59. The Discourse on the Son as the Support of Life. 

God's revealed word and created world are unhappily alike in this ; 
that the most beautiful places in each are often the scene and subject 
of strife. This marvellous discourse is a well-known field of contro- 

S. JOHN 10 

146 S. JOHN, VI. [v. 26. 

veisy, as to whether it does or does not refer to the Eucharist. That 
it has no reference whatever to the Eucharist seems incredible, when 
we remember ( i ) tlie startling words here used about eating the Flesh 
of the Son of Man and drinking His Blood; (2) that just a year from 
this time Christ instituted the Eucharist ; (3) that the primitive Church 
is something like unanimous in interpreting this discourse as referring 
to the Eucharist. A few words are necessary on each of these points. 
(1) Probably nowhere in any literature, not even among the luxuriant 
imagery of the East, can we find an instance of a teacher speaking of 
the reception of his doctrine under so astounding a metaphor as eating 
his flesh and drinking his blood. Something more than this must at 
any rate be meant here. The metaphor ' eating a man's flesh ' else- 
where means to injure or destroy him. Ps. xxvii. 2 (xiv. 4) ; James 
V. 3. (2) The founding of new religions, especially of those which 
have had any great hold on the minds of men, has ever been the 
result of much thought and deliberation. Let us leave out of the 
account the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and place Him for the moment 
on a level with other great teachers. Are we to suppose that just 
a year before the Eucharist was instituted, the Founder of this, the 
most distinctive element of Christian worship, had no thought of it 
in His mind? Surely for long beforehand that institution was in His 
thoughts; and if so, 'Except ye eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and 
drink His Blood, ye have no life in you' cannot but have some reference 
to 'Take eat, this is My Body,' 'Drink ye all of it, for this is My 
Blood.' The coincidence is too exact to be fortuitous, even if it were 
probable that a year before it was instituted the Eucharist was still 
unknown to the Founder of it. That the audience at Capernaum 
could not thus understand Christ's words is nothing to the point : 
He was speaking less to them than to Christians throughout all ages. 
How often did He utter words which even Apostles could not under- 
stand at the time. (3) The interpretations of the primitive Church 
are not infallible, even when they are almost unanimous: but they 
carry great weight. And in a case of this kind, where spiritual in- 
sight and Apostolic tradition are needed, rather than scholarship and 
critical power, patristic authority may be allowed the very greatest 

But while it is incredible that there is no reference to the Eucharist 
in this discourse, it is equally incredible that the reference is solely or 
primarily to the Eucharist. The wording of the larger portion of the 
discourse is against any such exclusive interpretation ; not until v. 5 1 
does the reference to the Eucharist become clear and direct. Rather 
the discourse refers to a// the various channels of grace by means of 
which Christ imparts Himself to the believing soul : and who will dare 
to limit these in number or efficacy? 

To quote the words of Dr Westcott, the discourse "cannot refer 
]irimarily to the Holy Communion ; nor again can it be simply pro- 
phetic of that Sacrament. The teaching has a full and consistent 
meaning in connexion with the actual circumstances, and it treats 
essentially of spiritual realities with which no external act, as such, 
can be extensive. The well-known words of Augustine, cfcde ct mail' 

V. 27.] S. JOHN, VI. 147 

unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, 
but because ye did eat of tlie loaves, and were filled. 
Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that 27 
meat which endureth unto everlasting life, wliich the Son 
of man shall give unto you : for him hath God the 

dticasti, 'believe and thou hast eaten,' give the sum of the thoughts in 
a hnninous and pregnant sentence. 

"But, on the other hand, there can be no doubt that the truth which 
is presented in its absolute form in these discourses is presented in a 
specific act and in a concrete form in the Holy Communion; and yet 
further that the Holy Conmiunion is the divinely appointed means 
whereby men may realise the truth. Nor can there be any difficulty 
to any one who acknowledges a divine fitness in the ordinances of the 
Church, an eternal correspondence in the parts of the one counsel of 
God, in believing that the Lord, while speaking intelligibly to those 
who heard Him at the time, gave by anticipation a commentary, so 
to speak, on the Sacrament which He afterwards instituted." Sj>eake)-'s 
Comnicntary, II. p. 113. 

The discourse may be thus divided ; I. 26 — 34, Distinction between 
the material bread and the Spiritual Bread; 11. 35 — 50 (with two 
digressions, 37 — 40; 43 — 46), Identification of the Spiritual Bread 
with Christ; III. 51 — 58, Further definition of the identification as 
consisting in the giving of His Body and outpouring of His Blood. 
S. p. 128. On the language and style see introductory note to 
chap. III. 

26 — 34. Distinction betiveen the material bread and the Spiritual Bread. 

26. not because ye saw the mij'acles'] Better, not because ye saw 
signs. There is no article in the Greek; and the strict meaning of 
' signs ' should be retained. They had seen the miracle, but it had 
not been a sign to them ; it had e,\cited in them nothing better than 
wonder and greediness. The plural does not necessarily refer to more 
than the one sign of the Feeding ; the generic plural. 

27. Labotir not for, &c.] Better, Work not for, &c. The trans- 
lation in the margin is preferable, to keep up the connexion with 
verses 28, 29, 30. The people keep harping on the word ' work.' 

the meat which perisheth] Better (to avoid all ambiguity), the food 
that perisheth: 'meat' in the sense of 'flesh-meat' is not intended. 
Comp. (iv. 13) 'whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again.' 
The discourse with the Samaritan woman should be compared through- 
out : ' the food which abides ' here corresponds with ' the living water ' 
there; ' the food that perisheth' with the water of the weU. 'Perisheth ' 
not merely in its sustaining power, but in itself: it is digested and 
dispersed (Matt. xv. 17; i Cor. vi. 13). 

endureth unto eveiiasting life] Better, abideth unto eternal life: 
see on i. 33 and iii. 16. 

10 — 2 


148 S. JOHN, VI. [vv. 28— 32. 

aS Father sealed. Then said they unto him, What shall we 

zy do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered 
and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye 

30 believe on him whom he hath sent. They said therefore 
unto him. What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, 
and believe thee? what dost thou work ? Our fathers did 
eat manna in the desert; as it is written. He gave them 

32 bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, 
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Mo^es gave you not that 

for him hath God the Father scah'd'\ Better (preserving the em- 
phasis of the Greek order), for Him the Father sealed, even God. 
'Sealed,' i.e. authenticated (iii. 33), as the true giver of this food 
(i) by direct testimony in the Scriptures, {2) by the same in the voice 
from Heaven at His IJaptism, (3) by indirect testimony in His miracles 
and Messianic work. 

28. Thefi said they'] They said therefore. 

What shall we do, that we might work] Better, what must we do 
that we may 'work. They see that His words have a moral meaning; 
they are to do works pleasing to God. But how to set about this? 

29. the work of God] 1 hey probably were thinking of works of 
the law, tithes, sacrifices, &c. Christ tells them of one work, one moral 
act, from which all the rest derive their value, — belief in Him whom 
God has sent. 

that ye believe] Literally, that ye may believe. S. John's favourite 
form of expression, indicating the Divine purpose. Conip. v. 50 and 
V. 36. 

30. What sign shewest thou then] ' Thou ' is emphatic : ' what 
dost Thou on Thy part?' They quite understand tliat in the words 
'Him whom He hath sent' Jesus is claiming to be the Messiah; but 
they want a proof. Their enthusiasm had cooled, their curiosity had 
increased, during the night. After all, the feeding of the 5000 was 
less marvellous than the manna, and Moses was not the Messiah. Note 
that whereas He uses the strong form, ' believe on Him,' they use the 
weak one, 'believe Thee.' See last note on i. 12. 

7uhat dost thou ivork] They purposely choose the vci"y word that He 
had used in v. 29. The emphasis is on ' what.' 

31. viaiiua] More exactly, the manna. 

He gave them bread from heaven to eat] A rough quotation of ' had 
rained down manna upon them to eat' (Ps. Ixxviii. 24). They artfully 
suppress the nominative (wliich in the Psalm is 'God'), and leave 
'Moses' to be understood. Possibly Neh. ix. 15 is in their thoughts; 
if so, there is the same artfulness. On 'it is written' see on ii. 17. 
'From heaven' is literally 'out of heaven.' 

32. Moses gave you not] Christ shews them that He quite undei- 
slands their insinuation: they are comparing Him unfavourably with 

vv. 33—35.] S. JOHN, VI. 149 

bread from heaven ; but my Father giveth you the true 
bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which 33 
Cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 
Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this 34 
bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life : 35 

Moses. He denies both their points; (i) that Moses gave the manna; 
(2) that the manna was in the truest sense bread from heaven. 

giveth you the true bread, &c.] Literally, giveth joti the bread 
out Of heaven {which is) the true h-ead; 'true' in the sense of 'real' 
and 'perfect' (see on i. 9); the manna was but the type, and therefore 
imperfect. Note the change of tense from ' gave ' to ' giveth :' God 
is continually giving the true bread ; it is not a thing granted at one 
time and then no more, like the manna. 

33. the bread of God is he -which] Better, the bread of God is 
that 7vhich. Christ has not yet identified Himself with the Bread; 
it is still impersonal, and hence the present participle in the Greek. 
Contrast v. 41, There is a clear reference to this passage in the 
Ignatian Epistles, Roi?ians vii. The whole chapter is impregnated 
with the Fourth Gospel. See on iv. 10. 

giveth life itnto the world] Without this Bread mankind is spiritu- 
ally dead; and this is the point of the argument (the introductory 'for' 
shews that the verse is argum.entative): we have proof that it is the 
Father who gives the really heavenly Bread, for it is His Bread that 
quickens the whole human race. 

34. Then said they] They said therefore. 

Lord, evermore give us this bread] 'Lord' is too strong, and makes 
the request too much like the prayer of a humble believer. Our trans- 
lators wisely vary the rendering of Kyrie, using sometimes ' Lord,' and 
sometimes ' Sir.' Here, as in the conversation with the Samaritan 
woman, 'Sir' would be better. Not that the request is ironical; it is 
not the mocking prayer of the sceptic. Rather it is the selfish petition 
of one whose beliefs and aspirations are low. As the Samaritan 
woman thought that the living water would at any rate be very useful 
(iv. 15), so these Jews think that the true bread is at least worth 
having. He fed them yesterday, and they are hungry again ; He talks 
to them of food that endureth ; it will be well to be evermore supplied 
with this food, which is perhaps another manna with greater sustaining 
powers. They do not disbelieve in His power, but in His mission. 

35 — 50. Identification of the Spiritual Bread with Christ. 

35. / am the bread of life. The pronoun is very emphatic: comp. 
iv. 26. As in v. 30, He passes from the third to the first person. 
'Bread of life' means 'bread that giveth life.' Comp. 'the tree of 
life' (Gen. ii. 9, iii. 11, 24), 'the water of life' (Rev. xxi. 6, xxii. i). 
In the remainder of the verse 'He that cometh to Me' = 'he that be- 
lieveth on Me,' and 'shall never hunger'= ' shall never thirst;' i.e. the 
believer shall experience the continual satisfaction of his highest spiri- 


S. JOHN, VI. [vv. 36—39. 

he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that 

36 believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, 

37 That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the 
Father giveth me shall come to me ; and him that cometh 

38 to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from 
heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that 

39 sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, 

tual needs. The superiority of Christ to the manna consists in this, 
that while it satisfied only bodily needs for a time, He satisfies spiri- 
tual needs for ever. 

36. / said unto you] When? no such saying is recorded. EwaUl 
thus finds some slight evidence for his theory that a whole sheet of 
this Gospel has been lost between chapters v. and vi. But the ref^er- 
ence may easily be to one of the countless unrecorded sayings of Christ, 
or possibly to the general sense of v. 37—44- I" the latter case 'you' 
must mean the Jewish nation, for those verses were addressed to Jews 
at Jerusalem. See on x. 26, where there is a somewhat similar case. 
That 'I said' means 'I would have you to know,' and has no refer- 
ence to any previous utterance, does not seem very probable. 

ye also have seen me] ' Also' belongs to ' have seen,' not to ' ye,' as 
most English readers would suppose : ye have even seen me (not merely 
heard of me), and (yet) do not believe. The tragic tone again. See on 
i. 5, 10, II. 

37—40. Digression on the blessedness of those who come to Christ 

as believers. 

37. All that the Father giveth... him that cometh] There is a signi- 
ficant change of gender in the Greek which is obscured in the E:i;,dish 
version: 'all that' is neuter, all that wMcli; what is given is treated 
as impersonal, mankind en masse; what comes, with free will, is mas- 
culine. Men are given to Christ without their wills being consulted ; 
but each individual can, if he likes, refuse to come._ There is no coer- 
cion. Comp. similar changes of gender in i. 1 1, xvii. 2. 

shall come to 7ne, and him that cometh... For I came doivn] The 
verb 'come' here represents three different Greek verbs, but there is 
no such great difTerence between them as to make it worth while to 
change so familiar a text; yet it would be more literal to translate all 
that 7he Father giveth iMe, to Me shall come, and him that approachcth 
Me I will in no wise cast out; for I have descended, &c. The second 
' Me' is emphatic, the first and third are not. 

38. / came do-am] Better, I am come doim or have descended. 
Four times in this discourse Christ declares that He is come down 
from heaven; verses 38, 50, 51, 58. The drift of these three verses 
(38—40) is ;— How could I cast them out, seeing that I am come to do 
my Father's will, and He wills that they should be received? 

39. tl'is is the Father's will, &c.] The true reading is; this is the 
will of Him that sent Me. 

vv. 40— 42.] S. JOHN, VI. 151 

that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, 
but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is 40 
the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth 
the Son, and beheveth on him, may have everlasting hfe : 
and I will raise him up at the last day. 

The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am 41 
the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, -12 
Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and 

that of all] Literally, in order that of all : see on v. 29. 

all which he hath given vie] 'AH' is neuter as in v. 37, and is placed 
first for emphasis. In the Greek it is a noviinativus pendens. 

raise it up again at the last day\ This gracious utterance is repeated 
as a kind of refrain, verses 40, 44, 54. 'Again' may be omitted. 
This is 'the resurrection of life' (v. 29), 'the first resurrection,' the 
resurrection of the just. 

the last day\ This phrase is peculiar to S. John, and occurs seven 
times in this Gospel. Elsewhere it is called 'the Day of the Lord,' 
'the Great Day,' &c. 

40. And this is the 7vill of hifn that sent me] The true reading is ; 
For this is the will of My Father. The opening words of verses 39 and 
40, being very similar, have become confused in inferior MSS. The 
best MSS. have 'Father' in this verse, where 'the Son' is mentioned, 
not in V. 39, where He is not. Moreover this verse is explanatory of 
V. 40, and opens with ' for;' it shews who are meant by 'all which He 
hath given me,' viz. every one that coiiternplateth the Son and believeth 
on Him. ' Seeth' is not strong enough for the Greek word here used : 
the Jews had seen Jesus; they had not contemplated Him so as to 
believe. 'Contemplate' is frequent in S. John and the Acts, elsewhere 
not. Comp. xii. 45, xiv. 19, xvi. 10, 16, 19. 'Tliat' again = /« order 

I will raise him up] The Greek construction is ambiguous ; pos- 
sibly 'raise' depends upon 'that' as in v. 39: and that I shotdd raise 
him tip. 'I' is here very emphatic; ' by My power as Messiah.' 

41. The Jcivs then imu-mured at him] Better, The Jeivs therefore 
muttered respecting Him, talked in an under tone among themselves 
about Him : it does not necessarily mean that they found fault, though 
the context shews that they did (comp. v. 6r, vii. 12). From the men- 
tion of the Jews we are to understand that there were some of the hos- 
tile party among the multitude, perhaps some members of the Sanhe- 
drin ; but not that the whole multitude were hostile, though carnally- 
minded and refusing to believe without a further sign. Comp. i. 19, 
ii. 18, v. 10, vii. 1 1, &c. 

/ am the bread which came down from heaven] They put together 
the statements in verses 33, 35, 38. 

42. Is not this] Or, Is not this fellow; the expression is con- 

152 S. JOHN, VI. [vv. 43—46 

mother we know? how is it then t/iat he saith, I came 

43 down from heaven ? Jesus therefore answered and said unto 

44 them, Murmur not among yourselves. No ma?i can come 
to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him : 

45 and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the 
prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every 
man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the 

46 Father, cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the 

whose father and mother ive kno7v\ 'We l<now all about His parent- 
age; there is nothing supernatural or mysterious about His origin.' 
Nothing can be inferred from this as to Joseph's being alive at this 
time : the probability is that he was not, as he nowhere appears in the 
Gospel narrative; but this cannot be proved. 

how is it then, &c.] Better, How dotli He now say, I am come 

43 — 46. Digression on the difficulty of coming to Christ as a believer. 

43. Mttrmur not] Christ does not answer their objection or explain. 
Even among the first Christians the fact of his miraculous conception 
seems to have been made known only gradually, so foul were the 
calumnies which the Jews had spread respecting His Mother. This 
certainly was not the place to proclaim it. He directs them to some- 
thing of more vital importance than the way by which He came into 
the world, viz. the way by which tliey may come to Him. 

44. dra7a him] It is the same word as is used xii. 32 ; 'will draw all 
men unto Me.' The word does not necessarily imply force, still less 
irresistible force, but merely attraction of some kind, some inducement 
to come. Comp. 'with loving-kindness have I drawn thee' (Jer. 
xxxi. 3), and Virgil's trahit sua qucmqite vohtptas. 

45. in the prophets] The direct reference is to Isa. liv. 13, but 
there are similar passages Jer. xxxi. 33, 34; Joel iii. 16, 17. The 
quotation explains what is meant by the Father's drawing men, viz., 
enlightening them. The 'therefore' in the second half of the verse is 
not genuine: 'therefore' is very common in the narrative portion of 
this Gospel, very rare in the discourses. On 'it is written' see on 
ii. 17. Here, as in xiii. 18 and xix. 37, the quotation agrees with the 
Hebrew against the LXX. This is evidence that the writer knew 
Hebrew and therefore was probably a Jew of Palestine. 

Every tnan there/ore that hath h,ard, &c.] And no others : only 
those who have been enlightened by the Father can come to the 

46. Not that any man hath see7i'\ To be enlightened and taught by 
the Father it is not necessary to see Him. "That is a privilege 
reserved for a later stage in the spiritual life, and is only to be attained 
mediately through the Son (comp. i. iS)." S. p. 129. 

vv. 47-5I-] S. JOHN, VI. 153 

Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father, 
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath 47 
everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did f^ 
eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the 50 
bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat 
thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came s' 
down from heaven : if any man eat of this bread, he shall 
live for ever : and the bread that I will give is my flesh, 

he which is of God] Or, He zuhich is from God, with whom He was 
previous to the Incarnation; i. i, 14, viii. 42, xvi. 27. 

47 — 50. Christ returns from answering the Jews to the main subject. 

47. hath everlasting life] //a/// eternal ///J? (iii. 16). Note the tense. 
Christ solemnly assures them (the double 'Verily') that the believer is 
already in possession of eternal life. See on iii. 36 and v. 24. 

48. that bread of life] Better, the Bread of life. Comp. v. 32, 
i. 21, 25, vi. 14, where the same exaggerated translation of the Greek 
article occurs. 

49. Christ answers them out of their own mouths. They had spoken 
of the manna as superior to the multiplied loaves and fishes ; but the 
manna did not preserve men from death. The same word is used both 
in V. 49 and v. 50; therefore for 'are dead ' it will be better to substi- 
tute died. Moreover, the point is, not that they are dead now, but that 
they perished then ; the manna did not save them. They ate the manna 

and died. 

50. that a man may eat] S. John's favourite form of expression 
again, indicating the Divine intention : comp. v. 29, vi. 34, viii. 56, 
&c. * Of this purpose is the Bread which cometh down from heaven ; 
in order that a man may eat thereof and so not die.' Comp. i John v. 3. 

61 — 68. Further definition of the identification of the Spiritual Bread 
with Christ as consisting in the giving of His Body and the out- 
pouring of His Blood. 

In vv. 35 — 50 Christ in His Person is the Bread of Life: here He is 
the spiritual food of believers in the Redemptive work of His Death. 

51. the living h-ead] Not merely the Bread of life (v. 48), the life- 
giving Bread, but the living Bread, having life in itself, which life is 
imparted to those who partake of the Bread. 

which came down] At the Incarnation. Now that the Bread is iden- 
tified with Christ, we have the past tense of what took place once for 
all. Previously (verses 33, 50) the present tense is used of what is con- 
tinually going on. In one sense Christ is perpetually coming down 
from heaven, in the other He came but once: He is ever imparting 
Himself to man ; He only once became man. 

he shall live for ever] Just as ' living Bread ' is a stronger expression 
than ' Bread of life,' so ' live for ever ' is stronger than ' not die.' 

and the bread that I will give] The precise wording of this sentence 

154 S. JOHN, VI. [vv. 52—54. 

52 which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews there- 
fore strove amongst themselves, saying, How can this man 

53 give us Jiis flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, 
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of 
the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 

54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal 

is somewhat uncertain, but the best reading seems to be : a^td the Bread 
that I will give is My Flesh for the life of the world. That in Christ's 
mind these words looked onwards to the Eucharist, and that in thus 
speaking to believers throughout all time He included a reference to the 
Eucharist has already been stated to be highly probable. (See above, 
Introduction to 26 — 58). But that the reference is not exclusively, nor 
even directly, to the Eucharist is shewn from the use of ' Flesh ' {sarx) 
and not ' Body ' {soma). In all places where the Eucharist is mentioned 
in N. T. wf> have 'Body,' not ' Flesh;' Matt. xxvi. 26; Mark xiv. 22; 
Luke xxii. 19; i Cor. xi. 241?. Moreover the words must have had 
some meaning for those who heard them at Capernaum. Evidently they 
have a wider range than any one Sacrament. Christ promises to give 
His Flesh (by His bloody death soon to come) for the benefit of the 
whole world. But this benefit can only be appropriated by the faith of 
each individual; and so that which when ofiered by Christ is His Flesh 
appears under the figure of bread when partaken of by the believer. 
The primary reference, therefore, is to Christ's propitiatory death ; the 
secondary reference is to all those means by wliich the death of Christ 
is appropriated, especially the Eucharist. Not that Christ is here 
promising that ordinance, but uttering deep truths, which apply, and 
which lie intended to apply, to that ordinance, now that it is in- 

52. strove among themselves'\ Their excitement increases; they have 
got beyond muttering among themselves {v. 41). 

give us his flesh to eat] 'To eat ' is their own addition ; they wish 
to bring out in full the strangeness of His declaration. 

53. Then said yest/s] Better, Therefore said yesus: see on z*. 45. 
and drink his blood] Christ not only accejits what they have added 

to His words, but still further startles them by telling them that they 
must drink His Blood ; an amazing statement to a Jew, who was for- 
bidden to taste even the blood of animals (Gen. ix. 4 ; Lev. xvii. 10 — 16). 
These words point still more distinctly to His propitiatory death; for 
'the blood is the life' which He offered up for the sins of the world. 
The eating and drinking are not faith, but the appropriation of His 
death ; faith leads us to eat and drink and is the means of appropriation. 
Taken separately, the Flesh represents sacrifice and sustenance, the 
Blood represents atonement and life. 

no life in yott] Literally, no life in yourselves : for the source of 
life is absent. The next four verses explain more fully how this is. 

64. The gracious positive of the previous minatory negative. From 
the warning as to the disastrous consequences of not partaking He 

vv. 55—58.] S. JOHN, VI. T55 

life ; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh 55 
is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that 56 
eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, 
and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I 57 
live by the Father : so he that eateth me, even he shall live 
by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven : 58 
not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead : he that 
eateth (?/'this bread shall live for ever. 

passes to a declaration of the blessed consequences of partaking, 
viz. eternal life, and that at once, with resurrection among the just 

55. my flesh is meat indeed, &c.] According to the best reading; 
My Flesh is true food and My Blood is true drink; i.e. this is no mis- 
leading metaphor, but an actual fact. 

56. dwelleth in me, and I in him'\ Or, abideth in Me and I in 
him. This is one of S. John's very characteristic phrases to express the 
most intimate mutual fellowship and union. The word 'abide' is also 
characteristic, as we have seen. Comp. xiv. 10, 20, xv. 4, 5, xvii. i\; 
I John iii. 24, iv. 16. Christ is at once the centre and circumference 
of the life of the Christian ; the source from which it springs, and the 
ocean into which it flows ; its starting-point and its goal. 

57. Not a mere repetition of the previous statement but an enlarge- 
ment of it. The result of this close union is perfect life, proceeding as 
from the Father to the Son, so in like manner from the Son to all 

the living Father] The absolutely Living One, the Fount of all life, 
in whom is no element of death. The expression occurs nowhere else. 
Comp. Matt. xvi. 16 j 2 Cor. vi. 16; Hebr. vii. 25. For 'hath sent' 
read sent. 

By the Father] Better because of the Father, i.e. because the Father 
is the Living One. Similarly, 'by Me ' should be because of Me, 
i.e. because he thus derives life from Me. 

he that eateth me] Instead of the Flesh and Blood we have Christ 
Himself; the two modes of partaking are merged in one, the more 
appropriate of the two being retained. 

even he] Or, he also. 

58. This is that bread] Better, this is tte Bread: see on v. 48. 
The verse is a general summing up of the whole, returning from the 
imagery of Flesh and Blood to the main expression of the discourse — 
the Bread that came down from heaven and its superiority to all earthly 

not as yo7ir fathers did eat manna, and are dead] Better, not as the 
fathers did eat and died (see on v. 49) : ' your ' and ' manna ' are 
wanting in the best MSS. It is not in that way that the Bread comes 
down from heaven, nor is it such food. 

eateth of] Omit 'of,' as in vv. 54, 56; 'of is rightly inserted in 
vv. 26, 50, 51. 

156 S. JOHN, VI. [vv. 59—62. 

59 These fki/igs said he in the synagogue, as he taught in 

60 — 71. Opposite Results of the Discourse. 

60 Many therefore of his disciples, wlien they had heard 

61 t/iis, said, This is a hard saying; who can hear it? When 
Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he 

62 said unto them, Doth this offend you ? JV/iat and if ye 

59. i>i the synagogue] Or, in synagogue, as m'c say ' in church :' 
there is no article in the Greek. Comp. xviii. 20. The verse is a mere 
historical note, stating definitely what was stated vaguely in v. 11 as 
'the other side of the sea.' ' These things ' naturally refers to the whole 
discourse from v. 26 ; we have no sufficient evidence of a break between 
V. 40 and I/. 41. On the other hand there is strong evidence that from 
V. 26 to V. jrf forms one connected discourse spoken at one time in the 
synagogue at Capernaum. The site of Capernaum is not undisputed 
(see on Matt. iv. 13) ; but assuming Tell Hum to be correct, the ruins 
of the synagogue there are probably those of the very building in 
which these words were uttered. On one of the stones a pot of 
manna is sculptured. 

60 — 71. Opposite Results of the Discourse. 

60. Many therefore of his disciples'] Including many more than the 

This is a hard saying] Or, Hard is this speech. Not hard to under- 
stand, but hard to accept. The word for 'hard ' means originally 'diy,' 
and so 'rough;' and then in a moral sense, 'rough, harsh, offensive.' 
Nabal the churl has this epithet, i Sam. xxv. 3 ; and the slothful ser- 
vant in the parable of the Talents calls his master a 'hard man,' Matt. 
xxv. 24. Here the meaning is : ' This is a repulsive speech ; who can 
listen to it?' It was the notion of eating flesh and drinking blood that 
specially scandalized them. See on v. 47. 

61. kneiv in himself] Again He appears as the reader of the heart. 
Comp. i. 42, 47, ii. 24, 25, iv. 18, v. 14, 42, vi. 26, &c. More 
literally the verse runs: No-di Jesus knoaving in Himself that His dis- 
ciples are muttering about it: see on v. 41, vii. 12. They talked in 
a low tone so that He could not hear : but He knew without hearing. 

62. IVhat and if, &c.] Literally, If therefore ye should behold the 
Son of man ascending "where lie 7ms btporel The sentence breaks off 
(aposiopesis) leaving something to be understood : but what is to be 
understood ? The answer to this depends on the meaning assigned to 
'behold the Son of man ascending.' The most literal "and obvious 
interpretation is of an actual beholding of the Ascension : and in that 
case we supply; 'Would ye still take offence then?' Against this 
interpretation it is urged (i) That S. John does not record the Ascen- 
sion. But it is assumed, if not here and iii. 13, yet certainly xx. 17 as a 

vv. 63-65.] S. JOHN, VI. 157 

shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before ? 
It is the spirit that quickeneth ; the flesh profiteth nothing : 63 
the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they 
are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For 64 
Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed 
not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore 65 

fact ; and in all three cases it is in the words of our Lord that the 
reference occurs. S. John throughout assumes that the main events of 
Christ's life and the fundamental elementsof Christianity are well known 
to his readers. (2) That none but the Twelve witnessed the Ascension, 
while this is addressed to a multitude of doubting disciples. But some 
of the Twelve were present : and Christ speaks hypothetically ; ' ?/ ye 
J'//(w/a' behold,' not '■■wlieti ye ^/za// behold.' {3) That in this case we 
should expect 'but' instead of ' therefore.' Possibly, but not neces- 
sarily. The alternative interpretation is to make the ' ascending ' refer 
to the whole drama which led to Christ's return to glory, especially the 
Passion (comp. vii. 33, xiii. 3, xiv. 12, 28, xvi. 5, 28, xvii. 11, 13): 
and in that case we supply ; ' Will not the sight of a suffering Messiah 
offend you still more?' 

63. that quickenetlil Literally, that maketh alive or giveth life. 
The latter would perhaps be better to bring out the connexion with 
' they are life' at the end of the verse. 

the fleshy Not, 'My Flesh,' which would contradict v. 51. The 
statement is a general one, but has reference to Himself. 'My Flesh' 
in V. 51 means 'My death' to be spirit luilly appropriated by every 
Christian, and best appropriated in the Eucfiarist. 'The flesh' here 
means the flesh witliout the Spirit, that which can only be appropriated 
physically, like the manna. Even Christ's flesh in this sense ' profiteth 
nothing.' (Comp. iii. 6.) Probably there is a general reference to 
their carnal ideas about the Messiah : it is "in our Lord's refusal to 
assume the outward insignia of the Messianic dignity, and in His per- 
sistent spiritualisation of the Messianic idea" that we must seek "the 
ultimate cause" of the defection of so many disciples. S. pp. 141, 

the words'] Or, the sayings: see on v. 47. 

that I speak] The true reading is; that I have spoken, in the dis- 
course just concluded. 

64. some of you that believe not] There were some of those who followed 
Him and called themselves His disciples, who still did not believe on 
Him. The better order is, there are of you some. 

knew from the beginning] It is impossible to fix the exact limits of 
this; the meaning of 'the beginning' must depend on the context (see 
on i. i). Here the most natural limit is 'knew from the beginning of 
their discipleship,' when they first became His followers. Comp. ii. 
24, 25. 

who should bdray him] Or, ^vho it was tliat should betray Him. 
To ask, 'Why then did Jesus choose Judas as an Apostle?' is to ask in 

158 S. JOHN, VI. [vv. 66-69. 

said I unto you, tliat no man can come unto me, except it 
were given unto him of my Father. 

66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and 

67 walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the 

68 twelve. Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered 
him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of 

fg eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art 

a special instance for an answer to the insoluble enigma 'Why does 
Omniscience allow wicked persons to be born? Why does Omnipo- 
tence allow evil to exist?' The tares once sown among the wheat, both 
must 'grow together till the harvest,' and share sunshine and rain 

65. Therefore] Better, For this cause (xii. 18, 27): see on v. 16, 
18, vii. 12, viii. 47. 

said I unto you] v. 44; comp. v. 37, and see notes on both. 
were given unto him of my Father] Have toeen given unto him of 
tlie Father. 

66. Frotn that time] This may be the meaning, but more probably 
it means in consequence of that. Hereupon has somewhat of the ambi- 
guity of the Greek, combining the notions of time and result. The 
Greek phrase occurs here and xix. 12 only in N.T. 

67. the tzuehe] The first mention of them; S. John speaks of 
them familiarly as a well-known body, assuming that his readers are 
well acquainted with the expression (see on v. 62). This is a mark of 
truth : all the more so because the expression does not occur in the 
earlier chapters; for it is probable that down to the end of chap. iv. at 
any rate 'the Twelve' did not yet exist. 

Pilate and Mary Magdalene are introduced in the same abrupt way 
(xviii. 29, xix. 25). 

Will ye also go away ?] Better, Surely ye also do not wlsli to go 
away? 'Will' is too weak; it is not the future tense, but a separate 
verb, 'to will.' There is a similar error vii. 17 and viii. 44. Christ 
knows not only the unbelief of the many, but the belief and loyalty of 
the few. 

68. Then Simon Pete}-] Omit 'Then.' S. Peter, as leader, />;7'///«j 
ititer fares, answers here as elsewhere in the name of the Twelve 
(see note on Mark iii. 17), and answers with characteristic impetuosity. 
The firmness of Ilis conviction shews the appropriateness of the name 
given to him i. 42. His answer contains three reasons in logical order 
why they cannot desert their Master: (i) there is no one else to whom 
they can go; the Baptist is dead. Even if there were (2) Jesus has all 
that they need; He has 'sayings of eternal life.' And if there be 
other teachers who have them also, yet (3) there is but one Messiah, 
and Jesus is He. See on v. 47. 

69. ive beliez<e] Rather, 7cv have believed : the perfect tense im- 
plies that the faith and knowledge which they possess have been theirs 
for some time past. 'Are sure' means literally ^ have come to know.'' 

vv. 70, 71.] S. JOHN, VI. 159 

that Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered 7° 
them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a 
devil ? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon : for y 
he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve. 

thou art that Christ, &c.] These words seem to have been imported 
hither from S. Peter's Confession, Matt. xvi. i6. The true reading 
here is ; Thou art the Holy One of God. This is altogether a different 
occasion from Matt. xvi. 16, and probably previous to it. The Con- 
fessions are worth comparing. I. 'Thou art the Son of God' (Matt, 
xiv. 33); in this the other Apostles joined. 1. 'Thou art the Holy 
One of God' (John vi. 69). 3. 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the 
living God' (Matt. xvi. 16). They increase in fulness, as we might 

70. Havel 7tot chosen you tzudve] Or, Did not I clioose you the Twelve 
(comp. xiii. i8)? Here probably the question ends: and one of you is a 
devil is best punctuated without an interrogation ; it is a single state- 
ment in tragic contrast to the preceding question. It would be closer 
to the Greek to omit the article before 'devil' and make it a kind of 
adjective; and one of you is devil, i.e. devilish in nature: but this is 
hardly English. The words contain a half-rebuke to S. Peter for his 
impetuous avowal of loyalty in the name of them all. The passage 
stands alone in the N.T. (comp. Matt. xvi. 23), but its very singular- 
ity is evidence of its truth. S. John is not likely to have forgotten 
what was said, or in translating to have made any serious change. 

71. yudas Iscariot, the son of Siiiion^ The better reading is; Judas, 
the son of Simon Iscariot. If, as seems probable, the name Iscariot 
means ' man of Kerioth,' a place in Judah, it would be natural enough 
for both father and son to have the name. Assuming this to be cor- 
rect, Judas was the only Apostle who was not a Galilean. 

that should betray^ That was to betray ; not the same phrase as in 
V. 64. 

being one of the twelve'] 'Being' is of doubtful genuineness. The 
tragic contrast is stronger without the participle : for he was to betray 
Him, one of the Twelve. 

With regard to the difficulty of understanding Christ's words in this 
sixth chapter, Meyer's concluding remark is to be borne in mind. 
"The difficulty is partly exaggerated; and partly the fact is over- 
looked that in all references to Plis death and the purpose of it Jesus 
could rely upon the light which ihsfutm-e would throw on these utter- 
ances: and sowing, as He generally did, for the future in the bosom of 
the present. He was compelled to utter much that was mysterious, but 
which would supply material and support for the further development 
and purification of faith and knowledge. The wisdom thus displayed 
in His teaching has been justified by History. " 

Chap. VII. 

"Chapter vii., like chapter vi., is very Important for the estimate of 
the fourth Gospel. In it the scene of the Messianic crisis shifts from 

l6o S. JOHN, VII. [vv. 1-3. 

Chap. Vll. Christ the Source of Truth and Light. 
I — 9, The controversy with His brethren. 

7 After these things Jesus walked in Galilee : for he would 

not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him. 

J Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand. His 

Galilee to Jerusalem; and, as we should naturally expect, the crisis 
itself becomes hotter. The divisions, the doubts, the liopes, the jea- 
lousies, and the casuistry of the Jews are vividly portrayed. We see 
the mass of the populace, especially those who had come, up from 
Galilee, swaying to and fro, hardly knowing which way to turn, in- 
clined to believe, but held back by the more sophisticated citizens of 
the metropolis. These meanwhile apply the fragments of Rabbinical 
learning at their command in order to test the claims of the new pro- 
phet. In the background looms the dark shadow of the hierarchy 
itself, entrenched behind its prejudices and refusing to hear the cause 
that it has already prejudged. A single timid voice is raised against 
this injustice, but is at once fiercely silenced." S. p. 144. 

As in chapters v. and vi. Christ is set forth as the Source and Support 
of Life, so in chapters vii. . viii., and ix. He is set forth as the Source 
of Truth and Light. 

Chap. VII. Christ the Source of Truth and Light. 

Chapter vii. has three main divisions: 1. The controversy with His 
brethren (i — 9); 2. His teaching at the Feast of Tabernacles (10 — 39); 
3. The effect of His teaching ; division both in the multitude and in the 
Sanhedrin (40 — 52). 

1—9, The controversy with His brethren. 

1, After these thingsl The interval is again vague (see introductory 
note to chap. vi. ) ; but comparing vi. 4 with vii. 2 we see that it covers 
about five months, the interval between the Passover and the Feast 
of Tabernacles. 

7valkcd in Galilee^ To this ministry in Galilee, of which S. John 
tells us nothing, most of the incidents narrated Matt. xiv. 34 — xviii. 35 
belong. The tenses here are all imperfects, implying continued action. 

he would not walk in Jcwry^ From this we understand that He 
did not go up to Jerusalem for the Passover mentioned vi. 4. 'Jewry' 
is found here in all the English versions excepting Wiclifs ; it was 
common in the earlier translations. But in the A.V. it has been 
retained (probably by an oversight) only here, Luke xxiii. 5, and Dan. 
V. 13: elsewhere Judsea has been substituted. In Dan. v. 13 the 
same word is translated both 'Jewry' and 'Judah !' Comp. the 
Prayer Book version of Ps. Ixxvi. i. 

2. the fews'' feast of tabernacles^ Again an indication that the 
Gospel was written outside Palestine: see on vi. i, 4. An author 
writing in Palestine would be less likely to specify it as ' the feast 

vv. 4, 5.] S. JOHN, VII. 161 

brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go 
into Judea, that thy disciples also may see the works that 
thou doest. For there is no man that doeth any thing in 4 
secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If 
thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. For s 

of the Jeivs.^ Tabernacles was the most joyous of the Je\vish festivals. 
It had two aspects; (i) a commemoration of their dwelling in tents 
in the wilderness, (2) a harvest-home. It was therefore a thanks- 
giving (i) for a permanent abode, (2) for the crops of the year. It 
began on the 15th of the 7th month, Tisri (about our September), 
and lasted seven days, during which all who were not exempted 
through illness or weakness were obliged to live in booths, which 
involved much both of the discomfort and also of the merriment of 
a picnic. The distinctions between rich and poor were to a large 
Sk;xtent obliterated in the general encampment, and the Feast thus 
b(-came a great levelling institution. On the eighth day the booths 
were broken up and the people returned home: but it had special 
sacrifices of its own and was often counted as part of the Teast itself. 
The Feast is mentioned here, partly as a date, partly to shew what 
after all induced Christ to go up to Jerusalem. 

3. His brethreit] See on ii. 12. 

Depart hence'\ The bluntness of this suggestion, given almost as 
a command, shews that they presumed upon their near relationship. 
It would be more natural in the mouths of men older than Christ, and 
therefore is in favour of their being sons of Joseph by a former marriage 
rather than sons of Joseph and Mary (comp. Mark iii. 21, 31). They 
shared the ordinary beliefs of the Jews about the Messiah, and there- 
fore did not believe in their Brother. But His miracles perplexed 
them, and they wished the point brought to a decisive issue. There 
is no treachery in their suggestion; its object is not to put Him in the 
power of His enemies. 

thy disciples also^ His brethren seem to imply that they themselves 
are not His disciples even nominally. 

4. the7-e is no fnan that doethl More simply, no man doeth. 

and he himself seeketh] i. e. no one does anything in secret and is 
thereby personally seeking to act with openness. To conceal His 
miracles is to deny His Messiahship; the Messiah must accept His 

to be kno7vn openly] Literally, to be in openness ox frankness. The 
word for 'frankness' occurs nine times in this Gospel and four times 
in the First Epistle ; not in Matt, or Luke ; only once in Mark. 

If thou do these things] Feeding the 5000, and other miracles. If 
Thou doest such miracles at all, do them at Jerusalem at the Feast 
and convince the whole nation. It is assuming a false position to 
do such things and hide them in obscure parts of Galilee : it is 
claiming to be the Messiah and being afraid to shew one's credentials. 


i63 S. JOHN, VII. [vv. 6—8. 

6 neither did his brethren believe in him. Then Jesus said 
unto them, My time is not yet come : but your time is 

7 alway ready. The world cannot hate you ; but me it 
hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are 

8 evil. Go ye up unto this feast : I go not up yet unto this 

They knew probably that He had not gone up to Jerusalem for the 

shew thyself] Better, manifest Thyself. See on i. 31, xxi. i, and 
comp. ix. 3, xvii. 6. 

' 5. For neither did his brethren believe in hifn] Or, For not even 
did His brethi-en (as one would expect) bdieve on Him. It is mar- 
vellous that in the face of this verse any one should have maintained 
that three of His brethren (James, Simon, and Judas) were Apostles. 
This verse is also fatal to the common theory, that these 'brethren' 
are really our Lord's cousins, the sons of Alphasus. Certainly one 
of the sons of Alphaeus (James) was an Apostle; probably a second 
was (Matthew, if Levi and Matthew are the same person, as is almost 
universally admitted); possibly a third was (Judas, if 'Judas of James' 
means 'Judas, brother of James,' as is commonly supposed). By this 
time the company of the Twelve was complete (vi. 67, 70, 71); so 
that we cannot suppose that some of the Twelve have still to be con- 
verted. If then one, two, or three sons of Alphseus were Apostles, 
how could it be true that the sons of Alphseus 'did not believe on 
Him?' 'His brethren' cannot be the sons of Alphaus. They seem 
to have been converted by the Resurrection. Immediately after the 
Ascension we find them with the Apostles and the holy women (Acts 
i. 14; comp. I Cor. ix. 5, Gal. i. 19). 

6. Then Jesus said] Better, Jestis therefore saith. 

My time is not yet come] i. e. My time for manifesting Myself to the 
world ; with special reference to the Passion. It is inadequate to 
interpret it of the time for going up to the Feast. Moreover, what 
sense would there be in ' Your time for going up to the Feast is always 
ready?' Whereas 'You can always manifest yourselves' makes ex- 
cellent sense. See last note on ii. 4. 

7. The world] Unbelievers; the common meaning in S. John. 
In V. 4 'the world' means all mankind. See on i. 10. 

cannot hate you] Because you and it are of one mind; because you 
are part of it: it cannot hate itself; see on xv. 19. Hence it is that 
they can always manifest themselves : they can always count upon 
favourable surroundings and a sympathetic audience. 

me it hateth] Comp. iii. -zo, vii. 34, 36, viii. 21, xii. 39. 

8. Go ye up unto this feast] 'Ye' is emphatic; 'this' is wanting 
in authority; we should read, go ye up unto the feast. 

I go not up yet] ' Yet,' though very ancient, is possibly no part 
of the original text : it may have been inserted to avoid the charge of 
the heathen critic Porphyry, that Jesus here shews fickleness or deceit, 
and therefore cannot be Divine. But the sense is the same, whether 

w. 9-II.] S. JOHN, VII. 163 

feast ; for my time is not yet full come. When he had said 9 
these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee. 

10 — 39. The Discourse at the Feast of Tabernacles. 

But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also 10 
up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. 
Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is u 

' yet ' is inserted or not. He means ' I am not going now ; not going 
publicly in the general caravan of pilgrims; not going M'ith you, who 
do not believe on Me.' He does not say ' I shall not go.' The next 
two verses shew exactly what is meant by the negative. 

9. hi abode still in Galilee] This in conjunction with v. i shews 
that S. John is quite aware that Galilee is the main scene of Christ's 
ministry, as the Synoptists represent. The gaps in his narrative leave 
ample room for the Galilean ministry. 

This opening scene (i — 9) "is described by M. Renan as a 'gem 
of history ' (un petit tresor historique). He argues justly that an 
apologist, writing merely ad probandtim, would not have given so 
much prominence to the unbelief which Jesus met with in His own 
family. He insists, too, on the individualising traits which the whole 
section bears. The brethren of Jesus are not ' types ' but living men ; 
their ill-natured and jealous irony is only too human." S. pp. 144, 

10 — 39. The Discourse at the Feast of Tabernacles. 

Of this section w. 10 — 15 form a sort of introduction. 

"An equal degree of authenticity belongs to the verses which follow, 
10 — 15. The whispered enquiries and debatings among the people, 
the secret journey, the sudden appearance in the temple in the midst 
of the Feast, and in particular the question that alludes to the Rab- 
binical schools and the custom of professed teachers to frequent them, 
compose a varied, clear, and graphic picture that has every circum- 
stance of probability in its favour." S. pp. 145, 146. 

10. unto the feast] These words have become transposed; they be- 
long to the first clause, not to the second ; Now when His brethren 2vere 
gone up to the feast, then He also went up. This being so, it becomes 
possible, if not probable, that Christ's declaration ' I go not up to this 
Feast' is true, even when made to mean ' I shall not go up at all.' All 
that is certain is that Christ appeared when the Feast was half over [v. 

not openly] Not in the general caravan, but either by a different 
route (e.g. through Samaria, as in iv. 4, instead of down the eastern 
bank of Jordan), or several days later. One suspects that traces of 
Docetism are difficult to find in this Gospel when it is maintained that 
this verse contains such. 

11. the yews] The hostile party, as usual: comp. t*. i. Both here 
and in v. 6 'then' should rather be therefore: comp. vi. 53, 67, 68. 

II — 2 

i64 S. JOHN, VII. [vv. 12— 16. 

12 he ? And there was much murmuring among the people 
concerning him : for some said, He is a good man : others 

13 said, Nay ; but he deceiveth the people. Howbeit no man 
spake openly of him for fear of the Jews. 

14 Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the 

15 temple, and taught. And the Jews marvelled, saying. How 

16 knoweth this man letters, having never learned ? Jesus 

The force of the ' therefore ' here is ' because they did not find Him in 
the caravan of pilgrims from Galilee.' 

sought. ..and said'\ Both verbs are imperfects of continued action. 
They do not mention His name, — perhaps in contempt; 'Where is that 
man?' Comp. ix. 28. 

12. nmr??iu)'ing\ Talking in an under tone, not necessarily com- 
plaining: see onvi. 41, 61. Here some are for, and some against Him. 
' Among the people ' should rather be amoitg the multitudes ; the word 
is plural, p.iid this is the only place in the Gospel where the plural is 
used : the singular [He leadeth the multitude astray) is common. 

13. no man] Quite literally ; no man dared speak openly either for 
or against Him, they were so afraid of the hierarchy. Experience had 
taught them that it was dangerous to take any line which the rulers had 
not formally sanctioned; and though the rulers were known to be 
against Christ, yet they had not committed themselves beyond recall, 
and might turn against either side. 'A true indication of an utterly 
Jesuitical domination of the people.' Meyer. 

for fear of the Je70s\ Literally, fo7- the fear of the yezus, i.e. on 
account of the prevalent fear of the hierarchy and official representatives 
of the nation. 

14. aboiit ike midst of the feast] Literally, But now, tvhen the feast 
7vas at the middle, or was half way past ; i.e. about the fourth day. But 
the expression is a vague one, so that we cannot be certain which 

went up into the temple] Whether He had been in Jerusalem or not 
since the beginning of the Feast, is uncertain : see on v. 10. This is per- 
haps the first occasion of His publicly teaching in the Temple; when 
He cleansed it (ii. 13 — 17) He delivered no discourse. 

15. And the 'Je'Ms marvelled] According to the best MSS. , The Je-ws 
therefore marvelled. 'Therefore' should also be inserted in v. 16; 
yestis therefore answered thefu. S. John's extreme fondness for this 
particle in narrative is worth keeping in view. 

How knoweth this man letters] Or, this fellow, as in vi. 42. Their 
question is so eminently characteristic, that it is very unlikely that a 
Greek writer of the second century would have been able to invent it 
for them; he would probably have made Ihem too cautious to commit 
themselves to any expression of astonishment about Him. The sub- 
stance of His doctrine excites no emotion in them, but they are 
astounded that He should possess learning without having got it accord- 
ing to ordinaiy routine. He had never attended the schools of the 

vv. 17—19.] S. JOHN, VII. 165 

answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his 
that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know 17 
of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak 
of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own is 
glory : but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same 
is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. Did not Moses 19 

Rabbis, and yet His interpretations of Scriptui-e shewed a large amount 
of biblical and other knowledge. That does excite them. In Acts xxvi. 
24, ' much learning doth make thee mad,' the word there translated 
' learning ' is the same as the one here translated ' letters.' 

16 — 36. The remark made on the Jews' question in z*. 15 applies 
also to their questions and comments throughout this dialogue. They 
are too exactly in keeping with what we know of the Jews in our Lord's 
day to be the invention of a Greek more than a century later. They 
"are all exactly what we should expect from the popular mode of inter- 
preting and applying the Messianic prophecies." S. p. 146. 

16. My doctrine is not mifte\ ' The teaching which I give does not 
originate with Me ; that is the reason why I have no need to learn in 
the schools. He Who sent Me communicates it to Me.' 

17. If any man will do his will} As in vi. 67 and viii. 44, ' will ' is 
too weak ; it is not the simple future, but the verb ' to will :' If any man 
willeth to do His will. The mere mechanical performance of God's 
will is not enough; there must be an inchnation towards Him, a wish 
to make our conduct agree with His will ; and without this agreement 
Divine doctrine cannot be recognised as such. There must be a moral 
harmony between the teaching and the taught, and this harmony is in 
the first instance God's gift (vi. 44, 45), which each can accept or refuse 
at will. Comp. xiv. 11. 

he shall know'\ Literally, He shall come to know, recognise. See on 
V. 26 and viii. 55. 

whether it be of God, &c.] Literally, whether it proceeds from God (as 
its Fount), or I speak from Myself. Comp. v. 30, xv. 4. 

18. Proof almost in the form of a syllogism that He does not speak 
of Himself. It applies to Christ alone. Human teachers who seek 
God's glory are not thereby secured from erroneous teaching. These 
verses (16 — 18) remind us, and might remind some of His hearers of an 
earlier discourse delivered in Jerusalem some seven months before : 
comp. V. 19, 30, 37, 44. , . ,r r ,_ 

the same is true] and therefore does not speak of himself, for who- 
ever speaks what comes from himself is not true. 

no unrighteousness is in hitti\ Or, unrighteousness Is not in him. 
S. John does not say 'falsehood ' as we might expect, but uses a wider 
word which points out the moral root of the falsehood. Comp. viii. 46. 
Throughout S. John's writings the connexion between truth and 
righteousness, falsehood and unrighteousness is often brought before 
us. Hence his peculiar phrases ' to do the truth ' (i John i. 6), ' to do a 
lie' (Rev. xxi. 27, xxii. 15). 

i66 S. JOHN, VII. [vv. 20—22. 

give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? 

20 Why go ye about to kill me? The people answered and 
said, Thou hast a devil : who goeth about to kill thee ? 

21 Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, 

22 and ye all marvel. Moses therefore gave unto you cir- 
cumcision, not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers; 

There is no need to suppora that anything is omitted between 18 
and 19, though the transition is abrupt. Christ has answered them 
and now takes the offensive. He exposes the real meaning of their 
cavillings; they seek His life. 

19. Did not Moses give you the law?] Here the question should 
probably end: and notie of you doeth the law should be a simple state- 
ment in contrast to the question preceding. The argument is similar to 
V. 45; Moses in whom they trust condemns them. Moreover it is an 
argiimentiw. ad hominem : ' ye are all breakers of the law, and yet 
would put Me to death as a breaker of it.' 

20. Thou hast a devil] The multitude who have come up from the 
provinces know nothing of the designs of the hierarchy, although 
dwellers in Jerusalem {v. 25) are better informed. These provincials 
think He must be possessed to have such an idea. Comp. x. 20, and 
also Matt. xi. 18, where the same is quoted as said of the Baptist. In 
both cases extraordinary conduct is supposed to be evidence of in- 
sanity, and the insanity is attributed to demoniacal possession. In viii. 
48 the same remark is made, but in a much more hostile spirit (see note 
there); and there Christ answers the charge. Here, where it is the mere 
ignorant rejoinder of a perplexed multitude, He takes no notice of the 

21. I have done] Better, I did. Comp. v. 23. 

one work'] The healing of the impotent man at Bethesda : it excited 
the astonishment of all as being wrought on the .Sabbath. Christ re- 
minds them that on that occasion all, and not the rulers only, were 

Most modern editors add to this verse the words translated 'there- 
fore' in V. 22 [it is not S. John's favourite particle (see on v. 15), but a 
preposition with a pronoun =for this cause, on account of this] ; ' and 
ye all marvel on account of this.' But this is cumbrous, and unlike 
S. John, who begins sentences with this phrase (v. 16, 18, viii. 47, x. 17, 
xii. 39; mistranslated 'therefore' in all cases) rather than ends them 
with it. The old arrangement is best. 

22. Moses therefore gave] Better, For this cause (xii. 18, 27) Moses 
hath given. Comp. viii. 47. 

of Moses... of the fathers] 'Originating with Moses... originating 
with the fathers.' Circumcision originated with the Patriarchs, and 
was a more ancient institution than the Sabbath. When, therefore, 
the two ordinances clashed, the younger had to give place ; it was 
more fit that tlie Sabbath should be broken, than that circumcision 
should be administered on the wrong day. If then the Sabbath 

vv. 23-27.] S. JOHN, VII. 167 

and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. If a man 23 
on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of 
Moses should not be broken ; are ye angry at me, because 
I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day ? 
Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous 24 
judgment. Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not 23 
this he, whom they seek to kill ? But lo, he speaketh 26 
boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers 
know indeed that this is the very Christ ? Howbeit we 27 
know this man whence he is : but when Christ cometh, no 

could give way to a mere ceremonial observance, hovir much more 
might it give way to a work of mercy? The law of charity is older 
and higher than any ceremonial law. 

on the sabbatk'l Rather, on a Sabbath; so also in v. 2^. 

23. that the law of Moses should not be broken'] i.e. the law about 
circumcision on the eighth day (Lev. xii. 3), which was a re-enactment 
of the patriarchal law (Gen. xvii. 12). Some adopt the inferior ren- 
dering in the margin; 'without breaking the law of Moses,' or 'vnth- 
out the law of Moses being broken ;' in which case ' the law of Moses ' 
means the law about the Sabbath. 

are ye angry] The word occurs nowhere else in N.T. It signifies 
bitter and violent resentment. 

because I have made] Better, because I made. Comp. v. 2\. 

24. according to the appearance] 'According to the appearance' 
Christ's act was a breach of the Sabbath. This is almost certainly the 
meaning, although the word translated 'appearance' may mean 'face,' 
and is rightly translated 'face' in xi. 44 (see note there). Thereis no 
reference here to Christ's having ' no form nor comeliness,' as if He 
meant 'Judge not by My mean appearance.' 

25. Then said some] Or, Some therefore said (see on vi. 53, vii. 
II, 15), i.e. in consequence of Christ's vindication of Himself. These 
inhabitants of the capital know better than the provincials, who speak 
in V. 20, what the intentions of the hierarchy really are. 

26. boldly] Or, with frankfiess, or openness; the same word as in 
V. 4, where (as in xvi. 29) it has a preposition; here and v. 13 it is the 
simple dative. 

Do the rulers know] The word here translated 'know' is not the one 
translated 'know' in vv. 28, 29. The latter is the most general word 
for 'know:' this means rather to 'acquire knowledge.' Have the 
rulers come to know (or recognised)} See on i. 10. In the next verse 
we have both words. Comp. viii. 55. 

that this is the very Christ] 'Very' is wanting in authonity: that 
this man is the Christ is the right reading. This suggestion, however, 
is only a momentary thought. They at once raise a dilj&culty which 
for them demolishes the suggestion. 

27. when Christ cometh] Better, when the Christ cometh: see on i. 20. 

i68 S. JOHN, VII. [w. 28, 29. 

28 man knoweth whence he is. Then cried Jesus in the 
temple as he taught, saying. Ye both know me, and ye 
know whence I am : and I am not come of myself, but he 

39 that sent me is true, whom ye know not. But I know him : 

no man knoweth whence he is\ Literally, no man comes to know (see 
on w. 16 and viii. 55) whence He is. ' Whence' does not refer to the 
Messiah's birthplace, which was known {vv. 41, 42); nor to His remote 
descent, for He was to be the Son of David {ibid.); but to His parent- 
age (vi. 42), immediate and actual. This text is the strongest, if not 
the only evidence that we have of the belief that the immediate parents 
of the Messiah would be unknown : but the precision and vivacity of 
this passage carries conviction with it, and shews how famihar the 
ideas current among the Jews at that time were to S. John. It never 
occurs to him to explain. The belief might easily grow out of Isa. 
liii. 8, 'Who shall declare His generation?' Justin Martyr tells us 
of a Lindred belief, that the Messiahship of the Messiah would be 
unknown, even to Himself, until He was anointed by Elijah. ( Trypho, 
pp. 226, 336.) 

28. Then cried Jesus\ Better, Jesus therefore cried aloud. The 
word translated 'cried' signifies a loud expression of strong emotion. 
He is moved by their gross misconception of Him, a fact which the 
weakening of 'therefore' into 'then' obscures. Comp. z*. 37, i- 15, 
xii. 44. 

in the temple'] S. John well remembers that moving cry in the 
Temple ; the scene is still before him and he puts it before us, although 
neither ' in the Temple' nor ' as He taught' is needed for the narrative 
(see V. 14). 

Ye both know me, &c.] Various constructions have been put upon 
this: (i) that it is a question; (2) that it is ironical; (3) a mixture of 
the two; (4) a reproach, i.e. that they knew His Divine nature and 
maliciously concealed it. None of these are satisfactory. The words 
are best understood quite simply and literally. Christ admits the 
truth of what they say : they have an outward knowledge of Him and 
His origin (vi. 42) ; but He has an inner and higher origin, of which 
they know nothing. So that even their self-made test, for the sake of 
which they are willing to resist the evidence both of Scripture and of 
His works, is complied with; for they know not His real immediate 

atid I am not come 0/ myself] ' Of Myself is emphatic ; and (yet) of 
Myself I am not come. Comp. viii. 42. The 'and' introduces a con- 
trast, as so often in S. John : ' ye know My person, and ye know My 
parentage; and yet of the chief thing of all. My Divine mission, ye 
know nothing. See on v. 30. 

but he that sent me is true] The word for 'true' here is the same as 
occurs i. 9 in 'the true Light' (see note there): the meaning, there- 
fore, is not 'truthful' but 'real, perfect;' He that sendtth Me is a real 
sender. One who in the highest and most perfect sense can give a mis- 

w. 30—32.] S. JOHN, VII. 169 

for I am from him, and he hath sent me. Then they 30 
sought to take him : but no man laid hands on him, 
because his hour was not yet come. And many of the 31 
people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will 
he do moe miracles than these which this man hath done ? 
The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things 32 
concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests 

sion. But perhaps here and in Rev. iii. 7 and xix. 1 1 the distinction 
between the two words for 'true' is not very marked. Such refine- 
ments (the words being alike except in termination) have a tendency to 
become obscured. 

29. / know hii)i\ ' I ' in emphatic contrast to the preceding ' ye,' 
which is also emphatic. 'I know Him, for I came forth from Him, 
and it is He, and no other, that sent Me.' ' Sent' is aorist, not perfect. 
Comp. the very remarkable passage Matt. xi. 27. 

30. Then they sought] Better, Therefore they kept seeking (im- 
perfect of continued action) in consequence of His publicly claiming 
Divine origin and mission. 'They' means the rulers, the Sanhedrin; 
not the people, who are mentioned in the next verse. 

but no ma7i laid hands\ Rather, and no fiian laid hands, 'and' 
introducing a contrast as in v. 28. See on xxi. 3. That ' and' in 
S. John often = 'and yet,' as here, is most true; that 'and' ever^'but' 
is true neither of S. John nor of any other Greek writer. 

because his hour\ The hour appointed by God for His Passion (xiii. 
1 ), this meaning being clearly marked by the context (see on v. 6 and 
ii. 4). The immediate cause of their not seizing Him was that they 
were as yet afraid to do so ; but S. John passes through proximate 
causes to the prime cause of all, the Will of God. When the hour 
was come God no longer allowed their fear, which still existed (Matt, 
xxvi. 5), to deter them. 

31. A7id many of the people] Our version is somewhat perverse ; 
in V. 30 'and' is arbitrarily turned into 'but;' here 'but' is turned 
into 'and.' But (on the other hand, i.e. in contrast to the rulers) of 
the multitude many believed on Him (as the Messiah) and kept sasring 
(in answer to objectors), When the Christ (see on v. 27 and i. 20) 
covieth, -will He do more signs than this man did? They express not 
their own doubts but those of objectors in saying ' when the Christ 
cometh:' they believe that He has come. Some of them perhaps had 
witnessed the numerous Galilean miracles ; they have at any rate 
heard of them. 

32. heard that the people murmured such things] Better, heard the 
multitude muttering these things (see on z^. 12): it was not reported 
to them, they heard it themselves, and they went and reported it in the 
Sanhedrin, which gives an order for His apprehension. Note that in 
this the reckless hierarchy, who were mainly Sadducees, combine with 
the Pharisees (comp. v. 45, xi. 47, 57, xviii. 3>. 

lyo S. JOHN, VII. [vv. 33-35. 

33 sent officers to take him. Then said Jesus unto them, Yet 
a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that 

34 sent me. Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and 

35 where I am, thither ye cannot come. Then said the Jews 
among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not 
find him? will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, 

33. Then said yesus\ Better, as in v. 30 and often, Therefore said 
yesus, i.e. in consequence of their sending to arrest Him : probably He 
recognised the officers waiting for an opportunity to take Him. Ac- 
cording to the best MSS., 'Unto them' should be omitted: Christ's 
words are addressed to the officers and those who sent them. 

It is very difficult to decide on the precise meaning of Christ's words. 
Perhaps the simplest interpretation is the best. ' I must remain on 
earth a little while longer, and during this time ye cannot kill Me : 
then ye will succeed, and I shall go to My Father. Thither ye will 
wish to come, but ye cannot ; for ye know Him not [v. 28), and such 
as ye cannot enter there.' This is the first formal attempt upon His 
life. It reminds Him that His death is not far off, and that it will 
place a tremendous barrier between Him and those who compass it. 
It is the beginning of the end ; an end that will bring a short-lived 
loss and eternal triumph to Him, a short-lived triumph and eternal 
loss to them. 

unto him that sent me] One suspects that here S. John is translat- 
ing Christ's words into plainer language than He actually used. Had 
He said thus clearly 'unto Him that sent Me,' a phrase which they 
elsewhere undei-stand at once of God (see on v. 30), they could scarcely 
have asked the questions which follow in v. 35. Unless we are to 
suppose that they here pretend not to understand; which is unlikely, 
as they speak not to Him but ' among themselves.' 

34. Ye shall seek me] From xiii. 33 it seems almost certain that 
these words are not to be understood of seeking His life: rather of 
seeking for help at His hands. Comp. viii. 21. It is best, however, 
not to limit their application to any particular occasion, such as the 
destruction of Jerusalem, the great hour of Jewish need. 

where I am, thither ye cannot come] ' Thither' is not in the Greek 
and is perhaps better omitted, so as to bring out the emphatic oppo- 
sition between ' I ' and ' ye. ' 

35. Then said the Jews] The Je^vs therefore said, i.e. in con- 
sequence of what Christ had said, shewing that it is to the official 
representatives of the nation that His words are addressed. 

Whither will he go, &c. ] Better, Where does this fellow intend to 
go, seeing that ive shall not find Him? Does He intend to go unto 
the dispersion among the Gentiles, &c. 

the dispersed] Or, the dispersion, meaning those Jews who were 
dispersed among the heathen outside Palestine; the abstract for the 
concrete, like ' ihe circumcision ' for the Jews generally. The word 
for 'dispersion' (diaspora), occurs James i. i and i Pet. i. i (see 

vv. 36, 37-] S. JOHN, VII. 171 

and teach the Gentiles ? What manner of saying is this 36 
that he said, Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me : and 
where I am, thither ye cannot come ? 

In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood 37 
and cried, saying, If any 7nan thirst, let him come unto me, 

notes there), and nowhere else in N.T. There were three chief 
colonies of these ' dispersed ' or ' scattered ' Jews, in Babylonia, Egypt, 
and Syria, whence they spread over the whole world. ' Moses of old 
time hath in every city them that preach him,' Acts xv. 21. These 
opponents of Christ, therefore, suggest that He means to go to the 
Jews scattered among the Gentiles in order to reach the Gentiles and 
teach them — the very mode of proceeding afterwards adopted by the 
Apostles. But here it is spoken in sarcasm. Christ's utter disregard 
of Jewish exclusiveness and apparent non-observance of the ceremonial 
law gave a handle to the sneer ; which would be pointless if the word 
translated 'Gentiles' (margin 'Greeks') were rendered 'Hellenists,' 
i. e. Grecised Jews. Hellenes, or ' Greeks,' in N. T. always means 
Gentiles or heathen. See on xii. 20. 

36. What majtner of saying is this'] Or, What is this saying? 
'this' being contemptuous, like 'this precious saying.' They know 
that their scornful suggestion is not true. 

37. In the last day, that great day] Now on the last day, the 
great day. This was probably not the seventh day, but the eighth 
day, which according to Lev. xxiii. 36, 39; Num. xxix. 35; Neh. 
viii. 18, was reckoned along with the seven days of the feast proper. 
To speak of the seventh day as 'the great day of the feast' would not 
be very appropriate; whereas the eighth day on which the people 
returned home was, like the first day, kept as a Sabbath (Lev. xxiii. 
39), and had special sacrifices (Num. xxix. 36 — 38). In keeping with 
the solemnity of the day Christ solemnly takes up His position and 
cries aloud with deep emotion (see on v. 28). 

stood] Or, was standing. 

If any man thirst] The conjectural reference to the custom of 
pouring water at the Feast of Tabernacles is probably correct. On 
all seven days water was brought from the pool of Siloam and poured 
into a silver basin on the western side of the altar of burnt offering, 
a ceremony not mentioned in O.T. Apparently this was not done 
on the eighth day. Accordingly Christ comes forward and fills the 
gap, directing them to a better water than that of Siloam. The fact 
that the water was poured and not drunk, does not seem to be a 
reason for denying the reference, especially when we remember how 
frequently Christ took an external fact as a text (comp. iv. 10, v. 17, 
19, vi. 26, 27, (viii. 12?) ix. 39, xiii. 8, 10, 12—17; Mark x. 15, 16, 23, 
24, &c.). The pouring of the water would be suggestive enough. In 
such cases there is no need for the analogy to be complete, and in the 
present case it would add point to the reference that it was not com- 
plete. Mere pouring of water could not quench even bodily thirst; 

172 S. JOHN, VII. [vv. 38— 40. 

38 and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath 

39 said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But 
this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him 
should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; 
because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) 

40 — 52. Opposite Results of the Discourse. 

40 Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, 

Christ could satisfy spiritual thirst. * Therefore with joy shall ye draw 
water out of the wells of salvation.' Isa. xii. 3. 

38. as the scripture hath said'\ This phrase undoubtedly refers to 
the words that follow : but inasmuch as no such text is found in 
Scripture, some have tried to force the phrase into connexion with 
what precedes, as if the meaning were 'He that believeth on me in 
the way that Scripture prescribes.' Although the exact words are not 
found in Scripture there are various texts of similar import : Isa. xliv. 
3, Iviii. 11; Zech. xiii. i, xiv. 8, &c. But none of them contain the 
very remarkable expression ' out of his belly.' 

rivers of living watery In the Greek ' rivers ' stands first with strong 
emphasis ; rivers out of his belly shall flow, (rivers) of livifig water, 
in marked contrast to the ewer of water poured each day during the 
Feast. ' He that believeth on me ' is of course a stage far in advance 
of 'if any one thirst.' A man may thirst for spiritual satisfaction, and 
yet not end in believing on Christ. But the believer cannot end in 
satisfying his own thirst; he at once becomes a fount whence others 
may derive refreshment. Whether he wills to be a teacher or no, the 
true Christian cannot fail to impart the spirit of Christianity to others. 

39. this spake he of the Spirii\ S. John's interpretation is to be 
accepted, whatever may be our theory of inspiration, (i) because no 
better interpreter of Christ's words ever lived, even among the Apostles ; 
(2) because it is the result of his own inmost experience. The principle 
of Christian activity has ever been the Spirit. He moves the waters, 
and they overflowed at Pentecost. Till then 'the Spirit was not yet;' 
the dispensation of the Spirit had not come. 

the Holy Ghost 7vas not yet given] Both 'the Holy' and 'given' 
are of doubtful authority : 'given ' is omitted by nearly all MSS. except 
the Vatican; it gives the right sense. Like 'Holy Spirit' in i. 33, 
'Spirit ' has no article and means a power of the Spirit. 

because that J esus was not yet glorified] Comp. xvi. 7; Ps. Ixviii. 18. 
The Spirit, "though given in His fulness to Christ Himself (iii. 34), 
and operating through Him in His people (vi. 63), was not, until 
after Christ's return to glory, to be given to the faithful as the Para- 
clete and representative of Christ for the carrying on of His work." 

40—52. Opposite Results of the Discourse. 

40. Many of the people, &c.] According to the best authorities ; 

w. 41—45.] S. JOHN, VII 173 

said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. Others said, This is the 41 
Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee ? 
Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed 42 
of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David 
was ? So there was a division among the people because 43 
of him. And some of them would have taken him ; but no 44 
man laid hands on him. 

Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; 45 

Of the multitude, therefore, some, when they heard these words, 
were saying, or, began to say. 

Of a t7-uth this is the Frophef] The Prophet of Deut. xviii. 15, 
whom some identified with the Messiah, others supposed would be the 
fore-runner of the Messiah. Here he is plainly distinguished from the 
Messiah. See on i. 21 and vi. 14. 

41. Others said. ..some saidi Both verbs, as in v. 40, are imperfects 
of repeated action ; kept saying, used to say. 

Shall Christ come out of Galilee'] We have here an instance how 
little attention our translators paid to the Greek article: in the same 
verse they translate the article in one place and ignore it in another. 
In the next verse they ignore it again. In all three places it should 
be 'the Christ' (see on i. 20). Why, doth the Christ come out of 
Galilee? It is quite inadmissible to infer, because S. John does not 
correct this mistake of supposing that Jesus came from Galilee, that he 
is either ignorant of the truth or indifferent to it. He knew that his 
readers would be well aware of the facts. On the other hand, could 
a Greek of the second century invent these discussions of the Jewish 
multitude ? 

42. of the seed of David] Ps. cxxxii. 11; Jer. xxiii. 5; Isa. xi. i, 10. 
out of the town of Bethlehem] Literally, from Bethlehem, the 

village 7vhere David was. Mic. v. 2 ; i Sam xvi. 

43. a division] Schis7na, whence our word ' schism.' It means a 
serious and possibly violent division: ix. 16, x. 19; i Cor. i. 10, 
xii. 25 ; comp. Acts xiv. 4, xxiii. 7. In N. T. it is never used in the 
modern sense of a separation j^(7/« the Church, but of parties in the 
Church. In the Synoptists it is used only in its original sense of 
physical severing; 'a worse rent is made;' Matt. ix. 16; Mark ii. 21. 

among the people] In the multitude. 

44. some of them] Some of the multitude, provoked by the con- 
troversy, would on their own responsibility have carried Him before the 
Sanhedrin. These 'some' are not the officers mentioned in the next 

45. Then came the officers] Better, Therefore came the officers, 
i.e. because neither they nor any of the multitude had ventured to 
arrest Him. Under the control of God's providence {v. 30), they had 
been unable to find any good opportunity for taking Him, and had 
been over-awed by the majesty of His words {v. 46). 


S. JOHN, VII. [vv. 46— 51. 

and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him ? 

46 The officers answered. Never man spake like this man. 

47 Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived ? 

48 Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? 

49 But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed, 
so Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by 
51 night, being one of them,) Doth our law judge any man, 

to the chief priests and Pharisees'] See on v. 32. It would seem as 
if the Sanhedrin had continued sitting, waiting for the return of its 
officers; an extraordinary proceeding on so great a day (see on v. 37), 
shewing the intensity of their hostility. Their question is quite in 
harmony with this. 

they said] The pronoun used (ekeinoi) indicates that they are 
regarded as alien or hostile to the narrator. 

Why hai e ye not brought] Why did ye not bring ? 

46. Never man spake like this matt] The reading is doubtful ; some 
of the best MSS. have Never man so spake. Possibly Christ said a 
good deal more than is recorded by S. John. 

47. the Pharisees] That portion of the Sanhedrin which was most 
jealous of orthodoxy, regarded both by themselves and others as models 
of correct belief: see next verse. For 'then' read therefore. 

Are ye also deceived] Strong emphasis on ' ye;' Surely ye also have 
not been led astray, ye, the officers of the Sanhedrin ! Comp. v. 12. 

48. What right have you to judge for yourselves, contrary to the 
declared opinion of the Sanhedrin and of the orthodox party? What 
right have you to wear our livery and dispute our resolutions? 

49. this people] Very contemptuous; this multitude of yours 
(comp. 35, 36), whose ignorant fancies you prefer to our deliberate 

who knoweth not the law] The form of negative used miplies cen- 
sure ; knoweth not when it ought to know. They ought to know that 
a sabbath-breaker cannot be the Messiah. 

are cursed] A mere outburst of theological fury. A formal excom- 
munication of the whole multitude by the Sanhedrin (comp. ix. 22) 
would be impossible. How could such a sentence be executed on the 
right individuals? It was reserved for a Christian hierarchy to invent 
the interdict. Excommunication eti masse was unknown to the Jews. 

50. he that came to Jesus by night] The better reading seems to be, 
he that came to Him before. See on iii. i, 2. His 'being one of 
them' contradicts what is implied in v. 48, that no member of the 
Sanhedrin believed on Him. 

61. Doth our laTu] 'Law' is emphatic. ' You condemn the mul- 
titude for not knowing the law ; but are we not forgetting the law in 
condemning a man unheard?' These learned theologians and lawyers 
were forgetting such plain and simple texts as Deut. i. 16, 17, xvii. 8, 
xix. 15; involving the most elementary principles of justice. 

V. 52.] S. JOHN, VII. 175 

before it hear him, and know what he doeth ? They sa 
answered and said unto him. Art thou also of GaUlee? 
Search, and look : for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet. 

any man, before it hear him'] Literally, the man (prosecuted) ex- 
cept it first liear from himself. 

52. Art thou also of Galilee?'] ' Surely thou dost not sympathize 
with Him as being a fellow-countryman?' They share the popular 
belief that Jesus was by birth a Galilean (v. 41). 

out of Galilee ariseth no prophet] Either their temper makes them 
forgetful, or in the heat of controversy they prefer a sweeping state- 
ment to a qualified one. Jonah of Gath-hepher (2 Kings xiv. 25) was 
certainly of Galilee ; Nahum of Elkosh may have been, but the situa- 
tion of Elkosh is uncertain; Hosca was of the northern kingdom, but 
whether of Galilee or not is unknown ; Abelmeholah, whence Elisha 
came, was in the north part of the Jordan valley, possibly in Galilee. 
Anyhow, their statement is only a slight and very natural exaggera- 
tion (comp. iv. V. 29). Judging from the past, Galilee was not very 
likely to produce a Prophet, much less the Messiah. 

Of the various questions which arise respecting the paragraph that 
follows (vii. 53 — viii. 11) one at least may be answered with something 
like certainty, — that it is no part of the Gospel of S. John, (i) In both 
tone and style it is very unlike his writings. His favourite words and 
expressions are wanting ; others that he rarely or never uses are found. 
(2) It breaks the course of the narrative, which runs smoothly enough 
if this paragraph be omitted; and hence a few of the MSS. whicli 
contain it place it at the end of the Gospel. (3) All the very serious 
amount of external evidence which tells against the passage being part 
of the Gospel narrative at all of course tells against its being by S. John, 
and in this respect is not counterbalanced by other considerations. 
So that the internal and external evidence when put together is over- 
whelmingly against the paragraph being part of the Fourth Gospel. 

With regard to the question whether the section is a genuine portion 
of the Gospel history, the internal evidence is wholly in favour of its 
being so, while the balance of external testimony is decidedly on the 
same side, (i) The style is similar to the Synoptic Gospels, espe- 
cially to S. Luke; and four inferior MSS. insert the passage at the end 
of Luke xxi., the place in the history into which it fits best. (2) It 
bears the impress of truth and is fully in harmony with Christ's conduct 
on other occasions ; yet it is quite original and cannot be a divergent 
account of any other incident in the Gospels. (3) It is easy to see 
how prudential reasons may in some cases have caused its omission 
(the fear of giving, as S. Augustine says, peccandi impunitatem mulier- 
ibus) ; difficult to see what, excepting its truth, can have caused its 
insertion. (4) Though it is found in no Greek MS. earlier than the 
sixth century, nor in the earliest versions, nor is quoted as by S. John 
until late in the fourth century, yet Jerome says that in his time it was 

176 S. JOHN, Vir. VIIT. [w. 53 ; 1,2. 

^g And every man went unto his own house. Jesus went 

2 unto the mount of OUves. And early in the morning he 

came again into the temple, and all the people came unto 

contained ' in many Greek and Latin MSS.' {Adv. Pelag. 11. 17), and 
these must have been as good as, or better than, the best MSS. which 
we now possess. 

The question as to who is the author, cannot be answered. There is 
not sufficient material for a satisfactory conjecture, and mere guesswork 
is worthless. The extraordinary number of various readings {80 in 
183 words) points to more than one source. 

One more question remains. How is it that nearly all the MSS. 
that do contain it (several uncials, including the Cambridge MS., and 
more than 300 cursives) agree in inserting it here? This cannot be 
answered with certainty. Similaiity of matter may have caused it to 
have been placed in the margin in one copy, and thence it may have 
passed, as other things have done, into the text of the Cambridge 
and other MSS. In chap. vii. we have an unsuccessful attempt to 
ruin Jesus: this paragraph contains the history of another attempt, 
equally unsuccessful. Or, the incident may have been inserted in the 
margin in illustration of viii. 15, and hence have got into the text. 

53. That this verse, as well as viii. i, 2, is omitted in most MSS. 
shews that prudential reasons cannot explain the omission of the para- 
graph in more than a limited number of cases. Some MSS. omit only 
viii. 3 — II. 

every man went unto his own house\ To what meeting this refers 
we cannot tell : of course not to the meeting of the Sanhedrin just 
recorded by S. John. It is unfortunate that the verse should have been 
left as the end of this chapter instead of beginning the next. 

Chap. VIII. 

1. the mount of Olives] S. John nowhere mentions the Mount of 
Olives (comp. xviii. i), and when he mentions a new place he com- 
monly adds an explanation: i. 44, iv. 5, v. 2, vi. i, xix. 13, 17. The 
phrase for 'went unto' is not found in S. John. Both occur in all 
three Synoptists. 

2. And early in the morning, &c.] Comp. Luke xxi. 37, 38; 'and 
in the day time He was teaching in the temple, and at night He went 
out and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives. And 
all the people came early in the morning to Him in the temple for to 
hear Him. The phrase for 'all the people' used by S. Luke is the 
phrase which occurs here : S. John never uses it. S. John uses the 
word for 'people' only twice; it occurs more than thirty times in 
S. Luke, and more than twenty times in the Acts. The word for 
'came early' is a verb derived from the word for 'early' which occurs 
here: S. John uses neither. 

vv. 3—6.] S. JOHN, VIII. 177 

him ; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes 3 
and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; 
and when they had set her in the midst, they say unto him, 4 
Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 
Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be 5 
stoned : but what sayest thou ? This they said, tempting 6 
him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus 

sat dowii] To teach with authority. Comp. Matt. v. i, xxiii. 3; 
Mark ix. 35, 

3. the scribes and Pharisees'] This phrase is used thrice by S. Luke, 
once each by S. Matthew and S. Mark. S. John nowhere mentions 
the scribes: he speaks of the hierarchy as 'the chief priests' or 'rulers' 
with or without 'the Pharisees,' or else simply as 'the Jews.' Here 
we are probably not to understand an official deputation from the 
Sanhedrin: there is nothing to shew that the woman had been taken 
before the Sanhedrin before being brought to Christ. 

brought tmto him\ Literally, bring unto Him. The bringing her 
was a wanton outrage both on her and on all generous and modest 
spectators. She might have been detained while the case was referred 
to Christ. The statement 'in the very act' is another piece of brutal 
indelicacy; and the Greek verb, hath been taken, adds to this. 

5. Moses in the law] Of the two texts given in the margin of our 
Bible, Lev. xx. 10 and Deut. xxii. 22, probably neither is correct. It 
is often assumed that 'put to death' in Jewish Law means stoning: 
such however is not Jewish tradition. The Rabbis taught that it meant 
strangulation; i.e. the criminal was smothered in mud and then a cord 
was twisted round his neck. But for the case of a betrothed woman 
sinning in the city, stoning is specified as the punishment (Deut. xxii. 
23, 24), and this is probably what is indicated here. Such cases would 
be rare, and therefore all the better suited for a casuistical question. 

but -what sayest thou?] Better, What therefore j-£7jw/ Thou? This is 
the only place in the whole paragraph where S.John's favourite particle 
'therefore' occurs; and that not in the narrative, where S. John makes 
such frequent use of it, but in the dialogue, where he very rarely 
employs it. Scarcely anywhere in this Gospel can a dozen verses of 
narrative be found without a 'therefore;' but see ii. i — 17, and contrast 
iv. I — 26, XX. I — 9. 

6. tempting him] The Greek word for ' tempting' is frequent in the 
Synoptists of trying to place Christ in a difficulty; never so used in 
S. John, who, however, uses it once of Christ 'proving' Philip 
(vi. 6). 

that_ they might have to accuse him] This clause must be borne in 
mind in determining what the difficulty was in which they wished to 
place Him. It seems to exclude the supposition that they hoped to 
undermine His popularity, in case He should decide for the extreme 
rigour of the law; the people having become accustomed to a lax 
morality (Matt. xii. 39; Mark viii. 38). Probably the case is somewhat 
S. JOHN j2 

178 S. JOHN, VIII. [v. 7. 

stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as 

7 though he heard them not. So when they continued asking 

him, he hft up hhnseif, and said unto them. He that is 

without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 

parallel to the question about tribute, and they hoped to bring Him into 
collision either with the Law and Sanhednn or with the Roman Govern- 
ment. If He said she was not to be stoned, He contradicted Jewish 
Law; if He said she was to be stoned, He ran counter to Roman Law, 
for the Romans had deprived the Jews of the right to inflict capital 
punishment (xviii. 31). The Sanhedrin might of course pronounce 
sentence of death (Matt. xxvi. 66; Mark xiv. 64; comp. John xix. 7), 
but it rested with the Roman governor whether he would allow the 
sentence to be carried out or not (xix. 16): see on xviii. 31 and 
xix. 6. 

stooped dowft, and with his finger wrote on the ground'] It is said that 
this gesture was a recognised sign of unwillingness to attend to what was 
being said; a call for a change of subject. McClellan quotes Plut. Ii. 
532: 'Without uttering a syllable, by merely raising the eyebrows, or 
stooping down, ox fixing the eyes npoti the ground, you may baffle un- 
reasonable importunities.' 'Wrote' should perhaps be ' kept writing^ 
(comp. vii. 40, 41), or 'began to write, made as though He would write' 
(comp. Luke i. 59). Either rendering would agree with this interpreta- 
tion, which our translators have insisted on as certain by inserting the 
gloss (not found in any earlier English Version), 'as though He heard 
them not.' But it is just possible that by writing on the stone pave- 
ment of the Temple He wished to remind them of the ' tables of stone, 
written with the finger of God' (Ex. xxxi. 18; Deut. ix. 10). They 
were hoping that He would explain away the seventh commandment, 
in order that they themselves might break the sixth. 

7. they continued asking] They will not take the hint, whatever 
His gesture meant. 

without sin] The Greek word occurs nowhere else in N.T., but it is 
quite classical: it may mean either 'free from the possibility of sin, 
impeccable ;^ or 'free from actual sin, sinless:' if the latter, it may mean 
either 'free from sin in general, ^/7//^j^;' or 'free from a particular sin, 
not guilty.^ The context shews that the last is the meaning here, 'free 
from the sin of impurity:' comp. '«« no more,' v. 11, and 'sinner,' 
Luke vii. 37, 39. The practical maxim involved in Christ's words is 
that of Matt. vii. i — 5 ; Rom. xiv. 4. As to its application to them 
comp. Matt. xii. 39; Mark viii. 38. He is contending not against 
punishment being inflicted by human law, but against men taking the 
law into their own hands. 

a stone] Rather, the stotte, according to the Received Text and some 
MSS.; i.e. the stone required for executing the sentence. Others take 
it of theyfrj/ stone, which the witnesses were to throw (Deut. xvii. 7). 
But Christ does not say 'let him cast \\i^ first stone,' but 'let him bcfirsi 
of you to cast the stone.' 

w. 8— II.] S. JOHN, VIII. 179 

And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground, s 
And they which heard it, being convicted by their own 9 
conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, 
even unto the last : and Jesus was left alone, and the woman 
standing in the midst. When Jesus had lift up himself, 10 
and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, 
where are those thine accusers ? hath no man condemned 
thee ? She said, No man. Lord. And Jesus said unto her, n 
Neither do I condemn thee : go, and sin no more. 

8. again he stooped dowit\ He again declines to have the office of 
judge thrust upon Him. The Reader of men's hearts knew how His 
challenge must work : no one would respond to it. 

a7td wrote on the ground^ A Venetian MS. ascribed to the tenth 
centuiy has the remarkable reading 'wrote on the ground the sins of 
each one of them.' The same strange idea appears in Jerome, shewing 
how soon men began to speculate as to what He wrote. Others sup- 
pose that He wrote His answer in v. 7. As has been shewn {v. 6), it 
is not certain that He wrote anything. 

9. being convicted by their own conscience'] These words are probably 
a gloss added by some copyist, like 'as though He heard them not,' 
added by our translators (v. 6). 

beginning at the eldest] Literally, beginning at the elders: but it 
means the elders in years, not the Elders ; so that our translators have 
done well to avoid a literal rendering which would have been mislead- 
ing. Meyer suggests that the oldest would be shrewd enough to slip 
away at once without compromising themselves further ; certainly they 
would have the largest experience of life and its temptations. 

was left alone] Not that there were no witnesses, but that they had 
withdrawn to a distance. The graphic precision of this verse indicates 
the account of an eyewitness. 

standing in the midst] Literally, being in the midst, where the 
brutality of her accusers had placed her {v. 3). 

10. none but the wo/nan] The word for 'but' or 'except' occurs 
nowhere in S. John's writings excepting Rev. ii. 25; frequently in 
S. Luke, five times in S. Matthew, five times in S. Paul's Epistles, 
once in S. Mark, and nowhere else. 

hath no ;«a« condemned thee?] Literally, Did no man condemn thee? 
But here the English perfect may idiomatically represent the Greek 
aorist : see on v. 29. The word for 'condemn' is a compound not found 
anywhere in S. John's WTitings, but occurring nine times in the Synop- 
tists._ S. John uses the simple verb, which means 'judge,' but often 
acquires the notion of judging unfavourably from the context (see on 
iii. 17 and v. 29). 

11. No man. Lord] We must bear in mind that 'Lord' may be too 
strong a translation of the Greek word, which need not mean more than 
'Sir' (see on vi. 34). But as we have no such ambiguous word in 
English, 'Lord' is best. 

12 — 2 

i8o S. JOHN, VIII. [v. 12. 

VIII. 12 — IX. 41. Christ the Source of Truth and Light 


Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the 
light of the world : he that foUoweth me shall not walk in 

Neither do I condemn thee\ He maintains in tenderness towards her 
the attitude which He had assumed in sternness towards her accusers: 
He declines the office of judge. He came not to condemn, but to seek 
and to save. And yet He did condemn, as S. Augustine remarks, not 
the woman, but the sin. With regard to the woman, though He does 
not condemn, yet He does not pardon : He does not say 'thy sins have 
been forgiven thee' (Matt. ix. ■2; Luke vii. 48), or even 'go in peace' 
(Luke vii. 50, viii. 48). "We must not apply in all cases a sentence, 
which requires His Divine knowledge to make it a just one" (Alford). 
He knew whether she was penitent or not. 

go, and sin no more'] Or, go and continue no longer in sin. The 
contrast befween the mere negative declaration and the very positive 
exhortation is striking. See on v. 14. 

VIII. 12— IX. 41. Christ the Source of Truth and Light 


In viii. 12 — 46 the word 'true' occurs six times, the word 'truth' 
seven times. 

12. Then spake Jesus again unto them] The paragraph vii. 53 
— viii. 1 1 being omitted, these words must be connected with vii. 52. 
The officers have made their report to the Sanhedrin, leaving Jesus 
unmolested. After an interval He continues His discourse : again, 
therefore, Jesus spake unto them, i.e. because the attempt to interfere 
with Him had failed. How long the interval was we do not know, 
but probably the evening of the same day. 

I am the light 0/ the world] Once more we have a possible reference 
to the ceremonies of the Feast of Tabernacles, somewhat less probable 
than the other (see on vii. 37), but not improbable. Large candelabra 
were lighted in the Court of the Women on the evening of the first 
day of the Feast, and these flung their light over the whole city. 
Authorities differ as to whether this illumination was repeated, but 
all are agreed that it did not take place on the last evening. Here, 
therefore, there was once more a gap, which Christ Himself may 
have designed to fill; and while the multitude were missing the 
festal light of the great lamps, He declares, 'I am the Light of the 
world.' In the case of the water we know that it was poured on each 
of the seven days, and that Christ spoke the probable reference to 
it on the last day of the Feast. But in this case the illumination 
took place possibly on the first night only, and Christ certainly did 
not utter this possible reference to it until the last day of the Feast, 
or perhaps not until the Feast was all over. But the fact that the 
words were spoken in the Court of the Womon (see on v. 20) makes 
the reference not improbable. 

vv. 13—15.] S. JOHN, VIII. 181 

darkness, but shall have the light of life. The Pharisees 13 
therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; 
thy record is not true. Jesus answered and said unto them, 14 
Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true : for 
I know whence I came, and whither I go ; but ye cannot 
tell whence I come, and whither I go. Ye judge after the 15 

he that followeth me] This expression also is in favour of the refer- 
ence. The illumination in the Court of the Women commemorated the 
pillar of fire which led the Israelites through the wilderness, as the 
pouring of the water of Siloam commemorated the water flowing 
from the Rock. ' The Lord went before them by day in a pillar of 
a cloud to lead them the way ; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give 
them light'' (Exod. xiii. 21). So Christ here declares that those who 
follow Him shall in no wise walk in darkness. The negative is very 
strong. This use of 'darkness' for moral evil is peculiar to S. John: 
see on i. 5, where (as here) we have light and life (jj. 4) closely con- 
nected, while darkness is opposed to both. 

shall have the light of life] Not merely with him but in him, so 
that he also becomes a source of light. See on vii. 38, and comp. 
'Ye are the light of the world,' Matt. v. 14. 

13. Thou bearest record] Our translators have again been some- 
what capricious. The words which in verses 13 and 14 they render 
'record' and 'bear record, ' they render in verses 17 and 18 'witness' 
and 'bear witness.' The latter rendering is to be preferred. The 
Pharisees attempt to cancel the effect of Christ's impressive declaration 
by urging against Him a formal objection, the validity of which He 
had been heard to admit (v. 31): Thou bearest witness of Thyself; 
Thy witness is not true. 

14. Though I bear record] Better, even if / bear witness. God 
can testify respecting Himself, and there are truths to which He alone 
can testify. Yet He condescends to conform to the standard of human 
testimony, and adds to His witness the words and works of His 
incarnate Son ; who in like manner can bear witness of Himself, being 
supported by the witness of the Father (v. 16). 

and whither I go] i.e. by Death and Ascension. 

but ye cannot tell] Better, Bict ye know not. They knew neither 
of these points respecting themselves ; how should they know it re- 
specting Him? Man knows not either the origin or the issue of his 
life. ' Ye ' is emphatic. 

whence I came, and whither I go] For ' and ' read or with the best 
MSS. Note the change from 'came,' which refers to the Incarnation. 
His having once come from the Father, to ' come,' which refers to 
His perpetual presence with mankind. Note also the balanced pa- 
rallelism of the verse and comp. w. 35, 38, vii. 6. 

15. Ye judge after the flesh] According to His outward form, the 
form of a servant: comp. vii. 24. From the context 'judge' here 
acquires an adverse sense, and virtually means ' condemn :' comp. 

i82 S. JOHN, VIII. [vv. 16—19. 

16 flesh ; I judge no fnan. And yet if I judge, my judgment 
is true : for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent 

17 me. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of 

18 two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, 

19 and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. Then 
said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered. 
Ye neither know me, nor my Father : if ye had known me, 

iii. 17, 18, vii. 51. Judging Him to be a mere man they had con- 
demned His testimony respecting Himself as invalid. ' Ye ' and ' I ' 
are in emphatic opposition. 

I judge fto man] Neither 'after the flesh,' nor 'as ye do,' nor 
anything else is to be supplied. No such addition can be made ir. 
V. 16, and therefore cannot be made here. The words are best taken 
quite simply and literally. ' My mission is not to condemn, but to 
save and to bless.' Comp. xii. 47. 

16. And yet if I judge] Or, But even if I jtidge, like 'even if I 
bear vi'itness' (f. 14). 'I judge no man; not because I have no 
authority, but because judging is not what I canie to do. Even if 
I do in exceptional cases judge, My judgment is a genuine and autho- 
ritative one (see on i. 9), not the mock sentence of an impostor. It 
is the sentence not of a mere man, nor even of one with a Divine 
commission yet acting independently ; but of One sent by God acting 
in union with His Sender.' Comp. v. 30. 

17. // is also -written in your laiu] Literally, But in the law also, 
your law, it is written. ' Your ' is very emphatic ; ' the Law about 
which you profess to be so jealous.' Comp. 'Thou art called a Jew, 
and restest on the Law' (Rom. ii. 17). 

t/ie testimony of tivo men is true] Better, the witness of tivo, &c. 
Not so much a quotation as a reference to Deut. xix. 15, xvii. 6. 
Note that the Law speaks of 'two or three witnesses:'' here we have 
' two ;«^«.' The change is not accidental, but introduces an argument 
a fortiori : if the testimony of two men is true, how much more the 
testimony of two Divine Witnesses. Comp. ' If we receive the witness 
of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God 
which He hath testified of His Son' (i John v. 9). 

18. / am one that bear witness of }?iyself] Or, It is I who bear 
witness of Myself (in My words and works), and there beareth witness 
of Me the Father, who sent Me (in Scripture and the voice from 

19. Then said they] They said therefore. 

IVhere is thy Father!] They do not ask 'who' but 'where;' they 
know well enough by this time the meaning of Christ's frequent 
reference to 'Him that sent me :' v. ■23, 24, 30, 37, 38, vi. 38, 39, 40, 
44, vii. 16, 18, 28, 33. They ask, therefore, in mockery, what Philip 
(xiv. 8) asks with earnest longing, ^ Shew us the Father: we see one 
of Thy two witnesses; shew us the other.' 

if ye had known me, &€.] Better, /f ye knew Me, ye would know, 

vv. 20—22.] S. JOHN, VIII. 183 

ye should have known my Father also. These words spake 20 
Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple : and no 
ma7i laid hands on him ; for his hour was not yet come. 

Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye 21 
shall seek me, and shall die in your sins : whither I go, ye 
cannot come. Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself.? 22 

&c. (There is a similar error v. 46). It is in the Son that the 
Father reveals Himself. Comp. xiv. 9, xvi. 3 ; and for the construction 
comp. V. 42. 

20. in the treasnry\ At the treasury is an admissible and in one 
respect safer translation. It is not certain that there was a separate 
building called the treasury ; and if there was, it is not probable that 
Christ would be able to address the multitude there. But the thirteen 
brazen chests, into which people put their offerings for the temple 
and other charitable objects, stood in the Court of the Women (see 
on Mark xii. 41), and these chests seem to have been called 'the 
treasury.' The point seems to be that in so public and frequented 
a place as this did He say all this, and yet no man laid hands on Him 
(see on vii. 30). Moreover the Hall Gazith, where the Sanhedrin 
met, was close to the Court of the Women ; so that He was teaching 
close to His enemies' head quarters. 

21. Then said Jesus again ttnto theml The name 'Jesus' should 
be omitted both here and in the preceding verse (see on vi. 14), and 
'then' should be therefore (see on vi. 45, 53, 68, vii. 15, 30, 33, 
35, 45). He said, therefore, again to them. The 'therefore' does not 
compel us to place what follows on the same day with what precedes ; 
' therefore ' merely signifies that, as no one laid hands on Him, He 
was able to address them again. ' Again ' shews that there is some 
interval, but whether of minutes, hours, or days, we have no means of 
determining. There is no distinct mark of time between vii. 37 (the 
close of the Feast of Tabernacles) and x. 22 (the Feast of the Dedi- 
cation), an interval of two months. See introductory note to chap. vi. 

/ go my way] There is no ' my way ' in the Greek ; the word is the 
same as for 'I go' in v. 14 and vii. 33; but to avoid abruptness we may 
render, /go away. Possibly in all three passages there is a side refer- 
ence to the Jews who were now leaving Jerusalem in great numbers, the 
Feast of Tabernacles being over. 

shall seek me] See on vii. 33, 34. Here Christ is more explicit; He 
does not say 'shall not find Me,' but 'shall die in your sin.' So far 
from finding Him and being delivered by Him, they will perish most 
miserably. Tnyoiirsiti shall ye die. ' Sin' is emphatic, and is singular, 
not plural, meaning 'state of sin.' 

22. Will he kill himself?] They see that He speaks of a voluntary 
departure, and perhaps they suspect that He alludes to His death. So 
with sarcasm still more bitter than the sneer in vii. 35 they exclaim 
'Surely He does not mean to commit suicide? We certainly shall not 
be able to follow Him if He takes refuge in that !' 

i84 S. JOHN, VIII. [vv. 23—25. 

■Ai l^ecause he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come. And he 
said unto them, Ye are from beneath ; I am from above : 

24 ye are of this world ; I am not of this world. I said there- 
fore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins : for if ye 

25 believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. Then 
said they unto him. Who art thou ? And Jesus saith unto 
them, Even the same that I said unto you from the begin- 

23. Ye are from heneat/i] At first sight it might seem as if this 
meant 'ye are from hell.' Christ uses strong language later on {v. 44), 
and this interpretation would make good sense with what precedes. 
'Ye suggest that I am going to hell by self-destruction: it is ye who 
come from thence.' But what follows forbids this. The two halves of 
the verse are manifestly equivalent, and 'ye are from beneath '= 'ye are 
of this world.' The pronouns throughout are emphatically opposed. 
The whole verse is a good instance of 'the spirit of parallelism, the in- 
forming po'ver of Hebrew poetry,' which runs more or less through the 
whole Gospel. Comp. xiv. 27. 

24. ye shall die in your sii;s~\ Here 'die' is emphatic, not 'sin ' as 
in V. 21. Moreover the plural is here correct; it is no longer the state 
of sin generally, but the separate sins of each that are spoken of. 
Before it was 'in your sin shall ye die;' here it is 'ye shall die in your 

for if ye believe nol] This is the only way in which they can be de- 
livered — faith in Him. Comp. i. 12, iii. 15 — 18, vi. 40. 

(Aat I aju he\ Better, that I am. It not merely means 'that I am 
the Messiah,' but is the great name, which every Jew at once under- 
stood, I AM. Comp. vv. 28, 58, xiii. 19, xviii. 5; Ex. iii. 14; Deut. 
xxxii. 39; Isa. xliii. 10. 

26. Then said the)'] They said XyiereioxQ. 

Who art thou .?] It is incredible that the Jews can have failed to 
understand. Christ had just declared that He was from above, and not 
of this world. Even if the words 'I am ' were ambiguous in themselves, 
in this context they are plain enough. As in v. 19, they pretend not to 
understand, and contemptuously ask. Thou, who art Thou? The pro- 
noun is scornfully emphatic. Comp. Acts xix. 15. Possibly both in 
V. 19 and here they wish to draw from Him something more definite, 
more capal)le of being stated in a formal charge against Him. 

Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning] This is a 
passage of well-known difficulty, and the meaning will probably always 
remain uncertain, (i) It is doubtful whether it is a question or not. 
(2) Of the six or seven Greek words all excepting the word meaning 'unto 
you' can have more than one meaning. (3) There is a doubt whether 
we have six or seven Greek words. To discuss all the possible render- 
ings would go beyond the scope of this volume. What I from the 
beginning am also speaking to you of is perhaps as likely as any transla- 
tion to be right. And it matters little whether it be made interrogative 
or not. Either, ' Do you ask that of which I have been speaking to you 

vv. 26—29.] S. JOHN, VIII. 185 

ning, I have many thmgs to say and to judge of you : 26 
but he that sent me is true ; and I speak to the world those 
things which I have heard of him. They understood not 27 
that he spake to them of the Father. Then said Jesus unto 28 
them, When ye have Hft up the Son of man, then shall ye 
know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but 
as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And 29 

from the first?', in which case it is not unlike Christ's reply to Phil!]) 
(xiv. 9); or, 'I am that of which I have been speaking to you all 
along. ' 

26. Here again we have a series of simple sentences, the precise 
meaning of which and their connexion with one another cannot be de- 
termined with certainty. See on vii. 33. The following seems to be 
the drift of the verse: 'I have very much to speak concerning you, very 
much to blame. But I keep to My immediate task of speaking to the 
world those truths which before the world was I heard from God that 
cannot lie. Who sent Me:' i.e. Christ will not desist from teaching 
Divine truth in order to blame the Jews. It is as the Truth and the 
Light that He appears in these discourses. 

ivhich I have hea7-d of Jiinil Better, what I heard from Him, these 
things I speak unto the world, i.e. precisely these and nothing else. 
Comp. V. 39. 

27. They understood not that he spake] Better, they perceived not 
that He was speaking. This statement of the Evangelist has seemed 
to some so unaccountable after v. 18, that they have attempted to make 
his words mean something else. But the meaning of the words is quite 
unambiguous, and is not incredible. We have seen that there is an 
interval, possibly of days, between v. 20 and v. 21. The audience may 
have changed very considerably ; but if not, experience shews that the 
ignorance and stupidity of unbelief are sometimes almost unbounded. 
Still we may admit that the dulness exhibited here is extraordinary; 
and it is precisely because it is so extraordinary that St John records 

28. Then said yesus unto theni\ Better, as so often (see on z/. 21), 
Therefore said Jesus, i. e. in consequence of their gross want of percep- 
tion. ' Unto them ' is of doubtful authority. 

When ye have lifted up\ On the Cross: comp. iii. 14 and xii. 32. 
The Crucifixion was the act of the Jews, as Peter tells them in Solomon's 
Porch (Acts iii. 13 — 15). 

then shall ye kjiow] Better, then shall ye perceive. It is the same 
verb as is used in v. 27, and evidently refers back to that (comp. v. 43). 
Had they known the Messiah they would have known His Father also 
(xiv. 9). But when by crucifying Him they have brought about His 
glory, then and not till then will their eyes be opened. Then will facts 
force upon them what no words could teach them. Comp. xii. 32. 

that I am he] See on v. 24. 

dut as my Father hath taught me] Better, dut that as My Father 

i86 S. JOHN, VIII. [vv. 30, 31. 

he that sent me is with me : the Father hath not left me 

30 alone ; for I do always those thmgs that please him. As 
he spake these words, many believed on him. 

31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, 

taught Me, i.e. before the Incarnation ; aorist, not perfect, like 'heard' 
in V. -26. The construction depending on 'then shall ye understand' 
continues to the end of this verse, and possibly down to 'is with Me ' 

29. the Father hath ttot left me alone^ Here again we have an 
aorist, not a perfect; 'He left Ale not alone'' ('the Father' being omitted 
in the best MSS.). It will depend on the interpretation whether the 
aorist or perfect is to be used in English. If it refers to God sending the 
Messiah into the world, then we must keep the aorist; He left. But if 
it refers to Christ's experience in each particular case, the perfect may 
be substituted : He hath left. In some cases it is the idiom in English 
to use the perfect where the aorist is used in Greek, and then to translate 
the Greek aorist by the English aorist would be misleading. See on 
xvi. 32. 

for T do always'] Or, because the things which are pleasing to Him 
I always do. 'I' and 'always' are emphatic; and 'always' literally 
means 'on every occasion,' which is somewhat in favour of the second 
interpretation in the preceding note. ' He hath never left me alone, 
because in every case I do what pleaseth Him.' The emphasis on 'I' 
is perhaps in mournful contrast to the Jews. In any case it is a distinct 
claim to Divinity. What blasphemous effrontery would such a declara- 
tion be in the mouth of any but the Incarnate Deity. The theory that 
Jesus was the noblest and holiest of teachers, but nothing more, shatters 
against such words as these. What saint or prophet ever dared to say, 
'The things which are pleasing to God I in every instance do?' Comp. 
V. 46. And if it be said, that perhaps Jesus never uttered these words, 
then it may also be said that perhaps He never uttered any of the words 
attributed to Him. We have the same authority for what is accepted 
as His as for what is rejected as not His. History becomes impossible 
if we are to admit evidence that we like, and refuse evidence that we 

30. many believed on him] Nothing exasperated His opponents so 
much as His success; and therefore in leading us on to the final cata- 
strophe, the Evangelist carefully notes the instances in which He won, 
though often only for a time, adherents and believers. See on vi. 15. 
Among these 'many' were some of the hierarchy {v. 51). Their faith, 
poor as it proves, is better than that of the many in ii. 23 ; belief that 
results from teaching is higher than that which results from miracles. 
Jesus recognises both its worth and its weakness, and applies a test, 
which might have raised it to something higher, but under which it 
breaks down. 

31. Then said Resits to those yews which believed on him"] Better, 
yesus said, therefore, to the ye^vs 7vho had believed Him. There is a 
change in the expression respecting their belief. In v. 30 S. John 

vv. 32—34.] S. JOHN, VIII. 187 

If ye continue in my word, the?i are ye my disciples indeed ; 
and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you 32 
free. They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and 33 
were never in bondage to any ma7i : how sayest thou, Ye 
shall be made free ? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, 34 
I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of 

uses the strong phrase 'believed on Him;' here he uses the much 
weaker 'believed Him' (see on i. 12), as if to prepare us for the col- 
lapse of their faith. 

If ye continue, &c.] Or, If ye abide in My zvord (see on i. 33), ye 
are triUy My disciples. Both 'ye' and 'My' are emphatic: 'you on 
your part'— 'the word that is Mine.' "The new converts, vv^ho come 
forward with a profession of faith, receive a word of encouragement as 
well as of warning. They were not to mistake a momentary impulse 
for a deliberate conviction." S. p. 155. ' If ye abide in My word, so 
that it becomes the permanent condition of your life, then are ye My 
disciples in truth, and not merely in appearance after being carried 
away for the moment.' 

32. the truth] Both Divine doctrine (xvii. 17) and Christ Himself 
(xiv. 6) 'whose service is perfect freedom.' See on xviii. 37. 

shall make you free] Free from the moral slavery of sin. Comp. 
the Stoics' dictum — ' The wise man alone is free.' 

33. They anstvered him] Or, unto Him, according to the best 
MSS. 'They' must mean 'the Jews who had believed Him' {v. 31) : 
it is quite arbitrary to suppose any one else. The severe words which 
follow (v. 44) are addressed to them, for turning back, after their mo- 
mentary belief, as well as to those who had never believed at all. 

Abraham's seed] Comp. 'kings of peoples shall be of her' (Sarah), 
and 'thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies' (Gen. xvii. 16, 
xxii. 17). On texts like these they build the proud belief that Jews 
have never yet been ?« bondage to any 7nan. But passion once more 
blinds them to historical facts (see on vii. 52). The bondage in Egypt, 
the oppressions in the times of the Judges, the captivity in Babylon, 
and the Roman yoke, are all forgotten. Some, who think such forget- 
fulness incredible, interpret 'we have never been lawfully in bondage.' 
' The Truth ' would not free them from enforced slavery. It might free 
them from voluntary slavery, by teaching them that it was unlawful 
for them to be slaves. ' But we know that already.' This, however, 
is somewhat subtle, and the more literal interpretation is not incredible. 
The power which the human mind possesses of keeping inconvenient 
facts out of sight is very considerable. In either case we have another 
instance of gross inability to perceive the spiritual meaning of Christ's 
words. Comp. iii. 4, iv. 15, vi. 34. 

34. Whosoever coi7imitteth sin is the servant of siti] Better, Every- 
oae who continues to commit sin is the bond-servant of sin. ' Com- 
mitteth sin' is too weak for the Greek: Christ does not say that a 
single act of sin enslaves. 'To commit (poiein) sin' is the opposite of 

i88 S. JOHN, VIII. [xv. 35—38. 

35 sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever : 

36 but the son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make 

37 you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are 
Abraham's seed ; but ye seek to kill me, because my word 

38 hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with 

'to do the Truth' (iii. 21). Again, 'servant,' though often a good 
translation where nothing degrading is implied, is not strong enough, 
where, as here, the degradation is the main point. Moreover, the 
connexion with z'. 33 must be kept up. Tlie words for 'bondage' and 
'servant' are cognate; therefore either 'bondage' and 'bond-servant,' 
or 'slavery' and 'slave,' must be our renderings. 

Some have thought that we have here an echo of Rom. vi. 16, which 
of course S. John may have seen. But why may not both passages be 
original? The idea that vice is slavery is common in all literature: 
frequent in the classics. 2 Pet. ii. 19 is probably an echo either of this 
passage or of Rom. vi. 16. Comp. Matt. vi. 24. 

35. And the servant, &c.] The transition is somewhat abnipt, the 
mention of 'bond-servant' suggesting a fresh thought. Now the bond- 
servant (not the bond-servant of sin, but any slave) abideth not in the 
house for ever: the son (not the Son of God, but any son) abideth for 
ever. " The thought is throughout profound and instructive ; and to a 
Jew, always ready to picture to himself the theocracy or the kingdom 
of heaven under the form of a household, it would be easily intelligible." 
S. p. 157. 

36. If the Son therefore, &c.] As before, any son is meant. ' If the 
son ema-ncipates you, your freedom is secured; for he is always on the 
spot to see that his emancipation is carried out.' The statement is 
general, but of course with special reference to the Son of God. If 
they will abide in His word {v. 31), He will abide in them (vi. 56), 
and will take care that the bondage from which His word has freed 
them is not thrust upon them again. 

shall be free indeed"] Not the same word as is translated 'indeed' in 
t;. 31. 'Indeed' or 'in reality' may do here; 'in truth' or 'truly' in 
V. 31. Both words are opposed to mere appearance. 

37. Christ's words seem gradually to take a wider range. They 
are no longer addressed merely to those who for a moment had believed 
on Him, but to His opponents generally, whose ranks these short- 
lived believers had joined. 

Abraham^s seed] He admits their claim in their own narrow sense. 
They are the natural descendants of Abraham : his children in any 
higher sense they are not {v. 39). Comp. 'neither, because they are 
the seed of Abraham, are they all children' (Rom. ix. 8). 

hath no place in you] Rather, maketh no advance in you. His 
word had found place in them for a very short time; but it made no 
progress in their hearts: it did not abide in them and they did not 
abide in it (?'. 31). They had stifled it and cast it out. 

38. / speak, &c.] The text here is a little uncertain, but the fol- 

w. 39— 4I-] S. JOHN, VIII. 189 

my Father : and ye do that which ye have seen with your 
father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our 39 
father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's 
children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now 4c 
ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, 
which I have heard of God : this did not Abraham. Ye 4' 
do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We 

lowing seems to have most authority; / speak the tMngs wMch / 
have seen with {Afy) Father: ye also, therefore, do the things which 
ye heard from {your) father. ' I speak those truths of which I have 
had direct Icnowledge from all eternity with the Father ; you, there- 
fore, following My relation to the Father, commit those sins which 
your father suggested to you.' Christ does not say who their father is; 
but he means that morally they are the children of the devil. _ The 
'therefore' (rare in discourses) is severely ironical. The connexion of 
V. 38 with V. 37 is not quite obvious. Perhaps it is this: — My words 
make no progress in you, because they are so different in origin and 
nature from your acts, especially your attempt to kill Me. It is pos- 
sible to take the latter half of the verse as an imperative ; and do ye 
therefore the things which ye heard from the Father. 

39. Abraham is our father^ They see that He means some other 
father than Abraham ; possibly they suspect His full meaning, soon to 
be expressed {v. 44). 

If ye were Abraham's children] The true reading seems to be, if ye 
are Abraham's childreji, which has been altered to ' if ye zvere' so as 
to run more smoothly with the second clause. But the reading of the 
second verb is also doubtful, and perhaps we should read, do (imper.) 
the works of Abraham. 

40. * On the contrary, 5'e seek to commit murder, and a murder of 
the most heinous kind. Ye would kill One who hath spoken unto 
you the truth, truth which He learnt from God.' 

a tna}i that hath told you] This pointed insertion of 'man' possibly 
looks forward to v. 44, where they are called the children of the great 
7nan-slayer, lusting like him for blood. The Lord nowhere else uses 
this term of Himself. 

this did not Abraham] A litotes or understatement of the truth. 
Abraham's life was utterly unlike the whole tenour of theirs. What 
could there be in common between 'the Friend of God' (Jas. ii. 23) and 
the enemies of God's Son? 

41. Ye do the deeds of your father] Better, Ye are doing the works 
of your father. The word here rendered 'deeds' is the same as that 
rendered 'works' in v. 39. 'Ye' is emphatic, in contrast to Abraham. 
This shews them plainly that spiritual parentage is what He means. In 
V. 39 they still cling to Abraham, although He has evidently assigned 
them some other father. Here they drop literal parentage and adopt 
His figurative language. 'You are speaking of spiritual parentage. 
Well, our spiritual Father is God.' 

19° S. JOHN, VIII. [vv. 42, 43. 

be not born of fornication ; we have one Father, eve7i God. 

42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would 
love me : for I proceeded forth and came from God ; 

43 neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not 
understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my 

We be not born offornication\ The meaning of this is very much dis- 
puted. The following are the chief explanations : (i) Thou hast denied 
that we are the children of Abraham, then we must be the children of 
some one sinning with Sarah: which is false.' But this would be 
adultery, not fornication. (2) 'We are the children of Sarah, not of 
Hagar.' But this was lawful concubinage, not fornication. (3) 'We 
are not a mongrel race, like the Samaritans; we are pure Jews.' This 
is far-fetched, and does not suit the context. (4) 'We were not born of 
fornication, as Thou art.' But His miraculous birth was not yet com- 
monly known, and this foul Jewish lie, perpetuated from the second 
century onwards (Origen, c. Celsum i. xxxii.), was not yet in exis- 
tence. (5) 'We were not born of spiritual fornication; our sonship has 
not been polluted with idolatry. If thou art speaking of spiritual 
parentage, 'we have one Father, even God.' This last seems the best. 
Idolatry is so constantly spoken of as whoredom and fornication through- 
out the whole of the O. T., that in a discussion about spintual father- 
hood this image would be perfectly natural in the mouth of a Jew. 
Exod. xxxiv. 15, 16; Lev. xvii. 7; Judg. ii. 17; 2 Kgs. ix. 22; Ps. 
Ixxiii. 27; Isa. i. 21; Jer. iii. i, 9; Ezek. xvi. 15; &c. &c. See esp. 
Hos. 11. 4. There is a proud emphasis on 'we;'— 'w^ are not idolaters, 
like Thy friends the Gentiles' (comp. vii. 35). 

we have one Father] Or, one Father we have, with emphasis on the 
'one,' in contrast to the many gods of the heathen. 

42. Moral proof that God is not their father; if they were God's 
children they would love His Son. Comp. xv. 23, and 'every one that 
loveth Him that begat loveth Him also that is begotten of Him' 
( I John V. i). For the construction comp. v. 19, v. 46, ix. 41, xv. 19, 
xiii. 36 : in all these cases we have imperfects, not aorists. Contrast 
iv. 10, xi. 21, 32, xiv. 28. 

I proceeded forth atid came from God] Rather, / came out (see on 
xvi. 28) from God and am here from God among you. Surely then 
God's true children would recognise and love Me. 

neither came I of myself] Rather, For not even of Myself have I 
come. The 'for' must on no account be omitted; it introduces a proof 
that He is come from God. ' For (not only have I not come from any 
other than God) I have not even come of My own self-determination.' 

43. my speech... my word] 'Speech' is the outward expression, the 
language used; 'thy speech bewrayeth thee' (Malt. xxvi. 73; comp. 
Mark xiv. 70). Besides these two passages the word for 'speech' is 
used only iv. 42, where it is rendered 'saying,' and here. 'Word' is the 
meaning of the expression, the teaching conveyed in the language used. 
They perpetually misunderstand His language, because they cannot 

V. 44-] S. JOHN, VIII. 191 

word. Ye are of yotir father the devil, and the lusts of 44 
your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the 
beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no 

appreciate His meaning. They are 'from beneath' {v. 23), and He is 
speaking of 'things above' (Col. iii. i); they are 'of this world,' and 
He is telling of 'heavenly things' (iii. 12); they are 'natural,' and He is 
teaching 'spiritual things' (i Cor. ii. 14; see note there). They 'caM- 
not hear ; ' it is a moral impossibility : they have their whole character 
to change before they can understand spiritual truths. 

44. Ye are of your father the devil\ At last Christ says plainly, what 
He has implied in w. 38 and 41. 'Ye' is emphatic; 'ye, who boast 
that ye have Abraham and God as your Father, ye are morally the 
Devil's children.' Comp. i John iii. 8, 10, which is perhaps an echo of 
Christ's words. 

This passage seems to be conclusive as to the real personal existence 
of the devil. It can scarcely be an economy, a concession to ordinary 
modes of thought and language. Would Christ have resorted to a 
popular delusion in a denunciation of such solemn and awful severity? 
Comp. 'the children of the wicked one' (Matt. xiii. 38); 'ye make him 
twofold more the child of hell than yourselves' (Matt, xxiii. 15). With 
this denunciation generally compare those contained in Matt. xi. 20 — 24, 
xxiii. 13 — 36. "It is likely that dialogues of this sort would be of not 
infrequent occurrence, especially just at this time when the conflict is 
reaching its climax. It is likely too that they would be of the nature of 
dialogues broken by impatient interruptions on the part of the Jews, 
and not always a continuous strain of denunciation as in Matt, xxiii." 
S. p. 159. 

A monstrous but grammatically possible translation of these words is 
adopted by some who attribute a Gnostic origin to this Gospel; — 'ye are 
descended from the father of the devil.' This Gnostic demonology, 
according to which the father of the devil is the God of the Jews, is 
utterly unscriptural, and does not suit the context here. 

and the lusts of your father ye will do\ Rather, ye will to do. See 
on vi. 67, vii. 17 ; and comp. v. 40. 'Ye love to gratify the lusts which 
characterize him, especially the lust for blood. Being his children, ye 
are like him in nature.' 

He was a murderer from the beginning] The word for 'murderer' 
etymologically means 'man-slayer,' and seems to connect this passage 
with V. 40 (see note there). The devil was a murderer by causing the 
Fall, and thus bringing death into the world. Comp. 'God created 
man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of His own eternity. 
Nevertheless, through envy of the devil came death into the world, and 
they that do hold of his side shall find it (Wisd. ii. 23, 24) : and 'Cain 
was of that wicked one and slew his brother:' and 'whosoever hateth 
his brother is a murderer' (i John iii. 12, 15). 

and abode not in the truth] Rather, and standeth not in the truth. 
The verb is not S. John's favourite word 'abide' (see on i. 33), but 

192 S. JOHN, VIII. [vv. 45-48. 

truth in him. When he speaketh a he, he speaketh of his 

45 own : for he is a Uar, and the father of it. And because I 

46 teU yoii the truth, ye beheve me not. Which of you con- 
vinceth me of sin ? And if I say the truth, why do ye not 

47 beheve me? He that is of God heareth God's words: ye 

48 therefore hear the7n not, because ye are not of God. Then 

(according to the common reading) the same that is used in i. 35, iii. ■29, 
vii. 37, &c. Though perfect in form it is present in meaning: therefore 
not 'hath stood,' still less 'stood' or 'abode,' but standeth. The true 
reading, however, is probably not hest^ken, but esteken, the imperfect of 
stekein (i. 26; Rom. xiv. 4), a stronger form of the verb; stood firm. 
Truth is a region from which the devil has long since departed. 

he speaketh of his ow?i] Literally, he speaketh out of his own ; out of 
his own resources, out of his own nature : the outcome is what might be 
expected from him. 

for he is a liar, and the father ofit'\ Better, toecause he is a liar and 
the fat he- thereof, i.e. father of the liar, rather than father of the lie 
(understood in liar). Here again a monstrous misinterpretation is gram- 
matically possible ; — 'for he is a liar, and his father also.' It is not strange 
that Gnostics of the second and third centuries should have tried to wring 
a sanction for their fantastic systems out of the writings of S. John. It is 
strange that any modern critics should have thought demonology so 
extravagant compatible with the theology of the Fourth Gospel. 

45. Atid because I tell you, &c.] Better, But because I speak the 
truth, ye do not believe 7)ie. 'Ye will listen to the devil [v. 38) ; ye will 
believe a lie: but the Messiah speaking the truth ye will not believe.' 
The tragic tone once more: comp. i. 5, 10, 11, ii. 24, iii. 10, 19, &c. 

46. Which ofyoticoiivincethme ofsin?} Or, convicteth Me of sin (see 
on iii. 20). Many rebuked Christ and laid sin to His charge: none brought 
sin home to His conscience. There is the majesty of Divinity in the chal- 
lenge. What mortal man would dare to make it? See on v. 29, and 
comp. xiv. 30, and xv. 10; i John iii. 5; i Pet. i. 19, ii. 22. Note 
the implied connexion between sin generally and falsehood, as between 
righteousness and truth, vii. 18. 

And if I say the tnith^ Better, If I say truth. No MSS. have the 
article, and the best MSS. omit the conjunction. ' If I am free from 
sin (and none of you can convict Me of sin), I am free from falsehood 
and speak the truth. Why then do ye on your part refuse to believe 
Me?' 'Ye' is emphatic. 

47. Christ answers His own question and at the same time gives a 
final disproof of their claim to call God their father {v. 41). 

heareth God^s words'] Christ here assumes, wliat He elsewhere 
maintains explicitly, that He speaks the words of God [v. 26, iii. 34, 
vii. 16, xvii. 8). 

ye therefore hear them not] Better, for this cause (xii. 18, 27) ye hear 
not. It is not S. John's favourite particle 'therefore,' but, as in 
V. 16, i8, vi. 65, vii. 22 (see notes there), a preposition and pronoun 

V. 49-1 S. JOHN, VIII. 193 

answered the Jews, and sai3 unto him. Say we not well 
that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus an- 49 
swered, I have not a devil ; but I honour my Father, and 

with which he not unfrequently begins a sentence to prepare the 
way for a ' because ' afterwards. These characteristics of his language 
should be preserved in English, and kept distinct, so far as is possible. 
In the First Epistle he uses the very same test as Christ here applies 
to the Jews; 'We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he 
that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth 
and the spirit of error' (iv. 6). 

48. Then answeird the Jews\ The best MSS. omit the particle, 
which if it were genuine should be rendered ' therefore,' not 'then:' 
The Jews answered. This denial of their national prerogative of being 
sons of God seems to them malicious frenzy. He must be an enemy of 
the peculiar people and be possessed. 

Say we not weir\ i.e. rightly: comp. iv. 17, xiii. 13, xviii. 23. 'We' 
is emphatic ; ' we at any rate are right.' 

that thou art a Samaritan^ " Nowhere else do we find the designa- 
tion 'a Samaritan;' yet it might naturally — we might say inevitably — 
be given to one who seemed to attack the exclusive privileges of the 
Jewish people." S. pp. 159, 160. It is therefore a striking touch of 
reality, and another instance of the Evangelist's complete familiarity 
with the ideas and expressions current in Palestine at this time. 
Possibly this term of reproach contains a sneer at His visit to Samaria 
in chap, iv., and at His having chosen the unusual route through 
Samaria, as Pie probably did (see on vii. 10), in coming up to the Feast 
of Tabernacles. The parable of the Good Samaritan was probably not 
yet spoken. 

and hast a devil'\ It is unfortunate that we have not two words in our 
Bible to distinguish diabolos, ' the Devil ' {v. 44, xiii. 2 ; Matt. iv. i ; 
Luke viii. 12 ; &c., &c. ), from daimonion or daimon, ' a devil,' or ' un- 
clean spirit.' 'Fiend,' which Wiclif sometimes employs (Matt. xii. 
24, 28; Mark i. 34, 39, &c.), might have been used, had Tyndale 
and Cranmer adopted it : demon would have been better still. But 
here Tyndale, Cranmer, and the Geneva Version make the confusion 
complete by rendering 'and hast the devil,' a mistake which they 
make also in vii. 20 and x. 20. The charge here is more bitter than 
either vii. 20 or x. 20, where it simply means that His conduct is 
so extraordinary that He must be demented. We have instances more 
similar to this in the Synoptists; Matt. ix. 34, xii. 24; Mark iii. 22; 
Luke xi. 15. 

49. / have not a devil\ He does not notice the charge of being a 
Samaritan. For Him it contained nothing offensive, for He knew that 
Samaritans might equal or excel Jews (iv. 39 — 42 ; Luke x. 33, xvii. 16) 
in faith, benevolence, and gratitude. There is an emphasis on ' I,' but 
the meaning of the emphasis is not ' / have not a demon, but ye have. ' 
Rather it means '/ have not a demon, but honour My Father; while 
you on the contrary dishonour My Father through Me.' 



194 > S. JOHN, VIII. [w. 50—53. 

so ye do dishonour me. And I seek not mine own glory : 

sx there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Verily, verily, I say 

unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see 

52 death. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that 
thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets ; 
and thou sayest. If a man keep my saying, he shall never 

53 taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, 

50. And I seek not mine own olory\ '&&i\.tr,'BvAIseeknotMyglory. 
 It is not because I seek glory for Myself that I speak of your dis- 
honouring Me : My Father seeks that for Me and pronounces judgment 
on you.' Comp. z/. 54 and V. 41. 

51. If a man keep my saying] Better, if a inan keep My word. 
This is important, to shew the connexion with verses 31 and 43 and also 
with V. 24. In all these the same Greek word is used, logos. The 
phrase ' keep My word ' is one of frequent occurrence in this Gospel : 
verses 52, 55, xiv. 23, xv. 20, xvii. 6: as also the kindred phrase ' keep 
My commandments:' xiv. 15, 21, xv. 10: comp. i John ii. 3, 4, 5, iii. 
•22, 24, V. 2, 3. 'Keeping' means not merely keeping in heart, but 
obeying and fulfilling. This is the way in which they may escape the 
judgment just spoken of. So that there is no need to suppose that 
while verses 49, 50 are addressed to His opponents, z/. 51 is addressed 
after a pause to a more friendly section, a change of which there is no 

shall never see deatJt] Literally, shall certainly not behold death for 
ever. But 'for ever' belongs, like the negative, to the verb, not to 
' death.' It does not mean ' he shall see death, but the death shall not 
be eternal:' rather 'he shall certainly never see death,' i.e. he already 
has eternal life (v. 24) and shall never lose it. This is evident from 
iv. 14, which cannot mean 'shall thirst, but the thirst shall not be 
eternal,' and from xiii. 8, which cannot mean ' shalt wash my feet, but 
the washing shall not be eternal.' In all three cases the meaning is the 
same, 'shall certainly never.' Comp. x. 28, xi. 26. 

52. Noiv we know that thou hast a devil] ' It was somewhat of 
a conjecture before, but now we recognise clear evidence of it.' 

Abraham is dead] Abrahafu died. Again they shew a gross want 
of perception and ' do not understand His speech ' {v. 43). They can- 
not discern a spiritual truth, but understand Him to be speaking 
of physical death. ' My saying ' should be ' My word ' as in w. 51. 

he shall never taste of death] In their excitement they exaggerate 
His language. The metaphor ' taste of death ' is not taken from a 
death-cup, but from the general idea of bitterness. It is frequent in the 

53. Art thou greater] Exactly parallel to iv. 12. 'Thou' is emphatic: 
'Surely Thou art not greater than our father Abraham, who died?— 
And the prophets died. An anacoluthon, like their exaggeration, very 
natural. Strictly the sentence should run, ' and than the prophets, who 

w. 54—57-] S. JOHN, VIII. 195 

which is dead ? and the prophets are dead : whom makest 
thou thyself? Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my 54 
honour is nothing : it is my Father that honoureth me ; of 
whom ye say, that he is your God : yet ye have not known 55 
him ; but I know him : and if I should say, I know him 
not, I shall be a liar like unto you : but I know him, and 
keep his saying. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my 56 
day : and he saw //, and was glad. Then said the Jews 57 

54 — 56. Christ first answers the insinuation that He is vain-glorious, 
implied in the question 'whom makest Thou Thyself?' Then He shews 
that He really is greater than Abraham. 

54. If I honotcr myself \ Better, If I shall have glorified Myself, 
My glory is nothing. It is not the same word as is rendered ' honour ' 
in V. 49, therefore another English word is desirable. There is My 
Father who glorifieth Me — in miracles and the Messianic work generally. 
Comp. V. 50. 

55. Yet ye have not known hi>n ; but I know him'\ Once more we 
have two different Greek words for ' know ' in close proximity, and the 
difference is obliterated in our version (comp. vii. 15, 17, -26, 27, xiii. 7, 
xiv. 7, and see on vii. 26). Here the meaning is, And ye have not 
recognised Him ; btit I knoiv Him, the latter clause referring to His 
immediate essential knowledge of the Father. 

a liar like untoyoul Or, Like unto you, a liar. Referring back to 
V. 44. 

keep his saying] Or, keep His word, as in verses 51, 52. Christ's 
whole life was a continual practice of obedience: Heb. v. 8; Rom. v. 
19; Phil. ii. 8. 

56. rejoiced to see my day] Literally, exulted that he inight see My 
day, the object of his joy being represented as the goal to which his 
heart is directed. This is a remarkable instance of S. John's prefer- 
ence for the construction expressing a purpose, where other construc- 
tions would seem more natural. Comp. iv. 34, 47, vi. 29, 50, ix. 2, 3, 
22, xi. 50, xvi. 7. Abraham exulted in anticipation of the coming 
of the Messiah through implicit belief in the Divine promises. 

and he saw it, and was glad] A very important passage with regard 
to the intermediate state, shewing that the soul does not, as some main- 
tain, remain unconscious between death and the Day of Judgment. 
The Old Testament saints in Paradise were allowed to know that the 
Messiah had come. How this was revealed to them we are not told ; but 
here is a plain statement of the fact. The word for ' was glad ' expresses 
a calmer, less emotional joy than the word for ' rejoiced,' and therefore 
both are appropriate : ' exulted ' while still on earth ; ' was glad ' in 
Hades. Thus the 'Communion of Saints' is assured, not merely in 
parables (Luke xvi. 27, 28), but in the plainer words of Scripture. 
Comp. Heb. xii. i. 

57. Then said the Jews] Better, Therefore said the Jews. 


196 S. JOHN, VIII. [vv. 58, 59. 

unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou 

58 seen Abraham ? Jesus said unto them. Verily, verily, I say 

59 unto you. Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up 
stones to cast at him : but Jesus hid himself, and went out 
of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so 
passed by. 

Thou art not yet fifty years old] The reading, ' forty years,' which 
Chrysostom and a few authorities give, is no doubt incorrect. It has 
arisen from a wisli to make the number less wide of the marlc ; for our 
Lord was probably not yet thirty-five, although Irenaeus preserves 
a tradition that He taught at a much later age. He says (11. xxii. 5), 
a qiiadrigesinio atitem et quinqiiagesitno anno declinat jam in aetatem 
seniorein, qtiam habens Dominus noster docebat, sicut evaiigelinm et 
oinnes seniores testatittir qtii in Asia apud Joannem disctpuhtm Domini 
conveuerunt. By ' evangelium ' he probably means this passage. But 
' fifty year^ ' is a round number, the Jewish traditional age of full man- 
hood (Num. iv. 3, 39, viii. 24, 25). There is no reason to suppose that 
Jesus was nearly fifty, or looked nearly fifty. In comparing His age 
with the 2000 years since Abraham the Jews would not care to be pre- 
cise so long as they were within the mark. 

58. Before Abraham was, I am] Here our translators have lament- 
ably gone back from earlier translations. Cranmer has, ' Ere Abraham 
%vas born, I am;' and the Rhemish, 'Before that Abraham was made, I 
am,' following the Vulgate, Antequam Abraham fieret, Ego sum. See 
notes on 'was' in i. i, 6. 'I am' denotes absolute existence, and in 
this passage clearly involves the pre-existence and Divinity of Christ, as 
the Jews see. Comp. vv. 24, 28; Rev. i. 4, 8; and see on v. 24. 

69. Then took they up stones] Or, Therefore /(^tJ/t they up stones, i.e. 
in consequence of His last words. They see clearly what He means. 
He has taken to Himself the Divine Name and they prepare to stone 
Him for blasphemy. Material lying there for completing and re- 
pairing the Temple would supply them with missiles. Comp. x. 31, 33. 
but yesus hid himself] Probably we are not to understand a 
miraculous withdrawal as in Luke iv. 30, where the ' passing through 
the midst of them' seems to be miraculous. Here we need not sup- 
pose more than that He drew back into the crowd away from those 
who had taken up stones. The Providence which ordered that as yet the 
fears of the hierarchy should prevail over their hostility (vii. 30, viii. 20), 
ruled that the less hostile in this multitude should screen Him from the 
fury of the more fanatical. It is quite arbitrary to invert the clauses 
and render, 'Jesus went out of the Temple and hid Himself 

going through the tnidst of them, and so passed by] These words are 
apparently an insertion, and probably an adaptation of Luke iv. 
30. No English Version previous to the one of 161 1 contains the 

As a comment on the whole discourse see i Pet. ii. 22, 23, remem- 
bering that S. Peter was very possibly present on the occasion. 

vv. I, 2.] S. JOHN, IX. 197 

Chap. IX. Christ the Source of Truth and Light illustrated 

by a Sign. 

I — 5. The Prelude to the Sign. 

And duS Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind 9 
from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, 2 
Master, who did sin, this ma?i, or his parents, that he was 

"The whole of the Jews' reasoning is strictly what we should expect 
from them. These constant appeals to their descent from Abraham, 
these repeated imputations of diabolic possession, this narrow intelli- 
gence bounded by the letter, this jealousy of anything that seemed in 
the slightest degree to trench on their own rigid monotheism — all these, 
down to the touch in ver. 57, in which the age they fix upon in round 
numbers is that assigned to completed manhood, give local truth and 
accuracy to the picture ; which in any case, we may say confidently, 
must have been drawn by a Palestinian Jew, and was in all probability 
drawn by a Jew who had been himself an early disciple of Christ." S. 
p. 160. 

Chap. IX. Christ the Source of Truth and Light 


Light is given to the eyes of the man born blind and the Truth is re- 
vealed to his soul. 

1 — 5. The Prelude to the Sign. 

1. And as yesus passed by] Or, And as He was passing by. This 
was possibly on His way from the Temple (viii. 59), or it may refer to 
a later occasion near the Feast of the Dedication (x. 22). We know 
that this man begged for his living {v. 8), and that beggars frequented 
the gates of the Temple (Acts iii. 2), as they frequent the entrances of 
foreign churches now. 

blind from his birth] The man would be repeatedly stating this fact 
to passers by. The Greek for ' from his birth ' occurs nowhere else in 
N. T. Justin Martyr uses the phrase twice- of those whom Christ 
healed ; Trypho LXIX. ; Apol. I. xxii. No source is so probable as 
this verse, for nowhere else is there an account of Christ's healing 
a congenital disease. See on i. 23 and iii. 3. 

2. Masiej-] Better, Rabtoi: see on iv. 31. 

who did sin, this man, or his parejits, that he was born blind?] 
Literally, that he should be born blind (see note on viii. 56). This 
question has given rise to much discussion. It implies a belief that some 
one must have sinned, or there would have been no such suffering: who 
then was it that sinned? Possibly the question means no more than 
this ; the persons most closely connected with the suffering being 
specially mentioned, without much thought as to possibilities or pro- 
babilities. But this is not quite satisfactory. The disciples name 

198 S. JOHN, IX. [vv. 3, 4. 

3 born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, 
nor his parents : but that the works of God should be made 

4 manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent 

two very definite alternatives; v^e must not assume that one of them 
was meaningless. That the sins of the fathers are visited on the 
children is the teaching of the Second Commandment and of every 
one's experience. But how could a man be bom blind for his own sin? 
Four answers have been suggested, (i) The predestinarian notion 
that the man was punished for sins which God knew he would commit 
in the course of his life. This is utterly unscriptural and scarcely fits 
the context. 

(2) The doctrine of the transmigration of souls, which was held by 
some Jews : he might have sinned in another body. But it is doubtful 
whether this philosophic tenet would be familiar to the disciples. 

(3) The doctrine of the pre-existence of the soul, which appears 
Wisdom v'ii. 20: the man's soul sinned before it was united to the 
body. This again can hardly have been familiar to illiterate men. 

(4) The current Jewish interpretation of Gen. xxv. 22, Ps. li. 5, 
and similar passages ; that it was possible for a babe yet unborn to have 
emotions (comp. Luke i. 41 — 44) and that these might be and often 
were sinful. On the whole, this seems to be the simplest and most 
natural interpretation, and 7). 34 seems to confirm it. 

3. Christ shews that there is a third alternative, which their ques- 
tion assumes that there is not. Moreover He by implication warns 
them against assuming a connexion between suffering and sin in in- 
dividuals (see on v. 14). Neither did this matt sin (not 'hath sinned '), 
nor his parents. The answer, like the question, points to a definite act 
of sin. 

but that'] i.e. he was born blind in order that. This elliptical use of 
' but (in order) that ' is common in S. John, and illustrates his fondness 
for the construction expressing a purpose : see on i. 8 and viii. 56. 

the wo!-ks of Goc{\ All those in which He manifests Himself, not 
miracles only. Comp. xi. 4. There is an undoubted reference to this 
passage (i — 3) in the Clementine Homilies (xix. 22), the dale of which 
is about A.D. 150. Comp. x. 9, 27. 

4. I must work, &c.] The reading here is somewhat doubtful, as to 
whether 'I' or 'we,' 'Me' or 'us' is right in each case. The best 
authorities give, We must ivork the works of Him that sent Me., and this, 
the more difficult reading, is probably correct. Some copyists altered 
'we' into 'I' to make it agree with 'Me,' others altered 'Me' into 'us' 
to make it agree with 'we.' 

' We must work :' Christ identifies Himself with His disciples in the 
work of converting the world. ' Him that sent Mei' Christ does not 
identify His mission with that of the disciples. They were both sent, 
but not in the same sense. So also He says 'My Father' and 'your 
Father,' 'My God' and 'your God;' but not 'our Father,' or 'our 
God' (xx. 17). 

vv. 5—7.] S. JOHN, TX. 199 

me, while it is day : the night cometh, when no ina7i can 
work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of 5 
the world. 

6 — 12. The Sign. 

When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, 6 
and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes 
of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him. Go, 7 
wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, 

7vhile it is day] Or, so long as it is day, i. e. so long as we have 
life. Day and night here mean, as so often in literature of all kinds, 
life and death. Other explanations, e. g. opportune and inopportune 
moments, the presence of Christ in the world and His withdrawal from 
it, — are less simple and less suitable to the context. If all that is re- 
corded from vii. 37 takes place on one day, these words would probably 
be spoken in the evening, when the failing light would add force to the 
warning, night cometh (no article), when no one can work. ' No 
one;' not even Christ Himself as man upon earth: comp. xi. 7 — 10; 
Ps. civ. 23. 

5. As long as I am in the world'\ Better, Whensoever / am in the 
world ; it is not the same construction as ' so long as it is day. ' The 
Light shines at various times and in various degrees, whether the world 
chooses to be illuminated or not. Comp. i. 5, viii. 12. Here there is 
special reference to His giving light both to the man's eyes and to his 
soul. The Pharisees prove the truth of the saying that ' the darkness 
comprehended it not.' 

lam the light of the world^ Or, I am light to the world: no article. 
Contrast viii. 12. 

6—12. The Sign. 

6. anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay] ' Of the 
blind man ' should probably be omitted, ' of it ' inserted, and the ren- 
dering in the margin adopted : spread the clay of it (clay made with 
the spittle) upon his eyes. Regard for Christ's truthfulness compels us 
to regard the clay as the means of healing ; not that He could not heal 
without it, but that He willed this to be the channel of His power. Else- 
where He uses spittle; to heal a blind man (Mark viii. 23); to heal a 
deaf and dumb man (Mark vii. 33). Spittle was believed to be a 
remedy for diseased eyes (comp. Vespasian's reputed miracle, Tac. 
Hist. IV. 8r, and other instances); clay also, though less commonly. 
So that Christ selects an ordinary remedy and gives it success in a case 
confessedly beyond its supposed powers (p. 32). This helps us to con- 
clude why He willed to use means, instead of healing without even a 
word ; viz. to help the faith of the sufferer. It is easier to believe, when 
means can be perceived ; it is still easier, when the means seem to be 

7. wash in the pool] Literally, wash into the pool, i. e. ' wash off 

ioo S. JOHN, IX. [vv. 8— II. 

Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came 

8 The neighbours therefore, and they which before had 
seen him that he was bhnd, said, Is not this he that sat and 

9 begged ? Some said. This is he : others said, He is hke 

10 him : but he said, I am he. Therefore said they unto him, 

11 How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said, A 
man thai is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine 

the clay into the pool,' or, 'go to the pool and wash.' The washing 
was probably part of the means of healing (comp. Naaman) and was a 
strong test of the man's faith. 

Siloam] Satisfactorily identified with Birkei Sikvdn in the lower 
Tyropoean valley, S. E. of the hill of Zion. This is probably the Siloah 
of Neh. iii. 15 and the Shiloah of Isa. viii. 6. 'The tower in Siloam ' 
(Luke xiii 4) was very possibly a building connected with the water; 
perhaps part of an aqueduct. 

which is by interpretation] Literally, -which is interpreted. 
Sefit] This is an admissible interpretation ; but the original meaning 
is r:ii\\er Sending, i.e. outlet of waters, 'the waters of Shiloah that go 
softly ' (Isa. viii. 6). S. John sees in the word ' noiiicn et omen ' of the 
man's cure. Perhaps he sees also that this water from the rock is an 
image of Him who was sent from the Father. 

and came seeing] ' Came,' not back to Christ, who had probably 
gone away meanwhile {v. 12), but to his own home, as would appear 
from what follows. Has any poet ever attempted to describe this man's 
emotions on first seeing the world in which he had lived so long ? 

''The scene in which the man returns seeing and is questioned by his 
neighbours, is vividly described. So too is the M'hole of that which 
follows, when the Pharisees come upon the stage. We may accept it 
with little short of absolute credence. If the opponents of miracles 
could produce a single Jewish document, in which any event, known not 
to have happened, was described with so much minuteness and 
verisimilitude, then it would be easier to agree with them." S. pp. 
162, 163. 

8. had seen hi in that he was blind] The true reading is, saw him 
that he was a beg-gar, or perhaps, because he was a beggar, i. e. he was 
often seen in public places. 

he that sat and begged] Or, he that sitteih and beggeth ; present parti- 
ciples with the article to express his general habit. 

9. Some said] Or, Others said, making three groups of speakers 
in all. 

He is like him] The better reading is. No, but he is like him. The 
opening of his eyes would greatly change his look and manner : this 
added to the extreme improbability of a cure made them doubt his 

11. A man that is called yesus] This looks as if he iiad heard 

vv. T2— 14.] S. JOHN, IX. 201 

eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and 
wash : and I went and washed, and I received sight. 
Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know 12 

13 — 41. Opposite Results of the Sign. 

They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was 13 
bhnd. And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the m 

little of the fame of Jesus. But the better reading gives, 'The man that 
is called Jesus,' which points the other way. 

tnade clay'\ He does not say how, for this he had not seen. The rest 
he tells in order. Omit the words ' the pool of.' 

I received sight] The Greek may mean either 'I looked up,' as in 
Mark vi. 41, vii. 34, xvi. 4, &c. ; or ' I recovered sight,' as Matt. xi. 5; 
Mark x. 51, 52, &c. ' I looked up ' does not suit vv. 15 and 18, where 
the word occurs again : and though ' I recovered sight ' is not strictly 
accurate of a man bo7-n blind, yet it is admissible, as sight is natural to 

Note the gradual development of faith in the man's soul, and compare 
it with that of the Samaritan woman (see on iv. 19) and of Martha (see 
on xi. 21). Here he merely knows Jesus' name and the miracle; in 
V. 17 he thinks Him ' a Prophet;' in v. 33 He is ' of God ;' in v. 39 He 
is 'the Son of God.' What writer of fiction in the second century could 
have executed such a study in psychology ? 

12. Where is kef] That strange {ekeinos) Rabbi who perplexes us 
so much. 

/ knoiv not] This shews that he did not return to Jesus after he was 
healed {v. 7). ' He said' should be, He saith. 

13 — 41. Opposite Results of the Sign. 

13. They brought, &c.] Better, they bring him to the Pharisees, him 
that ottce was blind. These friends and neighbours are perhaps well- 
meaning people, not intending to make mischief. But they are uncom- 
fortable because work has been done on the Sabbath, and they think it 
best to refer the matter to the Pharisees, the great authorities in matters 
of legal observance and orthodoxy (comp. vii. 47, 48). This is not 
a meeting of the Sanhedrin. S. John's formula for the Sanhedrin is 
•the chief priests and (the) Pharisees' (vii. 45, xi. 47, 57, xviii. 3), or 
' the Pharisees and the chief priests ' (vii. 32). 

14. it was the sabbath] We cannot be sure whether this is the last 
day of the Feast of Tabernacles (vii. 37) or the next Sabbath. There 
were seven miracles of mercy wrought on the Sabbath : i. Withered 
hand (Matt. xii. 9); 2. Demoniac at Capernaum (Mark i. 21); 3. Si- 
mon's wife's mother (Mark i. 29); 4. Woman bowed down eighteen 
years (lAike xiii. 14) ; 5. Dropsical man (Luke xiv. i); 6. Paralytic at 
Bethesda (John v. 10) ; 7. Man born blind. 

202 S. JOHN, IX. [vv. 15—19. 

IS clay, and opened his eyes. Then again the Pharisees also 
asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto 
them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do 

i6 see. Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is 
not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. 
Others said. How can a man that is a sinner do such mira- 

i7cles? And there was a division among them. They say 
unto the blind man again. What sayest thou of him, that 
he hath opened thine eyes? He said. He is a prophet. 

is But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had 
been bUnd, and received his sight, until they called the 

19 parents of him that had received his sight. And they asked 

15. Then agahi\ Better, Again, therefore. The man is becoming 
impatient of this cross-questioning : he answers much more briefly than 
at first (z/. ii). 

16. This man is not of God] Comp. ' He casteth out devils through 
the prince of the devils' (Matt. ix. 34); like this, an argument of the 
Pharisees. The fact of a miracle is not denied : but it cannot have been 
done with God's help; therefore it was done with the devil's help. 

How can a man that is a sinner, &c.] The less bigoted, men like 
Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, shew that the argument cuts both 
ways. They also start from the ' sign,' but arrive at an opposite con- 
clusion. Comp. Nicodemus' question, vii. 51. Perhaps Christ's teach- 
ing about the Sabbath (v. 17 — 23) has had some effect. 

there was a division] See on vii. 43. 

17. There being a division among them they appeal to the man him- 
self, each side wishing to gain him. 'They ' includes both sides, the 
whole body of Pharisees present. Their question is not twofold, but 
single; not, ' What sayest thou of Him? that He hath opened thine 
eyes?' but What sayest thon of Him, because He opened thine eyes? 
' Thou ' is emphatic ; '//?(?« shouldest know something of Him.' They 
do not raise the question of fact; the miracle as yet is not in dispute. 
His answer shews that only one question is asked, and that it is not the 
question of fact. 

He is a prophet] i.e. one sent by God to declare His will; a man 
with a special and Divine mission; not necessarily predicting the future. 
Comp. iv. 19, iii. 2. 

18. But the Jen's did not beliciie] Better, the Je^vs, therefore, did 
7tot believe. The man having pronounced for the moderates, the bigoted 
and hostile party begin to question ihe fact of the miracle. Note that 
here and in v. 22 S. John no longer speaks of the Pharisees, some of 
whom were not unfriendly to Christ, liut 'the Jews,' His enemies, the 
official representatives of the nation that rejected the Messiah (see on 
i. 19). 

19. Three questions in legal form. Is this your son? Was he born 
blind? How docs he now see? 


w. 20—24.] S. JOHN, IX. 203 

them, saying. Is this your son, who ye say was born bhnd? 
how then doth he now see? His parents answered them 
and said. We know that this is our son, and that he was 
born bhnd : but by what means he now seeth, we know 
not ; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not : he is of 
age ; ask him : he shall speak for himself. These words 
spake his parents, because they feared the Jews : for the 
Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that 
he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. 
Therefore said his parents. He is of age ; ask him. Then ^4 

who ye sayil Emphasis on 'ye,' implying 'we do not believe it;' 
literally, of whom ye say that he was born blind. 

21. by what means] Better, how, as in vv. 10, 15, 19, ■26. In their 
timidity they keep close to the precise questions asked. 

who hath opetted] Better, who opened. This is the dangerous point, 
and they become more eager and passionate. Hitherto there has been 
nothing emphatic in their reply ; but now there is a marked stress on all 
the pronouns, the parents contrasting their ignorance with their son's 
responsibility. 'Who opened his eyes, we know not: ask himself ; he 
himself IS of full age; he himself vf'iW speak concerning himself.' See on 
V. 23. 

22. had agreed] It does not appear when ; but we are probably to 
understand an informal agreement among themselves rather than a 
decree of the Sanhedrin. A formal decree would be easily obtained 
afterwards. The word for 'agreed' is used of the agreement with Judas 
(Luke xxii. 5, where it is translated 'covenanted'), and of the agreement 
of the Jews to kill S. Paul (Acts xxiii. 20), and nowhere else. 'As- 
sented' in Acts xxiv. 9 is a different compound of the same verb. 

that if any man] Literally, in order that if any man: what they 
agreed upon is represented as the purpose of their agreement. See on 
vv. 2, 3, and viii. 56, 

put out of the synagogue] i.e. excommunicated. The Jews had three 
kinds of anathema, (i) Excommunication for thirty days, during which 
the excommunicated might not come within four cubits of any one. 
(2) Absolute exclusion from all intercourse and worship for an indefinite 
period. (3) Absolute exclusion for ever; an irrevocable sentence. This 
third form was very rarely if ever used. It is doubtful whether the second 
was in use at this time for Jews ; but it would be the ban under which 
all Samaritans were placed. This passage and 'separate' in Luke vi. 
22 probably refer to the first and mildest kind of anathema. The 
principle of all anathema was found in the Divine sentence on Meroz 
(Judg. V. 23) : Comp. Ezra x. 8. The word for 'out of the synagogue' 
is peculiar to S. John, occurring xii. 42, xvi. 2, and nowhere else. 

23. Therefore] Better, For this cause (xii. 18, 27): comp. i. 31, 
v. 16, 18, vi. 65, viii. 47. 

He is of age; ask him] Or, He is oflvSl age; ask him himself. This 

204 S. JOHN, IX. [vv. 25— 28. 

again called they the man that was blind, and said unto 
him, Give God the praise : we know that this man is a 

25 sinner. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner 
or 110, I know not: one t/n'ng I know, that, whereas I was 

26 blind, now I see. Then said they to him again, What did 

27 he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? He answered them, 
I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore 

28 would you hear it again? will ye also be his disciples? Then 

is the right order of the clauses here, and they have been altered in the 
Received Text of z/. 21 to match this verse. 

24. Then again called they'] Literally, They called, therefore, a 
second time. They had cross-questioned the parents apart from the 
son, and now try to browbeat the son, before he finds out tliathis parents 
have not discredited his story. 

Give God the praise^ Better, Give glory to God (comp. v. 4 1 and 
viii. 54); it is the same word for 'glory' as in i. 14, ii. 11, vii. 18, viii. 
50. Even thus the meaning remains obscure : but 'Give God the praise' 
is absolutely misleading. The meaning is not 'Give God the praise for 
the cure ; ' they were trying to deny that there had been any cure : but, 
'Give gloiy to God by speaking the truth.'' The words are an adjuration 
to confess. Comp. Josh. vii. 19; i Sam. vi. 5; Ezra x. 11; i Esdr. 
ix. 8; 2 Cor. xi. 31. Wiclif, with the Genevan and Rhemish Versions, 
is right here. Tyndale and Cranmer have misled our translators. 

we know that, &c. ] ' We ' with emphasis ; ' we, the people in authority, 
who have the right to pronounce decisively. So it is useless for you to 
maintain that He is a Prophet. ' 

25. He answered'] Better, Therefore he anrtvered. He will not 
commit himself, but keeps to the incontrovertible facts of the case. 

whereas I was blind] Literally, being a blind man, but the Greek 
participle may be either present or imperfect; either 'being by nature a 
blind man' or 'being formerly blind.' In iii. 13 and xix. 38 we have 
the same participle, and a similar doubt as to wlicther it is present or 
imperfect : so also in v. 8. 

26. Being baffled, they return to the details of the fact, either 
to try once more to shake the evidence, or for want of something better 
to say. 

27. I have told you] Rather, /told jw^ 

and ye did not hear] Or possibly, atid did ye not hear? This avoids 
taking 'hear' in two different senses; (i) 'pay attention,' (2) 'hear.' 
The man loses all patience, and will not go through it again. 

wherefore would ye heai-] Or, wherefore do yc xoislt to hear. 

will ye also, &c. ] Or, Surely ye also do not wish to become His dis- 
ciples. The form of the question is similar to that in vi. 67 and vii. 52 
(comp. iv. 29, vii. 35). Moreover, it is not the future tense, but the verb 
'to will' or 'wish' (comp. v. 40, vi. 67, vii. 17, viii. 44). Lastly, the 
difference between 'be' and 'become* is easily preserved here, and is 
worth preserving (comp. viii. 58). The meaning of 'also' has been 

vv. 29—31.] S. JOHN, IX. 205 

they reviled him, and said. Thou art his disciple; but we 
are Moses' disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses : 29 
as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. The 3° 
man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a mar- 
vellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yel 
he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth 31 
not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and 

misunderstood. It can scarcely mean 'as well as I :' the man has not 
advanced so far in faith as to count himself a disciple of Jesus ; and if 
he had, he would not avow the fact to the Jews. 'Also 'means 'as well 
as His well-known disciples.' That Christ had a band of followers was 

28. Then they reviled hit)i\ Omit 'then.' The word for 'revile' 
occurs nowhere else in the Gospels. Comp. i Pet. ii. 23. Argument 
fails, so they resort to abuse. 

Thou art his disciplel Better, Thoti art that man's disciple. They 
use a pronoun which expresses that they have nothing to do with Him. 
Comp. V. 12 and vii. 11. 

The pronouns are emphatic in both v. 28 and v. 29: ^Thou art His 
disciple ; but we are Moses' disciples. We know that God hath spoken 
to Moses ; but as for this fellow, &c. ' 

29. that God spake] Literally, that GodhaXh. spoken, i. e. that Moses 
received a revelation which still remains. This is a frequent meaning 
of the perfect tense — to express the permanent result of a past action. 
Thus the frequent formula 'it is written' is strictly 'it has been written,' 
or 'it stands wi-itten:' i.e. it once was written, and the writing still 
remains. But this is perhaps one of those cases where the Greek 
perfect is best represented by the English aorist (see on viii. 29, 10 
for the converse). 

we know not from whence he is\ We know not what commission He 
has received, nor who has sent Him. Comp. viii. 14 and contrast vii. 
27. Once more He is compared with Moses, as in the synagogue at 
Capernaum (vi. 31, 32). 

30. a marvellous thing] Some of the best MSS. read 'the marvel- 
lous thing.' ' Yoti, the very people who ought to know such things 
(iii. 10), know not whether He is from God or not, and yet He opened 
my eyes.' 'You' is emphatic, and perhaps is a taunting rejoinder to 
their ^we know that this man is a sinner' {v. 24) and Hve know that 
God hath spoken to Moses' {v. 29). The man gains courage at their 
evident discomfiture. 

31. God heareth not sinners] i.e. wilful, impenitent sinners. Of 
course it cannot mean 'God heareth no one who hath sinned,' which 
would imply that God never answers the prayers of men. But the man's 
dictum, reasonably understood, is the plain teaching of the O. T., 
whence he no doubt derived it. 'The Lord is far from the wicked; but 
He heareth the prayer of the righteous' (Prov. xv. 29). Comp. Ps. Ixvi. 
iS, 19; Job. xxvii. 8, 95 Isa. i. 11 — 15. 

2o6 S. JOHN, IX. [vv. 32—36. 

32 doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began was 
it not heard that any maji opened the eyes of one that was 

33 born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do 

34 nothing. They answered and said unto him, Thou wast 
altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they 

35 cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and 
when he had found him, he said unto him. Dost thou 

36 beheve on the Son of God.? He answered and said. Who is 

a ivorshipper of God^ Or, God-fearing, religious. The word occurs 
nowhere else in N.T. The man supposes that miracles must be answers 
to prayer. Only good men can gain such answers to prayer. Only a 
very good man could gain such an unprecedented answer as this. 

32. Since the world began'\ There is no healing of the blind in 
O. T. 

33. of God\ Or, from God: comp. i. 6. 

he could do nothing] The context limits the meaning — nothing at all 
like this, no miracle. 

34. Thou zvast altogether born in sins\ ' In sins (first for emphasis) 
every part of thy nature (comp. xiii. 10) has been steeped from thy 
birth; thou wast born a reprobate.' They hold the same belief as the 
disciples, that sin before birth is possible, and maliciously exclude not 
only the alternative stated by Christ {v. 3) but even the one stated by 
the disciples (v. 2), that his parents might have sinned. Their passion 
blinds them to their inconsistency. They had been contending that no 
miracle had been wrought; now they throw his calamity in his face as 
proof of his sin. 

Dost thou teach us ?] * Dost thou, the born reprobate, teach us, the 
authorized teachers?' 

they cast him out] Or, they put him fortli : see on x. 4. This pro- 
bably does not mean excommunication, (i) The expression is too 
vague, (i) There could not well have been time to get a sentence of 
excommunication passed. (3) The man had not incurred the threat- 
ened penalty; he had not 'confessed that He was Christ' {v. 22). Pro- 
voked by his impracticability and sturdy adherence to his own view they 
ignominiously dismiss him — turn him out of doors, if (as the 'out' seems 
to imply) they were meeting within walls. 

35. Dost thou believe] There is a stress on 'thou.' 'Dost thou, 
though others deny and blaspheme, believe?' 

On the Son of God] Again there is much doubt about the reading. 
The balance of MSS. authority (including both the Sinaitic and the 
Vatican MSS.) is in favour of 'the Son of man,' which moreover is the 
expression that our Lord commonly uses respecting Himself in all four 
Gospels (see on i. 51). But the reading 'The Son of God' is very 
strongly supported, and is at least as old as the second century ; for Ter- 
tuUian, who in his work Against Praxcas quotes largely from this 
Gospel, in chap. xxii. quotes this question thus, Tu credis in Filium 

vv. 37, 38.] S. JOHN, IX. 207 

he, Lord, that I might beHeve on him? And Jesus said 37 
unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that 
talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he 38 
worshipped him. 

Dei ? In x. 36 and xi. 4 there is no doubt about the reading, and there 
Christ calls himself ' the Son of God.' Moreover, this appellation seems 
to suit the context better, for the man had been contending that 
Jesus came 'from God' {v. 33), and the term 'Son of man' would 
scarcely have been intelligible to him. Lastly, a copyist, knowing that 
the ' Son of man ' was Christ's usual mode of designating Himself, 
would be very likely 16 alter ' the Son of God ' into ' the Son of man. ' 
Neither title, however, is very frequent in St John's Gospel. For all 
these reasons, therefore, it is allowable to retain the common reading. 
But in any case we once more have evidence of the antiquity of this 
Gospel. If both these readings were established by the end of the 
second century, the original text must have been in existence long before. 
Corruptions take time to spring up and spread. See on i. 13, t8. 

36. Who is he, Lord} We should perhaps insert 'and' or 'then' 
with some of the best MSS., and Who is He'i or. Who is He then? 
This ' and ' or ' then ' has the effect of intensifying the question. Comp. 
^ a7id who is my neighbour ?' (Luke x. 29) ; 'Who then can be saved?' 
(xviii. 26); 'Who is he then thatmaketh me glad?' (2 Cor. ii. 2). 'Lord' 
should perhaps be 'Sir' as in iv. 11, 15, 19, 49; v. 7 (seeonvi. 34): not 
until V. 38 does he reach the point at which he would call Jesus ' Lord.' 
But it is the same Greek word in both cases, though the amount of 
reverence with which he uses it increases, as in the parallel case of the 
woman at the well. 

that I might believe'\ Literally, m order that Iva&y believe. S. John's 
favourite construction again, as in w. 2, 3, 22. 

37. Thou hast both seal himl Better, Thou hast even seen Him, and 
He that speaketh with thee is He. The latter half of the sentence is 
similar to the declaration in iv. 26. "This spontaneous revelation to 
the outcast from the synagogueyfwo'j- its only pa7-allel in the similar reve- 
lation to the outcast firom the nation." Westcott. Not even Apostles 
are told so speedily. 

38. Lord, I believel Or, I believe. Lord : the order is worth keep- 
ing. Comp. the centurion's confession (Matt, xxvii. 54). There is no 
need to suppose that in either case the man making the confession knew 
anything like the full meaning of belief in the Son of God : even Apo- 
stles were slow at learning that. The blind man had had his own unin- 
formed idea of the Messiah, and he believed that the realisation of that 
idea stood before him. His faith was necessarily imperfect, a poor 
' two mites ;' but it was ' all that he had,' and he gave it readily, while 
the learned Rabbis of their abundance gave nothing. It is quite gratui- 
tous to suppose that a special revelation was granted to him. There is 
no hint of this in the narrative, nor can one see why so great an excep- 
tion to God's usual dealings with man should have been made. 

he -worshipped hini\ This shews that his idea of the Son of God in- 

2o8 S. JOHN, IX. [vv. 39—41. 

39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, 
tiiat they which see not might see; and that they which 

40 see might be made bUnd. And some of the Pharisees 
which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, 

41 Are we bhnd also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, 

eludes attributes of Divinity. The word for 'worship ' occurs elsewhere 
in this Gospel only in iv. 20 — 24 and xii. 20, always of the worship of 

39 — 41. "The concluding verses contain a saying which is thoroughly 
in the manner of the Synoptists (cf. Matt. xv. 14; xxiii. 16, 17, 24, 26). 
It also supplies a warranty for ascribing a typical significance to miracles. 

That the Synoptists do not relate this miracle does not affect its his- 
torical character, as the whole of these events in Judaea are equally 

omitted by them The vague and shifting outlines of the Synoptic 

narrative allow ample room for all the insertions that are made in them 
with so much precision by S. John." S. pp. 165, 166. 

39. Andjesiissaid] There is no need to make a break in the narra- 
tive and refer these words to a subsequent occasion. This is not natural. 
Rather it is the sight of the man prostrate at His feet, endowed now 
with sight both in body and soul, that moves Christ to say what follows. 
His words are addressed to the bystanders generally, among whom are 
some of the Pharisees. 

For judgment I a?n come] Better, For jtuigmenl I czxas. The pre- 
cise form of word for 'judgment' occurs nowhere else in this Gospel. 
It signifies not the ad of judging (v, 22, 24, 27, 30) but its result, a 
'sentence' or 'decision' (Matt. vii. 2, Mark xii. 40, Rom. ii. 1, 3, &c.), 
Christ came not to judge, but to save (iii. 17, viii. 15); but judgment 
was the inevitable result of His coming, for those who rejected Hun 
passed sentence on themselves (iii. 19). See on i. 9 and xviii. 37. The 
pronoun is emphatic. 

they tvhich see not] They who are conscious of their own blindness, 
who know their deficiencies; like 'they that are sick' and 'sinners' 
in Matt. ix. 12, 13, and 'babes' in Matt. xi. 25. This man was aware 
of his spiritual blindness when he asked, ' Who is He then, that I may 
believe on Him !' 

might see] Better, may see, may really see, may pass from the dark- 
ness of which they are conscious, to light and truth. 

they which see] They who fancy they see, who pride themselves on 
their superior insight and knowledge, and wish to dictate to others; like 
•they that be whole,' and 'righteous' in Matt. ix. 12, 13, and 'the wise 
and prudent ' in Matt. xi. 25. These Pharisees shewed this proud self- 
confidence when they declared, ' we know that this man is a sinner,' and 
asked ' Dost thou teach usT . 

might be made blind] Or, may become blind, really blind (Isa. vi. 
10), may pass from their fancied light into real darkness. 
40. And some of] Better, Those of. 
Are we blind also?] Or, Surely we also are not toUnd 7 See on 

V. 41.] S. JOHN, IX. 209 

ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore 
your sin remaineth. 

V. ■27. Of course they understand Him to be speaking figuratively. 
It is strange that any should have understood their question as referring 
to bodily sight. They mean that they, the most enlightened among the 
most enlightened nation, must be among 'those who see.' 

41. If ye we7-e blifid] Christ returns to His own meaning of ' blind ' 
or ' they which see not ' in v. 39. ' If ye were conscious of your own 
spiritual darkness, if ye yearned and strove to reach the light, j^ would 
7iot have sin (see on xv. 22) ; for either ye would find the light, or, if ye 
failed, the failure would not lie at your door.' For the construction 
comp. V. 46; viii. 19, 42; xv. 19; xviii. 36. 

therefore your sin remaineth^ Better, yonr sin abideth (see on i. 33): 
' therefore ' is an insertion, and must be omitted. ' Ye profess to see : 
your sin in this false profession and in your consequent rejection of Me 
abideth.' It was a hopeless case. They rejected 11 im because they did not 
know the truth about Him ; and they would never learn the truth because 
they were fully persuaded that they were in possession of it. Those 
who confess their ignorance and contend against it, (i) cease to be re- 
sponsible for it, (2) have a good prospect of being freed from it. Those 
who deny their ignorance and contend against instniction, (i) remain 
responsible for their ignorance, (2) have no prospect of ever being freed 
from it. Comp. iii. 36. 

Chap. X. Christ is Love. 

In chapters v. and vi. two miracles, the healing of the paralytic and 
the feeding of the five thousand, formed the introduction to two discourses 
in which Christ is set forth as the Sotirce and the Support of Life. In 
chapters vii. and viii. we have a discourse in which He is set forth as 
the Source of Truth and Light, and this is illustrated (ix.) by His 
giving physical and spiritual sight to the man born blind. In chap. x. 
we again have a discourse in which Christ is set forth as Love, under 
the figure of the Good Shepherd giving His life for the sheep, and this 
is illustrated (xi.) by the raismg of Lazarus, a work of Love which costs 
Him His life. As already stated, the prevailing idea throughout this 
section (v. — xi.) is truth and love provoking contradiction and enmity. 
The more clearly the Messiah manifests Himself, and the more often He 
convinces some of His hearers of His Messiahship (vii. 40, 41, 46, 50, 
viii. 30, ix. 30 — 38, X. 21, 42, xi. 45), the more intense becomes the 
hostility of ' the Jews ' and the more determined their intention to kill 

1 — 18. "The form of the discourse in the first half of chap. x. is 
remarkable. It resembles the Synoptic parables, but not exactly. The 
parable is a short narrative, which is kept wholly separate from the 
ideal facts which it signifies. But this discourse is not a narrative ; and 
the figure and its application run side by side, and are interwoven with 
one another all through. It is an extended metaphor rather than a 

S.JOHN 14 

iio S. JOHN, X. [v. I. 

Chap. X. Christ is Love. 
I — lo. The Allegory of the Door of the Fold. 
10 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the 

parable. If we are to give it an accurate name we should be obliged to 
fall back upon the wider term ' allegory.' 

This, and the parallel passage in chap. xv. , are the only instances of 
allegory in the Gospels. They take in the Fourth Gospel the place 
which parables hold with the Synoptists. The Synoptists have no 
allegories distinct from parables. The fourth Evangelist has no 
parables as a special form of allegory. What are we to infer from this? 
The parables certainly are original and genuine. Does it follow that 
the allegories are not? 

(i) We notice, first, that along with the change oi form there is a 
certain change of subject. The parables generally turn round the 

ground conception of the kingdom of heaven. They do not enlarge 

on the lelation which its King bears to the separate members 

Though the royal dignity of the Son is incidentally put forward, there 
is nothing which expresses so closely and directly the personal relation of 
the Messiah to the community of believers, collectively and individually, 
as these two 'allegories' from S. John. Their form seems in an 
especial manner suited to their subject matter, which is a fixed, per- 
manent and simple relation, not a history of successive states. The 
form of the allegories is at least appropriate. 

(2) We notice next that even with the Synoptists the use of the 
parable is not rigid. All do not conform precisely to the .same type. 
There are some, like the Pharisee and Publican, the Good Samari- 
tan, &c. , which give direct patterns for action, and are not therefore 
parables in the same sense in which the Barren Fig-tree, the Prodigal 
Son, &c. are parables If, then, the parable admits so much devia- 
tion on the one side, may it not also on the other? 

(3) Lastly, we have to notice the parallels to this particular figure 
of the Good Shepherd that are found in the Synoptists. These are 
indeed abundant. The parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke xv. 4—7 ; 

Matt, xviii. 12, 13) ' I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the 

house of Israel' (Matt. xv. 24) 'But when He saw the multitudes. 

He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and 
were scattered abroad, as sheep having no Shepherd ' (Matt. ix. 36), 
which when taken with Matt. xi. 28, 29 (' Come unto Me all ye that 
labour,' &c.), gives almost an exact parallel to the Johannean allegory." 
S. pp. 167 — 169. 

1 — 10. The Allegory of the Door of the Fold. 

1. Verilf, verily] This double afTumation, peculiar to this Gospel 
(see on i. 51), never occurs at the beginning of a discourse, but either 
in continuation, to introduce some deep truth, or in reply. This 
verse is no exception. There is no break between the chapters, 

vv. 2, 3.] S. JOHN, X. 


door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the 
same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by 2 
the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter 3 

which should perhaps have been divided at ix. 34 or 38 rather than 
here. The scene continues uninterrupted from ix. 35 to x. 21, where we 
have a reference to the healing of the blind man. Moreover x. 6 seems 
to point back to ix. 41 ; their not understanding the allegory was 
evidence of self-complacent blindness. This chapter, therefore, although 
it contains a fresh subject, is connected with the incidents in chap, ix., 
and grows out of them. The connexion seems to be that the Pharisees 
by their conduct to the man had proved themselves bad shepherds; but 
he has found the Good Shepherd : they had cast him out of doors ; but 
he has found the Door : they had put him forth to drive him away ; 
the Good Shepherd puts His sheep forth to lead them. We are not 
told where these words are spoken ; so that it is impossible to say 
whether it is probable that a sheepfold with the shepherds and 
their flocks was in sight. There is nothing improbable in the supposi- 

He that entereth not by the door'\ The Oriental sheepfolds are com- 
monly walled or palisaded, with one door or gate. Into one of these 
enclosures several shepherds drive their flocks, leaving them in charge 
of an under-shepherd or porter, who fastens the door securely inside, 
and remains with the sheep all night. In the morning the shepherds 
come to the door, the porter opens to them, and each calls away his own 

some other way] Literally, from another quarter : the word occurs 
here only in N.T. 

the same] Better, he ; literally, that one. It is a pronoun of which 
S. John is very fond in order to recall with emphasis some person or 
thing previously mentioned. Comp. i. 18, 33, v. ii. 39, ix. 37, xii. 48, 
xiv. 21, 16, XV. 26. In i. 33 ('the same said unto me'), v. 11, and xii. 
48 it is inaccurately translated, as here, ' the same.' 

a thief and robber] Everywhere in this Gospel (8, 10, xii. 6, xviii. 
40), as also 2 Cor. xi. 26, these words are given correctly as renderings 
of the Greek equivalents ; but everywhere else in N.T. (Matt. xxi. 13, 
xxvi. 55, xxvii. 38, &c., &c.) the word here translated ' robber ' is less 
well translated ' thief ' The ' robber ' is a brigand, a more formidable 
criminal than the 'thief;' the one uses violence, the other cunning. 

2. is the shepherd of the sheep] Better, is a shepherd of the sheep. 
There is more than one flock in the fold, and therefore more than one 
shepherd to visit the fold. The Good Shepherd has not yet appeared 
in the allegory. The allegory indeed is two-fold; in the first part 
(i — 5), which is repeated (7—9), Christ is the Door of the fold ; in the 
second part (11 — 18) He is the Shepherd; v. 10 forming a link between 
the two parts. 

3. To him the porter openeth] The 'porter' is the door-keeper or 
gate-keeper, who fastens and opens the one door into the fold. In the 
allegory the fold is the Church, the Door is Christ, the sheep are the 

14 — 2 


S. JOHN, X. [vv. 4—6. 

openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his 

4 own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he 
putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the 

5 sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger 
will they not follow, but will flee from him : for they know 

6 not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto 

elect, the shepherds are God's ministers. What does the porter repre- 
sent? Possibly nothing definite. Much harm is sometimes done by 
trying to make every detail of an allegory or parable significant. There 
must be back ground in every picture. But if it be insisted that the 
porter here is too prominent to be meaningless, it is perhaps best to 
understand the Holy Spirit as signified under this figure ; He who 
grants opportunities of coming, or of bringing others, through Christ 
into the Kingdom of God. Comp. i Cor. xvi. g; 2 Cor. ii. 12; Col. 
iv. 3; Acts xiv. 27; Rev. iii. 8: but in all these passages 'door' does 
not mean Christ, but opporttmity. See on i Cor. xvi. 9. 

the sheep hear his voice] All the sheep, whether belonging to His 
flock or not, know from His coming that they are about to be led out. 
I/is own sheep (first for emphasis) he calleth by name (Excd. xxxiii. 12, 
17; Isa. xliii. i), and leadeth them otd to pasture. Even in this country 
shepherds and shepherds' dogs know each individual sheep ; in the East 
the intimacy between shepherd and sheep is still closer. The naming 
of sheep is a veiy ancient practice : see Theocritus v. 102. 

4. when he putteth forth his otvn sheep] Better, w//«j //f hatli put 
forth all his own. Most of the best MSS. have ' all ' for ' sheep : ' ' there 
shall not an hoof be left behind' (Exod. x. 26). The word for 'put 
forth' is remarkable; it is the same as is used in ix. 34, 35 of the 
Pharisees 'casting out' the man born blind. This is perhaps not acci- 
dental: the false shepherds put forth sheep to rid themselves of trouble; 
the true shepherds put forth sheep to feed them. But even the true 
shepherds must sometimes use a certain amount of violence to their 
sheep to 'compel them to come' (Luke xiv. 23) to the pastures. But 
note that there are no 'goats' in the allegory: all the flock are faithful. 
It is the ideal Church composed entirely of the elect. The object of the 
allegory being to set forth the relations of Christ to His sheep, the 
possibility of bad sheep is not taken into account. That side of the 
picture is treated in the parables of the Lost Sheep, and of the Sheep 
and the Goats. 

5. And a stranger will they not follow] Better, But a stranger they will 
assuredly not follow. The form of negative is very strong, as in iv. 14, 
48, vi. 35, 37, viii. 12, 51, 52: see on viii. 51. By 'a stranger' is 
meant quite literally anyone whom they do not know, not necessarily a 
thief or robber. 

6. This parable] Better, This allegory. The word which the 
Synoptists use for 'parable' [paralwle) is never used by S. John; and 
the word here used by S. John (paroimia) is never used by the Synop- 
tists. This should be brought out in translation; both are rendered 

vv. 7, 8.] S. JOHN, X. 213 

them : but they understood not what things they were which 
he spake unto them. 

Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say ^ 
unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came 8 
before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not 

by our translators sometimes 'parable' and sometimes 'proverb.' Paroi- 
mia occurs again xvi. 25, 29 and 2 Pet. ii. 22, and nowhere else in N.T. 
Everywhere but here it is translated 'proverb.' Paroimia means some- 
thing beside the ivay; hence, according to some, a trite ^way side 
saying;' according to others, a figurative ^out-of-the-way S3.ymg.' On 
parabola see on Mark iv. 2. 

understood not ] Did not recognise the meaning. 

7. Then said Jesus unto them again'] Better, Therefore said Jesus 
again. They did not understand ; therefore He went through the allegory 
again more explicitly, interpreting the main features. 'Unto them' is 
of doubtful authority. 

Verily, verily] This is the important point, to recognise that the one 
door of the fold, through which the sheep and the shepherds enter, is 
Christ, /(with great emphasis) am the Door. Comp. 'I am the Way' 
(xiv. 6). 

the door of the sheep] Better, 'the Door to the sheep' {vv. i, 2), and 
also 'the Jioox for the sheep' {v. 9). Sheep and shepherds alike have 
one and the same door. The elect enter the Church through Christ ; the 
ministers who would visit the flocks must receive their commission 
from Christ. Note that Christ does not say, 'the Door of the foid,' but 
'the Door of the sheep.' The fold has no meaning apart from the 

8. A/l that ever came before me are thieves and robbers] These words 
are difficult, and some copyists seem to have tried to avoid the difficulty 
by omitting either 'all' or 'before Me.' But the balance of authority 
leaves no doubt that both are genuine. Some commentators would 
translate ' instead of Me ' for 'before Me.' But this meaning of the Greek 
preposition is not common, and perhaps occurs nowhere in N.T. More- 
over 'instead of Me' ought to include the idea of 'for My advantage;' 
and that is impossible here. We must retain the natural and ordinary 
meaning of 'before Me:' and as 'before Me in dignity' would be 
obviously inappropriate, 'before Me in time' must be the meaning. But 
who are 'all that came before Me?' The patriarchs, prophets, Moses, 
the Baptist camiot be meant, either collectively or singly. 'Salvation is 
of the Jews' (iv. 22) ; 'they are they which testify of Me' (v. 39); 'if ye 
believed Moses, ye would believe Me' (v. 46); 'John bare witness unto 
the truth' (v. 33): texts like this are quite conclusive against any such 
Gnostic interpretation. Nor can false Messiahs be meant : it is doubtful 
whether any had arisen at this time. Rather it refers to the ' ravening 
wolves in sheep's clothing' who had been, and still were, the ruin of the 
nation, who 'devoured widow's houses,' who were 'full of ravening and 
vnckedness,' who had 'taken away the key of knowledge,' and were in 

214 S. JOHN, X. [vv. 9, lo. 

9 hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he 
shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 

lo The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and 
to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that 
they might have it mo7-e abundantly. 

very truth 'thieves and robbers' (Matt. vii. 15, xxiii. 14; Luke xi. 39, 
52). Some of them were now present, thirsting to add bloodshed to 
robbery, and this denunciation of them is no stronger than several 
passages in the Synoptists: e.g. Matt, xxiii. 33; Luke xi. 50, £i. The 
tense also is in favour of this interpretation; not were, but 'are thieves 
and robbers.' 

but the sheep did not hear them'\ For they spoke with no authority 
(Matt. vii. 29); there was no living voice in their teaching. They had 
their hearers, but these were not 'the sheep,' but blind adherents, led 
by the blind. 

9. by uie] Placed first for emphasis; 'through Me and in no other 
way.' The main point is iterated again and again, each time with great 
simplicity, and yet most emphatically. "The simplicity, the directness, 
the particularity, the emphasis of S. John's style give his writings a 
marvellous power, which is not perhaps felt at first. Yet his words 
seem to hang about the reader till he is forced to remember them. Each 
great truth sounds like the burden of a strain, ever falling upon the ear 
with a calm persistency which secures attention." Westcott, Introduc- 
tion to the Study of the Gospels, p. 250. 

he shall be saved] These words and 'shall find pasture' seem to shew 
that this verse does not refer to the shepherds only, but to the sheep 
also. Although 'find pasture' may refer to the shepherd's work for the 
flock, yet one is inclined to think that if the words do not refer to both, 
they refer to the sheep only. 

' With the verse as a whole should be compared 'the strait gate and 
narrow way which leadeth unto life' (Matt. vii. 14). In the Clementine 
Homilies (ill. Hi.) we have 'He, being a true prophet, said, I am the 
gate of life; he that entereth in through Me entereth into life.' See on 
ix. 3. 

10. and to kill] To slaughter as if for sacrifice. 

I am come] Better, I came. 'I' is emphatic, in marked contrast to 
the thief. This is the point of transition from the first part of the 
allegory to the second. The figme of the Door, as the one entrance to 
salvation, is dropped ; and that of the Good Shepherd, as opposed to 
the thief, is taken up; but this intermediate clause will apply to either 
figure, inclining towards the second one. In order lo make the strong- 
est possible antithesis to the thief, Christ introduces, not a shepherd, but 
Himself, the Chief Shepherd. The thief takes life; the shepherds /;;?- 
tect life ; the Good Shepherd ^^ives it. 

that they might have] Rather, in both clauses, that they may 

have it more abundantly] Omit 'more;' it is not in the Greek, and 

vv. II, 12.] S. JOHN, X. 215 

II — 18. The Allegory of the Good Shepherd. 

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his hfe " 
for the sheep. But he that is a hirehng, and not the shepherd, 12 
whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and 
leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and 

somewhat spoils the sense. More abundantly than what ? Translate, 
thai they may have abundance. 

11—18. The Allegory of the Good Shepherd. 

11. lam the Good Shepherd'\ The word translated 'good' cannot 
be adequately translated: it means 'beautiful, noble, good,' as opposed 
to 'foul, mean, wicked.' It sums up the chief attributes of ideal perfec- 
tion. Christ is the Perfect Shepherd, as opposed to His own imperfect 
ministers ; He is the true Shepherd, as opposed to the false shepherds, 
who are hirelings or hypocrites; He is the Good Shepherd, who gives 
His life for the sheep, as opposed to the wicked thief who takes their 
lives to preserve his own. Thus in Christ is realised the ideal Shepherd 
of O.T. Ps- xxiii.; Isa. xl. 11; Jer. xxiii. ; Ezek. xxxiv., xxxvii. 24; 
Zech. xi. 7. Perhaps no image has penetrated more deeply into the 
mind of Christendom : Christian prayers and hymns. Christian painting 
and statuary, and Christian literature are full of it, and have been from 
the earliest ages. And side by side with it is commonly found the other 
beautiful image of this Gospel, the Vine; the Good Shepherd and the 
True Vine are figures of which Christians have never wearied. 

giveth his life] Better, layetti down His life. The phrase is a 
remarkable one and peculiar to S. John, whereas 'to give His life' 
occurs in the Synoptists (Matt. xx. 20; Mark x. 45). 'To /ay down' 
perhaps includes the notion of 'to /(7j down,' a common meaning of the 
words in classical Greek ; if so, it is exactly equivalent to the Synoptic 
phrase 'to give as a ransom.'' It occurs again, w. 15, 17, xiii. 37, 38, 
XV. 13; I John iii. 16. In this country the statement 'the good shep- 
herd lays down his life for his sheep' seems extravagant when taken 
apart from the application to Christ. It is otherwise in the East, where 
dangers froni wild beasts and armed bands of robbers are serious and 
constant. Comp. Gen. xiii. 5, xiv. 12, xxxi. 39, 40, xxxii. 7, 8, xxxvii. 
33; Job i. 17; I Sam. xvii. 34, 35. 

12. an hireling] The word occurs nowhere else in N. T. excepting 
of the 'hired servants' of Zebedee (Mark i. 20). The Good Shepherd 
was introduced in contrast to the thief. Now we have another contrast 
to the Good Shepherd given, the hired shepherd, a mercenary, who 
tends a flock not his own for his own interests. The application is 
obvious; viz., to those ministers who care chiefly for the emoluments 
and advantages of their position, and retire when the position becomes 
irksome or dangerous. 

and not the shepherd] Better, and not a shepherd, as in v. 2 
the ivolf] Any power opposed to Christ. See on v. 28. 

2i6 S. JOHN, X. [vv. 13—16. 

13 scattereth the sheep. The hireUng fleeth, because he is a 

14 hirehng, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shep- 
is herd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the 

Father knoweth vi\t,even so know I the Father: and I lay down 

16 my Ufe for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are 

not of this fold : them also I must bring, and they shall hear 

my voice ; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. 

and scattereth the sheep] The best authorities omit 'the sheep;' but 
the words might easily be omitted as apparently awkward and super- 
fluous after the preceding 'them.' But in any case the meaning is 
'snatcheth certain sheep and scattereth the flock.' 

13. 7'he hireling fleeth] These words are of still more doubtful 
authority. Omitting both the doubtful portions the sentence will run 
(The hireling) leaveth the sheep and fleeth ; and the luolf snatcheth them 
and scattereth {them); because he is an hireling and careth ttot, &c. 

14 — 18. Further description of the True Shepherd, (i) His inti- 
mate knowledge of His sheep; (2) His readiness to die for them. This 
latter point recurs repeatedly as a sort of refrain, like 'I will raise him 
up at the last day,' in chap. vi. 

14. and know my sheep, and am known of mine] Better, and I know 
Mine, and Mine know Me. 

15. As the Father knoweth me, even so, &c.] This rendering entirely 
obscures the true meaning. There should be no full stop at the end of 
V. 14, and the sentence should run ; I know Mine, and Mine know Me, 
even as tlie Father knoweth Me and I know the Father. So intimate 
is the relation between the Good Shejiherd and His sheep that it may 
be compared to the relation between the Father and the Son. The 
same thought runs through the discourses in the latter half of the 
Gospel: xiv. 20, xv. 10, xvii. 8, 10, 18, ^i. 

16. other sheep I have] Not the Jews in heathen lands, but Gentiles, 
for even among them He had sheep. The Jews had asked in derision, 
'Will He go and teach the Gentiles?' (vii. 35). He declares here that 
among the despised heathen He has sheep. He was going to lay down 
His life, 'not for that nation only' (xi. 52), but that He might 'draw all 
men unto Him' (.\ii. 32). Of that most heathen of heathen cities, 
Corinth, He declared to S. Paul in a vision, ' I have much people in 
this city' (Acts xviii. 10). 

not of this fold] Emphasis on 'fold,' not on 'this;' the Gentiles 
were in no fold at all, but 'scattered abroad' (xi. 52). 

them also I must bring] Better, them also I must lead. No need 
for them to be removed; Christ can lead them in their own lands. 
'Neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem' (iv. 21) is the ap- 
pointed place. Note the 'must;' it is the Messiah's bounden duty, 
decreed for Him by the Father: comp. iii. 14, ix. 4, xii. 34, xx. 9. 

there shall be onefold, and one shepherd] Rather, they shall become 
onefioc\i, one shepherd. The distinction between 'be' and 'become' is 
worth preserving (see on ix. 27, 39), and that between 'flock' and 

vv. 17, 18.] S. JOHN, X. 217 

Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my 17 
life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, 18 

'fold' still more so. 'There shall become one fold' would imply that 
at present there are more than one : but nothing is said of any other 
fold. In both these instances our translators have rejected their better 
predecessors: Tyndale and Coverdale have 'flock,' not 'fold;' the 
Geneva Version has 'be made,' not 'be.' One point in the Greek can- 
not be preserved in English. The words for 'flock' and 'shepherd' are 
cognate and very similar, poimn^ and poiinen: ' one herd, one herdsman ' 
would be the nearest approach we could make, and to change 'flock' 
for 'herd' would be more loss than gain. The change from 'flock' to 
'fold' has been all loss, leading to calamitous misunderstanding. 

"The universalism of v. i6, which is so often quoted against the 
Gospel, seems rather to be exactly of the kind of which we have abun- 
dant evidence in the Synoptists: e.g. in Matt. viii. 11, xiii. 24 — 30, 
xxviii. 19; Luke xiii. 29. A certain precedence is assigned to Israel, 
but the inclusion of the Gentiles is distinctly contemplated." And if 
S. Matthew could appreciate this side of his Master's teaching, how 
much more S. John, who had lived to see the success of missions to the 
heathen and the destruction of Jerusalem. "On the other hand, the 
nature of S. John's universalism must not be mistaken. It implies a 
privileged position on the part of the Jews." S. pp. 172, 173. More- 
over, even O. T. prophets seem to have had a presentiment that other 
nations would share in the blessings of the Messiah. Mic. iv. 1 ; Isa. 
hi. 15. 

17. Therefore^ Better, (9«//^wa<rrw^«/, or, For tMscause (xii. 18, 27). 
See on vii. 22 and viii. 47, and comp. v. 16, 18, vi. 65. The Father's 
love for the incarnate Son is intensified by the self-sacrifice of the Son. 

that I might take it agaiit] Literally, in order that I may take it 
again. This clause is closely connected with the preceding one : 'that' 
depends upon 'because.' Only because Christ was to take His human 
life again was His death such as the Father could have approved. Had 
the Son returned to heaven at the Crucifixion leaving His humanity on 
the Cross, the salvation of mankind would not have been won, the 
sentence of death would not have been reversed, we should be 'yet in 
our sins' (i Cor. xv. 17). Morever, in that case He would have ceased 
to be the Good Shepherd : He would have become like the hireling, 
casting aside his duty before it was completed. The office of the True 
Shepherd is not finished until all mankind become His flock ; and this 
work continues from the Resurrection to the Day of Judgment. 

18. No man taketh it from me] Better, No one taketh it from Me; 
not even God. See on v. 28. Two points are insisted on; (i) that the 
Death is entirely voluntary; (2) that both Death and Resurrection are 
in accordance with a commission received from the Father. Comp. 
'Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit' (Luke xxiii. 46). The 
precise words used by the two Apostles of Christ's death bring this out 
very clearly; 'yielded up (literally 'let go') the ghost' (Matt, xxvii. 50) ; 
'gave up the ghost' (John xix. 30; see note there). The word used by 

2i8 S. JOHN, X. [vv. 19—21. 

but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, 
and I have power to take it again. This commandment 
have I received of my Father. 

19 — 21. Opposite Results of the Teaching. 

19 There was a division therefore again among the Jews for 

20 these sayings. And many of them said. He hath a devil, 

21 and is mad ; why hear ye him? Others said, These are not 
the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the 
eyes of the blind ? 

S. Mark and S. Luke ('breathed His last,' or 'expired') is less strong. 
Here there is an emphasis on the pronoun; 'but /lay it down of My- 

I have power] i.e. right, authority, liberty: same word as in i. 12, 
V. 27, xvi', 2, xix. 10. This authority is the commandment of the 
Fatlier: and hence this passage in no way contradicts the usual N.T. 
doctrine that Christ was raised to life again by the Father. Acts ii. 

This commandment have I received] Better, This commandment 
received I, viz., at the Incarnation: the commandment to die and rise 
again. Comp. iv. 34, v. 30, vi. 38. 

19 — 21. Opposite Results of the Teaching. 

19. again] As about the man born blind (ix. 6) among the Phari- 
sees, and at the Feast of Tabernacles (vii. 43), among the multitude. 
'Therefore' should be omitted here as wanting authority; and 'there 
arose' would be more accurate than 'there was' (see on i. 6); (here 
arose a division again. See on vii. 43. 

among the yctus] Some even among the hostile party are impressed, 
and doubt the correctness of their position: comp. xi. 45. 

20. //e hath a devil] See last note on viii. 48, and comp. vii. 10. 

21. 0/ him that hath a devil] Better, of one possessed witli a 
demon: the expression differs from that in v. 20. 

Can a devil] Or, Surely a demon cannot. See on ix. 40. It was 
too great and too beneficent a miracle for a demon. But here they stop 
short: they state what He cannot be; they do not see, or will not ad- 
mit, what He must be. 

22 — 38. The Discourse at the Feast of the Dedication. 

Again we seem to have a gap in the narrative. Between vv. 21 — 22 
(but see below) there is an interval of about two months; for the Feast 
of Tabernacles would be about the middle of October, and that of the 
Dedication towards the end of December. In this interval some would 
place Luke x. i — xiii. 11. If this be correct, we may connect the send- 
ing out of the Seventy both with the Feast of Tabernacles and also with 
John x. 16. Seventy was the traditional number of tlie nations of the 

v\'. 22, 23.] S. JOHN, X. 219 

22 — 38. The Discourse at the Feast of the Dedication. 

And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and 22 
it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solo- 23 

earth ; and for the nations 70 bullocks were offered at the Feast of 
Tabernacles — 13 on the first day, 12 on the second, 11 on the third, and 
so on. The Seventy were sent out to gather in the nations ; for they 
were not forbidden, as the Twelve were, to go into the way of the Gen- 
tiles or to enter any city of the Samaritans (Matt. x. 5). The Twelve 
were primarily for the twelve tribes; the Seventy for the Gentiles. The 
words 'other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must 
lead,' must have been spoken just before the mission of the Seventy. 

Dr Westcott, on the strength of a strongly attested reading in v. 22, 
Then there took place the Feast of the Dedication, would connect chap, 
ix. and x. i — 21 with this later feast rather than with the Feast of 
Tabernacles. In this case the interval of two months must be placed 
between chaps, viii. and ix. 

22. And it ivas at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication'] More 
literally, Now there took place at Jerusalem the Feast of the Dedication. 
This feast might be celebrated anywhere, and the pointed insertion of 
'at Jerusalem' seems to suggest that in the interval between z/. 21 and v. 
22 Christ had been away from the city. It was kept in honour of the 
purification and restoration of the Temple (b. c. 164) after its desecra- 
tion by Antiochus Epiphanes; i Mace. i. 20 — 60, iv. 36 — 59 (note esp. 
vv. 36 and 59); 2 Mace. x. i — 8. Another name for it was 'the 
Lights,' or 'Feast of Lights,' from the illuminations with which it was 
celebrated. Christian dedication festivals are its lineal descendants. 

"The feast was of comparatively recent institution.. ..It is not a feast 
the name of which would be likely to occur to any but a Jew ; still less 
the accurate note of place in v. 23 ('in the temple in Solomon's porch'). 
Both these verses proclaim the eye-witness. So does the admirable 
question in the verse following. Attracted by His teachings and His 
miracles, but repelled by His persistent refusal to assume the Messianic 
character as they understood it, the Jews ask Jesus directly, 'How long, 
&c.' It is such a question as at this period of the ministry was inevit- 
able, and the language in which it is expressed exactly represents the 
real difficulties and hesitation that the Jews would feel." S. pp. 174, 

and it was winter'] Omit 'and,' which is wanting in authority, and 

join 'it was wintei"' to the next verse. The words explain why Jesus 
was walking under cover. 

23. in Solomon^ s porch] This was a cloister or colonnade in the 
Temple-Courts, apparently on the east side. Tradition said that it was 
a part of the original building which had survived the various destruc- 
tions and rebuildings. No such cloister is mentioned in the account of 
Solomon's Temple, and perhaps the name was derived from the wall 
against which it was built. It is mentioned again Acts iii. 1 1 (where 
see note) and v. 12. Foundations still remaining probably belong to it. 

220 S. JOHN, X. [w. 24—26. 

24 mon's porch. Then came the Jews round about him, 
and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? 

25 If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered 
them, I told you, and ye believe not: the works that I do 

26 in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye 
believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said 

24. Then came the JeT.vs round about, &c.] Better, The Jews there- 
fore compassed Him about (Luke xxi. 20; Hebr. xi. 30; Rev. xx. 9) 
and kept saying to Him. They encircled Him in an urgent and ob- 
trusive manner, indicating that they were determined to have an 

How long dost thou make tis to doubt?\ The margin is better with hold 
us in suspense. The literal meaning is How Ions; dost Thou excite our 
mittd? If Thou art the Christ tell us with openness (see on vii. 4). 
They put a point-blank question, as the Sanhedrin do at the Passion 
(Luke xxii. 67). Their motives for urging this v/ere no doubt mixed, 
and the same motive was not predominant in each case Some were 
hovering between faith and hostility and (forgetting viii. 13) fancied 
that an explicit declaration from Him might help them. Others asked 
mainly out of curiosity: He had interested them greatly, and they 
wanted His own account of Himself. The worst wished for a plain 
statement which might form material for an accusation: they wanted 
Him to commit Himself. 

25. / told you-, and ye beliei'ed not] The best authorities have, and 
ye believe 7tot: their unbelief still continues. To some few, the woman 
at the well, the man born blind, and the Apostles, Jesus had explicitly 
declared Himself to be the Messiah ; to all He had implicitly declared 
Himself by His works and teaching. 

the works'] in the widest sense, not miracles alone; His Messianic 
work generally. See on v. 36. The pronouns are emphatically op- 
posed; 'the works which /do. ..M^^.... But ye believe not, 

26. as I said unto you] These words are omitted by some of the 
best authorities, including the Vatican and Sinaitic MSS. But they 
may possibly have been left out to avoid a difficulty. If they are 
genuine they are best joined, as in our version, with what precedes. 
Nowhere in the Gospels does Christ make such a quotation from a 
previous discourse as we should have if we read, 'As I said unto you. 
My sheep hear My voice, &c.' The arrangement 'Ye are not of My 
sheep, as I said unto you,' is better, and the reference is to the general 
sense of the allegory of the sheep-fold, especially vi<. 14, 15. He and 
His sheep have most intimate knowledge of one another; therefore 
these Jews asking who He is prove that they are not His sheep. Comp. 
vi. 36, where there seems to be a similar reference to the general mean- 
ing of a previous discourse. It is strange that an objection should have 
been made to His referring to the allegory after a lapse of two montlis. 
There is nothing improbable in His doing so, especially if He had been 
absent from the city in the interval (see on v. 22). Might not a speaker 

w. 27—31.] S. JOHN, X. 221 

unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, 27 
and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and 28 
they shall never perish, neither shall any jfian pluck them 
out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater 29 
than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my 
Father's hand. I and my Father are one. Then the Jews 3° 

at the present time refer to a speech made two months before, especially 
if he had not spoken in public since then? 

27. 28. Note the simple but veiy impressive coupling of the clauses 
by a simple ' and ' throughout and comp. vv. 3 and 12 : note also the 

28. I give unto theni\ Not 'willgwQ.'' Here as in iii. 15, v. 24 and 
often, the gift of eternal life is regarded as already possessed by the 
faithful. It is not a promise, the fulfilment of which depends upon 
man's conduct, but a gift, the retention of which depends upon our- 

they shall never perish'] This is parallel to viii. 51 (see note there) ; 
shall certainly not perish for ever, being the literal meaning, But the 
negative belongs to the verb, not to 'for ever;' and the meaning is, not 
' they may die, but shall not die for ever,'' but ' they shall never die for 
all eternity.' Comp. xi. 26. 

neither shall any man pluck them] Better, and no one shall snatch 
them. ' No one ' rather than 'no man ' (as in z>. 18), for the powers of 
darkness are excluded as well as human seducers. ' Snatch ' rather than 
'pluck,' for in the Greek it is the same word as is used of the wolf in 
V. 12, and this should be preserved in translation. 

This passage in no way asserts the indefectibiiity of the elect, and 
gives no countenance to ultra-predestinarian views. Christ's sheep cannot 
be taken from Him against their will ; but their will is free, and they 
may choose to leave the flock. 

out of my hand] " His hand protects, bears, cherishes, leads them." 

29. which gave them] Better, which hath given them. Comp. xvii. 
6, 24. This enforces the previous assertion. ' To snatch them out of 
My hand, he must snatch them out of My Father's hand ; and My Father 
is greater than all:' even than the Son (xiv. 28). But the reading is 
not certain. The most probable text gives, that which the Father 
hath given Me is greater than all. The unity of the Church is strength 

out of my Father's hand] The better reading is, otit oftTae Father's 
hand. ' Out of His hand ' would have sufficed ; but ' Father ' is repeated 
for emphasis. 

30. / and my Father are one] ' One ' is neuter in the Greek ; not 
one Person, but one Substance. There is no 'My' in the Greek; /and 
the Father are one. Christ has just implied tliat His hand and the 
Father's hand are one, which implies that He and the Father are one ; 
and this He now asserts. They are one in power, in will, and in 

222 S. JOHN, X. [vv. 32—35. 

32 took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, 
Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for 

33 which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered 
him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for 
blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest 

34 thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not ^vritten in 

35 your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, 

action: this at the very least the words must mean; the Arian interpre- 
tation of mere moral agreement is inadequate. Whether or no Unity 
of Essence is actually stated here, it is certainly implied, as the Jews see. 
They would stone Him for making Himself God, which they would not 
have done had He not asserted or implied that He and the Father were 
one in Substance, not merely in will. And Christ docs not correct 
them, as assuredly He would have done, had their animosity arisen out 
of a gross misapprehension of His words. Comp. Rev. xx. 6, xxii. 3. 

31. Then the yews] Better, Tlierefore ihe yews : their picking up 
stones was a direct consequence of His words. But ' therefore ' should 
perhaps be omitted. They prepare to act on Lev. xxiv. 16 (Comp. 
I Kin. xxi. 10). 'Again' refers us back to viii. 59. The word for 
' took up 'is not the same in each case; the word used here is stronger, 
implying more effort; 'lifted up, bore.' But 'again' shews that it 
refers to raising up from the ground rather than carrying from a distance. 

32. Alany good works\ It is the same word as is used v. 14 of the 
6'<'(?d? Shepherd : many beautiful, noble, excellent works. Comp. 'He 
hath done all things %velV (Mark vii. 37) and 'God saw that it w^sgood' 
(Gen. i. 8, 10, 12, &c.). These excellent works proceed from the 
Father and are manifested by the Son. 

/or whicli of t}iose\ Literally, for what kind of work among these ; 
i. e. ' what is the character of the work for which ye are in the act of 
stoning me ?' It was precisely the character of the works which shewed 
that they were Divine, as some of them were disposed to think (t'. 21, 
vii. 26). Comp. Matt. xxii. 36, where the literal meaning is, 'what/'z«</ 
of a commandment is great in the law?' and i Cor. xv. 35, 'with what 
^/«</ of body do they come?' See on xii. 33, xviii. 32, xxi. 19. 

33. For a good work] The preposition is changed in the Greek ; 
concerning a good work. ' That is not the subject-matter of our charge?' 

and because] ' And' is explanatory, shewing wherein the blasphemy 
consisted : it does not introduce a separate charge. 

34^38. Christ answers the formal charge of blasphemy by a fomial 
argument on the other side. 

34. in your laid] ' Law ' is here used in its widest sense for the 
whole of the Old Testament; so also in xii. 34 and xv. 25 ; in all three 
places the passage referred to is in the Psalms. Comp. vii. 19, i Cor. 
xiv. 21. The force of the pronoun is, 'for which you profess to have 
such a regard :' comp. viii. 17. On the Greek for 'is it written' see on 
ii. 17. 

I said. Ye are gods] The argument is both h fortiori and adkominetn. 

vv. 36, 37.] _^ S. JOHN, X. 223 

unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture 
cannot be broken; say ye of hh?i, whom the Father hath 36 
sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; 
because I said, I am the Son of God ? If I do not the works 37 

In the Scriptures (Ps. Ixxxii. 6) even unjust rulers are called ' gods ' on 
the principle of the theocracy, that rulers are the delegates and repre- 
sentatives of God (comp. Ex. xxii. 28). If this is admissible without 
blasphemy, how much more may He call Himself 'Son of God.' 

35. If he called them gods\ More probably, If it called them gods, 
viz. the Law. 'Them' is left unexplained; a Jewish audience would at 
once know who were meant. But how incredible that any but a Jew 
should think of such an argument, or put it in this brief way ! These 
last eight verses alone are sufficient to discredit the theory that this 
Gospel is the work of Greek Gnostic in the second century. 

the word of Godi Practically the same as 'the Scripture;' i.e. the 
word of God in these passages of Scripture. The Word in the theolo- 
gical sense for the Son is not meant ; this term appears nowhere in the 
narrative part of S. John's Gospel. But of course it was through the 
Word, not yet incarnate, that God revealed His will to His people. 

cannot be brokett] Literally, 'cannot be undone ' or ' unloosed.' The 
same word is rendered 'unloose' (i. 27), 'destroy ' (ii. 19), 'break' (v. 18 
and vii. ■23), 'loose' (xi. 44). i. 27 and xi. 44 are literal, of actual un- 
binding ; the others are figurative, of dissolution or unbinding as a form 
of destruction. Here either metaphor, dissolution or unbinding, would 
be appropriate; either, 'cannot be explained away, made to mean 
nothing;' or, 'cannot be deprived of its binding authority.' The latter 
seems better. The clause depends upon 'if,' and is not parenthetical ; 
'if the Scripture cannot be broken.' As in ii. 12, xvii. 12, xx. 9, 'the 
Scripture ' (singular) probably means a definite passage. Comp. vii. 38, 
42, xiii. 18, xvii. 12, xix. 24, 28, 36, 37. Scripture as a whole is called 
' the Scriptures ' (plural) ; v. 39. 

36. Say ye"] 'Ye 'with great emphasis, ' Do _j'£, in opposition to 
the Scripture, say ?' 

of him, whom the Father hath sanctified^ Omit 'hath;' both verbs 
are aorists. This also is emphatic, in opposition to 'them unto whom 
the word of God came.' Men on whom God's word has conferred a 
fragment of delegated authority may be called 'gods' (Elohim) without 
scruple ; He, Whom the Father Himself sanctified and sent, may not be 
called Son of God (no article before 'Son') without blasphemy! By 
'sanctified ' is meant something analogous to the consecration of Jere- 
miah before his birth for the work of a Prophet (Jer. i. 5). When the 
Son was sent into the world He was consecrated for the work of the 
Messiah, and endowed with the fulness of grace and truth (see on i. 14), 
the fulness of power (iii. 35), the fulness of life (v. 26). In virtue of this 
Divine sanctification He becomes 'the Holy One of God' (vi. 69 ; Luke 
iv. 34). See on xvii. 17, 19, the only other passages in S. John's 
writings where the word occurs. 


S. JOHN, X. [w. 38, 39. 

38 of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye 
beheve not me, beUeve the works : that ye may know, and 
behave, that the Father is in me, and I in him. 

39 — 42. Opposite Results of the Discourse. 

39 Therefore they sought again to take him : but he escaped 

37, 38. Having met their technical charge in a technical manner He 
now proceeds to justify the assertion of His unity with the Father by an 
appeal to His works. 

37. believe me not] A literal command. If His works are not those 
which His Father works, they ought not (not merely have no need) to 
believe what He says. Comp. v. 24, 46; vi. 30; viii. 31, 45. His 
works are His Father's (ix. 3, xiv. 10). 

38. bdieve the works] ' Blessed are they that have not seen and yet 
have believed' (xx. 29); but it is better to have the faith that comes 
with sight than none at all. 

that ye may kno7v, and believe] The better reading probably is, that 
ye may come to know and continually know ; ' attain to knowledge 
and advance in knowledge in contrast to your state of suspense' (z/. 24). 
In the Greek it is the aorist and present of the same verb ' to come to 
know, perceive, recognise :' the aorist denotes the single act, the pre- 
sent the permanent growth. The apparent awkwardness of havmg the 
same verb twice in the same clause has probably caused a large number 
of authorities to substitute another verb in the second case. But the 
change of tense is full of meaning, especially in reference to the Jews. 
Many of them attained to a momentary conviction that He was the 
Messiah (ii. 23, vi. 14, 15, vii. 41, viii. 30, x. 42, xi. 45) ; very few of 
them went beyond a transitory conviction (ii. 24, vi. 66, viii. 31). 

the Father is in vie, and I in him] For 'in Him' read with the 
best authorities in tlie Father. An instance of the solemnity and 
emphasis derived from repetition, so frequent in this Gospel. 

39—42. Opposite Results of the Discourse. 

39. Therefore they sought again] ' Therefore' is of rather doubtful 
authenticity; some important witnesses omit 'again' also. ^' Again' 
refers us back to vii. 30, 32, 44, and shews that 'to take Him' means, 
not, take Him and stone Him (v. 31), but, arrest Ilim for the San- 

he escaped] Literally, went forth. There being notlung in the 
text to shew that His departure was miraculous, it is safest (as in viii. 
59, where the same word is used for ' went forth ') to suppose that 
there was no miracle. He withdrew through the less hostile among 
those who encircled Him, while the others were making up their minds 
how to apprehend Him. The majesty of innocence suffices to protect 
Him, His hour not having come. 

vv. 40-42.] S. JOHN, X. 225 

out of their hand, and went away again beyond Jordan into 40 
the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode. 
And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle : 41 
but all thifigs that John spake of this man were true. And 42 
many believed on him there. 

40 — 42. "The chapter ends with a note of place which is evidently 
and certainly historical. No forger would ever have thought of the 
periphrasis 'where John at first baptized'... 'John did no miracle: 
but all things that John spake of this man were true.' It would be 
impossible to find a stronger incidental proof that the author of the 
Gospel had been originally a disciple of the Baptist, or at least his 
contemporary, and also that he is writing of things that he had heard 
and seen. A Gnostic, writing in Asia Minor, even though he had 
come into relation with disciples of John, would not have introduced 
the Baptist in this way. In circles that had been affected by the Bap- 
tist's teaching, and were hesitating whether they should attach them- 
selves to Jesus, this is precisely the sort of comment that would be 
heard." S. p. 179. 

40. again beyond j^orc/an] Referring back to i. 28. The hostility 
of the hierarchy being invincible and becoming more and more dan- 
gerous Jesus retires into Peraea for quiet and safety before His Passion. 
This interval was between three and four months, from the latter part 
of December to the middle of April. But some portion of this time 
was spent at Ephraim (xi. 54) after going to Bethany in Judaea to 
raise Lazarus. Nothing is told us as to how much time was given to 
Bethany or Bethabara in Peraea, how much to Ephraim. 

atfirst\ John afterwards baptized at Aenon near Salim (iii. 23). 
baptized^ was baptizing. 

41. many resorted unto hint] There is no reason why the usual 
translation 'came' should be changed to 'resorted.' The testimony of 
the Baptist, and perhaps the miraculous voice at Christ's Baptism, 
were still remembered there. Since then there had been the mission 
of the Seventy and Christ's own work in Galilee. 

and said] Or, kept saying or used to say: it was a common remark. 

yoAn did no miracle] Or sign. This is indirect evidence of the 
genuineness of the miracles recorded of Christ. It is urged that if 
Jesus had wrought no miracles, they would very possibly have been 
attributed to Him after His death. Let us grant this; and at the 
same time it must be granted that the same holds good to a very great 
extent of the Baptist. The enthusiasm which he awakened, as a Pro- 
phet appearing after a weary interval of four centuries, was immense. 
Miracles would have been eagerly believed of him, the second Elijah, 
and would be likely enough to be attributed to him. But more than 
half a century after his death we have one of his own disciples quite 
incidentally telling us that 'John did no miracle'; and there is no 
rival tradition to the contrary. All traditions concur in attributing 
miracles to Jesus. 

42. many believed on him there] 'There' is emphatic. ' There,* 

s. JOHN 15 

226 S. JOHN, XI. 

Chap. XI. Christ is Love illustrated by a Sign. 

in contrast to Jerusalem which had rejected Him, ' many believed on 
Him'. Note the full expression ' believed on' (see on i. 12) as distmct 
from merely believing His statements {vv. 37, 38). 

Chap. XI. Christ is Love illustrated by a Sign. 

Christ's love for His friends brings about His owrn death. Expressions 
of affection and tenderness abound in the chapter; comp. vv. 3, 5, 11, 
15, 35, 36. 

We have now reached 'the culminating point of the miraculous 
activity of our Lord', and at the same time the 'crucial question' of 
this Gospel— the Raising of Lazarus. Various objections have been 
urged against it, and through it against the Fourth Gospel as a whole. 
The principal objections require notice. They are based (i) on the 
extraordinary character of the miracle itself; (2) on the silence of the 
Synoptists; (3) on the fact that in spite of what is narrated vv. 47—53- 
no mention is made of the miracle in the accusation and condemnation 
of Jesus. 

(i) The extraordinary character of the miracle "has been exagge- 
rated by looking at it in the light of modern ideas. To us the raising 
of the dead stands apart from other miracles in a class by itself as 
peculiarly unexampled and incredible. But it was not so regarded at 
the time when the Gospel was written... In the Synoptists the answer 
that Jesus gives to the disciples of John groups together every class of 
miracle, the raising of the dead amongst them, without distinction. 
Similar narratives in the Synoptists, in the Acts, and in the Old Tes- 
tament, are given without any special relief or emphasis." S. p. 186. 

And surely this ancient view is both more reverent and more philo- 
sophical than the modern one. Only from a purely human standpoint 
can one miracle be regarded as more wonderful, i.e. more difficult of 
performance, than another. To Omnipotence all miracles, as indeed 
all works, are equal : distinctions of difficult and easy as applied to the 
Almighty are meaningless. 

(2) It is certainly surprising that the Synoptists do not mention 
this miracle, all the more so because S. John tells us that it was the 
proximate cause of Christ's arrest and condemnation. But this sur- 
prising circumstance has been exaggerated. It seems too much to say 
that " it must always remain a mystery why this miracle, transcending 
as it does all other miracles which the Lord wrought,... should have 
been passed over by the three earlier Evangelists". Two considera- 
tions go a long way towards explaining the mystery, (i) "We are 
accustomed to regard the Synoptic Gospels as three ; but in the out- 
line and by far the greater part of their narrative they are virtually 
one. The groundwork of them all is supplied by a single document, 
that document itself a compilation, and (as there is ample evidence to 
show) a very fragmentary one:' S. p. 185. That a fragmentary 
document or tradition should omit important facts is not surprising: 
that three writers, making use of this defective evidence, should not 

V. I.] S. JOHN, XI. 227 

I — ^^. The Prelude to the Sign. 
Now a certain tnan was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, 11 

even in this very important instance supply the deficiency, is not more 
than surprising. And the second consideration greatly diminishes our 
surprise, (ii) The Synoptists, until they reach the last Passover, 
omit almost all events in or about Jerusalem : the ministry in Galilee 
is their province. Therefore "we cannot be surprised that they 
should omit an event which is placed at Bethany." S. p. 186. The 
omission of this raising by the Synoptists is very little more strange 
than the omission of the other raisings by John, Each side keeps to 
its own scheme of narration. 

To explain that the Synoptists were silent in order not to draw 
attention, and perhaps persecution (xii. 10, 11), on Lazarus and his 
sisters, whereas when S. John wrote they were dead (just as S. [ohn 
alone records that it was S. Peter who cut off the High Priest's servant's 
ear), is not very satisfactory. There is no evidence that Lazarus and 
his sisters were living when the first Gospel was written, still less 
when S. Luke wrote. And if they were alive, were the chief priests 
alive, and their animosity still alive also? The explanation is less 
easy than the difficulty. 

(3) This last objection really tells in favour of the narrative. The 
hierarchy would have stood self-condemned if they had made His 
raising the dead a formal charge against Christ. The disciples had 
fled, and could not urge the miracle in His favour; and Christ Him- 
self would not break the majestic silence which He maintained before 
His accusers to mention such a detail. 

There are those who assume that miracles are impossible, and that 
no amount of evidence can render a miracle credible. This miracle is 
therefore dismissed, and we are to believe either (i) Lazarus was only 
apparently dead, i.e. that Christ was an impostor and S. John a dupe or 
an accomplice; or that (2) the parable of Lazarus and Dives has been 
transformed into a miracle; or that (3) the narrative is a tiiyth, or (4) an 
allegory, (i) and (2) only need to be stated : of {3) and (4) we may say 
with Meyer, "No narrative of the N.T. bears so completely the stamp 
of being the very opposite of a later invention.... And what an incredible 
height of art in the allegorical construction of history must we ascribe to 
the composer!" Instead of an historical miracle we have a literary 
miracle of the second century. Contrast this chapter with the miracles 
of the Apocryphal Gospels, and it will seem impossible that both can 
have come from the same source. To tear out this or any other page 
from S. John, and retain the rest, is quite inadmissible. "The Gospel 
is like that sacred coat 'without seam woven from the top throughout:' 
it is either all real and true or all fictitious and illusory ; and the latter 
alternative is, I cannot but think, more difficult to accept than the 
miracle." S. p. 188. 

1 — 33. The Prelude to the Sign, 
1. Now a certain man was sick] Note once more the touching 


228 S. JOHN, XI. [vv. 2, 3. 

3 the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was ///(?/ Mary 
which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet 

3 with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore 
his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom 

simpl icity of the narrative. ' Now ' should perhaps be ' but, ' though the 
Greek particle may mean either. Here it introduces a contrast to what 
precedes. Christ went into Peraea for retirement, but the sickness of 
Lazarus interrupted it. 

named Lazarus} The theory that this narrative is a parable trans- 
formed into a miracle possibly represents something like the reverse of 
the fact. The parable of Dives and Lazarus was apparently snoken 
about this time, i.e. between the Feast of Dedication and the last Pass- 
over, and it may possibly have been suggested by this miracle. In no 
other parable does Christ introduce a proper name. Some would 
identify Lazarus of Bethany with the rich young ruler (Matt. xix. 16; 
Mark x. '7; Luke xviii. 18), and also with the young man clad in a 
linen cloth who followed Jesus in the Garden after the disciples had fled 
(Mark xiv. 51; see note there). The name Lazarus is an abbreviated 
Greek form of Eleazar = ' God is my help.' It is commonly assumed 
without much evidence that he was younger than his sisters : S. Luke's 
silence about him (x. 38, 39) agrees well with this. 

Bethany\ A small village on the S.E. slope of the Mount of Olives, 
about two miles from Jerusalem (see on Matt. xxi. 9). 

the town of Mary\ Better, of the village of Mary. The same word 
is used of Bethlehem (vii. 42) and in conjunction with 'towns' or 'cities' 
(Luke xiii. i^). It is an elastic word; but its general meaning is 
•village' rather than anything larger. Mary is here mentioned first, 
although apparently the younger sister (Luke x. 28), because the 
incident mentioned in the next verse had made her better known. They 
would seem to have been people of position from the village being 
described as their abode (to distinguish it from the other Bethany in 
Peraea, to wliich Christ had just gone). The guests at the funeral (t/z/. 
3t, 45), the feast, the family burying-place (z;. 38), and Mary's costly 
offering (xii. 2, 3), point in the same direction. 

2. // was that Mary which anointed} This of course does not 
necessarily imply that the anointing had already taken place, as those 
who identify Mary with the 'sinner' of Luke vii. 37 would insist: it 
merely implies that when S. John wrote, this fact was well known 
about her, as Christ had promised should be the case (Matt. xxvi. 13). 
S. John tells two facts omitted in the earlier Gospels; (i) that the vil- 
lage of Martha and Mary was Bethany, (2) that the anointing at 
Bethany was Mary's act. The identification of Mary of Bethany with 
the prostitute of Luke vii. is altogether at variance with what S. Luke 
and S. John tell us of her character. Nor is there any sufficient reason 
for identifying either of them with Mary Magdalene. Mary of Bethany, 
Mary of Magdala, and the 'sinner' of Luke vii. are three distinct persons. 
3. Therefore his sisters setit} This shews that v. 2 ought not to be 


4—6.] S. JOHN, XI. 229 

thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This 4 
sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that 
the Son of God might be glorified thereby. Now Jesus 5 
loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When he had 6 

made a parenthesis: 'therefore' refers to the previous statement. Be- 
cause of the intimacy, which every one who knew of the anointing would 
understand, the sisters sent. Note that they are not further described ; 
S. John has said enough to tell his readers who are meant : but would 
not a forger have introduced them with more description? 

he whom thou lovest is sick'\ Exquisite in its tender simplicity. The 
message implies a belief that Christ could, and probably would, heal a 
dangerous sickness. See on w. 5. 

4. is not unto death'] i.e. is not to have death as its final result. 
Christ foresaw both the death and the resurrection, and (as so often) 
uttered words which His disciples did not understand at the time, but 
recognised in their proper meaning after what He indicated had taken 
place. Comp. ii. 22, xii. 16, xxi. 23. 

might be glorified] In two ways; because the miracle (i) would lead 
many to believe that He was the Messiah; (2) would bring about His 
death. 'Being glorified' is a frequent expression in this Gospel for 
Christ's Death regarded as the mode of His return to glory (vii. 39, xii. 
16, 23, xiii. 31, 32); and this glorification of the Son involves the glory 
of the Father (v. 23, x. 30, 38). Comp. ix. 3; in the Divine counsels 
the purpose of the man's blindness and of Lazarus' sickness is the glory 
of God. 

We ought perhaps to connect the special meaning of 'glorified' with 
the first clause: 'This sickness is to have for its final issue, not the 
temporal death of an individual, but the eternal life of all mankind.' 

It is worth noting that both the first and the last of the seven miracles 
of the ministry recorded by S. John are declared to be manifestations 
of glory (ii. 11, xi. 4, 40) and confirmations of faith (ii. 11, xi. 15). 

thereby] Both in the English and in the Greek this is ambiguous : it 
may refer either to the sickness or the glory. The former is correct. 

5. Now Jestis loved Martha] The English Version loses much here, 
and still more in xxi. 15 — 17, by using the same word 'love' to translate 
two different Greek words : nor can the loss be remedied satisfactorily. 
The word used in v. 3, philein (Lat. a?nare), denotes a passionate, emo- 
tional warmth, which loves and cares not to ask why ; the affection of 
lovers, parents, and the like. The word used here agapdn, (Lat. 
diligei-e), denotes a calm, discriminating attachment, which loves because 
of the excellence of the loved object ; the affection of friends. Philein 
is the stronger, but less reasoning; agapdn the more earnest, but less 
intense. The sisters naturally use the more emotional word, describing 
their own feeling towards their brother ; the Evangelist equally naturally 
uses the loftier and less impulsive word. The fact that the sisters are 
here included is not the reason for the change of expression. 

Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus] The names are probably in 

230 S. JOHN, XI. [w. 7— lo. 

heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still 

7 in the same place where he was. Then after that saith he 

8 to his disciples, Let us go into Judea again. His disciples 
say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; 

9 and goest thou thither again? Jesus answered. Are there 
not twelve hours in the day? If any mati walk in the day, he 
stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. 

10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there 

order of age. This and v. 19 confirm what is almost certain from Luke 
X. 38, that Martha is the elder sister. 

6. When he had heard iher(fore\ Omit 'had.' The connexion is a 
little difficult. 'Therefore' after the statement in v. 5 prepares us for 
'He set out immediately,' but instead of that we have the reverse. 
'Therefore,' however, really leads on to v. 7, and consequently there 
should be only a semicolon at the end of z/. 6. When, therefore, He 
heard that he is sick, then indeed lie abode two days in the place 
'iuhere He was ; then after this lie saith, &c. The question why 
Christ remained the two days is futile : such was the Divine Will with 
regard to the mode of working this miracle and to His Messianic work 
generally. His life was a perfect fulfilment of the Preacher's rule; 'To 
everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven' 
(Eccl. iii. 1 ; comp. v. 9, ii. 4). There was a Divine plan, in conformity 
with which He worked. 

7. Let tts go into yudea again] The again refers us back to x. 40. 
His using the general term, Judoea, instead of Bethany leads to the 
disciples' reply. Judaea was associated with hostility, Bethany with 
love and friendship. 

8. Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee] Better, Rabbi (see on 
iv. 3 1 ) just now the Jrws were seeking to stone Thee (x. 31) and art 
Thou going thither again ? ' Again ' is emphatic. 

9. Are there not twelve hours in the day] As so often, Christ gives 
no direct answer to the question asked, but a general principle, involv- 
ing the answer to the question. Comp. ii. 6, 19, iii. 5, 10, iv. 13, i\, 
vi. S"!, 5.^, viii. 7, 25, 54, X. 25. The meaning seems lo be, 'Are there 
not twelve working-hours in which a man may labour without fear of 
stumbling? I have not yet reached the end of My working-day, and so 
can safely continue the work I came to do. The night cometh, when 1 
can no longer work ; but it has not yet come.' Comp. ix. 4. Thus it 
is practically equivalent to ' Mine hour is not yet come ;' it is still safe 
for Him to work : but the figure here adopted is of wider application, 
and contains a moral for the disciples and all Christians as well as an 
application to Christ. The expression throws no light on S. John's 
method of reckoning time. See on xix. 14. 

the light of this ruorld] The sun. 

10. he stumbleth] Christ's night came when His hour came (xvii. i). 
Then the powers of darkness prevailed (Luke xxii. 53) and His enemies 

vv. II— 13.] S. JOHN, XI. 231 

is no light in him. These thirigs said he : and after that he n 
saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that 
I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, 12 
Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of 13 

became a stumblingblock in His path, bringing His work to a close 
(xix. 30). The word for 'stumble' means literally to 'knock the foot 
against something. 

there is no light ift him] Rather, the light is not in him. This shews 
that the meaning has slid from the literal to the figurative. ' The light ' 
in V. 9 is the physical light in the heavens ; here it is the spiritual light 
in the heart. 

11. and after that] and after this. These words indicate a pause 
in the narrative. 

Our friend Lazarus sleepeth] Better, Lazarus our friend is fallen 
asleep, or, is gone to rest. Sleep as an image of death is common from 
the dawn of literature ; but the Gospel has raised the expression from a 
figure to a fact. Comp. Matt, xxvii. 52; Acts vii. 50, xiii. 36; r Cor. 
vii. 39, xi. 30, XV. 6, 18; I Thess. iv. 13; 2 Pet. iii. 4. The thoroughly 
Christian term 'cemetery' (= sleeping-place) in the sense of a place of 
repoSe for the dead comes from the same Greek root. The exact time 
of Lazarus' death cannot be determined, for we do not know how long 
Christ took in reaching Bethany. Christ calls him ^ our friend,' as 
claiming the sympathy of the disciples, who had shewn unwillingness 
to return to Judaea. 

that I may awake him] This shews that no messenger has come to 
announce the death. Christ sees the death as He foresees the resurrec- 
tion : comp. V. 4. 

12. Then said his disciples] Better, Therefore said the disciples to 
Him. They catch at any chance of escape from the dreaded journey. 

if he sleep, he shall do well] Better, if he be fallen asleep, he shall be 
saved, will be cured. Probably they thought that Christ meant to go 
and cure Lazarus {v. 37, comp. ix. 3) ; and here they infer from his 
sleeping that he will recover without Christ's aid : consequently Christ 
need not go. They are too full of anxiety to notice Christ's significant 
words 'I go, that I may awake him,' whereas the rendering in our Bible 
reads like an expostulation against waking him, as if it meant ' a sick 
man should not be disturbed.' For other instances in which the disci- 
ples grossly misunderstand Christ, see iv. 33, xiv. 5, 8, 22; Matt. xvi. 7; 
and comp. iii. 4, 9, iv. 11, 15, vi. 34, 52, vii. 35, viii. 22, 33, 52. This 
candour in declaring their own failings adds to our confidence in the 
veracity of the Evangelists. It is urged that the misunderstanding here 
is too gross to be probable: but they had not unnaturally understood 
Christ Himself to have declared that Lazarus would not die (v. 4) ; this 
being so, they could not easily suppose that by sleep He meant death. 
Moreover, when men's minds are on the stretch the strangest misappre- 
hensions become possible. 

13. Howbeit Jesus spake] Or, Now Jesus had spoken. 

232 S. JOHN, XI. [vv. 14—16. 

his death : but they thought that he had spoken of taking of 
M rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus 

15 is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not 
there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go 

16 unto him. Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, 

had spoken"] spake. 

taking of rest in sleep] The word here translated ' taking of rest ' 
corresponds to ' sleepeth ' or ' is gone to rest ' in z/. 11, and ' to sleep ' in 
J/, 1 2. The word translated ' awake him out of sleep ' in z/. 1 1 is a com- 
pound of the word here rendered, ' sleep. ' 

14. Then said Jesus] 'Then 'here, as in Rom. vi. ^i, is made to 
cover two Greek words, ' then ' of time, and ' then ' of consequence : 
translate, Then therefore said Jesus. 

plainly] Without metaphor : see on vii, 4 and x. 24. 

16. I am glad] Christ rejoices, not at his friend's death, but at His 
own absence from the scene, for the disciples' sake. Had He been 
there, Lazarus would not have died, and the disciples would have lost 
this great sign of His Messiahship. 

to the intent ye may believe] S. John's favourite construction, indicat- 
ing the Divine purpose : see on ix. 2, 3. Would any forger have written 
this? Would it not seem utterly improbable that at the close of His 
ministry Christ should still be working in order that Apostles might be- 
lieve? Yet S. John, who heard the words, records them, and he knew 
from sad experience (Mark xiv. 50, xvi. 11 ; Luke xxiv. 11, 21) that this 
work was not superfluous. Just before the trial of faith which His 
Passion and Death would bring to them. His disciples had need of all the 
help and strength that He could give. See on ii. 11. 

nevertheless let us go] He breaks off suddenly. 

16. Then said] Tlierefore said. 

Thomas, xvhich is calUd Didyfuus] S. John thrice (xx. 24, xxi. 2) 
reminds his readers that Thomas is the same as he whom Gentile 
Christians called Didymus. Thomas is Hebrew, Didymus is Greek, for 
a twin. Li all probability he was a twin, possibly of S. Matthew, with 
whom he is coupled in all three lists of the Ajiostles in the Gospels : in 
the Acts he is coupled with S. Piiilip. That S. Thomas received his name 
from Christ (as Simon was called I'eter, and the sons of Zebedee Boa- 
nerges) in consequence of his character, is pure conjecture. But the 
coincidence between the name and his twin-mindedness (James i. 8, 
iv. 8) is remarkable. " In him the twins, unbelief and faith, were con- 
tending with one another for mastery, as Esau and Jacob in Rebecca's 
womb ' (Trench). It is from S. John that we know his character : in 
the Synoptists and the Acts he is a mere name (see on i. 41). He seems 
to have combined devotion to Christ with a tendency to see the dark 
side of everything. S. John's care in distinguishing him by his Gentile 
name adds point to the argument derived from his never distinguishing 
John as the Baptist (see on i. 6). 

vv. 17, 18.1 S. JOHN, XI. 233 

unto his fellow-disciples, Let us also go, that we may die 
with him. 

Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lien in the 17 
grave four days already. Now Bethany was nigh unto 18 

fellow-disciples'] The word occurs here only. It has been remarked that 
S. Thomas would scarcely have taken the lead in this way had S. Peter 
been present, and that had S. Peter been there he would probably have 
appeared in the previous dialogue. If he was absent, we have an 
additional reason for the absence of this miracle from S. Mark's Gospel, 
the Gospel of S. Peter, and undoubtedly the representative of the oldest 
form of the Synoptic narrative. 

die with him] Of course with Christ {v. 8). It is strange that any 
should understand it of Lazarus. They could not die with him, for he 
was dead already, and S. Thomas knew this {v. 14). 

17. Then when Jesus came] Better, Wheyt therefore Jesus came, 
not to the house, nor to Bethany, but to the vicinity (vv. 20, 30). In 
V. 16 also 'then' should be therefore, S.John's favourite particle to 
express a sequence in fact. 

he found] i.e. on enquiry. It would seem as if Christ's miraculous 
power of knowing without the ordinary means of information was not in 
constant activity, but like His other miraculous powers was employed 
only on fitting occasions. It was necessary to His work that He should 
know of Lazarus' death; it was not necessary that He should know how 
long he had been buried, nor where he had been buried (v. 34). Comp. 
i. 48, iv. r8. Similarly, Peter's prison-gate opens 'of its own accord;' 
Mary's house-door does not (Acts xii. 10 — 16). 

in the grave] Or, in the sepulchre. Our translators use three dif- 
ferent English words for the same Greek word ; ' grave ' in this chapter, 
v. 28; Matt, xxvii. 52, &c. ; 'tomb' Matt. viii. 28; Mark v. 2, vi. 29, 
&c. ; 'sepulchre' of Christ's resting-place. 'Sepulchre' would be best 
in all cases. Another Greek word for 'tomb ' used by S. Matthew only 
is rendered ' tomb ' xxiii. 29, and 'sepulchre' xxiii. 27, xxvii. 61, 64, 66, 
xxviii. I. 

four days] No doubt he had been buried the day he died, as is 
usual in hot climates where decomposition is rapid ; moreover, he had 
died of a malignant disease, probably a fever. Jehu ordered Jezebel to 
be buried a few hours after death (2 Kings ix. 34) ; Ananias and Sapphira 
were buried at once (Acts v. 6, to). If Christ started just after Lazarus 
died, as seems probable, the journey had occupied four days. This fits 
in well with the conclusion that Bethabara or Bethany was in the north 
of Palestine, pos.sibly a little south of the Sea of Galilee ; near Galilee it 
must have been (comp. i. 28, 29, 43). But on the other hand Lazarus 
may have died soon after Christ heard of his illness ; in which case the 
journey occupied barely two days. 

18. Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem] The ' was ' need not 
imply that when S. John wrote Bethany had been destroyed, but this is 
the more probable meaning ; especially as no other Evangelist speaks of 

234 S. JOHN, XI. [vv. 19, 20. 

19 Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: and many of the Jews 
came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning 

20 their brother. Then Martha, as soon as she heard that 
Jesus was coming, went and met hira: but Mary sat still 

places in the past tense, and S. John does not always do so. The infer- 
ence is that he wrote after the destruction of Jerusalem ; and that what 
was destroyed in the siege he speaks of in the past tense ; e.g. Bethany 
(here), the garden of Gethsemane (xviii. i), Joseph's garden (xix. 41) 
what was not destroyed, in the present tense ; e.g. Bethesda (v. 2, where 
see note). 

about ffteefi furlo7tgs\ Literally, about fifteen stades. A Greek stade 
is 18 yards less than an English furlong; but the translation is suffi- 
ciently accurate, like 'firkin' (ii. 6). This distance, therefore, was under 
two miles, and is mentioned to account for the many Jews who came to 
condole with the sisters. 

19. many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary] Better, many 
from among' the Jews had come, &c. The received text with some 
good authorities has 'had come to Martha and Mary and their friends,' 
but this is not the best-attested reading. 'The Jews' here, as usual, 
means Christ's opponents ; they would come mostly, if not entirely, from 

to comfort them] It was part of the Jewish ceremonial of mourning 
that many (ten at least) should come and condole. Gen. xxvii. 35 ; 
comp. 2 Sam. xii. 17; Job ii. 11. It is said that the usual period of 
mourning was thirty days; three of weeping, seven of lamentation, 
twenty of sorrow. But the instances in Scripture vary : Jacob, seventy 
days with an additional seven (Gen. 1. 3, 10) ; Aaron and Moses, thirty 
days (Numb. xx. 29; Deut. xxxiv. 8); Saul and Judith, seven days 
(i Sam. xxviii. 13; Jud. xvi. 24; comp. Ecclus. xxii. 12; 2 Esdr. v. 20). 
Josephus tells us that Archelaus mourned for his father seven days, and 
the Jews for himself, thirty days (B.J. li. i. i ; III. ix. 5). The Mishna 
prescribes seven days for near relations. 

20. 7'hen Martha] Or, Martha, therefore. Information would be 
brought to her as the elder sister and (apparently) mistress of the house 
(Luke X. 38). She as usual takes the lead in entertaining, and Mary 
shrinks from it. "One most remarkable feature in the history is the 
coincidence between the characters of Mary and Martha as depicted here 
and in S. Luke." S. p. 185. It is incredible that this coincidence 
should be either fortuitous or designed. It is much easier to believe 
that both Gospels give us facts about real persons. Christ is unwilling 
to mingle at once in the crowd of mourners, and halts outside the 

Jesus was coming] Rather, Jesus is coming, probably the very words 
of the message. Perhaps they were still on the look-out for His 
arrival, although they supposed that it was too late for His coming 
to avail anything. 

Mary sat still in the house] Or, was sitting in the house: the atti- 

w. 21— 25.] S. JOHN, XI. 235 

in the house. Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou « 
hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, 32 
that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will 
give // thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise 23 
again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise 24 
again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto 25 

tude of sorrow and meditation (Job ii. 13). She do6s not know of 
Christ's approach {vv. 28, 29) : Martha, in discharging the duties of 
hospitality to fresh arrivals, would be more likely to hear of it. 

21. if thou hadst been here] Not a reproach, however gentle (she 
does not say 'hadst Thou come'), but an expression of deep regret. This 
thought had naturally been often in the sisters' minds during the last four 
days (comp. v. 32). They believe that Christ could and would have 
healed Lazarus : their faith and hope are not yet equal to anticipating 
His raising him from the dead. The gradual progress of Martha's faith 
is very true to life, and reminds us of similar development in the woman 
of Samaria (iv. 19) and the man born blind (ix. 11), though she starts 
at a more advanced stage than they do. If all these three narratives 
are late fictions, we have three masterpieces of psychological study, as 
miraculous in the literature of the second century as would be a Gothic 
cathedral in the architecture of that age. For the construction comp. 
iv. 10, xiv. 28. 

22. But I know, that even now\ ' But ' must be omitted on critical 
grounds; and the text should run, and now (that he is dead) / know 
that, &c. She believes that had Christ been there, He could have 
healed Lazarus by His owti power (comp. iv. 47), and that now His 
prayer may prevail with God to raise him from the dead. She has yet 
to learn that Christ's bodily presence is not necessary, and that He can 
raise the dead by His own power. He gradually leads her faith on- 
wards to higher truth. 

luhatsoever thou wilt ask] She uses a word more appropriate to human 
prayer, 'to 2^\i for oneself (comp. xiv. 13, 14, xv. 7, 16, xvi. 23, 26), 
not used by Christ of His own prayers or by the Evangelists of Christ's 
prayers (contrast xiv. 16, xvi. 26, xvii. 9, 15, 20; Matt. xxvi. 36, 39, 
42, 44; Luke xxii. 32). She thus incidentally shews her imperfect idea 
of His relation to God. 

23. shall rise again] He uses an ambiguous expression as an exer- 
cise of her faith. Some think that these words contain no allusion to 
the immediate restoration of Lazarus, and that Martha {v. 24) under- 
stands them rightly. More probably Christ includes the immediate 
restoration of Lazarus, but she does not venture to do so, and rejects the 
allusion to the final Resurrection as poor consolation. 

24. / know that he shall rise again] This conviction was probably 
in advance of average Jewish belief on the subject. The O.T. declara- 
tions as to a resurrection are so scanty and obscure, that the Sadducees 
could deny the doctrine, and the Pharisees had to resort to oral tradition 
to maintain it (see on Mark xii. 18; Acts xxiii. 8), 

236 S. JOHN, XI. [w. 26—30. 

her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that beUeveth in 

26 me, though he were dead, yet shall he live : and whosoever 
liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou 

27 this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art 
the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the 

23 world. And when she had so said, she went her way, and 

called Mary her sister secretly, saying. The Master is come, 

.9 and calleth for thee. As soon as she heard that, she arose 

30 quickly, and came unto him. Now Jesus was not yet come 

the last (fay] See on vi. 39. 

25. /am the resurrection, and the life'] He draws her from her self- 
ish grief to Himself There is no need for Him to pray as man to God 
{v. 22); He (and none else) is the Resurrection and the Life. There is 
no need to look forward to the last day; He is (not 'will be') the 
Resurrection and the Life. Comp. xiv. 6; Col. iii. 4. In what 
follows, the first part shews how He is the Resurrection, the second 
how He is the Life. ' He that believeth in Me, even if he shall have 
died (physically), shall live (eternally). And every one that liveth 
(physically) and believeth in Me, shall never die (eternally).' 

26. shall never die] See on viii. 51; the form of expression is the 
same; 'shall assuredly never die.' 

Believest thou this?] A searching question, suddenly put. She 
answers with confidence, and gives the ground of her confidence. 

27. / believe] Literally, I have believed, i. e. / have convinced my- 
self and do believe. 

that thou art the Christ] She cannot have known the full import of 
her confession. With the Apostles she shared her countrymen's im- 
perfect views of the character and office of the Messiah. See on ix. 


which should come] Literally, that cometli. Comp. vi. 14; Matt. 
xi. 3; Luke vii. 19; Deut. xviii. 15. She believes that He has the 
powers mentioned in w. 25, 16, because He is the Messiah. How these 
powers will affect her own case she does not know, but with a vague 
hope of comfort in store for them all she returns to the house. See on 
i. 9 and xviii. 37. 

28. secretly] Because she knew that some of Christ's enemies were 
among the guests {v7!. 19, 31). 'Secretly' belongs to 'saying,' not to 

The Master is come] Or, The Teacher is come. It is not the Hebrew 
word 'Rabbi' that is here used, as in i. 50, iii. 1, i(\ iv. 31, vi. 25, ix. 
2 ; but the Greek word given in i. 39 as the translation of 'Rabbi,' and 
in XX. 16 as the translation of 'Rabboni,' and used by Christ (iii. 10) of 
Nicodemus. Comp. xiii. 13, 14; Mark xiv. 14. Martha avoids using 
His name for fear of being overheard. 

29. she arose quickly] As was natural in one so fond of sitting at 
Jesus' feet. 

vv. 3I--33] S. JOHN, XI. 237 

into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him. 
The Jews then which were with her in the house, and 31 
comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily 
and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the 
grave to weep there. Then when Mary was come where 32 
Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying 
unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not 

33—44- The Sigti. 
When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews 33 
also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, 

30. into the toziin\ Or, into the village; see on 7/. i. By remaining 
outside He would be able to say what He wished to say to the sisters 
without fear of interruption. 

was in that placed was Still in that place. 

31. followed her, sayiiti^^ For 'saying' read with the best authori- 
ties, thinking. Their following interferes with the privacy at which 
Martha had aimed. 

to 7veep there] The word rendered 'weep' here and in v. 33, as dis- 
tinct from the one used in v. 35, indicates a loud expression of grief; 
wailing and crying, not merely shedding of tears. 

32. Then when Mary\ Mary therefore when. 

she fell down at his feet'\ Nothing of the kind is reported of Martha, 
w. 21. Here again the difference of character between the two sisters 

Lord, if thou hadst been here] The same words as those of Martha, 
V. 11. No doubt the sisters had expressed this thought to one another 
often in the last few days. Mary's emotion is too strong for her; she 
can say no more than this; contrast v. 22. The Jews coming up pre- 
vent further conversation. For the construction comp. iv. 10, xiv. 28. 

33—44. The Sign. 

33. weeping. . .weeping] The repetition is for emphasis, and to point 
a contrast which is the key to the passage. 

he groaned in the spirit] Better, He was angered in the spirit. 
The word translated 'groaned' occurs five times in N.T. ; here, v. 38; 
Matt. ix. 30; Mark i. 43, xiv. 5 (see notes in each place). In all 
cases, as in classical Greek and in the LXX., it expresses not sorrow 
but indignation or severity. It means (i) literally, of animals, 'to snort, 
growl;' then metaphorically (2) 'to be very angry or indignant;' (3) 'to 
command sternly, under threat of displeasure.' What was He angered 
at? Some translate ^ at His spirit,' and explain (a) that He was in- 
dignant at the human emotion which overcame Him : which is out of 
harmony with all that we know about the human nature of Christ. 
Others, retaining '?« His spirit,' explain (/3) that He was indignant 'at 

238 S. JOHN, XI. [vv. 34-37. 

34 and was troubled, and said. Where have ye laid him? They 

II say unto him. Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then 

37 said the Jews, Behold, how he loved him. And some of 

them said, Could not this mafi, which opened the eyes of 

the unbelief of the Jews and perhaps of the sisters :' but of this there is 
no hint in the context. Others again, {7) that it was ' at the sight of 
the momentary triumph of evil, as death,... which was here shewn under 
circumstances of the deepest pathos:' but we nowhere else find the Lord 
shewing anger at the physical consequences of sin. It seems better to 
fall back on the contrast pointed out in the last note. He was indig- 
nant at seeing the hypocritical and sentimental lamentations of His 
enemies the Jews mingling with the heartfelt lamentations of His loving 
friend Mary (comp. xii. 10): hypocrisy ever roused His anger. 

■was troubled'^ The margin is better; He troubled Himself, i.e. agi- 
tated Himself, allowed His emotion to become evident by external 
movement such as a shudder. 

34. Where have ye laid him .?] This question is against the supposi- 
tion, based oxiv. 31, that the place where Jesus halted outside the vil- 
lage was close to the grave. 

They say unto him] ' They' are the two sisters: on both sides "grief 
speaks in the fewest possible words." 

36. Jesus wept] Or, shed tears. The word occurs nowhere else 
in N.T.; it expresses less loud lamentation than the word used in 
t^- 31. 33- He sheds tears on His way to their brother's grave, not 
because He is ignorant or doubtful of what is coming, but because He 
cannot but sympathize with the intensity of His friends' grief. " The 
intense humanity attributed to Jesus, His affection. His visible sufter- 
ing, the effort with which He collects Himself, are all strong marks of 
authenticity, and the more so because they might be thought to con- 
flict with the doctrine of the prologue. But this is but one more 
proof how little that doctrine has disturbed the Evangelist's true his- 
toric recollection." S. pp. 186, 7. 

36. Then said loved him] Here, as in vv. 12, 14, 16, 17, 20, 

•Ji, 31, 32, 41. 45, 47, 53> 56, 'then' should rather be therefore, 
as rightly given in z^. 3, 33, 38, 54: it is S. John's favourite particle 
in all these verses. Both the verbs here are imperfects; 'kept saying,' 
' used to love.' What follows shews that this remark was not made by 
all the Jews. The word for ' love ' is the more passionate word used 
in V. 3 by the sisters, not the higher word used in v. 5 by the Evan- 

37. And some of them] Better, But some of them, in contrast to 
those who speak in v. ^6, who are not unfriendly, while these sneer. 
The drift of this remark is 'He weeps; but why did He not come in 
time to save His friend ? Because He knew that He could not. And 
if He could not, did he really open the eyes of the blind?' They 
use the death of Lazarus as an argument to throw fresh doubt on the 
miracle which had so baffled them at Jerusalem. Their reference to 

VV.38— 4I-] S. JOHN, XI. 239 

the blind, have caused that even this man should not have 
died? Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to 38 
the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus 39 
said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him 
that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh : 
for he hath been dead four days. Jesus saith unto her. Said 40 
I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldestbeUeve, thou shouldest 
see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone /r^w 41 
the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lift up his 

the man born blind instead of to the widow's son, or Jairus' daughter, 
has been used as an objection to the truth of this narrative. It is 
really a strong confirmation of its truth. An inventor would almost 
certainly have preferred more obvious parallels. But these Jews of 
course did not believe in those raisings of the dead : they much more 
naturally refer to a reputed miracle within their own experience. 
Moreover they are not hinting at raising the dead, but urging that if 
Jesus could work miracles He ought to have prevented Lazarus from 

should not have died'\ Rather, should not die. 

38. groaning in himself] See on v. 33. This shews that ' in His 
spirit' not 'at His spirit' is the right translation there. Their sneering 
scepticism rouses His indignation afresh. 

to the gravel See on v. 17. Insert now before 'it was a cave.' 
The having a private burying-place indicates that the family was well 
off. The large attendance of mourners and the very precious ointment 
(xii. 3) point to the same fact. 

upon it] The Greek may mean ' against it,' so that an excavation 
in the side of a rock or mound is not excluded. What is now shewn 
as the sepulchre of Lazarus is an excavation in the ground with steps 
down to it. The stone would keep out beasts of prey. 

39. the sister of him that was dead] Not inserted gratuitously. It 
was because she was his sister that she could not bear to see him or 
allow him to be seen disfigured by corruption. The remark comes 
much more naturally from the practical Martha than from the reserved 
and retiring Mary. There is nothing to indicate that she was mis- 
taken; though some would have it that the miracle had begun from 
Lazarus' death, and that the corpse had been preserved from decom- 

he hath been dead four days] Literally, he is of the fourth day. 

40. Said I not] Apparently a reference to vv. 25, 26, and to the 
reply to the messenger, w. 4 : on both occasions more perhaps was said 
than is recorded. See notes on z/. 4. 

41. from the place ivhere the dead was laid] These words are 
omitted by an overwhelming number of authorities. They are a need- 
less explanation added by a later hand. 

And Jesus lift] The verb is identical with that translated 'took 

240 S. JOHN, XL [vv. 42—44. 

eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard 

i2 me. And I knew that thou hearest me always : but 

because of the people which stand by I said if, that they 

43 may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had 
spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 

44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot 
with graveclothes : and his face was bound about with a 
napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let /n'm go. 

away' in the preceding clause. Both should be translated alike; more- 
over, 'and' should be 'but.' T/iejy lifted therefore //le stone. But 
Jesus lifted His eyes upwards. 

Father, 1 thank thee] Jesus thanks the Father as a public acknow- 
ledgment that the Son can do ' nothing of Himself,' but that the power 
which He is about to exhibit is from the Father (v. 19 — 26). 

that thou hast heard] Better, that Thou didst hear. The prayer 
to which ihis refers is not recorded. 

42. And I knew] Better, But / kne%v, 'I' being very emphatic. 
This verse is added to prevent misunderstanding: no one must suppose 
from this act of thanksgiving that there are any prayers of the Son 
which the Father does not hear. 

I said it] i.e. I said the words 'I thank Thee, &c.' 
that thou hast sent me] Or, didst send il/^ 'Thou' is emphatic; 
'Thou and no one else.' 

43. cried] The Greek word (rare in N.T. except in this Gospel) 
is nowhere else used of Christ. It is elsewhere used of the shout of a 
multitude; xii. 13, xviii. 40, xix. 6, (12), 15. Comp. Matt. xii. 19; 
Acts xxii. 23. This loud cry was perhaps the result of strong emotion, 
or in order that the whole multitude might hear. It is natural to 
regard it as the direct means of the miracle, awakening the dead: 
though some would have it that ' I thank Thee ' implies that Lazarus is 
already alive and needs only to be called forth. 

44. came forth] It is safest not to regard this as an additional 
miracle. The winding-sheet may have been loosely tied round him, 
or each limb may have been swathed separately: in Eg}'ptian mum- 
mies sometimes every finger is kept distinct. 

graveclothes] The Greek word occurs here only in N.T. Comp. 
Prov. vii. 16. It means the bandages which kept the sheet and the 
spices round the body. Nothing is said about the usual spices (xix. 40) 
here; and Martha's remark {v. 39) rather implies that there had been 
no embalming. If Lazarus died of a malignant disease he would be 
buried as quickly as possible. 

face] The Greek word occurs in N.T. only here, vii. 24, and Rev. 
i. 16 : one of the small indications of a common authorship (see on xv. 
5o and xix. 37). 

napkin] A Latin word is used meaning literally 'a sweat-cloth.' It 
occurs XX. 7; Luke xix. 20; Acts xix. 12. Here the cloth bound 

w. 45—48.] S. JOHN, XI. 241 

45 — 57. Opposite Results of the Sign, 

Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had 45 
seen the things which Jesus did, beheved on him. But some 46 
of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what 
things Jesus had done. Then gathered the chief priests and 47 
the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man 
doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will 48 

under the chin to keep the lower jaw from falling is probably meant. 
These details shew the eyewitness. 

let him go'] The expression is identical with 'let these go their way' 
(xviii. 8); and perhaps 'let him go his way' would be better here. 
Lazarus is to be allowed to retire out of the way of harmful excitement 
and idle curiosity. 

The reserve of the Gospel narrative here is evidence of its truth, 
and is in marked contrast to the myths about others who are said to 
have returned from the grave. Lazarus makes no revelations as to the 
unseen world. The traditions about him have no historic value: but 
one mentioned by Trench (Miracles, p. 425) is worth remembering. 
It is said that the first question which he asked Christ after being 
restored to hfe was whether he must die again ; and being told that he 
must, he was never more seen to smile. 

45—57. Opposite Results of the Sign. 

45. That many of the ycws\ The English Version is here mislead- 
ing, owing to inaccuracy and bad punctuation. It should run thus : — 
Many therefore of the Jeios, even they that came to Mary and beheld 
that which He did (see on vi. 14). The Jews who witnessed the miracle 
all believed : ' of the Jews ' means of the Jews generally. 

Biit some of them went] Some of the Jews generally, not of those 
who saw and believed, went and told the Pharisees; with what intention 
is not clear, but probably not out of malignity. Perhaps to convince 
the Pharisees, or to seek an authoritative solution of their own per- 
plexity, or as feeling that the recognised leaders of the people ought to 
know the whole case. The bad result of their mission has made some 
too hastily conclude that their itttention was bad, and that therefore 
they could not be included in those who believed. 

47. a council] They summon a meeting of the Sanhedrin. Even 
the adversaries of Jesus are being converted, and something decisive 
must be done. The crisis unites religious opponents. The chief priests, 
who were mostly Sadducees, act in concert with the Pharisees; jealous 
ecclesiastics with religious fanatics (comp. vii. 32, 45, xviii. 3). 

What do we .'] Implying that something must be done. 

this man] Contemptuous, as in ix. 16, 24; comp. vii. 49. 

doeth many miracles] It is no longer possible to deny the fact of the 
signs. Instead of asking themselves what these ' signs ' must mean, 

s. JOHN 16 

242 S. JOHN, XI. [v. 49. 

believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away 

49 both our ]ilace and nation. And one of them, named 

Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto 

their only thought is how to prevent others from drawing the obvious 

48. the Ro7)ians will come] They do not inquire whether He is or 
is not the Messiah ; they look solely to the consequences of admitting 
that He is. " The Sanhedrin, especially the Pharisaic section of it, was 
a national and patriotic body. It was the inheritor and guardian of the 
Rabbinical theories as to the Messiah. There can have been no class in 
the nation in which these were so inveterately ingrained, and therefore 
none that was so little accessible to the teaching of Jesus. It was from 
first to last unintelligible to them. It seemed to abandon all the national 
hopes and privileges, and to make it a sin to defend them. If it were 

successful, it seemed as if it must leave the field open to the Romans 

It is rarely in ancient literature that we find a highly complicated situa- 
tion so well understood and described." S. pp. iSS, 189. This last 
remark is eminently true of the whole narrative portion of the Fourth 

our place and nation] 'Our' is very emphatic; both our place and 
our nation. ' Place ' is perhaps best understood of Jerusalem, the seat of 
the Sanhedrin, and the abode of the bulk of the hierarchy. Other inter- 
pretations are (i) the Temple, comp. ^ Mac. v. 19; (2) the whole land; 
so that the expression means ' our land and people,' which is illogical : 
the land may be taken from the people, or the people from tlie land, but 
how can both be taken away? {3) 'position, raison cfctre.'' In any 
case the sentiment is parallel to that of Demetrius, and his fellow- 
craftsmen (Acts xix. 27). They profess to be very zealous for religion, 
but cannot conceal their interested motives. 

49. Caiaphas] This was a surname ; ' who was called Caiaphas ' Matt. 
xxvi. 3 (where see note on the Sanhedrin). His original name was 
Joseph. Caiaphas is either the Syriac form of Cephas, a 'rock,' or, ac- 
cording to another derivation, means 'depression.' The highpriest- 
hood had long since ceased to descend from father to son. Pilate's pre- 
decessor, Valerius Gratus, had deposed Annas and set up in succession 
Ismael, Eleazar (son of Annas), Simon, and Joseph Caiaplias (son-in-law 
of Annas); Caiaphas held the office from a.d. 18 to 36, when he was de- 
posed by Vitellius. Annas in spite of his deposition was still regarded 
as in some sense high-priest (xviii. 13; lAike iii. 2; Acts iv. 6), possibly 
as president of the Sanhedrin (Acts v. 21, fj, vii. i, ix. i, 2, xxii. 5, 
xxiii. 2, 4, xxiv. i). Caiaphas is not president licre, or lie would not be 
spoken of merely as ' one of them.' 

that same year] This has been urged as an objection, as if the 
Evangelist ignorantly supposed that the highpriesthootl was an annual 
office, — a mistake whicli would go far to prove that the Evangelist was 
not a Jew, and therefore not S. John. But there is no ' same ' in the 
Greek (comp. i. 33, iv. 53, v. 9, 11), and 'that year' means 'that nota- 
ble and fatal year.' The same expression recurs v. 51 and xviii. 13. 

vv. 50- 53-] S. JOHN, XL 243 

them, Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is 50 
expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, 
and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he 51 
not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied 
that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that %i 
nation only, but that also he should gather together in one 
the children of God that were scattered abroad. Then 53 
from that day forth they took counsel together for to put 

Even if there were not this obvious meaning for 'that year,' the frequent 
changes in the office at this period would fully explain the insertion 
without the notion of an amiital change being implied. There had been 
some twenty or thirty high-priests in S. John's lifetime. 

Ye know nothing at all] An inference from their asking ' What do 
we?' It was quite obvious what they must do. The 'ye' is contemp- 
tuously emphatic. The resolute but unscrupulous character of the man 
is evident. 

50. expedient for us] For us members of the Sanhedrin. But the 
better reading gives, for you half-hearted Pharisees. 

that one /nan] Literally, i/i order that one man ; S. John's favourite 
particle pointing to the Divine purpose: comp. iv. 34, 36, vi. 29, 50, 
ix. 2, 3, 39, xii. 23, and especially xvi. 7. 

the people] The Jews as a theocratic community (laos). 

the whole nation] The Jews as one of the nations of the earth {ethnos). 
Comp. Luke vii. 5 ; Acts x. 22. The same word in the plural, ' the 
nations,' means the Gentiles. 

51. Jiot of hitnself] Like Saul, Caiaphas is a prophet in spite of 

being high priest] None but a Jew would be likely to know of the old 
Jewish belief that the high-priest by means of the Urim and Thummim 
was the mouth-piece of the Divine oracle. The Urim and Thummim 
had been lost, and the high-priest's office had been shorn of much of its 
glory, but the remembrance of his prophetical gift did not become quite 
extinct (Hos. iii. 4); and 'in that fatal year' S. John might well believe 
that the gift would be restored. 

52. not for that nation only] S. John purposely uses the word which 
describes the Jews merely as one of the nations of the earth distinct from 
the Gentiles. Of course we are not to understand that Caiaphas 
had any thought of the gracious meaning contained in his infamous 

gather together in one] Comp. xvii. 21: for 'in one' read into one. 

53. Then from that day] Therefore for ' then' is the more important 
here to bring out the meaning that it was in consequence of Caiaphas' 
suggestion that the Sanhedrin practically if not formally pronounced 
sentence of death. The question remained how to get the sentence 

16 — 2 

244 S. JOHN, XI. [vv. 54—57. 

54 him to death. Jesus therefore walked no more openly 
among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the 
wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued 

55 with his disciples. And the Jews' passover was nigh at hand : 
and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before 

s6 the passover, to purify themselves. Then sought they for 
Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the 
temple. What think ye, that he will not come to the feast? 

57 Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a 
commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he 
should shew it, that they might take him. 

64. therefore] The decree of the Sanhedrin for His apprehension 
had been published (v. 57); the sentence of death was probably a secret 
among themselves. 

openly'] Comp. vii. 10. He withdraws from all intercourse with His 

went thence unto a country] Departed thence into the country. 

the wilderness] The desert of Judsea, which extended to the confines 
of Jericho, would naturally be meant by ' the wilderness.' 

Ephraim] This place cannot be identified with certainty. Eusebius 
makes it eight miles, Jerome twenty miles, N.E. of Jerusalem : both 
make it the same as Ephron. If the Ephraim of 2 Chron. xiii. 19 and 
Josephus {B. J. IV. ix. 9) be meant, the wilderness would be that of 

65. And the Je-cus' passover] Now the passover of the Jews. See 
notes on ii. 13 and vi. 4. 

to purify themselves] (Acts xxi. •24.) Again we have evidence that 
the Evangelist is a Jew. No purifications are ordered by the Law as a 
preparation for the Passover. But to be ceremonially unclean was to be 
excluded (xviii. 28) ; hence it was customary for those who were so to 
go up to Jerusalem in good time so as to be declared clean before the 
Feast began. 

56. sought... spake] Both verbs are in the imperfect of what went on 
continually. There are two questions in their words ; ' What think ye? 
that He certainly will not come to the Feast.' 

57. Now both the chief priests, &c.] Omit 'both.' The word is 
wanting in authority, and even if it were genuine it would not mean 
' both ' but ' moreover.' The verse explains why the people doubted 
His coming to the feast. Note that once more the Sadducaean hierarchy 
takes the lead. Comp. v. 47, xii. 10, xviii. 3, 35, xix. 6, 15, 21. In 
the history of the Passion the Pharisees are mentioned only once (Matt. 
xxvii. 62), and then, as here, after the chief priests. 

a commandment] The better reading is, commands, which has been 
made singular because only one command is mentioned. Comp. our 
phrase 'to give orders.' 

that] Literally, in order that (see on v. 50). 

V. I.] S. JOHN, XII. 245 

Chap. XIL The Judgment. 
I — 36. The Judgment of Men. 
Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, 12 

*' We are not told how long our Lord stayed at Ephraim. If we are 
to put faith in the tradition in the Talmud, and in the inferences which 
Dr Caspari draws from it, an actual verdict of death was passed at the 
recent meeting of the Sanhedrin, and was only waiting for its execution 
until an opportunity offered, and the legal period for the production of 
witnesses in the defence had expired. This would make the interval be- 
tween the retreat to Ephraim and the Passover coincide more or less 
nearly with the forty days allowed. The data, however, are not such as 
we can build on confidently." S. p. 191. So that once more we have 
an intei-val of uncertain amount. See the introductory note to chapter 
vi. and the note on vi. i. 

Chap. XII. The Judgment. 

We now enter upon the third section of the first main division of this 
Gospel. It may be useful to state the divisions once more. The 
Prologue, i. i — 18; The Ministry, i. 19 — xii. 50, thus divided — 
(i) The Testimony, i. 19 — ii. 11; (2) The Work, ii. 13 — xi. 57; {3) 
The Judgment, xii. This third section, which now lies before us, may 
be subdivided thus — (a) the yudgmettt of men, i — 36 ; (/3) the yudgjuent 
of the Evangelist, 37 — 43; {y) the Judgment of Christ, 44 — 50. 

We must be content to leave the precise method of harmonizing this 
later portion of S. John's narrative with that of the Synoptists in un- 
certainty. "It is best to hold fast to the general scheme given by S. 
John, and to treat the Synoptic sections, especially those in S. Luke 
(ix. 51 — xviii. 35), as fragments of a great picture which are more or less 
fortuitously thrown together, and are no longer capable of an exact re- 
construction." S. p. 191. 

1 — 36. The Judgment of Men. 

Note the dramatic contrast between the difterent sections of this 
division ; the devotion of Mary and the enmity of the hierarchy, Christ's 
triumph and the Pharisees' discomfiture, &c. 

1. Then Jesus'] The ' then ' or therefore simply resumes the narra- 
tive from the point where it quitted Jesus, xi. 55. This is better than 
to make it depend on xi. 57, as if He went to Bethany to avoid His 
enemies. His hour is drawing near, and therefore He draws near to 
the appointed scene of His suflerings. 

six days before the passover'] The Passover began at sunset on Nisan 
14 : six days before this would bring us to Nisan 8. Assuming the year 
to be A. D. 30, Nisan 8 would be Friday, March 31. We may suppose, 
therefore, that Jesus and His disciples arrived at Bethany on the Friday 
evening a little after the Sabbath had commenced, having performed not 
more than 'a Sabbath-Day's journey' on the Sabbath, the bulk of the 

246 S. JOHN, XII. [vv. 2, 3. 

where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised 
from the dead. 

2 — 8. The Devotion of Mary. 

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

3 him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, 
very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his 

journey being over before the day of rest began. But it must be remem- 
bered that this chronology is tentative, not certain. 

which had been dead'\ These words are omitted by a large number of 
the best authorities, which give where Lazarus zaas, who7n Jesus raised 
from the dead. They made Hivi therefore, &c. 

2 — 8. The Devotion of Mary. 

2. they made him a siipperl 'They' is indefinite : if we had only this 
account we should suppose that the supper was in the house of Martha, 
Mary, and Lazarus ; but S. Mark (xiv. 3) and S. Matthew (xxvi. 6) tell us 
that it was in the house of Simon the leper, who had possibly been healed 
by Christ and probably was a friend or relation of Lazarus and his sisters. 
Martha's serving (comp. Luke x. 40) in his house is evidence of the latter 
point (see the notes on the accounts of S. Matthew and S. Mark). 

Lazarus was one of them'] This is probably introduced to prove the 
reality and completeness of his restoration to life : but it also confirms 
the Synoptic accounts by indicating that Lazarus was a guest rather than 
a host. 

sat at the table] Literally, reclined, as was the custom. 

3. took Mary a found] S. John alone gives her name and the 
amount of ointment. The pound of \i ounces is meant. So large a 
quantity of a substance so costly is evidence of her over-flowing love. 
Comp. xix. 39. 

ointment of spikenard] The Greek expression is a rare one, and 
occurs elsewhere only Mark xiv. 3, which S. John very likely had seen : 
his account has all the independence of that of an eye-witness, but may 
have been influenced by the .Synoptic narratives. The meaning of the 
Greek is not certain: it may mean (i) 'genuine nard,' and spikenard was 
often adulterated; or (2) 'drinkable, liquid nard,' and unguents were 
sometimes drunk; or (3) 'Pistic nard,' 'Pistic' being supposed to be a 
local adjective. But no place from which such an adjective could come 
appears to be known. Of the other two explanations the first is to be 

very costly] Horace offers to give a cask of wine for a very small box 
of it; 'Nardi parvus onyx eliciet cadum.' Odes iv. xii. 17. 

anointed the feet] The two .Synoptists mention only the usual (Ps. 
zxiii. 5) anointing of the head; S. John records tlie less usual act, which 
again is evidence of Mary's devotion. The rest of this verse is peculiar 
to S. John, and shews that he was present. 

w. 4—8.] S. JOHN, XII. 247 

feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour 
of the ointment. Then saith one of his disciples, Judas 4 
Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him, Why was s 
not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given 
to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the 6 
poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and 
bare what was put therein. Then said Jesus, Let her alone : 7 
against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For s 

4. Then saith, &c.] Rather, But yudas Iscariot, &c. The best 
authorities omit 'Simon's son.' 

one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot'\ S. Mark says quite indefinitely, 
'some,' S. Matthew, 'his disciples.' Each probably states just what he 
knew; S. Mark that the remark was made; S. Mattliew that it came 
from the group of disciples; S. John that Judas made it, and why he 
made it. S. John was perhaps anxious that the unworthy grumbling 
should be assigned to the right person, 

luhich should betray^ Comp. vi. 71. 

5. three hundred pence"] Here, as in vi. 7, the translation 'pence' is 
very inadequate and misleading; 'three hundred shillings' would be 
nearer the mark (see on vi. 7). S- Mark adds that some were very in- 
dignant at her. 

to the poor] More accurately, to poor people; there is no article 
(comp. Luke xviii. 22). 

6. the bag] Better, the box, the cash-box in which the funds of the 
small company were kept. The word means literally 'a case for mouth- 
pieces' of musical instruments, and hence any portable chest. It occurs 
in the LXX. of 2 Chron. xxiv. 8, 11, but nowhere in N.T. excepting 
here and xiii. 29. 

and bare] The Greek word may mean either 'used to carry' or 'used 
to carry away,' i.e. steal: comp. xx. 15. S. Augustine, commenting on 
'portabat,' which he found in the Italic Version, and which survives in 
the Vulgate, says "portabat an exportabat? sed ministerio portabat, 
furto exportabat." We have the same play in 'lift,' e.g. ^shop-li/tino-;' 
and in the old use of 'convey: ' 'To steal'..." Convey the wise it call." 
Merry IVives of Windsor i. 3. "O good! Convey? — Conveyers are 
you all." Richard II. IV. i. 

what was put therein] Literally, the things that ivere being cast into 
it from time to time ; the gifts of friends and followers. 

7. hath she kept] The large majority of authorities, including the 
best, read that she may keep, and the whole will run : let her alone that 
she may preserve It for the day of My burial. The simplest interpre- 
tation of this is 'Let her preserve what remains of it; not, however, to 
be sold for the poor, but to be used for My burial, which is near at 
hand.' The text has probably been altered to bring it more into 
harmony with the Synoptists, with whom the present anointing appears 
as anointing for the burial by anticipation. The word for 'burial' or 
'entombment' occurs only here and Mark xiv. 8. 

248 S. JOHN, XII. [vv. 9-II. 

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

9 — II, The Hostility of the Priests. 

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. But the chief priests consulted that they might put 
Lazarus also to death ; because that by reason of him many 
of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus. 

8. For the poor, &c.] Comp. Deut. xv. ii. Every word of this 
verse occurs in the first two Gospels, though not quite in the same 
order. Here the emphasis is on 'the poor,' there on 'always.' The 
striking originality of the saying, and the large claim which it makes, 
are evidence of its origin from Him who spake as never man spake. 
Considering how Christ speaks of the poor elsewhere, these words may 
be regarded as quite beyond the reach of a writer of fiction. 

9 — 11. The Hostility of the Priests. 

9. Much people\ Large caravans would be coming up for the Pass- 
over, and the news would spread quickly through the shifting crowds, 
who were already on the alert (xi. 55) about Jesus, and were now 
anxious to see Lazarus. Note that it is a 'large mvdtltude of the yavs' 
who come; i.e. of Christ's usual opponents. This again (comp. xi. 
45 — 47) excites the hierarchy to take decisive measures. See on v. 

10. Bi/( the chief priests] Nothing is here said about the Pharisees 
(comp. xi. 47, 57), who are, however, not necessarily excluded. Both 
would wish to put Lazarus out of the way for the reason given inv. 11: 
but the chief priests, who were mostly Sadducees, would have an 
additional reason, in that Lazarus was a living refutation of their doctrine 
that 'there is no resurrection' (Acts xxiii. 8). See on xi. 57. 

put Lazarus also to death] Whatever may be true about xi. 53, we 
must not suppose that this verse implies a formal sentence of death : it 
does not even imply a meeting of the Sanlicdrin. 

These repeated references to the raising of Lazarus (xi. 45, 47, xii. 
f, 9, 10, 17) greatly strengthen the historical evidence for the miracle. 
They are quite inconsistent with the theory either of a misunderstand- 
ing or of deliberate fraud. 

11. ivent away, and beliet'ed] Better, were going away and be- 
lieving. It is best to leave 'going away' quite indefinite: the notion 
of falling away from the hierarchy lies in the context but not in the 
word. The imperfects denote a continual process. 

S. Augustine comments on the folly of the priests — as if Christ could 
not raise Lazarus a second time! But this ignores the 'also': the hier- 
archy meant to jiut both to death. Their folly consisted in failing to 

vv. 12—15.] S. JOHN, XII. 249 

12 — 18. The Enthusiasm of the People. 

On the next day much people that were come to the ,2 
feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 
took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, 13 
and cried, Hosanna : Blessed is the King of Israel that 
conieth in the name of the Lord. And Jesus, when he had ,4 
found a young ass, sat thereon ; as it is written, Fear not, 15 

see, not that He could raise Lazarus again, but that He could raise 
Himself (ii. 19). Note that it is the unscrupulous hierarchy, who 
attempt this crime. Comp. xviii. 35, xix. 6, 15, 21. 

12—18. The Enthusiasm of the People. 

12. On the next day\ From the date given v. r, consequently 
Nisan 0, from Saturday evening to Sunday evening, if the chronology 
given on v. i is correct. S. John seems distinctly to assert that the 
Triumphal Entry followed the supper at Bethany: S. Matthew and 
S. Mark both place the supper after the entry, S. Matthew without 
any date and probably neglecting (as often) the chronological order, 
S. Mark also without date, yet apparently implying (xiv. i) that the 
supper took place two days before the Passover. But the date in 
Mark xiv. i covers only two verses and must not be carried further in 
contradiction to S. John's precise and consistent arrangement. S. John 
omits all details respecting the procuring of the young ass. 

tnuch people] Not 'Jev^^s', as in v. 9, but pilgrims without any bias 
against Christ. Here and in v. 9 the true reading perhaps is, tke common 

13. branches of palm trees'] More literally, the palm-branches of 
the palm-trees; i.e. those which grew there, or which were commonly 
used at festivals. Comp. Simon's triumphal entry into Jerusalem 
(i Mace. xiii. 51). The palm-tree was regarded by the ancients as 
characteristic of Palestine. ' Phoenicia' (Acts xi. 19, xv. 3) is pro- 
bably derived from ///(?«/jr=' palm.' The tree is now comparatively 
rare, except in the Philistine plain: at 'Jericho, the city of palm-trees' 
(Deut. xxxiv. 3; 1 Chron. xxxviii. 15) there is not one. 

Hosanna] This is evidence that the writer of this Gospel knows 
Hebrew. In the LXX. at Ps. cxvii. 25 we have a translation of the 
Hebrew, 'save we pray,' not a transliteration as here. (Comp. 'Alle- 
luia' in Rev. xix. i, 6.) This Psalm is said by some to have been 
written for the Feast of Tabernacles after the return from captivity, by 
others for the founding or dedicating of the second Temple. In what 
follows the better reading is Blessed is He that cometh in the name of 
the Lord even the king of Israel. The cry of the multitude was of 
course not always the same, and the different Evangelists give us differ- 
ent forms of it. 

14. It is written] See on ii. 17. 

15. Fear not, &c. The quotation is freely made ; ' fear not ' is sub- 

2SO S. JOHN, XII. [vv. 16—19. 

daughter of Sion : behold, thy King cometh, sitting 

16 on an ass's colt. These thitigs understood not his disci- 
ples at the first : but when Jesus was glorified, then re- 
membered they that these things were written of him, and 

17 that they had done these things unto him. The people 
therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of 

i8 his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record. For 
this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that 
he had done this miracle. 

19. The Discomfiture of the Pharisees. 

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

stituted foi 'rejoice greatly,' and the whole is abbreviated, Zech. ix. 9. 
In adding ' thy' to 'Icing' and in writing 'an ass's colt' the Evangelist 
seems to be translating direct from the Hebrew. The best editions of 
the LXX. omit 'thy' and all have 'a young colt' for the words here 
rendered 'an ass's colt.' Comp. i. 29, vi. 45, xix. 37. If the writer of 
this Gospel knew the O.T. in the original Hebrew he almost certainly 
was a Jew. 

16. understood not\ A mark of candour (see on xi. 12): comp. ii. 22 
(where see note) and xx. 9. Would a Christian of the second century 
have invented this dulness of apprehension in Apostles? After Pentecost, 
however, much that had passed unnoticed or had been obscure before 
was brought to their remembrance and made clear (xiv. 26). Note 
'these things' thrice repeated; w. 14, 15 shew that the placing Him 
on the young ass is primarily meant. 

was glorified\ Comp. vii. 39 and xi. 4, where see notes. 

17. ivhen he called Lazarus'] See on v. 10. There is another 
reading, well supported, which gives 'that He called Lazarus,' and the 
whole will then run; — /"/^f multitude, therefore, which 7vas with Him, 
hej>t bearing witness (i. 7) that He called Lazarus out of the sepulchre 
and raised him from the dead. But 'when' is to be preferred ; so that 
there are two multitudes, one coming with Jesus from Bethany and one 
{vv. 13, 18) meeting Him from Jerusalem. See on v. 41. 

18. this miracle] 'This' is emphatic: other miracles had made 
comparatively little impression, but this sign had convinced even His 

19. The Discomfiture of the Pharisees. 

19. Perceive ye] Ratlier, Behold ye. The Greek may also mean 
'Behold' (imperat.) or ye behold: the last is perhaps best; ' Ve see 
what a mistake we have made ; we ought to have adopted the plan of 
Caiaphas long ago.' 

the world] The exaggerated expression of their chagrin, which in 

vv. 20—22.] S. JOHN, XII. 251 

20 — 33. The Desire of the Gentiles and the Voice from 


And there were certain Greeks among them that came up 20 
to worship at the feast : the same came therefore to Philip, 21 
which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, 
Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth An- 22 

this Divine epic is brought into strong contrast with the triumph of 
Jesus. Comp. a similar exaggeration from a similar cause ill. 26; ^ all 
men come to Him.' 

is gone after hint] Literally, is gone away after Hitn. The Greek 
word is not the same but is similar in meaning to that used in z'. 11. 
After this confession of helplessness the Pharisees appear no more 
alone ; the reckless hierarchy help them on to the catastrophe. 

20 — 33. The Desire of the Gentiles and the Voice 

FROM Heaven. 

20. Greeks'\ The same word is translated 'Gentiles' vii. 35, where 
see note. Care must be taken to distinguish in the N.T. between Hel- 
lenes or ' Greeks,' i.e. bom Gentiles, who may or may not have become 
either Jewish proselytes or Christian converts, and Hellenistae or ' Gre- 
cians,' as our Bible renders the word, i.e. Jews who spoke Greek and 
not Aramaic. Neither word occurs in the Synoptists. Hellenes are 
mentioned here, vii. 35, and frequently in the Acts and in S. Paul's 
Epistles. Hellenistae are mentioned only in the Acts, vi, i and ix. 29 : 
in Acts xi. 20 the right reading is probably Hellenes. 

that came up to worship] Better, that ware wont to go up to wor- 
ship. This shews that they were 'proselytes of the gate,' like the 
Ethiopian eunuch (Acts viii. 27): see on Matt, xxiii. 15. In this inci- 
dent we have an indication of the salvation rejected by the Jews pass- 
ing to the Gentiles : the scene of it was probably the Court of the Gen- 
tiles; it is peculiar to S. John. 

21. to Philip'] Their coming to S. Philip was the result either (i) of 
accident; or (2) of previous acquaintance, to which the mention of his 
home seems to point; or (3) of his Greek name, which might attract 
them. See on i. 45, vi. 5, xiv. 8. 

Sir] Indicating respect for the disciple of such a Master : comp. iv. 
IX, 15, 19. 

we would see fesus] This desire to 'come and see' for themselves 
would at once win the sympathy of the practical Philip. See on i. 46 
and xiv. 8. 

22. telleth Andre^v] Another Apostle with a Greek name. They 
were both of Bethsaida (i. 44), and possibly these Greeks may have 
come from the same district. S. Philip seems to shrink from the respon- 
sibility of introducing Gentiles to the Messiah, and applies in his diffi- 
culty to the Apostle who had already distinguished himself by bringing 
others to Christ (i. 41, vi, 8, 9). 

252 S. JOHN, XII. [vv. 23—26. 

23 drew : and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. And Jesus 
answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of 

24 man should be glorified. 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. 

25 He that loveth his life shall lose it ; and he that hateth his 

26 life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any vian 

and again] The true reading is Andrew cometb, and PhUip, and 
they U// Jesus. 

23. And Jestts answered] Better, But yt'j«J answereth. He an- 
ticipates the Apostles and addresses them before they introduce the 
Greeks. We are left in doubt as to the result of the Greeks' request. 
Nothing is said to them in particular, though they may have followed 
and heard this address to the Apostles, which gradually shades off into 

These men from the West at the close of Chnst s life set forth the 
same truth as the men from the East at the beginning of it— that the 
Gentiles are to be gathered in. The wise men came to His cradle, 
these to His cross, of which their coming reminds Him; for only by 
His death could 'the nations' be saved. 

The hour is come] The verb first for emphasis in the Greek as in 
iv. 21, as: 'it hath come— the fated hour.' Comp. xiii. i. 

that tJw. Son of man] Literally, in order that, of the Divine purpose, 
as in xi. 50 and xiii. i, where see notes. See also the last note on 

* glorified] By His Passion and Death through which He must pass 
to return to glory. See on vii. 39 and xi. 4. 

24. Verily, verily] Strange as it may seem to you that the Mes- 
siah should die, yet this is but the course of nature : a seed cannot be 
glorified unless it dies. A higher form of existence is obtained only 
through the extinction of the lower form that preceded it. See on 

26.' loveth his life.. .hateth his life... life eternal] 'Life' is here used 
in two senses, and in the Greek two different words are used. In the 
first two cases 'life' means the life of the individual, in the last, life in 
the abstract. By sacrificing life in the one sense, we may win life in 
tlie other. See notes on Matt. x. 39, xvi. 25; Mark viii. 35; Luke ix. 
■24, xvii. 33. A comparison of the texts will shew that most of them 
refer to d'ifferent occasions, so that this solemn warning must have 
been often on His lips. The present utterance is distinct from ail the 

rest. . 

shall lose it] Better, loseth it; the Greek may mean destroyetn tt. 

hateth his life] i.e. is ready to act towards it as if he hated it, if need 
so require. Neither here nor in Luke xiv. 26 must 'hate' be watered 
down to mean 'be not too fond of;' it means that and a great deal 
more. The word rendered 'life' in 'loveth his life' and 'hateth his 

V. 27.] S. JOHN, XII. 253 

serve me, let him follow me ; and where I am, there shall 
also my servant be : if any man serve me, him will 7ny 
Father honour. Now is my soul troubled ; and what shall 27 
I say ? Father, save me from this hour : but for this cause 

life' might also mean 'soul,' and some would translate it so : but would 
Christ have spoken of hating one's soul as the way to eternal life? 

26. let him follow me] in My life of self-sacrifice : Christ Himself has 
set the example of hating one's life in this world. These words are 
perhaps addressed through the disciples to the Greeks listening close at 
hand. If they 'wish to see Jesus' and know Him they must count the 
cost first. 'Me' is emphatic in both clauses, 

where I am] i. e. where I shall be then, in My kingdom. Comp. 
xiv. 3, xvii. 24. Some would include in the 'where' the road to the 
kingdom, viz. death. 'I' and 'My' are emphatic. 

serve... honour] Here the verbs are emphatic (not 'Me'), and balance 
one another. This verse is closely parallel to v. 35: 'let him follow 
Me' corresponds to 'hateth his life in this world;' ''him will the Father 
honour,' to 'shall keep it unto life eternal.' 

27. This is a verse of well-known difficulty, and the meaning can- 
not be determined with certainty, several meanings being admissible. 
The doubtful points are (1) the position of the interrogation, whether it 
should come after 'I say' or 'from this hour;' {2) the meaning of 'for 
this cause.' 

Now is my soul troubled] The word rendered 'soul' is the same as 
that rendered 'life' in 'loveth his life' and 'hateth his life.' To bring 
out this and the sequence of thought, 'life' would perhaps be better 
here. 'He that would serve Me must follow Me and be ready to hate 
his life ; for My life has long since been tossed and torn with emotion 
and sorrow.' 'Is troubled ' = /4a j been and still is troubled; a frequent 
meaning of the Greek perfect. 

what shall I say?] Or, what must I say? This appears to be the 
best punctuation ; and the question expresses the difficulty of framing a 
prayer under the conflicting influences of fear of death and willingness 
to glorify His Father by dying. The result is first a prayer under the 
influence of fear— 'save Me from this hour' (comp. 'Let this cup pass 
from Me,' Matt. xxvi. 39), and then a prayer under the influence of 
ready obedience— ' Glorify Thy Name ' through My sufferings. But the 
Greek means 'save me out of [soson ek), i.e. 'bring Me safe out of;' 
rather than 'save Mt/rom' [sdson apo), i.e. 'keep Me altogether away 
from,' as in 'deliver us/rom the evil' (Matt. vi. 13). S. John omits the 
Agony in the garden, which was in the Synoptists and was well known 
to every Christian ; but he gives us here an insight into a less known 
truth, which is still often forgotten, that the agony was not confined to 
Gethsemane, but was part of Christ's whole life. Others place the ques- 
tion at 'from this hour,' and the drift of the whole will then be, 'How 
can I say. Father save Me from this hour? Nay, I came to suffer; 
therefore My prayer shall be, Father, glorify Thy Name.' 

254 S. JOHN, XII. [vv. 28— 3r. 

28 came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. I'hen 
came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glori- 

29 fied it, and will glorify // again. The people therefore, that 
stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered : others said, 

30 An angel spake to him. Jesus answered and said, This 

31 voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is 
the judgment of this world : now shall the prince of this 

for this cause] These words are taken in two opposite senses; (i) 
that I might be saved out of this hour; (2) that Thy Name might be 
glorified by My obedience. Both make good sense. If the latter be 
adopted it would be better to transpose the stops, placing a full stop 
after 'from this hour' and a colon after 'unto this hour.' 

28. Then came there] Better, 77uTe came therefore, i. e. in answer 
to Christ's prayer. There can be no doubt what S. John wishes us to 
understand ; — that a voice was heard speaking articulate words, that 
some could distinguish the words, others could not, while some mistook 
the sounds lor thunder. To make the thunder the reality, and the voice 
and the words mere imagination, is to substitute an arbitraiy explanation 
for the Evangelist's plain meaning. For similar voices comp. that heard 
by Elijah (i Kings xix. 12, 13); by Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. iv. 31); at 
Christ's Baptism (Mark i. 11) and Transfiguration (Mark ix. 7) ; and at 
S. Paul's Conversion (Acts ix. 4. 7, xxii. 9), where it would seem that 
S. Paul alone could distinguish the words, while his companions merely 
heard a sound (see on Acts ix. 4). One of the conditions on which 
power to distinguish what is said depends is sympathy with the 

have glorified it] in all God's works from the Creation onwards, 
especially in the life of Christ. 

will glorify it] in the death of Christ and its results. 

29. The people... thundered... spake] Better, The multitude... had 
thundered...'h.2iX\\ spoken. 

30. yesiis ans7vered] He answered their discussions about the sound, 
and by calling it a voice He decides conclusively against those who sup- 
posed it to be thunder. But those who recognised that it was a voice 
were scarcely less seriously mistaken ; their error consisted in not recog- 
nising that tlie voice had a meaning for them. Not for My sake hatli 
this voice come, but for your sakes, i.e. that ye might believe. Comp. 
xi. 42. 

31.] With prophetic certainty Christ speaks of the 
victory as already won. 

the judgment of this world] The sentence passed on this world (see 
on iii. 17 and v. 29) for refusing to believe. The Cross is the condemna- 
tion of all who reject it. 

the prince of this luorld] Eiterally, the niler of this world. This is 
one of the apparently Gnostic phrases which may have contributed to 
render this Gospel suspicious in the eyes of the Alogi (see Introduction, 
Chap. II. i.) : it occurs again xiv. 30, xvi. 11, and nowhere else. It 

w, 32—34.] S. JOHN, XII. 255 

world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, 32 
will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what 33 
death he should die. 

34 — 36. The Perplexity of the Multitude. 

The people answered him, We have heard out of the 34 
law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, 

was a Gnostic view tliat the creator and ruler of the material universe 
was an evil being. But in the Rabbinical writings 'prince of this world' 
was a common designation of Satan, as ruler of the Gentiles, in op- 
position to God, the Head of the Jewish theocracy. But just as the 
Messiah is the Saviour of the believing world, whether Jew or Gentile, 
so Satan is the ruler of the unbelieving world, whether Gentile or Jew. 
shall. cast otit\ By the gradual conversion of unbelievers. This 
is a process which will continue until the last day. 

32. And /] 'I ' is very emphatic in opposition to 'the ruler of this 
world.' The glorified Christ will rule men's hearts in place of the 

be lifted up\ Raised up to heaven by means of the Cross: we need 
not, as in iii. 14 and viii. 28, confine the meaning to the Crucifixion, 
although the lifting up on the Cross may be specially indicated. The 
words 'from the earth' (literally, out of the earth) seem to point to the 
Ascension ; yet the Cross itself, apparently so repulsive, has through 
Christ's Death become an attraction; and this viay be the meaning 
here. For the hypothetical form 't/T be lifted up,' comp. 'if\ go,' 
xiv. 3. In both cases Christ is concerned not with the time of the act, 
but with the consequences of it; hence He does not say 'when,' but 'if.' 

will draw] There are two Greek words for 'draw' in the N.T., one 
of which necessarily implies violence, the other does not : it is the latter 
that is used here and in vi. 44; the former is used Acts xiv. 19 and xvii. 
6. Man's will is free; he can refuse to be drawn: and there is no vio- 
lence; the attraction is moral. We see from vi. 44 that before the 
'lifting up' it is the Father who draws men to the Son. 

all me/i] Not only the Jews represented by the Twelve, but the 
Gentiles represented by these Greeks. 

unto fue] Better, unto Myself, up from the earth. 

33. what death] Literally, by what manner of death: comp. x. 32, 
xviii. 32, xxi. 9. 

should die] The word translated ' should ' is the same as that used of 
the traitor, v. 4 and vi. 71. It is used (i) of what is about to happen, 
(2) of what (seeing that it has happened) may be regarded as necessary 
and fore-ordained. 

34 — 36. The Perplexity of the Multitude. 

34. The people answered] The multitude therefore answered. 

out of the law] In its widest sense, including the Psalms and the 
Prophets. Comp. Ps. Ixxxix. 29, 36, ex. 4; Is. ix. 7; Ezek. xxxvii. 

256 S. JOHN, XII. [vv. 35, 36- 

The Son of man must be lift up? who is this Son of 

35 man ? 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 

36 knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe 
in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These 

25, &c. The people rightly understand 'lifted up from the earth' to 
mean removal from the earth by death; and they argue— 'Scripture 
says that the Christ (see on i. 20) will abide for ever. You claim to be 
the Christ, and yet you say that you will be lifted up and therefore not 

■who is this Son of man?] 'This' is contemptuous : 'a strange Mes- 
siah this, with no power to abide!' (on 'Son of Man' see i. 51). 
"Here we have the secret, unexplained by the Synoptists, why even 
when the scale is seeming to turn for a moment in favour of belief, it is 
continually swayed down again by the discovery of some new particular 
in which the current ideas respecting the Messiah are disappointed and 
contradicted." S. p. 199. One moment the people are convinced by 
a miracle that Jesus is the Messiah, the next that it is impossible to 
reconcile His position with the received interpretations of Messianic 
prophecy. It did not occur to them to doubt the interpretations. 

35. Then Jesus said] Better, Jesus therefore said: instead of an- 
swering their contemptuous question He gives them a solemn warning. 

while ye have] The l^etter reading is, as j^ have : 'walk in a manner 
suitable to the fact of there being the Light among you: make use of 
the Light and work.' 

darA'ness] that darkness ' in which no man can work.' 

come upon you] like a bird of prey. The same Greek verb is used 
of the last day; i Thess. v. 4; and in the LXX. of sin overtaking the 
sinner; Num. xxxii. 23. 

for he that walketh in darkness] And he that walketh tn the dark- 
ness. , 1 • 

■whither he goeth] Or, gocth away ; knows not to what end he is 
departing: comp. i John ii. 11. _ 

36. IVhile ye have] Here again the better reading is as ye have; 
and 'light' should be 'the Light.' Note the emphatic repetition so 
common in S. John. 

that ye may be] Rather, that ye may ■become. Faith is only the 
beginning; it does not at once make us children. 

children of light] No article : but in all the four preceding cases 
'light' has the article and means Christ, the Light, as in i. 5, 7, 8, 9. 
The expression ' child of or ' son of is frequent in Hebrew poetry to 
indicate very close connexion as between product and producer (see on 
xvii. 12). Thus, 'son of peace,' Luke x. 6; 'children of this world, 
xvi. 8; 'sons of thunder,^ Mark iii. 17. Such expressions are very 
frequent in the most Hebraistic of the Gospels : comp. Matt. v. 9, 
viii. 12, ix. 15, xiii. 38, xxiii. 15. 

vv. 37— 39-1 S. JOHN, XII. 257 

things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from 

37 — 43. The Judgment of the Evangelist. 

But though he had done so many miracles before them, 37 
yet they believed not on him : that the saying of Esaias the 38 
prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake. Lord, who hath 
believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of 
the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not 39 

and departed^ Probably to Bethany, to spend the last few days 
before His hour came in retirement, Comp. Matt. xxi. 17; Mark xi. 
II ; Luke xxi. 37. 

did hide /n'msclfl Rather, was Mdden. 

37 — 43. The Judgment of the Evangelist. 

S. John here sums up the results of the ministry which has just 
come to a close. Their comparative poverty is such that he can ex- 
plain it in no other way than as an illustration of that judicial blind- 
ness which had been foretold and denounced by Isaiah. The tragic 
tone returns again: see on i. 5. 

37. so 7nany miracles'] The Jews admitted His miracles, vii. 31; 
xi. 47. They are assumed by S. John as notorious, although he him- 
self records only seven of them. Comp. ii. 23, iv. 45, vii, 31, xi. 47. 

before them] i.e. before their very eyes. 

38. Thai] Or, in order that, indicating the Divine purpose. 
Comp. xiii. 18, xv. 25, xvii. 12, xviii. 9, 32, xix. 24, 36. It is the two 
specially Hebraistic Gospels that most frequently remind us that 
Christ's life was a fulfilment of Hebrew prophecy. Comp. Matt. i. 22, 
ii. 15, 17, iv. 14, viii. 17, xii. 17, xiii. 35, xxi. 4, xxvi. 54, 56, xxvii. 9. 
See on Matt. i. 22. 

Lord, who hath believed] The quotation closely follows the LXX. 

our report] Literally, that which they hear from us; comp. Rom. 
x. 16. 

the arm of the Lord] His power. There seems to be no sufficient 
authority for interpreting this expression of the Messiah, although it is 
the power of God as manifested in the Messiah that is here specially 
meant. Comp. Luke i. 51; Acts xiii. 17. 

39. Therefore] Or, For this cause (vv. 18, 27); see on vii. 21, 22. 
It refers to what precedes, and the ' because' which follows gives the 
reason more explicitly. This use is common in S. John : comp, v, 18, 
viii. 47, x. 17. 

they could not] It had become morally impossible. Grace may be 
refused so persistently as to destroy the power of accepting it. 'I will 
not' leads to 'I cannot.' Pharaoh first hardened his heart and then 
God hardened it. Comp. Rom. ix. 6 to xi. 32. 

S.JOHN ly 

258 S. JOHN, XII. [vv. 40—43. 

40 believe, because that Esaias said again, 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 

41 heal them. These tilings said Esaias, when he saw his 

42 glory, and spake of him. 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 

4j out of the synagogue : for they loved the praise of men more 
than the praise of God. 

40. He halh blinded^ Not Christ, nor the devil, but God. The 
quotation is free, following neither the Hebrew nor the LXX. very 

/ should heal\ ' I' = Christ. God has hardened their hearts so that 
they could not be converted, and therefore Christ could not heal them. 
Comp. Matt. xiii. 14, 15, where Christ quotes this text to explain why 
He teaches in parables; and Acts xxviii. 26, where S. Paul quotes it to 
explain the rejection of his preaching by the Jews in Rome. 

41. when he saiv] The better reading is, toecause he saw. We 
had a similar double reading in v. 17, where ' when' is to be preferred. 
In the Greek the difference is only a single letter, 5re and &ti.. Christ's 
glory was revealed to Isaiah in a vision, and therefore he spoke of it. 
The glory of the Son before the Incarnation, when He was ' in the 
form of God' (Phil. ii. 6), is to be understood. 

42. Nez'ertheless'] In spite of the judicial blindness with which God 
had visited them many even of the Sanhedrin believed. We know of 
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. 

because of the Pharisees] The recognised champions of orthodoxy 
both in and outside the Sanhedrin. Comp. vii. 13, ix. 22. 

did not con/ess'] Imperfect tense; they were perpetually omitting to 
do so. 

43. the praise of men &c.] Better, the glory {that cometh) from 
men rather than the glory {that cometh) from God (see on v. 41, 44). 
The word rendered 'praise' is the same as that rendered 'glory' in 
V. 41. Moreover 'more than' is not strong enough; it should be 
rather than. Joseph and Nicodemus confessed their belief after the 
crisis of the Crucifixion. Gamaliel did not even get so far as to believe 
on Him. 

44— BO. The Judgment of Christ. 

The Evangelist has just summed up the results of Christ's ministry 
(37 — 43). He now corroborates that estimate by quoting Christ Him- 
self But as V. 36 seems to give us the close of the ministr)', we are 
probably to understand that what follows was uttered on some occasion 
or occasions previous to v. 36. Perhaps it is given us as an epitome of 
what Christ often taught. 

w. 44—49-] S. JOHN, XII. 259 

44 — 50, The Judgment of Christ. 

Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth 44 
not on me, but on him that sent me. And he that seeth me 45 
seeth him that sent me. I am come a light into the world, 46 
that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in dark- 
ness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I 47 
judge him not : for I came not to judge the world, but to 
save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not 48 
my words, hath one that judgeth him : the word that I have 
spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I 49 

44. cried'\ Comp. vii. 28, 37 The expression implies public 

believeth not on nie\ His belief does not end there ; it must include 
more. This saying does not occur in the previous discourses; but in 
V. 36 and viii. 19 we have a similar thought. Jesus came as His Fa- 
ther's ambassador, and an ambassador has no meaning apart from the 
sovereign who sends him. Not only is it impossible to accept the one 
without the other, but to accept the representative is to accept not him 
in his own personality but the prince whom he personates. These 
words are, therefore, to be taken quite literally. 

45. seeth^ Or, belioldeth, contetnplateth. The same verb is used 
vi. 40, 62, vii. 3 and frequently in S. John. 

46. J am come'] Emphatic; ' I and none other.' Comp. z/z/. 35, 36, 
viii. 12, ix. 5. 

abide in darkness] Till the Light comes, all are in darkness; the 
question remains whether they will remain so aftei- the Light has 

47. hear my words] 'Hear' is a neutral word, implying neither 
belief nor unbelief. Matt. vii. 24,26; Mark iv. 15, 16. For 'words' 
read sajdngs (see on v. 47) both here and in v. 48. 

and believe not] The true reading is and keep them not, i. e. fulfil 
them (comp. Luke xi. 28, xviii. 21). One important MS. omits the 
' not,' perhaps to avoid a supposed inconsistency between v. 47 and 

V. 48. 

48. my words] Better, il^ sasdngs (see on v. 47): 'word' in the 
next clause is right. 

hath one that judgeth him] Hath his judge already, without My 
sentencing him. Comp. iii. 18, v. 45. The hearer may refuse the 
word, but he cannot refuse the responsibility of having heard it. 

in the last day] Peculiar to this Gospel: comp. vi. 39, 40, 44, 54, 
xi. 24. This verse is conclusive as to the doctrine of the last judgment 
being contained in this Gospel. 

49. For] Or, Because: it introduces the reason why one who 
rejects Christ's word will be judged by His word; — because that word 
is manifestly Divine and proceeds from the Father. 

17 — 2 

26o S. JOHN, XII. [v. so. 

have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, 
he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what 
50 I should speak. And I know that his commandment is 
life everlasting : whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the 
Father said unto me, so I speak. 

xiii. — xvii. The inner Glorification of Christ in His 
last Discourses. 

of myself] Literally, out of Myself {ek) without commission from the 
Father. Com^. f-om Myself (apo) v. 30, vii. 16, 28, viii. -28. 

he gave me] Himself (and none other) hatli given Me. .See on 
X. 18. 

say., speak] 'Say' probably refers to the doctrine, 'speak' to the 
form in which it is expressed. See on viii. 43. 

50. And I know] The Son's testimony to tlie Father. ' The com- 
mission which He hath given Me is eternal life.' (See on iii. 16.) 
His commission is to save tlie world. 

as the Father tai'd] The same distinction as in the previous verse: 
the matter of the revelation comes from the Father, the external ex- 
pression of it from the Son. 

With this the first main division of the Gospel ends. Christ's 

cluded. The Evangelist has set before us the Testimony to the 
Christ, the Work of the Christ, and the Judgment respecting the 
work, which has ended in a conflict, and the conflict has reached a 
climax. We have reached the beginning of the end. 

Chap. XIH. 

We now enter upon the second main division of the Gospel. The 
Evangelist has given us thus far a narrative of Christ's Ministry pre- 
sented to us in a series of typical scenes (i. iS — xii. 50). He goes on 
to set forth the Issues of Christ's Ministry (xiii — xx). The last 
chapter (xxi.) forms the Epilogue, balancing the first eighteen verses 
(i. I — 18), which form the Prologue. 

The second main division of the Gospel, like the first, falls into three 
parts: i. the inner Glorification of Christ in His last 
Discourses (xiii. — xvii.); 2. the outer Glorification of Christ 
IN His Passion (xviii, xix.) ; 3. the Victory completed in the 
Resurrection (xx.). These parts will be subdivided as we reach 

xiii.— xvii. The inner Glorification of Christ in His 
last Discourses. 

r. //ts Love in Humiliation [xiii. 1 — 30); 2, His Love in keeping His 
07vn (xiii. 30 — xv. 27); 3. the Promise of the Paraclete and of Christ's 
Return (xvi.) : 4. Chrisfs Prayer for Himself the Apostles, and all 
Believers (xvii.). 

vv. 1,2.] S. JOHN, XIII. 261 

Chap. XIII. i — 30. Love in Htimiliation. 

Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew 13 
that his hour was come that he should depart out of this 
world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in 
the world, he loved them unto the end. And supper being 2 
ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas 

Chap. XIII. 1—30. Love in Humiliation. 

This section has two parts in strong and dramatic contrast; i. the 
washing of the disciples' feet (1—20); 2. the self-excommunication of 
the traitor (21 — 30). 

1. Now before the feast of the passover\ These words give a date not 
to any one word in the verse, whether ' knew ' or ' having loved ' or 
'loved,' but to the narrative which follows. Their most natural mean- 
ing is that some evening before the Passover Jesus was at supper with 
His disciples. This was probably Thursday evening, the beginning of 
Nisan 14: but thedifficult question of the Day of the Crucifixion is too 
long for a note and is discussed in Appendix A. 

■when Jesus k7inv\ Or, Jesus knowing {v. 3). The Greek may mean 
either ' although He knew' or 'because He knew.' The latter is better : 
it was precisely because He knew that He would soon return to glory 
that He gave this last token of self-humiliating love. 

his hour was come'] See on ii. 4, vii. 6, xi. 9. Till His hour had 
come His enemies could do nothing but plot (vii. 30, viii. 20). 

that he shoulc{\ Literally, in order that He should, of the Divine 
purpose. See on xii. 23. 

depart out of] Or, pass over ozet of: it is the same verb and prepo- 
sition as in v. 24 ; ' haXh passed over out of death into life.' 

his own] Those whom God had given Him, i. ir, 12, xvii. ri; 
Acts iv. 23, xxiv. 23. 

unto the end] The end of Ilis life is the common interpretation, 
which may be right. Comp. Matt. x. 22 and xxiv. 13, where the same 
Greek expression is translated as it is here; and i Thess. ii. 16, where 
it is translated 'to the uttermost.' In Luke xviii. 5 'continual coming' 
is literally ' coming to the end.' In all these passages the meaning may 
either be 'at the last, finally,' or, 'to the uttermost, utterly.' To tlie 
uttermost is perhaps to be preferred here. Comp. the LXX. of Amos 
ix. 8 ; Ps. xii. i. 

2. supper being ended] There are two readings here, but neither of 
them means 'being ended,' moreover the supper is not ended {v. 26). 
The common reading would mean 'supper having begun,' and the better 
reading, 'when supper was at hand,' or, 'when supper was beginning.' 
"It was the custom for slaves to wash the feet of the guests before 
sitting down to meat; and we are tempted to suppose that the symboli- 
cal act, which our Evangelist relates here, took the place of this custom." 
b. p. 214. 

262 S. JOHN, XIII. [vv. 3—5. 

3 Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him; Jesus knowing that the 
Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was 

4 come from God, and went to God ; he riseth from supper, 
and laid aside his garments ; and took a towel, and girded 

5 himself. After that, he poureth water into a bason, and 

the devil to betray him] The true reading gives us, The devil hav- 
ing flow put it into the heart, that Judas, Simons son, Iscariot, should 
betray Him. Whose heart ? Only two answers are possible grammati- 
cally; (i) the heart of Judas, (■2) the devil's own heart. The latter is 
incredible, if only for the reason that S.John himself has shewn that the 
devil had long been at work with Judas. The meaning is that of the 
received reading, but more awkwardly expressed. ' To betray' is 
literally S. John's favourite form ' in order that he should betray.' The 
traitor's name is given in full for greater solemnity, and in the true text 
comes last for emphasis. Note the position of Iscariot, confirming the 
view (see on vi. 71) that the word is a local epithet rather than a proper 

3. yesus knowing] The Greek is the same as of 'when Jesus knew' 
in z/. I, and may have either of the two meanings given there. Here 
also ' because He knew ' is better. 

given all things] Comp. Eph. i. 11; Phil. ii. 9 — 11. 
and went to God] Better, and is going to God. 

4. He riseth from stepper, &c.] Or, from the supper : the article 
perhaps marks the supper as no ordinary one. "This is the realism of 

history indeed The carefulness with which here, as in the account 

of the cleansing of the temple, the successive stages in the action are 
described, proclaim the eye-witness." S. p. ■216. One is unfiling to 
surrender the view that this symbolical act was intended among other 
purposes to be a tacit rebuke to the disciples for the 'strife among them, 
which of them should be accounted the greatest' (Luke xxii. 24); and 
certainly 'I am among you as he that serveth' (v. 27) seems to point di- 
rectly to this act. This view seems all the more probable when we 
remember that a similar dispute was rebuked in a similar way, viz. by 
symbolical action (Luke ix. 46 — 48). The dispute may have arisen 
about their places at the table. Tliat S. Luke places the strife after the 
supper is not fatal to this view ; he gives no note of time, and the strife 
is singularly out of place tliere, immediately after their ^Laste^'s self- 
humiliation and in the midst of the last farewells. We may therefore 
believe, in spite of S. Luke's arrangement, that the strife preceded the 
supper. "One thing is clear, that S. John, if he had read S. Luke's 
Gospel at this point, has not copied or followed it. He proceeds with 
tlie same peculiar independence which we have noticed in him all 
through." S. p. 215. 

his garments] Or, His upper garments, which would impede His 

6. into a bason] Better, into the bason, which stood there for such 
purposes, the large copper bason commonly found in oriental houses. 

vv. 6—8.] S. JOHN, XIII. 263 

began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the 
towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon 6 
Peter : and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash rny 
feet ? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou 7 
knowest not now ; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter 8 
saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus 
answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with 

began to zvasK\ Began is not a mere amplification as in the other 
Gospels (Matt. xi. 7, xxvi. ■22, 37, 74; Mark iv. i, vi. 2, 7, 34, 55; 
Luke vii. 15, 24, 38, 49; &c. &c.), and in the Acts (i. i, ii. 4, xviii, 26, 
&c.). The word occurs nowhere else in S. John, and here is no mere 
periphrasis for ' washed.' He began to wash, but was interrupted by 
the incident with S. Peter. With whom He began is not mentioned : 
from very early times some have conjectured Judas. 

Contrast the mad insolence of Caligula — quosdam suttunis honoribus 
fundos . . .ad pedes stare sitccinctos linteo passus est. Suet. Calig. xxvi. 
Linteum in a Greek form is the very word here used for towel. 

6. Then cometh he] Better, //e cometh therefore, i. e. in consequence 
of having begun to wash the feet of each in turn. The natural impres- 
sion is that S. Peter's turn at any rate did not come first. But if it did, 
this is not much in favour of the primacy of S. Peter, which can be 
proved from other passages, still less of a supremacy, which cannot be 
proved at all. 

dost thou wash my feet ?] There is a strong emphasis on 'Thou.' 
Comp. 'Comest Thou to me?' (Matt. iii. 14.) 

7. What [do thou kttotvest not] Here both pronouns are emphafic 
and are opposed. Peter's question implied that he knew, while Christ 
did not know, what He was doing : Christ tells him that the very re- 
verse of this is the fact. On ' now ' see note on xvi. 31. 

hereafter] hiteraWy, after these thing^s {iii. 22, v. i, 14, vi. r, vii. i, 
xix. 38). ' Hereafter ' conveys a wrong impression, as if it referred to 
the remote future. Had this been intended the words used for ' now ' 
and ' afterwards ' in v. 36 would probably have been employed here. 
The reference probably is to the explanation of this symbolical action 
given in vv. 12 — 17. This seems clear from the opening words {v. 12), 
^ A'now ye what I have done to you?' — all the more so, because it is the 
same word for 'know' as here for 'thou shalt know ' (gtuSsl'etn); where- 
as the Greek for 'thou knowest' in this verse is a different and more 
general word (oidas): 'what /am doing, thou knowest not just now, 
but thou shalt recognise presently.' See notes on vii. 26 and viii. 55. 

8. Thoii shalt never wash my feet] The negative is the strongest 
form possible ; ' thou shalt certainly not wash my feet for ever.' See on 
viii. 51, and comp. Matt. xvi. 22. 

no part with me] The Greek is the same as in Matt. xxiv. 51 and 
Luke xii. 46. The expression is of Hebrew origin ; comp. Deut. x. 9, 
xii. 12, xiv. 27. To reject Christ's self-humiliating love, because it 
humiliates Him (a well-meaning but false principle), is to cut oneself off 

264 S. JOHN, XIII. [w. 9— 12. 

9 me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, 

TO but also my hands and 77iy head. Jesus saith to him. He 

that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is 

1 1 clean every whit : and ye are clean, but not all. For he 
knew who should betray him ; therefore said he. Ye are not 
all clean. 

12 So after he had washed their feet^ and had taken his 
garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, 

from Him. It requires much more humility to accept a benefit which 
is a serious loss to the giver than one which costs him nothing. In 
this also the surrender of self is necessary. 

9. not Diy feet on/y] The impetuosity which is so marked a charac- 
teristic of S. Peter in the first three Gospels (comp. especially Luke v. 8 
and Matt. xvi. 22), comes out very strongly in his three utterances here. 
It is incredible that this should be deliberate invention ; and if not, 
the independent authority of this narrative is manifest. 

10. J/e that is washed] Rather, He that is bathed (comp. Heb. x. 22 
and 1 Pet. ii. 22). In the Greek we have quite a different word from the 
one rendered ' wash ' elsewhere in these verses : the latter means to 
wash part of the body, this to bathe the whole person. A man who 
has bathed does not need to bathe again when he reaches home, but only 
to wash the dust off his feet : then he is wholly clean. So also in the 
spiritual life, a man whose moral nature has once been thoroughly 
purified need not think that this has been all undone if in the walk 
through life he contracts some stains : these must be washed away, 
and then he is once more wholly clean. Peter, conscious of his own 
imperfections, in Luke v. S, and possibly here, rushes to the conclusion 
that he is utterly unclean. But his meaning here perhaps rather is; 'If 
having part in Thee depends on being washed by Thee, wash all Thou 
canst.' S. Peter excellently illustrates Christ's saying. His love for his 
Master proves that he had bathed; his boastfulness (v. 37), his attack 
on Malchus (xviii. 10), his denials (25, 27) his dissimulation at Anlioch 
(Gal. ii.), all shew how often he had need to wash his feet. 

but not all^ This is the second indication of the presence of a traitor 
among them (comp. vi. 70). Apparently it did not attract much atten- 
tion: each, conscious of his own faults, thought the remark only too 
true. The disclosure is made gradually but rapidly now (w. 18, 21, 

11. who should betray hini] Ox, him that was betraying Him, The 
Greek construction is exactly equivalent to that of 'He that should 
come' (Matt. xi. 3; Luke vii. ly); in both cases it is the present parti- 
ciple with the definite article — 'the betraying one,' 'the coming one.' 

therefore] Or, for this cause: see on xii. 39. 

12. 7vas set down] The Greek verb occurs frequently in the Gospels 
(and nowhere else in N.T.) of reclining at meals. It always implies a 
change of position (see on v. 1^, and comp. vi. 10, xxi. 20; Matt. xv. 
35; Mark vi. 40; Luke xi. 37). 

w. 13—18.] S. JOHN, XIII. 265 

Know ye what I have done to you ? Ye call me Master 13 
and Lord : and ye say well ; for so I am. If I then, your 14 
Lord and Master, have washed your feet ; ye also ought to 
wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, 15 
that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I 16 
say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; 
neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye 17 
know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. I speak 18 

Know ye\ 'Do ye recognise the meaning of it?' (see on v. 7). The 
question directs their attention to the explanation to be given. 

13. Master and Lord\ Or, The Master {Teacher) and the Lord. 
These are the ordinary titles of respect paid to a Rahbi : ' Lord ' is the 
correlative of 'servant,' so that 'Master' might be a synonym for that 
also ; but the disciples would no doubt use the word with deeper mean- 
ing as their knowledge of their Master increased. In the next verse the 
order of the titles is reversed, to give emphasis to the one with this 
deeper meaning. 

14. yoicr Lord and Master, have washed^ Rather, the Loj-d and the 
Master, washed. For the construction comp. xv. 20 and xviii. 23. 

ye also ought to wash one another's feet^ The custom of 'the feet- 
washing' on Maundy Thursday in literal fulfilment of this typical com- 
mandment is not older than the fourth century. The Lord High 
Almoner washed the feet of the recipients of the royal 'maundy' as late 
as 1731. James II. was the last English sovereign who went through 
the ceremony. In i Tim. v. lo 'washing the saints' feet' is perhaps 
given rather as a type of devoted charity than as a definite act to be 

15. as I have done to you] Not, ^what 1 have done to you,' but 
'even as I have done :' this is the spirit in which to act— self-sacrificing 
humility — whether or no it be exhibited precisely in this way. Mutual 
service, and especially mutual cleansing, is the obligation of Christ's 
disciples. Comp. James v. i6. 

16. The servant is not greater than his lord] This saying occurs 
four times in the Gospels, each time in a different connexion: (i) to 
shew that the disciples must expect no better treatment than their 
Master (Matt. x. 24) ; (2) to impress the Apostles with their responsi- 
bilities as teachers, for their disciples will be as they are (Luke vi. 40) ; 
(3) here ; (4) with the same purpose as in Matt. x. -24, but on another 
occasion (xv. 20). We infer that it was one of Christ's frequent sayings : 
it is introduced here with the double 'verily' as of special importance 

(i- 50- 

he that is sent] An Apostle {apostolos). 

17. happy are ye if ye do them] Better, blessed are ye, &c. It is 
the same Greek word as is used in xx. 29 and in the Beatitudes both in 
S. Matthew and in S. Luke. Comp. Luke xi. 28, xii. 43; Matt, vii 
21 ; Rev. i. 3. 

266 ' S. JOHN, XITI. [v. 19. 

not of you all : I know whom I have chosen : but that the 

scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with 

19 me hath lift up his heel against me. Now I tell you 

before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may 

18. / speak not of you all'\ There is one who knows these things, 
and does not do them, and is the very reverse of blessed. 

I know ivhom I have chosen^ The first 'I' is emphatic: '/know the 
character of the Twelve whom I chose ; the treachery of one has been 
foretold; it is no surprise to Me.' Comp. vi. 70. 

biitthat^ This elliptical use of 'but that' ( = 'but this was done in 
order that') is frequent in S. John: i. 8, ix. 3, xiv. 31, xv. 25; i John 
ii. 19. Here another way of filling up the ellipsis is possible; 'But I 
chose them in order that.' 

may be ftdjilkd] See on xii. 38. The quotation is taken, but with 
freedom, from the Hebrew of Ps. xli. 9; for 'lifted up his heel' both the 
Hebrew and the LXX. have 'magnified his heel.' (See on vi. 45.) The 
metaphor here is of one raising his foot before kicking, but the blow is 
not yet given. This was the attitude of Judas at this moment. It has 
been remarked that Christ omits the words ' Mine own familiar friend 
whom I trusted:' He had not trusted Judas, and had not been de- 
ceived, as the Psalmist had been : ' He knew what was in man ' (ii. 

He that eateth bread with me] Or, //e that eateth the bread with Me. 
The more probable reading gives. My bread for 'the bread with Me.' 
The variations from the LXX. are remarkable, (i) The word for 'eat' 
is changed from the common verb (e(r^tw)used in Ps. xli. 10 to the much 
less common verb (rpw^w) used of eating Christ's Flesh and the Bread 
from Heaven (vi. 54, 56, 57, 58, where see notes), and nowhere else in 
the N.T., excepting Matt. xxiv. 38. (2) 'Bread' or 'loaves' (aprous) 
has been altered to 'the bread' {rhv dprov). (3) ' My' has possibly been 
strengthened to 'with Me:' to eat bread with a man is more than to eat 
his bread, which a servant might do. These changes can scarcely be 
accidental, and seem to point to the fact that the treachery of Judas in 
violating the bond of hospitality, so universally held sacred in the East, 
was aggravated by his having partaken of the Eucharist. That Judas 
did partake of the Eucharist seems to follow from Luke xxii. 19—21, 
but the point is one about which there is much controversy. 

S. John omits the institution of the Eucharist for the same reason that 
he omits so much, — because it was so well known to every instructed 
Christian ; and for such he writes. 

19. Now] Better, as the margin, From henceforth (comp. i. 51, 
xiv. 7; Rev. xiv. 13). Hitherto Christ had been reserved about the 
presence of a traitor ; to point him out would have been to make him 
desperate and deprive hiq^ of a chance of recovery. But every good 
influence has failed, even the Eucharist and the washing of his feet; 
and/rom this time oinvard Christ tells the other Apostles. 

before it come] Add to pass, as in the next clause. Comp. xiv. 29. 

w. 20~23.J S. JOHN, XIII. 267 

believe that I am he. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He 20 
that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me ; and he 
that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. 

21 — 30. The self-exco??imunication of the traitor. 

When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and 21 
testified, and said. Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one 
of you shall betray me. Then the disciples looked one on 22 
another, doubting of whom he spake. Now there was 23 
leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus 

The success of such treachery might have shaken their faith had it taken 
them unawares : by foretelling it He turns it into an aid to faith. 
may believe that I am he^ See on viii. 24, 28, 58. 

20. He that receiveth, &c.] The connexion of this saying, solemnly 
introduced with the double 'verily,' with what precedes is not easy to 
determine. The saying is one with which Christ had sent forth the 
Apostles in the first instance (Matt. x. 40). It is recalled at the moment 
when one of them is being denounced for treacheiy. It was natural 
that such an end to such a mission should send Christ's thoughts back 
to the beginning of it. Moreover He would warn them all from sup- 
posing that such a catastrophe either cancelled the mission or proved it 
to be worthless from the first. Of every one of them, even of Judas 
himself, the saying still held good, 'he that receiveth tvhomsoever I 
send, receiveth Me.' The unworthiness of the minister cannot annul the 

21 — 30. The self-excommunication of the traitor. 

21. he was troubled in spirif] Once more the reality of Christ's 
human nature is brought before us (comp. xi. 33, 35, 38, xii. 27); but 
quite incidentally and without special point. It is the artless story of 
one who tells what he saw because he saw it and remembers it. The 
life-like details which follow are almost irresistible evidences of truth- 

22. looked one on another] 'Began to enquire among themselves' 
(Luke xxii. 23). The other two Evangelists say that all began to say to 
Him 'Is it I?' They neither doubt the statement, nor ask 'Is it he?^ 
Each thinks it is as credible of himself as of any of the others. Judas 
asks, either to dissemble, or to see whether he really was known (Matt. 
xxvi. 25). 

23. there was leaning on Jesus' bosom] Better, there was reclining 
on Jesus' lap. It is important to mark the distinction between this and 
the words rendered 'lying on Jesus' breast' in v. 25. The Jews had 
adopted the Persian, Greek, and Roman custom of reclining at meals, 
and had long since exchanged the original practice of standing at the 
Passover first for sitting and then for reclining. They reclined on the 
left arm and ate with the right. This is the posture of the beloved 

268 S. JOHN, XIII. [vv. 24— 26. 

24 loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he 

25 should ask who it should be of whom he spake. He then 
lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? 

26 Jesus answered. He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when 
I have dipped //. And when he had dipped the sop, he 

disciple indicated here, which continued throughout the meal : \nv. 25 
we have a momentary change of posture. 

whom Jesus loved} This explains how S. John came to be nearest 
(see Introduction 11. iii. 3 b), and "out of the recollection of that sacred, 
never-to-be-forgotten moment, there breaks from him for the first time 
this nameless, yet so expressive designation of himself "(Meyer). Comp. 
xix. ■26, xxi. 7, 20; not xx. 2. S. John was on our Lord's right. Who 
was next to Him on the left? Some think Judas, who must have 
been very close for Christ to answer him without the others hearing. 

24. that he should ask... spake} The better reading gives, and saith 
to Mm, Say who it is of whom He speaketh. S. Peter thinks that the 
beloved disciple is sure to know. The received reading, besides being 
wanting in authority, contains au optative mood, which S. John never 

25. lying on yesus^ breast} Our version does well in using different 
words from those used in v. 23, but the distinction used is inadequate. 
Moreover the same preposition, 'on,' is used in both cases; in the Greek 
the prepositions differ also. In v. 23 we have the permanent posture; 
here a change, the same verb being used as m v. 12 (see note). The 
meaning is leaning back on to Jesus' breast. Comp xxi. 20, where 
our translators give a similarly inadequate rendering. "This is among 
the most striking of those vivid descriptive traits which distinguish the 
narrative of the Fourth Gospel generally, and whicli are especially re- 
markable in these last scenes of Jesus' life, where the beloved disciple 
was himself an eye-witness and an actor. It is therefore to be regretted 
that these fine touches of the picture should be blurred in our English 
Bibles." Lightfoot, On Revision, p. 73. 

Some good MSS. insert 'thus' before 'on to Jesus' breast' (comp. iv. 


26. to ivhom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it} The text 

here is uncertain, but there is no doubt as to the meaning. Perhaps the 
better reading is, for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him. 
Copyists have possibly tried to correct tlie awkwardness of 'for 
whom' and 'to him.' In any case 'sop' or 'morsel' must have the 
article. The Greek word is derived from 'rub' or 'break,' and means 
'a piece broken off:' it is still the common word in Greece for 'bread.' 
To give such a morsel at a meal was an ordinary mark of goodwill, 
somewhat analogous to taking wine with a person in modern times. 
Christ, therefore, as a forlorn hope, gives the traitor one more mark of 
affection before dismissing him. It is the last such mark: 'Friend, 
wherefore art thou come?' (Matt. xxvi. 50) should rather be 'Comrade, 
(do that) for which thuu art come,' and is a sorrowful rebuke rather than 

VV.27— 30.] S. JOHN, XIII. 269 

gave // to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the 27 
sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, 
That thou doest, do quickly. Now no man at the table 28 
knew for what intent he spake this unto him. For some ^29 
them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had 
said unto him. Buy those things that we have need of against 
the feast; or that he should give something to the poor. 
He then having received the sop went immediately out : 3° 
and it was night. 

an affectionate greeting. "Whether the morsel was a piece of the un- 
leavened bread dipped in the broth of bitter herbs depends upon whether 
this supper is regarded as the Paschal meal or not. 

And when, &c.] The true reading is, Therefore, when He had dipped, 
the morsel He taketh and glvetli it. The name of Judas is once more 
given with solemn fulness as in vi. 71, Judas the son ^Simon Iscariot. 
Comp. V. 2. 

27. Satan entered into him] Literally, at that moment Satan 
entered into him. At first Satan made suggestions to him [v. 2) and 
Judas listened to them; now Satan takes full possession of him. Desire 
had conceived and brought forth sin, and the sin full grown had en- 
gendered death (James i. 15). Satan is mentioned here only in S. 

Then said] Once more we must substitute therefore for 'then.' 
Jesus knew that Satan had claimed his own, and therefore bad him do 
his work. 

do quickly] Literally, do more quickly; carry it out at once, even 
sooner than has been planned. Now that the winning back of Judas 
has become hopeless, delay was worse than useless : it merely kept Him 
from His hour of victory. Comp. Matt, xxiii. 32. 

28. no man .. .knew] Even S. John, who now knew that Judas was the 
traitor, did not know that he would act at once, and that it was to this 
Jesus alluded. 

29. For some of theni] Shewing that they could not have under- 

had the bag] See on xii. 6. 

against the feast] This agrees with v. r, that this meal precedes the 
to the poor] Comp. xii. 5; Neh. viii. 10, \i; Gal. ii. 10. 

30. He then having received the sop] Better, He therefore kciving 
received the va.Ots&X. The pronoun here and mv. 2-j iekeinos) indicates 
that Judas is an alien. Comp. vii. ri, ix. 12, 28. The last two verses 
are a parenthetical remark of the Evangelist; he now returns to the 
narrative, repeating with solemnity the incident which formed the last 
crisis in the career of Judas. 

went immediately out] This is no evidence as to the meal not being 
a Paschal one. The rule that 'none should go out at the door of his 

270 S. JOHN, XIII. [vv. 31, 32. 

XIII. 31 — XV. 27. Christ's Love in keeping His own. 

31 Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said. Now is the 

32 Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God 

house until the morning' (Exod. xii. 22) had, like standing at the Pass- 
over, long since been abrogated. "When Satan entered into him, he 
went out from the presence of Christ, as Cain went out from the presence 
of the Lord." 

and it was nighf^ The tragic brevity of this has often been remarked, 
and will never cease to lay hold of the imagination. It can scarcely 
be meant merely to tell us that at the time when Judas went out night 
had begun. In the Gospel in which the Messiah so often appears as 
the Light of the World (i. 4 — 9, iii. 19 — 21, viii. 12, ix. 5, xii. 35, 36, 
46), and in which darkness almost invariably means moral darkness (i. 
5, viii. 12, xii. 35, 46) a use peculiar to S. John (i John i. 5, ii. 8, 9, 
11), — we shall hardly be wrong in understanding also that Judas went 
forth from the Light of the World into the night in which a man cannot 
but stumble 'because there is no light in him' (xi. 10). Thus also 
Christ Himself said some two hours later, 'This is your hour, and the 
power of darkness' (Luke xxii. 53). For other remarks of telling brevity 
and abruptness comp. 'Jesus wept' (xi. 35); 'He saith to them, I am 
He' (xviii. 5); 'Now Barabbas was a robber' (xvlii. 40). 

These remarks shew the impropriety of joining this sentence to the 
next verse; 'and it was night, therefore, when he had gone out;' a 
combination which is clumsy in itself and quite spoils the effect. 

XIII. 31— XV. 27. Christ's Love in keeping His own. 

31 — 35. Jesus, freed from the oppressive presence of the traitor, 
bursts out into a declaration that the glorification of the Son of Man has 
begun. Judas is already beginning that series of events which will 
end in sending Him away from them to the Father ; therefore they 
must continue on earth the kingdom which He has begun — the reign of 

This section forms the first portion of those parting words of heavenly 
meaning which were spoken to the faithful eleven in the last moments 
before His Passion. At first the discourse takes the form of dialogue, 
which lasts almost to the end of chap. xiv. Then they rise from the 
table, and the words of Christ become more sustained, while the 
disciples remain silent with the exception of xvi. 17, 18, 29, 30. Then 
follows Christ's prayer, after which they go forth to the garden of Geth- 
semane (xviii. i). 

31. Therefore, when he was gone otii] Indicating that the presence 
of Judas had acted as a constraint, but also that he had gone of his own 
will : there was no casting out of the faithless disciple (ix. 34). 

A^ow] With solemn exultation : the beginning of the end has come. 

(he Son 0/ man] See on i. 51. 

glorified] In finishing the work which the Father gave Him to do 
(xvii. 4) ; and thus God is glorified in Him. 

vv. 33, 34.] S. JOHN, XIII. 271 

be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, 
and shall straightway glorify him. Little children, yet a 33 
little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me : and as I 
said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come ; so now 
I say to you. A new commandment I give unto you. That 34 
ye love one another ; as I have loved you, that ye also love 

32. If God be glorified in him] These words are omitted in the best 
MSS., and though they might easily be left out accidentally owing to 
the repetition, yet they spoil the balance and rhythm of the clauses. 

God shall also glorify kini] Better, And God shall glorify Him. 
This refers to the heavenly glory which He had with the Father before 
the world was. Hence the future tense : the glory of completing the 
work of redemption has already begun ; that of departing to the Father 
as the Son of Man and returning to the Father as the Son of God will 
straightway follow. 

in himself^ i.e. in God: as God is glorified in the Messianic work of 
the Son, so the Son shall be glorified in the eternal blessedness of the 
Father. Comp. xvii. 4, 5 ; Phil. ii. 9. — Between this verse and the next 
some would insert the institution of the Eucharist. 

33. Little children] Nowhere else in the Gospels does Christ use 
this expression of tender affection [teknia], which springs from the 
thought of His orphaned disciples. S. John appears never to have for- 
gotten it. It occurs frequently in his First Epistle (ii. i, 12, 28, iii. 7, 
18, iv. 4, V. 21), and perhaps nowhere else in the N.T. In Gal. iv. 19 
the reading is doubtful. 'Children' in xxi. 5 is a different word 

a little while] See on vii. 33, 34, viii. 21. 

Ye shall seek me] Christ does not add, as He did to the Jews, 'and 
shall not find Me,' still less, 'ye shall die in your sin.' Rather, 'ye 
shall seek Me: and though ye cannot come whither I go, yet ye shall 
find Me by continuing to be My disciples and loving one another.' The 
expression 'the Jews' is rare in Christ's discourses; comp. iv. 22, xviii. 
20, 36. 

34. A new commandment] The commandment to love was not new, 
for 'thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (Lev. xix. 18) was part 
of the Mosaic Law. But the motive is new; to love our neighbour be- 
cause Christ has loved us. We have only to read the 'most excellent 
way' of love set forth in i Cor. xiii., and compare it with the measured 
benevolence of the Pentateuch, to see how new the commandment 
had become by having this motive added. There are two words for 
'new' in Greek; one looks forward, 'young,'as opposed to 'aged;' the 
other looks back, 'fresh,' as opposed to 'worn out.' It is the latter 
that is used here and in xix. 41. Both are used in Matt. ix. 17, but our 
version ignores the difference — ' They put tiew wine into fresh wine- 
skins.' The phrase 'to give a commandment' is peculiar to S. John; 
comp. xii. 49; I John iii. 23. 

as I have loved yon] These words are rightly placed in the second 

272 S. JOHN, XIII. [vv. 35—38. 

35 one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my 
disciples, if ye have love one to another. 

36 Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? 
Jesus answered him. Whither I go, thou canst not follow 

37 me now ; but thou shalt follow me afterwards. Peter said 
unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now ? I will lay 

38 down my life for thy sake. Jesus answered him. Wilt thou 
lay down thy life for my sake ? Verily, verily, I say unto 

half of the verse. They do not mean 'love one another in the same way 
as I have loved you ; ' but they give the reason for tlie fresh command- 
ment — 'even as I have loved you.' S. John states the same principle 
in the First Epistle (iv. 11) 'If God so loved us, we ought also to 
love one another.' Comp. xv. 13. 

35. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples'] This is the 
true ' Note of the Church ; ' not miracles, not formularies, not numbers, 
but love. "The working of such love puts a brand upon us; for see, 
say the heathen, how they love another," Tertullian, Apol. xxxix. 
Comp. I John iii. 10, 14. 'My disciples' is literally, disciples to Me. 

36. Lord, whither goest thou?] The affectionate Apostle is absorbed 
by the declaration ' Whither I go, ye cannot come,' and he lets all the 
rest pass. His Master is going away out of his reach ; he must know 
the meaning of that. 

thou shalt follow me afterwards] Alluding probably not merely to 
the Apostle's death, but also to the manner of it: comp. xxi. 18, 19. 
But his hour has not yet come ; he has a great mission to fulfil first 
(Matt. xvi. 18). The beautiful story of the Doinine, quo vadis? should 
be remembered in connexion with this verse. See Introduction to the 
Epistles of S. Peter, p. 56. 

37. / will lay down my life] St Peter seems to see that Christ's 
going away means death. With his usual impulsiveness (see on v. 9) he 
declares that he is ready to follow at once even thither. He mistakes 
strong feeling for moral strength. On the phrase ' lay down my life ' 
see last note on x. ir. 

38. / say unto thee] In the parallel passage in S. Luke (xxii. 34) 
Christ for the first and only time addresses the Apostle by the name 
which He had given him, — 'I tell thee, Peter ;^ as if He would remind 
him that the rock-like strength of character was not his own to boast of, 
but must be found in humble reliance on the Giver. 

S. Luke agrees with S. John in placing the prediction of the triple 
denial in the supper-room : St Matt. (xxvi. 30 — 35) and S. Mark (xiv. 
•26 — 30) place it on the way from the room to Gethsemane. It is possi- 
ble but not probable that the prediction was repeated ; though some 
would even make three predictions recorded by (i) S. Luke, (2) S. John, 
(3) S. Matt, and S. Mark. See introductory note to Chapter xii. and 
Appendix B. 

V. I.] S. JOHN, XIII. XIV. 273 

thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me 

Chap. XIV. Chrisfs love in keeping His own {continued). 
Let not your heart be troubled : ye believe in God, 14 

thrice] All four accounts agree in this. S. Mark adds two details: 
(i) that the cock should crow twice, (2) that the prediction so far from 
checking S. Peter made him speak only the more vehemently, a par- 
ticular which S. Peter's Gospel more naturally contains than the other 
three. S. Matthew and S. Mark both add that all the disciples joined 
in S. Peter's protestations. 

It has been objected that fowls were not allowed in the Holy City. 
The statement is wanting in authority, and of course the Romans would 
pay no attention to any such rule, even if it existed among the Jews. 

Chap. XIV. 

" We come now to the last great discourse (xiv. — xvii.), which con- 
stitutes a striking and peculiar element in the Fourth Gospel we 

cannot but recognise a change from the compact lucid addresses and 

exposition of the Synoptists This appears not so much in single 

verses as when we look at the discourse as a whole. In all the Synop- 
tic Gospels, imperfectly as they are put together, there is not a single 
discourse that could be called involved in structure, and yet I do not see 
how it is possible to refuse this epithet to the discourse before us as 
given by S. John. The different subjects are not kept apart, but are 
continually crossing and entangling one another. The later subjects are 
anticipated in the course of the earlier ; the earlier return in the later." 
Comp. the spiral movement noticed in the Prologue, i. 18. 

" For instance, the description of the functions of the Paraclete is 

broken up into five fragments (xiv. 16, 17; 25, 26; xv. 26; xvi. 8 —  

15; 23 — 25) The relation of the Church and the world is intersected 

just in the same way (xiv. 22 — 24, xv. 18 — 25, xvi. i — 3), besides scat- 
tered references in single verses We may consider the discourse 

perhaps under these heads: (i) the departure and the return, (2) the 
Paraclete, (3) the vine and its branches, (4) the disciples and the world." 
S. pp. 221 — 232. On the discourses in this Gospel generally see the 
introductory note to chapter iii. 

Chap. XIV. Christ's love in keeping His own (continued). 

1. Let not your heart be troubled] There had been much to cause 
anxiety and alarm ; the denouncing of the traitor, the declaration of 
Christ's approaching departure, the prediction of S. Peter's denial. The 
last as being nearest might seem to be specially indicated ; but what 
follows shews that ' let not your heart be troubled ' refers primarily to 
' whither I go, ye cannot come ' (xiii. 33). 

ye believe in God, believe also] The Greek for 'ye believe ' and ' be- 
lieve ' is the same, and there is nothing to indicate that one is indicative 


274 S. JOHN, XIV. [vv. 2— 4. 

2 believe also in me. In my Father's house are many man- 
sions : if // were not so, I would have told you. I go to 

3 prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place 
for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; 

4 that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go 

and the other imperative. Both may be indicative ; but probably both 
are imperative : believe in God, and believe in Me ; or perhaps, trust in 
God, and trust in Me. It implies the belief which moves towards and 
reposes on its object (see last note on i. 12). In any case a genuine 
belief in God leads to a belief in His Son. 

2. In my Father's house'\ Heaven. Comp. ' The Lord's throne is 
in heaven,' Ps. xi. 4 ; 'Our Father, Which art in heaven ' (Matt. vi. 9), 

are many mansions^ Nothing is said about mansions differing in 
dignity and beauty. There may be degrees of happiness hereafter, but 
such are neither expressed nor implied here. What is said is that there 
are ' many mansions ;' there is room enough for all. The word for 
' mansions,' common in classical Greek, occurs in the N. T. only here 
and V. 23. It is a substantive from the verb of which S. John is so fond, 
'to abide, dwell, remain' (see note on i. 33), which occurs w. 10, 16, 17, 
25, and twelve times in the next chapter. This substantive, therefore, 
means 'an abode, dwelling, place to remain in.' 'Mansion,' Scotch 
' manse,' and French 'maison,' are all from the Latin form of the same 

if it were not so, I would have told yoti\ The Greek may have more 
than one meaning, but our version is best. Christ appeals to His fair- 
ness : would He have invited them to a place in which there was not 
room for all ? Others connect this with the next verse ; ' should I have 
said to you, I go to prepare a place for you?' or, 'I would have said to 
you, I go, &c.' The latter cannot be right. Christ had already said, 
and says again, that He is going to shew them the way and to prepare 
for them (xiii. 36, xiv. 3). 

/ go to prepare^ We must insert ' for' on overwhelming authority; 
' for I go to prepare.' This proves that there will be room for all. 

3. And if 1 gd\ The 'if does not here imply doubt any more than 
' when ' would have done : but we have ' if ' and not ' when ' because it 
is the result of the departure and not the date of it that is emphasized 
(see on xii. 32). 

/ will come again, and receive'] Literally, / am coming again and 
I will receive (see on i. 11 and xix. 16). There is no doubt about the 
meaning of the going away ; but the coming again may have various 
meanings, and apparently not always the same one throughout this dis- 
course ; either the Resurrection, or the gift of the Paraclete, or the 
death of individuals, or the presence of Christ in his Church, or the 
Second Advent at tlie last day. The last seems to be the meaning here 
(comp. vi, 39, 40). 

w. 5-7.] S. JOHN, XIV. 275 

ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, 5 
Lord, we know not whither thou goest ; and how can we 
know the way ? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the 6 
truth, and the Hfe : no man cometh unto the Father, but by 
me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my ^ 

4. whither I go ye know, and the way ye kn(m)\ The true text seems 
once more to have been altered to avoid awkwardness of expression (see 
on xiii. ■26). Here we should read, Whither I go, ye know the way. 
This is half a rebuke, implying that they ought to know more than 
they did know : they had heard but had not heeded (x. 7, 9, xi. 25). 
Thus we say 'you know, you see,' meaning 'you might know, you might 
see, if you would but take the trouble.' 

5. Thomas] Nothing is to be inferred from the omission of ' Didy- 
mus' here (comp. xi. 16, xx. 24, xxi. 2). For his character see on xi. i6. 
His question here has a melancholy tone combined with some dulness 
of apprehension. But there is honesty of purpose in it. He owns his 
ignorance and asks for explanation. This great home with many abodes, 
is it the royal city of the conquering Messiah, who is to restore the king- 
dom to Israel (see on Acts i. 6) ; and will not that be Jerusalem ? How 
then can He go away ? 

and how can we know] The true reading is, How know we. 

6. / am the way] The pronoun is emphatic ; I and no other : Ego sum 
Via, Veritas, Vita. S. Thomas had wished rather to know about the 
goal ; Christ shews that for him, and therefore for us, it is more important 
to know the way. Hence the order ; although Christ is the Truth and 
the Life before He is the Way. The Word is the Truth and the Life 
from all eternity with the Father : He becomes the Way for us by 
taking our nature. He is the Way to the many abodes in His Father's 
home, the Way to the Father Himself ; and that by His doctrine and 
example, by His Death and Resurrection. In harmony with this 
passage ' the Way ' soon became a recognised name for Christianity ; 
Acts ix. 2, xix. 9, 23, xxii. 4, xxiv. 22 (comp. xxiv. 14; 2 Pet. ii. 2). 
But this is obscured in our version by the common inaccuracy 'this-vta-y^ 
or ' that way ' for Uhe Way.' (See on i. 21, 25, vi. 48.) 

the truth] Better, and the Truth, being from all eternity in the form 
of God, Who cannot lie (Phil. ii. 6; Heb. vi. 18), and being the repre- 
sentative on earth of a Sender Who is true (viii. 26). To know the 
Truth is also to know the Way to God, Who must be approached and 
worshipped in truth (iv. 23). Comp. Heb. xi. 6 ; i John v. 20. 

and the life] Comp. xi. 25. He is the Life, being one with the 
living Father and being sent by Him (vi. 57, x. 30). See on i. 4, 
vi. 50, 51, and comp. i John v. 12; Gal. ii. 20. Here again to know 
the Life is to know the Way to God. 

no man cometh unto the Father, but by me] Christ continues to insist 
that the Way is of the first importance to know. ' Through Him we 
have access unto the Father ' (Eph. ii. 18). Comp. Hebr. x. 19 — 22; 
I Pet. iii. 18. 

7. If ye had known me] In the better MSS. we have here -again 


276 S. JOHN, XIV. [vv. 8, 9. 

Father also : and from henceforth ye know him, and have 

8 seen him. Phihp saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, 

9 and it sufificeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so 
long time with you, and jfi?/ hast thou not known me, Philip? 

two different words for 'know' (see on vii. ■26, viii. 55, xiii. 7), and the 
emphasis in the first clause is on 'known' in the second on 'Father.' 
Bewaie of the common mistalce of putting an emphasis on 'Me.' The 
meaning is : 'If ye had recognised Me, ye would liave known My 
Father also.' The veil of Jewish prejudice was still on their hearts, 
hiding from them the true meaning both of Messianic prophecy and of 
the Messiah's acts. 

from henceforik'\ The same expression as is mistranslated ' now ' 
in xiii. 19: it is to be understood literally, not proleptically. 

ye know hit7i\ Or, recognise Him. From this time onwards, after 
the plain declaration of Himself in v. 6, they begin to recognise the 
Father 'n Him. Philip's request leads to a fuller statement oiv. 6. 

8. Philip'] For the fourth and last time S. Philip appears in this 
Gospel (see notes on i. 44 — 49, vi. 5 — 7, xii. 22). Thrice he is mentioned 
in close connexion with S. Andrew, who may have brought about his 
being found by Christ ; twice he follows in the footsteps of S. Andrew 
in bringing others to Christ, and on both occasions it is specially to see 
Him that they are brought; 'Come and see' (i. 45); 'We would 5^1? 
Jesus' (xii. 21). Like S. Thomas he has a fondness for the practical test 
of personal experience ; he would see for himself, and have others also 
see for themselves. His way of stating the difficulty about the 5000 
(vi. 7) is quite in harmony with this practical turn of mind. Like 
S. Thomas also he seems to have been somewhat slow of apprehension, 
and at the same time perfectly honest in expressing the cravings which 
he felt. No fear of exposing himself keeps either Apostle back. 

Lord, shew us the Father] He is struck by Christ's last words, 'Ye 
have seen the Father,' and cannot find that they are true of himself. 
It is what he has been longing for in vain ; it is the one thing wanting. 
He has heard the voice of the P'ather from Heaven, and it has awak- 
ened a hunger in his heart. Christ has been speaking of the Father's 
home with its many abodes to which He is going ; and Philip longs to 
see for himself. And when Christ tells him that he has seen, he unre- 
servedly opens his mind : ' Only make that saying good, and it is 
enough.' He sees nothing impossible in this. There were the theo- 
phanies, which had accompanied the giving of the Law by Moses. 
And a greater than Moses was here — "that Prophet whom Moses had 
foretold. He looked, like all the Jews of his time, to see the wonders 
of the old dispensation repeated. Hence his question." S. p. 225. 

9. so long time] Philip had been called among the first (i. 43). 

hast thou not known me] Or, hast not recognised Me, as in v. 7. 
The Gospels are full of evidence of how little the Apostles understood 
of the life which they were allowed to share: and the candour with 
which this is confessed confirms our trust in the narratives. Not until 

vv. lo— 12.] S. JOHN, XIV. 277 

he that hath seen me hath seen the Father ; and how sayest 
thou then, Shew us the Father? BeUevest thou not that 
I am in the Father, and the Father in me ? the words that 
I speak unto you, I speak not of myself: but the Father 
that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Beheve me that 
I am in the Father, and the Father in me : or else believe 
me for the very works' sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, 
He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do 

Pentecost were their minds fully enlightened. Comp. x. 6, xii. 16; 
Matt. XV. 16, xvi. 8; Mark ix. 32; Luke ix. 45, xviii. 34, xxiv. 25; 
Acts i. 6; Hebr. v. 12. Christ's question is asked in sorrowful but 
affectionate surprise ; hence the tender repetition of the name. Had 
S. Philip recognised Christ, he would have seen the revelation of God 
in Him, and would never have asked for a vision of God such as was 
granted to Moses. See notes on xii. 44, 45. There is no reference to 
the Transfiguration, of which S. Philip had not yet been told; Matt. 
xvii. 9. 

and how sayest thou then] The 'and' is of doubtful authority; 
' then ' is an insertion of our translators. 

10. BeUevest thou not] S. Philip's question seemed to imply that he 
did not believe this truth, although Christ had taught it publicly (x. 38). 
What follows is stated in an argumentative form. 'That the Father is 
in Me is proved by the fact that My words do not originate with My- 
self; and this is proved by the fact that My works do not originate with 
Myself, but are really His.' No proof is given of this last statement : 
Christ's works speak for themselves; they are manifestly Divine. It 
matters little whether we regard the argument as h fortiori, the works 
being stronger evidence than the words; or as inclusive, the works 
covering and containing the words. The latter seems to agree best 
with viii. 28. On the whole statement that Christ's words and works 
are not His own but the Father's, comp. v. 19, 30, viii. 26 — 29, 
xii. 44. 

the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the zuorh] The better read- 
ing gives us, the Father abiding in Me doeth His works {in Me). 
And thus the saying 'Ye have seen the Father' {v. 7) is justified: the 
Father is seen in the Son. 

11. Believe me] The English obliterates the fact that Christ now 
turns from S. Philip and addresses all the eleven : 'believe' is plural not 
singular. 'You have been with Me long enough to believe what I say; 
but if not, at any rate believe what I do. My words need no creden- 
tials : but if credentials are demanded, there are My works.' He had 
said the same, somewhat more severely, to the Jews (x. 37, 38); and 
he repeats it much more severely in reference to the Jews (xv. 22, 24). 
Note the progress from 'believe Me' here to 'believe on Me' in the 
next verse; the one grows out of the other. 

12. Venly, verily] See notes on i. 51. 

the works that I do shall he do also] i. e. like Me, he shall do the 

278 S. JOHN, XIV. [vv. 13—16. 

also ; and greater works than these shall he do ; because I 
13 go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my 

name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the 
M Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. 
16 If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will 

works of the P'ather, the Father dwelling in Him through the Son 
{v. 23). _ 

and greater works than these] There is no reference to healing by 
means of S. Peter's shadow (Acts v. 15) or of handkerchiefs that had 
touched S. Paul (Acts xix. 12). Even from a human point of view no 
miracle wrought by an Apostle is greater than the raising of Lazarus. 
But from a spiritual point of view no such comparisons are admissible ; 
to Omnipotence all works are alike. These 'greater works' refer 
rather to the results of Pentecost ; the victory over Judaism and 
Paganism, two powers which for the moment were victorious over 
Christ (Luke xxii. 53). Christ's work was confined to Palestine and 
had but small success; the Apostles went everywhere, and converted 

because I go unto my Father] For ' My' read 'the' with all the best 
MSS. The reason is twofold: (i) He will have left the earth and be 
unable to continue these works; therefore believers must continue them 
for Him ; (2) He will be in heaven ready to help both directly and by 
intercession ; therefore believers will be able to continue these works 
and surpass them. 

It is doubtful whether there should be a comma or a full stop at the 
end of tliis verse. Perhaps our punctuation is better ; but to make 
the 'because' run on into the next verse makes little difference to the 

13. whatsoever ye shall ask in my name] Comp. xv. 16, xvi. 23, 
24, 26. Anything that can rightly be asked in His name will be 
granted; there is no other limit. By 'in My name' is not of course 
meant the mere using the formula 'through Jesus Christ.' Rather, it 
means praying and working as Christ's representatives in the same 
spirit in which Christ prayed and worked, — 'Not My will, but Thine 
be done.' Prayers for other ends than this are excluded; not that it is 
said that they will not be granted, but there is no promise that they 
will. Comp. 2 Cor. xii. 8, 9. 

that the Father may be glorified] See notes on xi. 4, xii. 28, xiii. 31. 

14. / -will do it] ' I ' is emphatic. In both verses the prayer is 
regarded as addressed to the Father, but granted by the Son, who is 
one with the Father. But the most ancient authorities here add 'Me;' 
if ye shall ask Me anything. In xv. 16 and xvi. 23 with equal truth 
the Father grants the prayer; but in xv. 16 the Greek may mean either 
' He may give' or ' I may give.' 

16. Jy ye love me] The connexion with what precedes is again not 
quite clear. .Some would see it in the condition 'in My name,' which 
includes willing obedience to His connnands. Perhaps it is rather to 

V. i6.] S. JOHN, XIV. 279 

pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, 

be referred to the opening and general drift of the chapter. 'Let not 
your heart be troubled at My going away. You will still be Mine, I 
shall still be yours, and we shall still be caring for one another. I go 
to prepare a place for you, you remain to continue and surpass My 
work on earth. And though you can no longer minister to Me in the 
flesh, you can prove your love for Me even more perfectly by keeping 
My commandments when I am gone.' 'My' is emphatic ; not those of 
the Law but of the Gospel. 

keep\ The better reading is ye will keep. Only in these last dis- 
courses does Christ speak of His commandments: comp. v. 21, xiii. 34, 
XV. 10, l^^ See on v. 27. 

16. And I ivill pray the Father] T is emphatic: 'you do your 
part on earth, and I will do mine in Heaven.' Our translators have 
once more rightly made a distinction but an inadequate one (see on 
xiii. 23, 25). The word for ' pray' here is different from that for 'ask' 
vv. 13, 14; but of the two the one rendered 'pray' [erdtdft) is (so far 
as there is a distinction) the less suppliant. It is the word always 
used by S. John when Christ speaks of His prayers to the Father (xvi. 
26, xvii. 9, 15, 20); never the word rendered 'ask' [aitein), which 
however Martha, less careful than the Evangelist, uses of Christ's prayers 
(xi. 22). But the distinction must not be pressed as if aitein were 
always used of inferiors (against which Deut. x. 12; Acts xvi. 29; 
I Pet. iii. 15 are conclusive), or erdtdjt always of equals (against which 
Mark vii. 26; Luke iv. 38, vii. 3; John iv. 40, 47; Acts iii. 3 are 
equally conclusive), although the tendency is in that direction. In 
I John V. 16 both words are used. In classical Greek erdtdn is never 
'to make a request,' but always (as in i. 19, 21, 25, ix. 2, 15, 19, 21, 
23, &c. ) 'to ask a question.' (See on xvi. 23.) 

another Comforter] Better, another Advocate. The Greek word, 
Paraclete (Xlapd/cXT/Tos) is employed five times in the N.T. — four times 
in this Gospel by Christ of the Holy Spirit (xiv. 16, 26, xv. 26, xvi. 7), 
once in the First Epistle by S. John of Christ (ii. i). Our translators 
render it 'Comforter' in the Gospel, and 'Advocate' in the Epistle. 
As to the meaning of the word, usage appears to be decisive. It com- 
monly signifies 'one who is summoned to the side of another' to aid 
him in a court of justice, especially the 'counsel for the defence.' It is 
passive, not active ; ' one who is summoned to plead a cause, ' not 
'one who exhorts, or encourages, or comforts.' A comparison of the 
simple word (>cX7;t6s= 'called;' Matt. xx. 16, xxii. 14 ; Rom. i. i, 6, 7 ; 
I Cor. i. I, 2, &c.) and the other compounds, of which only one occurs 
in the N. T. (w^Y/cXTjros^' unaccused;' r Cor. i. 8; Col. i. 22, &c.), or 
a reference to the general rule about adjectives similarly formed from 
transitive verbs, will shew that ' Paraclete ' must have a passive sense. 
The rendering 'Comforter' has arisen from giving the word an active 
sense, which it cannot have. Moreover, ' Advocate ' is the sense which 
the context suggests, wherever the word is used in the Gospel: the 
idea of pleading, arguing, convincing, instructing, is prominent in every 

28o S. JOHN, XIV. [vv. 17, 18. 

17 that he may abide with you for ever ; Even the Spirit of 
truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth 
him not, neither knoweth him : but ye know him ; for he 

18 dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave 

instance. Here the Paraclete is the ' Spirit oi truth,'' whose reasonings 
fall dead on the ear of the world, and are taken in only by the faithful. 
In V. 26 He is to teack and remind them. In xv. 26 He is to liear 
witness to Christ. In xvi. 7 — ri He is to convince or cotwict the 
world. In short, He is represented as the Advocate, the Counsel, who 
suggests true reasonings to our minds and true courses for our lives, 
convicts our adversary the world of wrong, and pleads our cause before 
God our Father. In the Te Denm the Holy Spirit is rightly called 'the 
Comforter,' but that is not the function which is set forth here. To 
substitute 'Advocate' will not only bring out the right meaning in the 
Gospel, but will bring the language of the Gospel into its true relation 
to the language of the Epistle. ' He will give you another Advocate ' 
acquires fresh meaning when we remember that S. John calls Christ 
our 'Advocate:' the Advocacy of Christ and the Advocacy of the Spirit 
mutually illustrating one another. At the same time an important co- 
incidence between the Gospel and Epistle is preserved, one of the many 
which help to prove that both are by one and the same author, and 
therefore that evidence of the genuineness of the Epistle is also evidence 
of the genuineness of the Gospel. See Lightfoot, On Revision, pp. 50 — 
56, from which nearly the whole of this note is taken. 

It is worth noting that although S. Paul does not use the word 
Paraclete, yet he has the doctrine: in Rom. viii. 27, 34 the same 
language, 'maketh intercession for,' is used both of the Spirit and of 

that he may abide with yon for ever] Their present Advocate has 
come to them and will leave them again; this 'other Advocate' will 
come and never leave them. And in Him, who is the Spirit of Christ 
(Rom. viii. 9), Christ will be with them also (Matt, xxviii. 20). 

17. the Spirit of truth] This expression confirms the rendering 'Ad- 
vocate.' Truth is much more closely connected with the idea of advo- 
cating a cause than with that of comforting. Comp. xv. 26, xvi. 13; 
I John V. 6. The Paraclete is the Spirit of Truth as being the Bearer 
of the Divine revelation, bringing truth home to the hearts of men. 
In I John iv. 6 it is opposed to the 'spirit of error.' Comp. 1 Cor. 
ii. 12. 

the world] See notes on i. 9, 10. 

it seeth him 7iot] Because the Spirit and 'the things of the Spirit' 
must be 'spiritually discerned' (i Cor. ii. 14). The world may have 
intelligence, scientific investigation, criticism, learning ; but not by these 
means is the Spirit of Truth contemplated and recognised ; rather by 
humility, self-investigation, faith, and love. 

for he dtvclleth] Because lie abideth : it is the same Greek word as 
in the previous clause. Comp. v. 28. 

and shall be in you] A reading of higher authority gives us, 'and is 

vv. 19—21.] S. JOHN, XIV. 281 

you comfortless : I will come to you. Yet a little while, 19 
and the world seeth me no more ; but ye see me : because 
I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that 1 20 
am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. He that 21 
hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that 
loveth me : and he that loveth me shall be loved of my 
Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to 

in you.^ All the verbs are in the present tense. The Spirit was in the 
Apostles already, though not in the fulness of Pentecost. 

Note throughout these two verses (16, 17) the definite personality of 
the Spirit, distinct both from the Father Who gives Him and from the 
Son Who promises Him. Note also the three prepositions (in vv. 16, 
1 7) : the Advocate is with us for fellowship {nieta) ; He abides by our 
side to defend us {para) ; He is /;/ us as a source of power to each indi- 
vidually [en). 

18. comfortless] Rather (with Wiclif) fatherless, as the word is 
translated James i. 27, the only other place in the N. T. where it occurs; 
or (with the margin) orphans, the very word used in the Greek. The 
inaccurate rendering ' comfortless ' gives unreal support to the inaccu- 
rate rendering * Comforter.' In the Greek there is no connexion 
between orphans and Paraclete. We must connect this rather with 
the tender address in xiii. 33 ; He will not leave His ' little children ' 

I will come to yoii] Or, /am coming to you, in the Holy Spirit, 
whom I will send. The context seems to shew clearly that Christ's 
spiritual reunion with them through the Paraclete, and not His bodily 
reunion with them either through the Resurrection or through the final 
Return is intended. 

19. a little while\ Comp. xiii. 33, xvi. 16. 

but ye see me] In the Paraclete, ever present with you. 

because I live, ye shall live also] i. e. that higher and eternal life over 
which death has no power either in Christ or His followers. Christ has 
this life in Himself (v. 26) ; His followers derive it from Him (v. 21). 

20. Ai that day] Comp. xvi. 23, 26. Pentecost, and thenceforth 
to the end of the world. They will come to know, for experience will 
teach them, that the presence of the Spirit is the presence of Christ, and 
through Him of the Father. 

ye in me, and I in you] Comp. xv. 4, 5, xvii. 21, 23; i John iii. 24, 

iv. 13, 15. 16. 

21. hath my commandments, and keepeth them] Bears them in his 
mind and observes them in his life. 

he it is] With great emphasis ; he and no one else. 

will manifest myself to him] Once more willing obedience is set forth 
as the road to spiritual enlightenment (see on vii. 17). The word for 
'manifest ' is not S. John's favourite word {phaneroun) but one which 
he uses only in these two verses [eniphanizein). 

282 S. JOHN, XIV. [vv. 22, 23. 

22 him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it 
that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the 

23 world ? Jesus answered and said unto him. If a man love 
me, he will keep my words : and my Father will love hhn, 
and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 

22. yudas\ Excluding the genealogies of Christ we have six persons 
of this name in the N. T. 

I. This Judas, who was the son of a certain James (Luke vi. 16; 
Acts i. 13): he is commonly identified with Lebbaeus or Thaddaeus 
(see on Matt. x. 3). ■2. Judas Iscariot. 3. The brother of Jesus Christ, 
and of James, Joscs, and Simon (Matt. xiii. 55; Mark vi. 3). 4. Judas, 
surnamed Barsabas (Acts xv. 22, -27, 32). 5. Judas of Galilee (Acts 
V- 37). 6. Judas of Damascus (Acts ix. 11). Of these six the third 
is probably the author of the Epistle; so that this remark is the only 
thing recorded in the N. T. of Judas the Apostle as distinct from the 
other Apostles. Nor is anything really known of him from other 

how is ii\ Literally, What hath come to pass; 'what has happened 
to determine Thee?' 

manifest thyself^ The word 'manifest' rouses S. Judas just as the 
word 'see' roused S. Philip (z/. 7). Both go wrong from the same cause, 
inability to see the spiritual meaning of Christ's words, but they go 
wrong in different ways. Philip wishes for a vision of the Father, a 
Theophany, a suitable inauguration of the Messiah's kingdom. Judas 
supposes with the rest of his countrymen that the manifestation of the 
Messiah means a bodily appearance in glory before the whole world, 
to judge the Gentiles and restore the kingdom to the Jews. Once more 
we have the Jewish point of view given with convincing precision. 
Comp. vii. 4. 

23. Jesus ans7uered\ The answer is given, as so often in our 
Lord's replies, not directly, but by repeating and developing the state- 
ment which elicited the question. Comp. iii. 5 — 8, iv. 14, vi. 44 — 51, 
53 — ^58, &c. The condition of receiving the revelation is loving obe- 
dience; those who have it not cannot receive it. This shews that 
the revelation cannot be universal, cannot be shared by those who 
hate and disobey (xv. 18). 

my words] Rather, Afy word ; the Gospel in its entirety. 

we ivill come'] For the use of the plural comp. x. 30. 

abode] See on v. 1. The thought of God dwelling among His peo- 
ple was familiar to every Jew (Ex. xxv. 8, xxix. 45 ; Zech. ii. 10; &c.). 
This is a thought far beyond that, — God dwelling in the licart of tlie 
individual ; and later Jewish philosophy had attained to this also. But 
the united indwelling of the Father and the Son by means of the Spirit 
is purely Christian. 

In these two verses (23, 24) the changes 'words' 'sayings' 

'word' give a wrong impression: they should run — 'word' — 'words' 

w. 24—27.] S. JOHN, XIV. 283 

He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings : and the 24 
word which you hear is not mine, but the Father's which 
sent me. 

These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present 25 
with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, 26 
whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you 
all things, and bring all thi?igs to your remembrance, what- 
soever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my i^ 

...'word.' In the Greek we have the same substantive, twice n the 
singular and once in the plural. 

24. is not mine] To be understood literally : see on xii. 44. 

25. beitig yet present] Better, while abiding; it is S.John's favourite 
verb (see on i. 33). With this verse the discourse takes a fresh start 
returning to the subject of the Paraclete. Perhaps there is a pause 
after v. 24. 

26. But the Comforter] Better, Bttt the Advocate (see on v. 16). 
■which is the Holy Ghost] Even the Holy Spirit. The epithet 

'holy' is given to the Spirit thrice in this Gospel; i. 33, xx. 22, and 
here (in vii. 39 the ' holy' is very doubtful). It is not frequent in any 
Gospel but the third ; five times in S. Matthew, four in S. Mark, 
twelve in S. Luke. S. Luke seems fond of the expression, which he 
uses about forty times in the Acts ; and he rarely speaks of the Spirit 
without prefixing the 'holy.' Here only does S. John give the full 
phrase, both substantive and epithet having the article : in i. 33 and 
XX. 22 there is no article. 

in my name] As My representative, taking My place and continuing 

My work (see on v. 13). ' He shall not speak of Himself He shall 

receive of Mine and shew it unto you ' (xvi. 13, 14). The mission of 
the Paraclete in reference to the glorified Redeemer, is analogous to the 
mission of the Messiah in reference to the Father. 

shall teach you all things] i.e. 'guide you into all the truth' (xvi. 13). 
He shall teach them the Divine truth in its fulness; all those things 
which they 'cannot bear now,' and also ' things to come.' 

bring all things to your remembrance] Not merely the words of 
Christ, a particular in which this Gospel is a striking fulfilment of this 
promise, but also the meaning of them, which the Apostles often failed 
to see at the time : comp. ii. 22, xii. 16; Luke ix. 45, xviii. 34, xxiv. 8. 
" It is on the fulfilment of this promise to the Apostles, that their suffi- 
ciency as Witnesses of all that the Lord did and taught, and conse- 
quently the authenticity of the Gospel narrative, is grounded " (Alford). 

27. Peace I leave with you] "Finally the discourse returns to the 
point from which it started. Its object had been to reassure the sor- 
rowful disciples against their Lord's departure, and with words of reas- 
surance and consolation it concludes. These are thrown into the form of 
a leave-taking or farewell." S. p. 226, 'Peace I leave with you' is 
probably a solemn adaptation of the conventional form of taking leave 

284 S. JOHN, XIV. [vv. 28, 29. 

peace I give unto you : not as the world giveth, give I unto 
you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be 

28 afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, 
and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would 
rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father 

29 is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come 

in the East : comp. ' Go in peace,' Judg. xviii. 6; i Sam. i. 17, xx. 42, 
xxix, 7 ; 2 Kings v. 19 ; Mark v. 34, &c. See notes on James ii. 16 
and I Pet. v. 14. The Apostle of the Gentiles perhaps purposely 
substitutes in his Epistles ' Grace be with you all ' for the traditional 
Jewish ' Peace.' 

my peace I give latto yoii] 'My ' is emphatic ; this is no mere conven- 
tional wish. Comp. xvi. 33, xx. 19, 21, 26. The form of expression, 
peace that is mine, is common in this Gospel. Comp. the joy that is 
mine (iii. 29, xv. 11, xvii. 13); the judgment that is mine (v. 30, viii. 
16) ; the rommandmetits that are mine (xiv. 15) ; the love that is mine 

(xv. 10). 

jiot as the world giveth^ It seems best to understand ' as literally of 
the world's manner of giving, not of its gifts, as if ' as ' were equivalent 
to 'what.' The world gives from interested motives, because it has 
received or hopes to receive as much again (Luke vi. 33, 34) ; it gives to 
friends and withholds from enemies (Matt. v. 43) ; it gives what costs it 
nothing or what it cannot keep, as in the case of legacies ; it pretends 
to give that which is not its own, especially when it says 'Peace, peace,' 
when there is no peace (Jer. vi. 14). The manner of Christ's giving is 
the very opposite of this. He gives what is His own, what He might 
have kept, what has cost Him a life of suffering and a cruel death to 
bestow, what is open to friend and foe alike, who have notliing of their 
own to give in return. 

Let not your heart be ti-onbled\ See on w. i . Was He not right in 
giving them this charge? If He sends them another Advocate, through 
whom both the Father and He will ever abide with them, if He leaves 
them His peace, what room is there left for trouble and fear ? 

The word for 'be afraid ' is frequent in the LXX. but occurs nowhere 
else in the N. T. ' Be fearful ' is the literal meaning. 

28. Ye have heard, &c.] Literally, Ye heard that / said to you, 
/am going a7oay and I am coming unto you: comp. vz'. i, 2, 18. 
because J said, I go, &c.] Omit 'I said,' which is wanting in all 
the best authorities : If ye had loved Me, ye wojdd have rejoiced that 
I am going unto the Father. The construction is the same as in iv. 10, 
xi. 21, 32, xiv. 28. Their affection is not free from selfishness: they 
ought 'to rejoice at His gain rather than mourn over their own loss. 

for my 'Father is greater than I] Because the Father is greater 
than I. Therefore Christ's going to Him is gain. This was a favourite 
text with the Arians, as implying the inferiority of the Son. There is a 
real sense in which even in theGodhead the Son is subordinate to the 
Father: this is involved in the Eternal Generation and in the Son's 

vv. 30, 31.] S. JOHN, XIV. 285 

to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might beheve. 
Hereafter I will not talk much with you : for the prince of 3° 
this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. But that the 3' 
world may know that I love the Father ; and as the Father 
gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go 

being the Agent by whom the Father works in the creation and preser- 
vation of all things. Again, there is the sense in which the ascended 
and glorified Christ is 'inferior to the Father as touching His manhood.' 
Lastly, there is the sense in which Jesus on earth was inferior to His 
Father in Heaven. Of the three this last meaning seems to suit the 
context best, as shewing most clearly how His going to the Father 
would be a gain, and that not only to Himself but to the Apostles ; for 
at the right hand of the Father, who is greater than Himself, He will 
have more power to advance His kingdom. See notes on i Cor. xv. 
27, 28 ; Mark xiii. 32, [xvi. 19]. 

29. ye might believe] Better, ye may believe. The brevity of the 
expression makes it ambiguous. It may mean either, ' ye may believe 
that 1 am He' (as in xiii. 19), in which case 'I have told you' probably 
refers to the sending of the Paraclete ; or, 'ye may believe Me ' (as in 
V. 11), in which case ' I have told you ' probably refers to Christ's going 
to the Father. The former seems better. 

30. Hereafter 1 will not talk much'] Literally, No longer shall I 
speak many things : comp. xv. 15. 

the prince of this world cometh] Better, the ruler of the world is 
coining. The powers of darkness are at work in Judas and his employ- 
ers. See on xii. 31. 

and hath nothing in me] Quite literal : there is nothing in Jesus over 
which Satan has control. ' Let no one think that My yielding to his 
attack implies that he has power over Me. The yielding is voluntary 
in loving obedience to the Father.' This declaration, in me lie hath 
nothing, could only be true if Jesus were sinless. On the import of 
this confident appeal to His own sinlessness see notes on viii. 29, 46 
and XV. 10. 

31. But that] Once more we have an instance of S. John's ellipti- 
cal use of these words (see on xiii. 18), ' But (this is done, i. e. Satan 
cometh) in order that, &c.' Some, however, would omit the full stop 
at 'I do ' and make ' that ' depend upon ' Arise :' ' But that the world 
may know that I love tlie Father, and that as the Father commanded 
Me so I do, arise, let us go hence.' There is a want of solemnity, if not 
a savour of ' theatrical effect,' in this arrangement. Moreover it is less 
in harmony with S. John's style, especially in these discourses. The 
more simple construction is the more probable. 

let us go hence] ' Let us go and meet the power before which I am 
willing in accordance with God's will to fall.' 

We are probably to understand that they rise from table and prepare 
to depart, but that the contents of the next three chapters are spoken 

286 S. JOHN, XV. [vv. I, 2. 

Chap. XV. i — ii. The Union of tJu Disciples with Christ. 
The Allegory of the Vine. 

15 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 
2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away : 

before they leave the room (comp. xviii. r). Others suppose that the 
room is left now and that the next two chapters are discourses on the 
way towards Gethsemane, chap. xvii. being spoken at some halting 
place, possibly the Temple. See introductory note to chap. xvii. 

Chap. XV. 

The general subject still continues from xiii. 31 — Christ's love in 
KEEPING His own. This is still further set forth in this chapter in 
three main aspects : i. Their union with Him, illustrated by the allegory 
of the Vine (i — 11) ; 2. Their union with one another in Him (12 — 17); 
3. The hatred of the world to both Him and them (18 — 25). 

1 — 11. The Union of the Disciples with Christ. 

The Allegory of the Vine. 

The allegory of the Vine is similar in kind to that of the Door and of 
the Good Shepherd in chap. x. (see introductory note there): this sets 
forth union from within, the other union from without. 

1. / a7n the true vine] We have here the same word for ' true ' as 
in i. 9, vi. 32; Rev. iii. 14. Christ is the true, the genuine, the ideal, 
the perfect Vine, as He is the perfect Light, the perfect Bread, and the 
perfect Witness (see on i. 9). " The material creations of God are only 
inferior examples of that finer spiritual life and organism in which the 
creature is raised up to partake of the Divine nature" (Alfoi'd). Whether 
the allegory was suggested by anything external, — vineyards, or the vine 
of the Temple visible in the moonlight, a vine creeping in at the win- 
dow, the ' fruit of the vine ' (Matt. xxvi. 29) on the table which they 
had just left, — it is impossible to say. Of these the last is far the most 
probable, as referring to the Eucharist just instituted as a special means 
of union with Him and with one another. But the allegory may easily 
have been chosen for its own merits and its O. T. associations (Ps. Ixxx. 
8 — 19 ; Is. V. I — 7 ; Jer. ii. 21 ; &c.) without any suggestion from with- 
out. The vine was a national emblem under the Maccabees and appears 
on their coins. 

the husbandman] The Owner of the soil Who tends His Vine 
Himself and establishes the relation between the Vine and the branches. 
There is therefore a good deal of difference between the form of this 
allegory and the parable of the Vineyard (Mark xii. i) or that of the 
Fruitless Fig-tree (Luke xiii. 6). The word 'husbandman ' occurs no- 
where else in the Gospels except of the wicked husbandmen in the 
parable of the Vineyard. 

2. Every branch] The word for • branch ' in these six verses occurs 
here only in N. T., and in classical Greek is specially used of the vine. 


3—5.] S. JOHN, XV. 287 

and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it 
may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the 3 
word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and 1 4 
in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it 
abide in the vine ; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 
I am the vine, ye are the branches : He that abideth in 5 
me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit : for 

The word used in the other Gospels (Matt. xiii. 32, xxi. 8, xxiv. 32 ; 
Mark iv. 32, xiii. 28; Luke xiii. 9), and in Rom. xi. 16 — 21, is of the 
same origin (from ' to break ') but of more general meaning, —the 
smaller branch of any tree. So that the very word used, independently 
of the context, fixes the meaning of the allegory. It is every z'm^-branch, 
i. e. every one who is by origin a Christian. If they continue such by 
origin only, and give forth no fruit, they are cut off. The allegory takes 
no account of the branches of other trees : neither Jews nor heathen are 
included. Christ would not have called them branches ' in Me.' 

he taketh away] Literally, Hd taketh it away ; in both clauses we 
have a notninativus pendens. 

he purgeth it] Better, //e cleanseth it, in order to bring out the con- 
nexion with ' ye are clean ' {v. ^). The Greek words rendered 'purg- 
eth ' and * clean ' are from the same root. There is also a similarity of 
jw/w^ between the Greek words for 'taketh away' and 'cleanseth,' like 
'bear and forbear' in English {airei and kathairei). This may be in- 
tentional, but it cannot be reproduced in translation. By cleansing is 
meant freeing from excrescences and useless shoots which are a drain 
on the branch for nothing. The eleven were now to be cleansed by 

bring forth] Better, as before, bear. 

3. Now ye are clean] Already are ye clean. * Ye ' is emphatic ; 
many more will be made clean hereafter. 

through the word] Better, on accoiuit of the word. This is a fre- 
quent error in our version, Sid with the accusative being translated as if 
it had the genitive. Comp. Matt. xv. 3, 6, where ''by your tradition' 
should be 'for the sake of your tradition.' 'The word' (xvi. 23) here 
means the whole teaching of Christ, not any particular utterance ; but 
there may be special reference to the present discourses, through which 
Peter, Thomas, Philip, and Judas I^bbaeus have been cleansed from 
self-confidence and ignorance. 

4. Abide in me, and I in you] See on vi. 56. ' And I in you ' 
may be taken either as a promise (' and then I will abide in you ') or as 
the other side of the command ('take care that I abide in you'); the 
latter seems to be better. 

except ye abide] There is this mysterious property in the branches 
of the spiritual Vine, that they can cut themselves off, as Judas had done. 
Nature does something, and grace does more; but grace may be rejected. 

5. ye are the branches] This has been implied, but not stated yet. 

288 S. JOHN, XV. [vv.6— 9. 

6 without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, 
he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered ; and meii 
gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are 

7 burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, 
ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 

8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit ; so 

9 shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so 

for without me] Better, because apart from Me, or (as the margin) 
severed from Me. Comp. i. 3; Eph. ii. 12. 

ye can do vol king] Christians cannot live as Christians apart from 
Christ. Nothing is said here about those who are not Christians, al- 
though there is a sense in which the words are true of them also. 

6. he is cast forth] The verb is in a past tense ; he is already cast 
forth by the very fact of not abiding in Christ. This consequence follows 
so inevitably that to state the one is to state the other. The same re- 
mark applies to 'is withered.' But the cast-out branch may be grafted 
in again (Rom. xi. 23) and the dead branch may be raised to life again 
(v. 21, 25). The rest of the picture looks forward to the day of judg- 
ment. ' Men gather ' should be quite indefinitely, they gather (see on 
Luke xii. 20). 

they are burned] Or, they burn. 

1. viy zoords] Better, My sayings : see on v. 3 and v. 47. 

ye shall ash what ye will] The better reading gives, ask Whatsoever 
ye ivill, in the imperative. The promise is similar to that in xiv. 13, 14 
both in its comprehensiveness and in its limitation. One who abides 
in Christ and has His words abiding in him cannot ask amiss. 

8. Herein is my Father glorifiaf] As in v. 6, the verb is the aorist 
passive; not 'is being glorified' but 'is glorified,' i.e. whenever the 
occasion arises. The aorist is used of an act regarded in itself as ac- 
complished at any conceivable moment: comp. xvii. 26. ' When ye pray 
and obtain your prayers through abiding in Me, My Father is glorified 
already.' It is best to understand 'herein ' as referring to what precedes 
(comp. iv. 37 and xvi. 30), in order to give the proper meaning to 

that ye bear] Literally, in order that ye may bear: it is S. John's 
favourite particle once more, expressing the Divine purpose (comp. 
viii. 56, ix. 2, 3, xi. 15, 50, xii. 23, xiii. i, 1, Sec). 'Herein' cannot 
refer to ' in order that ' without awkwardness. 

so shall ye be 7ny disciples] Rather, and may become My disciples. 
The construction introduced by ' in order that ' continues to the end of 
the verse ; moreover the difference between 'to be' and 'to become' 
should be preserved (see on x. 19, i. 6). The sense of the whole will 
therefore be; 'In granting your prayers My Father is glorified, in order 
that ye may be fruitful and become My disciples.' 

9. As the Father, Sec] The Greek construction is ambiguous. It 
would be quite possible to translate. Even as the Father loved Me and 

vv. lo, II.] S. JOHN, XV. 289 

have I loved you : continue ye in my love. If ye keep my 10 
commandments, ye shall abide in my love ; even as I have 
kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. 

These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might n 
remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 

I loved you, abide in My love. But our version is better as keeping 
in due prominence the main statement, that the love of Christ for His 
disciples is analogous to that of the Father for the Son. In any case 
'abide' is better than 'continue;' the same Greek word is used through- 
out these verses (4 — 16), a fact which our translators obscure by giving 
three English words, 'abide, ''continue,' and 'remain,' and that in three 
consecutive verses (9 — 11). Throughout the Gospel ' abide ' should be 
maintained as the rendering of S. John's favourite verb jxhew (see on 
i. 33). The whole should run. Even as the Father loved Me, I also 
loved jc?< (comp. xvii. 18, xx. 21) ; abide in My love. The verbs are 
aorists, not perfects, and Christ's work is regarded as a completed 
whole, already perfect in itself. But perhaps this is just one of those 
cases where the English perfect may be allowed to translate the Greek 
aorist : see on viii. 29. 

in my lovel The Greek might mean ' the love of Me,' but ' My 
love ' for you is more natural and suits the context better, which speaks 
of His love towards them as similar to the Father's towards Him. 
The other, however, need not be altogether excluded. See on xiv. 

10. If ye keep] See on xiv. 15, 21, 24. To keep His command- 
ments not only proves our love for Him but secures His love for 

/ have kept my Father's covimandmettts'] This being in a subordinate 
sentence the tremendous import of it is liable to pass unnoticed. Look- 
ing back over a life of thirty years Jesus says, ' I have kept the Father's 
commandments.' Would the best man that ever lived, if only a man, 
dare to make such a statement ? See on xiv. 30. 

11. These thitigs have I spoken] The verse forms a conclusion to 
the allegory of the Vine. Comp. v. 17, xvi. 25, 33. 

jjiight remain] Better, may abide : but the reading is doubtful, and 
perhaps ought to be simply 'may be;' that My joy (see on xiv. 27) 
may be in you. This does not mean ' that I may have pleasure in you ;' 
but that the joy which Christ experienced through consciousness of Hif 
fellowship with the Father, and which supported Him in His sufferings, 
might be in His disciples and support them in theirs. Here first, on 
the eve of His sufferings, does Christ speak of His joy. 

fnight be full] Or, may be fulfilled. This expression of joy being 
fulfilled is peculiar to S. John (comp. iii. 29, xvi. 24, xvii. 13 ; i John 
i. 4; 2 John 12). The active occurs Phil. ii. 2; 'make my joy full;' 
but nowhere else. Human happiness can reach no higher than to share 
that joy which Christ ever felt in being loved by His Father and doing 
His will. 



290 S. JOHN, XV. [vv. 12—15. 

12 — 17. The Union of the Disciples with one another in 


12 Tliis is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I 

13 have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that 
'4 a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, 
15 if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you 

12 — 17. The Union of the Disciples with one another in 


12. This is my commandment] Literally, This is the commandment 
that is Mine (see on xiv. 27). In v. 10 He said that to keep His com- 
mandments was the way to abide in His love. He now reminds them 
what His commandment is (see on xiii. 34). It includes all others. 
A day or two before this Christ had been teaching that all the Law and 
the Prophets hang on the two great commands, ' love God with all thy 
heart' and 'love thy neighbour as thyself (Matt. xxii. 37 — 40). 
S. John teaches us that the second really implies the first (i John 
iv. 20). 

That ye love one another] Literally, in order that ye love one another : 
this is the purpose of the commandment. .See next verse and on 
V. 8, vi. 29, and xvii. 3. 

as I have loved] Even as I loved ; comp. v. 9. Christ looks back 
from a point still further. 

13. that a man lay down] Literally, in order that a man lay down : 
the greatest love is that of which the purpose is dying for those loved. 
On 'lay down his life' see note on x. 11. 

/or his friends] Needless difficulty has been made about this, as if 
it were at variance with Romans v. 6 — 8. Christ here says that the 
greatest love that any one can shew towards his friends is to die for 
them. S. Paul says that such cases of self-sacrifice for good men occur ; 
but they are very rare. Christ, however, surpassed them, for He died 
not only for His friends but for His enemies, not only for the good 
but for sinners. There is no contradiction. Nor is there any emphasis 
on 'friends;' as if to suffer for friends were higher than to suffer for 
strangers or enemies. The order of the Greek words throws the em- 
phasis on ' life :' it is the unique character of the thing sacrificed that 
proves the love. Christ says 'for His friends' because He is addressing 
His friends. 

14. Ye are my friends] ' Ye ' is emphatic : ' and when I say 
"friends," I mean you.' This shews that 'friends' was used simply be- 
cause He was speaking to the Apostles. 

whatsoez'er I command you] Better, the things which I am com- 
manding ^'^m. 

15. Henceforth I call you not servants] Better, No longer do I call 
you servants (comp. xiv. 30 and see on viii. 34). He had implied tliat 
they were servants before (xii. 26, xiii. 13 — 16). Perhaps the gentler 
word 'servant' is better here, although ' bond -servant ' would bring 


vv. i6, 17.] S. JOHN, XV. 291 

not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord 
doeth : but I have called you friends ; for all things that 
I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and or 16 
dained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and 
that your fruit should remain : that whatsoever ye shall ask 
of the Father in my name, he may give it you. These 17 
things I command you, that ye love one another. 

out the contrast more strongly. Where the Apostles and others use it 
of themselves the gentler rendering is certainly to be preferred (Rom. 
i. i; Gal. i. 10; Jas. i. i ; 2 Pet. i. i; &c. &c.). 

what his lord doeth'] To be taken literally. The slave or servant 
may see what his master is doing, but does not know the meaning or 
purpose of it. ' Doeth' need not be made equal to a future. 

/ have called yoii friends] Or, you have I called fi'iends ; ' you ' is 
emphatic. He who wills to do His will as a servant, shall know of the 
doctrine as a friend (vii. 17). 

I have made known unto you] As they were able to bear it (xvi. 12). 
After Pentecost they would be able to bear much more. Both verbs are 
aorists; — I heard — I made known : comp. vv. 9 and 12. 

16. Ye have not, &c.] Better, Ye chose Me not, but I chose you r 
' Ye ' and ' I ' are emphatic ; there is no emphasis on ' Me.' The refer- 
ence is to their election to be Apostles, as the very word used seems to 
imply (comp. vi. 70, xiii. 18; Acts i. 2); therefore the aorist as re- 
ferring to a definite act in the past should be preserved in translation. 

ordained yoti] Better, appointed y^w (as 2 Tim. i. 1 1 and Heb. i. 2), 
in order to avoid an unreal connexion with ordination in the ecclesias- 
tical sense. The same word used in the same sense as here is rendered 
' set ' in Acts xiii. 47 and i Cor. xii. 28, ' ordained ' i Tim. ii. 7, and 
'made ' Acts xx. 28. 

go and bring forth fruit] ' Go ' must not be insisted on too strongly 
as if it referred to the missionary journeys of the Apostles. On the 
other hand it is more than a mere auxiliary or expletive : it implies the 
active carrying out of the idea expressed by the verb with which it is 
coupled (comp. Luke x. 37; Mat. xiii. 44, xviii. 15, xix. 21), and per- 
haps also separation from their Master (Matt. xx. 4, 7). The mission- 
ary work of gathering in souls is not specially indicated here: the 
' fruit ' is rather the holiness of their own lives and good works of all 
kinds. ' Bring forth ' should be hear as in z/. 5. 

should remain] Better, should z^ida (see on v. 9). Comp. iv. 36. 

whatsoever ye shall ask] See on v. 7 and xiv. 13. 

he may give it] The Greek may also mean '/may give it' (comp. 
xiv. 13), the first and third persons being alike in this tense; and several 
ancient commentators take it as the first. 

17. These things I command you, &.C.] M.OTie\i\.erdi\\y, These things! 
am commanding you, in order that ye may love one another. ' These 
things ' does not refer to ' that ye love one another,' but to what has 

1 9 — 2 

ign. S. JOHN, XV. \vv. 18—20. 

18 — 25. TAe Hatred of the World to both Him and them. 

x8 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before // 

19 hated you. If ye were of the world, the world Avould love 
his own : but because ye are not of the world, but I have 
chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 

20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not 
greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will 

already been said about being one with Him and with each other. 
Comp. V. II, xiv. 25, xvi. 25, 33. 

18 — 25. The Hatred of the World to both Him and them. 

In strong contrast to the love and union between Christ and His 
disciples and among the disciples themselves is the hatred of the world 
to Him and them. He gives them these thoughts to console them in 
encountering this hatred of the world, (i) It hated Him first : in this 
trial also He has shewn them the way. (2) The hatred of the world 
proves that they are not of the world. (3) They are sharing their 
Master's lot, whether the world rejects or accepts their preaching. 
(4) They will suffer this hatred not only with Him, but for His sake. 
All this tends to shew that the very hatred of the world intensifies their 
union with Him. 

18. ye know that it hated me] Better, know that it hath hated me 
(comp. V. 20). As in xiv. i the principal verb may be either indicative 
or imperative, and the imperative is preferable : the second verb is the 
perfect indicative, of that which has been and still is the case. 

before it hated you] ' It hated ' is an insertion by our translators, 
and ' before you ' is literally ' first of you,' like ' before me ' in i. 15 (see 
note there) and 30 ; excepting that here we have the adverb and there 
the adjective. 

19. the world would love his own] In vii. 7 He told His brethren, 
who did not believe on Him, that the world could not hate them. This 
shews why : in their unbelief it still found something of its own (comp. 
I John iv. 5). ' His own,' or Its 07un, is neuter singular not masculine 
plural. The selfishness of the world's love is thus indicated : it loves 
not so much them, as that in them which is to its own advantage ; and 
hence the lower word for ' love ' is used (phileiti), not the higlier one 
(agapdn) as in v. 17. It is mere natural liking. Note the solemn repe- 
tition of ' world ' in this verse. For the construction comp. v. 46, viii. 
19, 42, ix. 41, xviii. 36 and contrast iv. 10, xi. 21, xiv. 28. 

/ have chosen] I chose : see on v. 16. 

therefore the world hateth you] Or, for this cause (see on viii. 47 and 
xii. 39) &c. Comp. i John iii. 13. 

20. Remember] See note on xiii. 16: of the passages noticed there 
Malt. X. 24 is similar in meaning to this. Christ may here be alluding to 
the occasion recorded in Matt. x. 24. On the blcssednc.^.s of sliaring the 
lot of Christ comp. i Pet. iv. 12, 13. 

w. 21—24] S. JOHN, XV. 293 

also persecute you ; if they have kept my saying, they will 
keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you 21 
for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. 
If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not 22 
had sin : but now they have no cloke for their sin. He 23 
that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done 24 
among them the works which none other man did, they had 

if they have kept my saying, they will keep] Better, If they kept 
(comp. xiii. 14, xviii. 23) My word, they will keep. 'Keep' must not 
be exchanged for 'watch, lay wait for,' in a hostile sense; as if both 
halves of the verse were alike instead of being opposed. The phrase 
'keep the word (or words)' of any one is frequent in this Gospel (viii. 
5I' 5^) 55. xiv. 23, 24, xvii. 6); always in the sense of the parallel 
phrase 'keep my commandments' (xiv. 15, 21, xv. 10). Both phrases 
form a link not only between the Gospel and the First Epistle (ii. 3, 
4, 5, iii. 22, 24, v. 2, 3), but also between these two and the Apocalypse 
(iii. 8, 10, xii. 17, xiv. 12, xxii. 7, 9). Comp. John ix. 16; Rev. i. 3, 
ii. 26, iii. 3. (See on xi. 44, xix. 37, xx. 16). All these passages 
shew that it is impossible to take 'keep' in a hostile sense. The phrase 
' to keep the word' of any one occurs in S. John's writings only. ' To 
keep the commandments (or commandment)' occurs elsewhere only 
Matt. xix. 17 (comp. xxviii. 20) and i Tim. vi. 14. The meaning 
of the verse as a whole is that both in failure and in success they will 
share His lot. For the construction comp. xiii. 14, xviii. 23. 

21. for my name's sake] This thought is to turn their suffering into 
joy. Comp. Acts v. 41, xxi. 13; 2 Cor. xii. 10; Gal. vi. 14; Phil. ii. 

17, 18; I Pet. iv. 14. 

they know not him that sent me] Comp. vii. 28, xvi. 3, xvii. 25. They 
not merely did not know that God had sent Jesus ; they did not know 
God Himself, for their idea of Him was radically wrong. 

22. If I had not come and spoken unto them] He had spoken as 
man had never spoken before (vii. 46), and His words sufficed to tell 
unprejudiced minds Who He was. Their hatred was a sin against 
light; if there had been no light, there would have been no sin. 
'To have sin' is a phrase peculiar to S. John {v. 24, ix. 41, xix. 11 ; 
I John i. 8). 

no cloke] Better (with the margin), no excuse : not only have they 
sin, but they have sin without excuse. The same word is rendered 
' cloke,' I Thess. ii. 5. But the notion is not that of hiding, but of ex- 
cusing what cannot be hid : 'colour ' (Acts xxvii. 30) is a better render- 
ing than ' cloke.' Comp. Ps. cxl. 4. 
for their sifi\ Literally, concerniiig their sin : comp. xvi. 8. 

23. hateth my Father also] Comp. v. 23, xiv. 9. 

24. the works] If they did not see that His words were Divine 
they might at least have seen that His works were such. Comp. x. 
38, xiv. II, V. 36. Here again their sin was against light; for they 
admitted the works (xi. 47). 

294 S. JOHN, XV. [vv. 25, 26. 

not had sin : but now have they both seen and hated both 

25 me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word 
might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated 

26 me without a cause. But when the Comforter is come, 
whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit 
of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify 

which none other man did'\ Comp. ix. 32. Father'\ Comp. xiv. 9, 10. 

26. in their law] ' Law ' is used in the wide sense for the O. T. 
generally. Comp. x. 34, xii. 34, xv. 25 ; Rom. iii. 19. 

without a cause] The passage may be from either Ps. Ixix. 4 or 
XXXV. 19: there are similar passages cix. 3 and cxix. 161. 'Without a 
cause,' gratuitously ; so that here again they are without excuse. 

26. the Comfo7-ter'\ Better, the Advocate (see on xiv. 16). 

whom I will sold] ' I ' is emphatic. Here it is the Son Who sends 
the Paraclete from the Father. In xiv. 16 the Father sends in answer 
to the Son's prayer. In xiv. 26 the Father sends in the Son's name. 
These are three ways of expressing that the mission of the Paraclete 
is the act both of the Father and of the .Son, Who are one. 

from the Father'] See note on ' from God ' i. 6 : the preposition and 
case are here the same ; irapa with the genitive. 

the Spirit of truth] See on xiv. 17. 

which proceedeth from the Father] It seems best to take this much 
discussed clause as simply yet another way of expressing the fact of the 
mission of the Paraclete. If the Par.iclete is sent by the Son from the 
Father, and by the Father in the Son's name and at the Son's request, 
then the Paraclete 'proceedeth from the Father.' If this be correct, 
then this statement refers to the office and not to the Person of the Holy 
Spirit, and has no bearing either way on the great question between the 
Eastern and Western Churches, the Filioque added in the West to the 
Nicene Creed. The word used here for ' proceed ' is the same as that 
used in the Creed of Nicea, and the Easterns quote these words of 
Christ Himself as being against not merely the insertion of the clause 
' and the Son ' into the Creed (which all admit to have been made ir- 
regularly), but against the truth of the statement that the Spirit, not 
only in His temporal mission, but in His Person, from all eternity pro- 
ceeds from both the Father and the Son. On the whole question see 
Pearson (9« the Creed, Art. viii.; Reunion Conference at Bonn, 1875, 
pp. 9 — 85, Rivingtons; Pusey On the Clause ^^ and the Son," a Letter 
to Dr Liddon, Parker, 1876. The word rendered 'proceedeth' occurs 
in this Gospel only here and v. 29, but is frequent in the other Gospels 
and in Revelation (Matt. iii. 5, iv. 4, xv. 11, 18; Mark vii. 15, 18, 20, 
21, 23; Luke iv. 22, 37; Rev. i. 16, iv. 5, &c.), and there seems to be 
nothing in the word itself to limit it to the Eternal Procession. On the 
other hand the preposition used here (para ~ ' from the side of ') is 
strongly in favour of the reference being to the mission. Comp. xvi. 27, 
xvji. 8, 

w. 27; I.] S. JOHN, XV. XVI. 295 

of me : and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been 27 
with me from the beginning. 

Chap. XVI. 
The Promise of the Paraclete and of Christ's Return. 
I — II. The World and the Paraclete. 
These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not 16 

he shall testify ofmel Better, He shall Toe^T witness. It is the same 
word as is used in the next verse and is one of the words characteristic 
of this Gospel (see on i. 7). ' He ' is emphatic, in opposition to the 
world which hates and rejects Christ. Christ has the witness of the 
Spirit of truth, which has the authority of the Father : it is impossible 
to have higher testimony than this. 

27. And ye also shall bear ■witness'\ Better, Nay, ye also beax wit- 
ness : the verb is present, not future. It is also possible to take the verb 
as an imperative (comp. v. \% and xiv. i), but the conjunctions used 
are against this. The testimony of the disciples is partly one and the 
same with the testimony of the Spirit, partly not. It is partly the same, 
so far as it depends on the illumination of the Spirit, who was to bring 
all things to their remembrance and lead them into all truth. This 
would not be true in its fulness until Pentecost. It is partly not the 
same, so far as it depends upon the Apostles' own personal experience 
of Christ and His work. This is the case at once ; the experience is 
already there ; and hence the present tense. Comp. Acts v. 32, where 
the Apostles clearly set forth the twofold nature of their testimony, and 
Acts XV. -28, where there is a parallel distinction of the two factors. 

have been with me\ Literally, are with Me ; i. e. have been and 
still are. 

from the beginning] As usual the context decides the meaning of 
'beginning' (see on i. i). Here plainly the meaning is from the be- 
ginning of Christ's ministry. They could bear witness as to what they 
themselves had seen and heard. Comp. Acts i. 22 ; Luke i. 2. 

Chap. XVI. 
We are still in the first part of the second main division of the 

COURSES (xiii. — xvii. ). We now enter upon the third division of this 
first part (see introductory note to chap. xiii. ). 

The Promise of the Paraclete and of Christ's Return. 

As has been remarked already, the subjects are not kept distinct ; 
they cross and interlace, like the strands in a rope. But the following 
divisions may conduce to clearness; i. The World and the Paraclete 
(i — 11); 2. The Disciples and the Paraclete (12 — 15); The Sorrow of 
Christ's Departure turned into Joy by His Return (16 — 24); 4. Sum- 
mary and Conclusion of the Discourses (25 — 33). 

296 S. JOHN, XVI. [vv. 2—4. 

3 be ofifended. They shall put you out of the synagogues : 
yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think 

3 that he doeth God service. And these things will they do 
unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. 

4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall 
come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And 
these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because 

1 — 11. The World and the Paraclete. 

1. These ihings\ These discourses generally, especially the last 
section about the world's hatred of Him and them (xv. 18 — 27). 

should not be offended'^ Literally, should not be made to stumble: 
comp. vi. 61 ; i John ii. 10. The metaphor is frequent in S. Matt, and 
S. Mark, occurs thrice in S. Luke (vii. 23, xvii. i, 2), and twice in 
S. John. The fanatical hatred of the Jews might make Jewish Apostles 
stumble at the truth. 

2. out of the synagogues'] Or, out of the ssTiagogue, i. e. excommu- 
nicate you. Comp. ix. 22 ; xii. 42. 

yea, the time cometh] Better, nay, there cometli an hour. Comp. 
7'. 25. 'You might think excommunication an extreme measure; but 
(aXXa) they will go far greater lengths than this.' 

that whosoever] Literally, in order that every one who. The Divine 
purpose is again clearly indicated (see on xii. 23). Every one, Jew and 
Gentile alike, will put down the Christians as blasphemers and atheists 
and the perpetrators of every crime. The history of religious persecu- 
tion is the fulfilment of this prophecy. 

doeth God service] Better, offereth service to God. The verb ex- 
presses the offering of sacrifice (comp. Heb. v. i, viii. 3, ix. 7); the 
substantive expresses a religious service (Rom. ix. 4; Heb. ix. 1. 6). 

3. unto you] These words are of doubtful authority. 

they have not known] Better, they did not recognise. The verb im- 
plies that they had the opportunity of knowing ; but they had failed to 
see that God is Love, and that Jesus came not to shut out, but to bring 
in, not to destroy, but to save. The very names ' Father ' (here used 
with special point) and ' Jesus ' might have taught them better things. 

4. But] Making a fresh start ; But, to return (to v. i). 
have ft old] See on z'. 6. 

when the time] Rather, ivhen their hour, according to the better 
reading; i. e. the hour appointed for these things (v. 2). 

ye may of them] Better, ye may remember them, that I told you. 

' I' is emphatic, 'I Myself, the object of your faith.' 

And these things beginning] Better, But these things /told you 

not from the beginning. Not exactly the same phrase as in xv. 27 (dw' 
^PX^s), I'nt ii o-PXV^ (here and vi. 64 only) : the one expresses simple 
departure, the other consequence and continuity. There is no inconsis- 
tency between this statement and passages like Matt. x. 16 — 39, xxiv. 9; 
Luke vi. 22, &c. 'These things ' will cover a great deal more than the 

w. 5—8.] S. JOHN, XVI. 297 

I was with you. But now I go my way to him that sent s 
me ; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou ? 
But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath 6 
filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth ; It is 7 
expedient for you that I go away : for if I go not away, 
the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, 
I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he 8 

prediction of persecutions, e. g. the explanation of the persecutions, the 
promise of the Paraclete, &c. 

because I was with yoti\ See notes on Matt. ix. 15. 

5. I go my way to] C3r, /go away unto ; the notion is that of with- 
drawal (see on v. 7). Hitherto He has been with them to protect them 
and to be the main object of attack : soon they will have to bear the 
brunt without Him. This is all that they feel at present, — how His de- 
parture affects themselves, not how it affects Him. And yet this latter 
point is all important even as regards themselves, for He is going in 
order to send the Paraclete. 

none of you asketh] As far as words go S. Peter had asked this 
very question (xiii. 56) and S. Thomas had suggested it (xiv. 5); but 
altogether in a different spirit from what is meant here. They were 
looking only at their own loss instead of at His gain. 

6. / have said] Better, / have spoken as in z/. i. A similar cor- 
rection is needed in v. 4 for ' have I told :' it is the same Greek word in 
all three cases, and means 'to speak,' not ' to say ' or ' to tell.' 

sorrow hath filled] So that there is no room for thoughts of My glory 
and your future consolation. 

7. / tell you the truth] 'I' is again emphatic; 'I who know, and 
who have never misled you.' Comp. xiv. 2. 

It is expedietit] So Caiaphas had said (xi. 50) with more truth than 
he knew; so also the taunt at the crucifixion, 'Himself He cannot save.' 
' That ' here = ' in order that ' (S. John's favourite particle, ha). Comp. 
V. 1 and xii. 43. 

/ go away] There are three different Greek verbs in vv. 5, 7, and 
10, and our translators have not been happy in distinguishing them. 
The verb in vv. 5 and 10 should be I go away: here for ' I go away' 
we should have I depart, and for ' I depart ' we should have I go My 
way. In the first the primary idea is withdrawal ; in the second, sepa- 
ration ; in the third, going on to a goal. 

the Comfin-ter] The Advocate (see on xiv. 16). The Spirit could not 
come until God and man had been made once more at one. In virtue 
of His glorified and ascended Manhood Christ sends the Paraclete. 
' Humanity was to ascend to heaven before the Spirit could be sent to 
humanity on earth.' 

8. The threefold office of the Advocate towards those who do not 
believe but may yet be won over. And He when He is come will con- 
vict the world concerning sin, and concerning righteousness, and dQix- 
GQxninQ judgment. 

298 S. JOHN, XVI. [w. 9, 10. 

will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and 

10 of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of 

righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me 

he will reprove] ' Convince ' (as the margin) or convict is to be 
preferred (see on iii. 20). This rendering gives additional point to the 
rendering 'Advocate' for Paraclete. To convince and convict is a large 
part of the duty of an advocate. He must vindicate and prove the 
truth ; and whoever, after such proof, rejects the truth, does so with 
responsibility in proportion to the interests involved. The word occurs 
once in S. Matthew (xviii. 15) and once in S. Luke (iii. 19); but is 
somewhat frequent in the Epistles. Comp. i. Cor. xiv. 24 ; Titus i. 9, 
13, ii. 15; James ii. 9; Jude 15, [22], &c. 

The conviction wrought by the Advocate may bring either salvation 
or condemnation, but it must bring one of the two. It is given to men 
'for their wealth ;' but it may 'be unto them an occasion of falling,' if 
it is wantonly set aside. 

9. Of sitt] Or, Concerning sin. This naturally comes first : the 
work of the Spirit begins with convincing man that he is a fallen, sinful 
creature in rebellion against God. 

because they believe not on me] This is the source of sin — unbelief ; 
formerly, unbelief in God, now unbelief in His Ambassador. Not that 
the sin is limited to unbelief, but this is the beginning of it : ' Because ' does 
not explain ' sin,' but 'will convict.' The Spirit, by bringing the fact of 
unbelief home to the hearts of men, shews what the nature of sin is. 

10. righteousness] The word occurs here only in this Gospel ; but 
comp. I John ii. 29, iii. 7, 10; Rev. xix. 11. Righteousness is 
the keeping of the law, and is the natural result of faith ; so much so 
that faith is reckoned as if it were righteousness (Rom. iv. 3 — 9), so cer- 
tain is this result regarded. Here 'righteousness' is used not in the 
lower sense of keeping prescribed ordinances (Matt. iii. 15), but in the 
highest and widest sense of keeping the law of God ; internal as well as 
external obedience. The lower sense was almost the only sense both to 
Jew and Gentile (Matt. v. 20). The Spirit, having convinced man that 
sin is much more than a breaking of certain ordinances, viz. a rejection 
of God and His Christ, goes on to convince him that righteousness is 
much more than a keeping of certain ordinances. 

I go to my Father] Better, / go away (see on v. 7) to the Father ;  
' My' is wanting in the best texts. Once more ' because ' explains ' will 
convict,' not ' righteousness.' The life of Christ on earth as the pattern 
for all mankind being completed, and the reconciliation of man to God 
being completed also, the Spirit makes known to man the nature of that 
life, and thus shews what the nature of righteousness is. Sin being 
resistance to God's will, rigliteousness is perfect harmony with it. 

ye see me no more] ' Contemplate ' or behold would be better than 
'see' (comp. v. 16, vi. 40, 62, vii. 3, xiv. 19, &c.). He shews His 
disciples that He has sympathy for them ; in speaking of His return to 
glory He does not forget the sorrow which they feel and expect (erro- 
neously, as Acts ii. 46 shews) always to feel. 


vv. II— 13.] S. JOHN, XVI. 299 

no more ; of judgment, because the prince of this world is u 

12 — 15. The Disciples and the Paraclete. 

I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot 12 
bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is n 
come, he will guide you into all truth : for he shall not 
speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he 

11. Of judgment .judged\ Better, Concerning judgment, because 

the ruler of this world hatli been judged (see on xii. 3 1 and xiv. 30) . 
As the world has had its own false views about sin and righteousness, 
so also it has had its own false standards of judgment. The Advocate 
convicts the world of its error in this point also. The world might 
think that ' the power of darkness ' conquered at Gethsemane and Cal- 
vary, but the Resurrection and Ascension proved that what looked like 
victory was most signal defeat: instead of conquering he was judged. 
This result is so certain that from the point of view of the Spirit's com- 
ing it is spoken of as already accomplished. 

12 — 15. The Disciples and the Paraclete. 

The Paraclete not only convicts and convinces the world. He also 
enlightens the Apostles respecting Christ and thereby glorifies Him, 
for to make Christ known is to glorify Him. These verses are very 
important as shewing the authority of the Apostles' teaching : it is not 
their own, but the truth of Christ revealed by the Spirit. 

12. many thifigs to say] They are His friends (xv. 15), and there is 
nothing which He wishes to keep back from them; He would give 
them His entire confidence. But it would be useless to tell them what 
they cannot understand ; cruel to impart knowledge which would only 
crush them. ' Now ' is emphatic (see on z/. 31) : at Pentecost they will 
receive both understanding and strength. The word here used for 
'bear ' appears again in xix. 17 of Christ bearing the Cross. 

13. the Spirit of truth'] See on xiv. 17. 

he will guide you] ' He and no other will be your guide. ' Christ is 
the Way and the Truth. The Spirit leads men into the Way and thus 
to the Truth. But He does no more than guide : He does not compel. 
He does not carry. They may refuse to follow, and if they follow they 
must exert themselves. Contrast Matt. xv. 14; Luke vi. 39; Acts 
viii. 31. 

i7ito all truth] Better, into all the truth, i. e. the truth in its entirety : 
this is very clearly expressed in the Greek. 

he shall not speak of himself] This does not mean ' shall not speak 
about Himself but ''from Himself.' The Spirit, like the Son, cannot 
speak what proceeds from Himself as distinct from what proceeds from 
the Father: He is the Source of Divine energy and truth. Comp. v. 19 
and vii. 18. This expression 'from himself, from itself (ajr6) is peculiar 
to S. John-: comp. xi. 51, xv. 4. 

300 S. JOHN, XVI. [w. 14—16. 

14 speak : and he will shew you things to come. He shall 
glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it 

15 unto you. All i/migs that the Father hath are mine: there- 
fore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew // 
unto you. 

16 — 24. The sorrow of Christ's departure turned into joy 

by His return. 

16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a 
little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. 

he will shew you things to come'] Better, He shall declare to you 
tlie things that are coining. The Greek verb means 'to announce, 
proclaim, declare' rather than 'shew.' Note the thrice repeated 'He 
shall declare to you.' The phrase ' the things that are coming ' is iden- 
tical in form with 'He that cometh' (Luke vii. 19) : among these things 
we may place the constitution of the Church and the revelation re- 
specting the Last Judgment and its results. 

14. He shall glorify me] Both pronouns are emphatic ; ' Me shall 
that Spirit of truth glorify.' Just as the Son glorifies the Father by 
revealing Him (i. 18; xvii. 4) both in word and work, so does the Spirit 
glorify the Son by revealing Him. In both cases to reveal is necessarily 
to glorify : the more the Truth is known, the more it is loved and 

for he shall receive unto you] Better, because He shall take of 

Mine and shall declare it to you. The verb rendered ' receive ' is the 
same as that rendered ' take' in v. 15, and 'take' is better, as implying 
that the recipient is not wholly passive {lambanein, not dechesthai). 
Comp. X. 17, xii. 48, xx. 22. 

15. All things] Literally, All things whatsoever : comp. xvii. lo. 
therefore said I] For this cause (xii. 18, 27) said I: see on v. 16, 18. 
shall take"] Better, taketh : the Spirit is already revealing the Truth 

which is both of the Father and of the Son. 

16 — 24. The sorrow of Christ's departure turned into joy 

BY His return. 

16. ye shall not see me] Better, ^v behold Me no more (comp. v. 10) : 
the verb for 'see' in the second half of the verse is a more general 
term. When His bodily presence was withdrawn their view of Him was 
enlarged ; no longer known after the flesh. He is seen and known by 

ye shall see me] In the spiritual revelation of Christ by the Para- 
clete from Pentecost onwards: Matt, xxviii. 20. 

because I go to the Father] I'hese words have probably been in- 
serted to suit the next verse ; the best MSS. omit theni. 

vv. T7— 20.] S. JOHN, XVI. 3ot 

Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What 17 
is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not 
see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and. 
Because I go to the Father? They said therefore, What is 18 
this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he 
saith. Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, 19 
and said unto them. Do ye inquire among yourselves of that 
I said, A Httle while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a 
little while, and ye shall see me? Verily, verily, I say unto 20 
you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall 
rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be 

17. Then disciples] Better, Some of His disciples therefore 


among themselves'] Better, as in iv. 33, one to another ; so also in 
xix. 24. The Greek for 'among themselves ' (xii. 19) is different. 

ye shall not see] Ye behold Me not. As in the previous verse we 
have two different verbs for ' see. ' 

and. Because I go] They refer to what was said in v. 10. The 
Apostles are perplexed both about the apparent contradiction of not 
beholding and yet seeing and also the departure to the Father. 'Be- 
cause' (6rt) should probably be 'that,' to introduce the saying 'I go 
to the Father.' As already indicated, the reason, ^because I go, &c.' in 
V. 16 is not genuine. 

18. we cannot tell what he saith] More literally, we know not what 
He speaketh. 

19. Now yesus hiexu] More literally, yestis 7'ecognised or perceived 
(see on viii. 55). We have here an indication that His supernatural 
power of reading the thoughts did not supersede His natural powers of 
observation, and perhaps was not used when the latter were sufficient : 
comp. v. 6, vi. 15. A different verb is used for His supernatural know- 
ledge (vi. 61, 64, xiii. I, 3, ri, 18, xviii. 4, xix. 28). But this distinc- 
tion between ginoskein and eidenai is not always observed : comp. ii. 
24, 25, where ginoskein is used of supernatural knowledge. Omit 
'now ' at the beginning of the verse. 

among yourselves] Or, with one another. This is a third expression, 
differing from 'among yourselves' (xii. 19) and from ' one to another 
(iv- 33). See on z/. 17. The whole should run. Concerning this do ye 
enquire with one another, that I said. 

ye shall not see me] As in vv. 16, 17, ye behold Me not. 

20. ye shall weep and lament] In the Greek ' ye ' comes last in em- 
phatic contrast to the world. The verbs express the outward manifesta- 
tion of grief. Comp. xx. 11; Luke xxiii. 27. The world rejoiced 
at being rid of One whose life was a reproach to it and whose teaching 
condemned it. 

and ye shall be sorrowful] Here we have the feeling as distinct from 
the manifestation of grief. Omit 'and.' 

302 S. JOHN, XVI. [w. 21—24, 

21 turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath 
sorrow, because her hour is come : but as soon as she is 
delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, 

2-' for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now 
therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your 
heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. 

23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, 
I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in 

24 my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked 

sorrow shall be turned into joy] Not merely sorrow shall be succeeded 
by joy, but shall become joy. The withdrawal of the bodily presence 
of Christ shall be first a sorrow and then a joy. We have the same 
Greek construction of the rejected stone becoming the head of the corner 
(Matt. xxi. 42; Acts iv. 11), of the mustard sprout becoming a tree 
(Luke xiii. 19), of the first man Adam becoming a living soul (i Cor. 
XV. 45). 

21. A womaTt] Or, The woman, like 'the servant' (xv. 15) : in each 
case the article is generic, expressing the general law. The figure is 
frequent in O. T.; Isai. Ixvi. 7; Hos. xiii. 13; Mic. iv. 9. See on 
Mark xiii. 8. 

for joy\ Better, for tliBjoy, the joy peculiar to the case. 
a man] A human being, one of the noblest of God's creatures.^ 

22. And ye now therefore] Or, Yc also therefore now. As in the 
case of childbirth, the suffering of the disciples was the necessary condi- 
tion of the joy. This suffering was to repeat itself in a new form in the 
work of converting souls (Gal. iv. 19). 

/ will see you] In vv. 16, 1 7, 19 we had ' ye shall see Me :' here we 
have the other side of the same truth ; and the same verb for ' see ' is 
used iu all four cases. In Gal. iv. 9 we have both sides of the truth 
stated (see on i Cor. viii. 3). 

no man taketh] Or, according to some good authorities, no one shall 
take. Their sorrow shall depart, their joy shall remain. 

23. in that day] Not the forty days of His bodily presence between 
the Resurrection and the Ascension, but the many days of His spiritual 
presence from Pentecost onwards. Comp. v. •26 and xiv. 20. 

ye shall ask me nothing] The Greek is as ambiguous as the English. 
It is the same verb {erStdn) as is used in v. 19, and may mean either, as 
there, 'ask no question,' or, ' make no petition ' (see on xiv. 16). The 
former is better. When they are illuminated by the Spirit there will be 
no room for such questions as ' What is this little while? How can we 
know the way? Whither goest Thou? How is it that Thou wilt 
manifest Thyself unto us and not unto the world?' His going to the 
Father will gain for them (i) perfect knowledge. 

Verily, verily] See on i. 51. 

Whatsoever .give it you] The better reading gives, It ye shall ask 

anything of the Father, He will give it you In My name. The word 

vv. 25, 26.] S. JOHN, XVI. 303 

nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy 
may be full. 

25 — 33. Summary and conclusion of these discourses. 

These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: 2$ 
but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto 
you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the 
Father. At that day ye shall ask in my name : and I say not 26 

for ' ask ' here and in the next verse is aitein not erStdn. Note that the 
answer as well as the prayer (xiv. 13, xv. 16) is in Christ's name, and all 
such prayers will be answered. His return to the Father will gain for 
them (2) perfect response to prayer. 

24. nothing in my name] Because Jesus was not yet glorified, was 
not yet fully known to the Apostles. 

ask] The full meaning of the Greek is go on asking; it is the present 
not aorist imperative. Comp. v. 14, [viii. 11,] xx. 17, and contrast 
Matt. vii. 7 with Mark vi. 22. 

may be full'] Or, 7?iay be fulfilled, so as to be complete and remain so. 
His return to the Father will gain for them (3) perfect joy. See on xv. 
II and comp. xvii. 13; i John i. 4; 2 John 12. 

25 — 33. Summary and conclusion of these discourses. 

25. These things'] As in v. 1 there is some uncertainty as to how 
much is included. Some refer 'these things' to v. 19—24; others to 
XV. I — xvi. 24. Perhaps even the latter is too narrow a limit. The 
words can apply to all Christ's teaching, of which there was much which 
the multitudes were not allowed (Matt. xiii. 11) and the Apostles were 
not able (ii. 22) to understand at the time. 

in proverbs] Better, ift allegories (see on x. 6). 

but the time cometh] Better, there cometh an hour (iv. 21, 23, v. 25, 
xvi. 2, 32). Omit 'but' with the best authorities. 

shew] Or, declare, as in vv. 13, 14, 15. The best MSS. give a 
different compound of the same verb as is used in vv. 13, 14, 15, but 
the difference cannot well be marked in English. 

plainly] Frankly, without reserve (see on vii. 4 and comp. vii. 13, 
26, X. 24, xi. 14, 54, xviii. 20). 

26. At that day] As in v. 23 and xiv. 20 from Pentecost onwards. 
ye shall ask in my name] With the perfect knowledge just promised 

they will discern What may be asked in His name (see on xiv. 13): 
' cognitio parit orationetn.' 

I say not unto you] This does not mean 'I need not say unto you; 
for of course I shall do so;' which does not harmonize with v. 27. The 
meaning rather is, that so long as through the power of the Advocate 
they have direct communion with the Father in Christ's name, there is 
no need to speak of Christ's intercession. But this communion may be 
interrupted by sin, and then Christ becomes their Advocate (i John ii. 
i; Rom. viii. 34). 

304 S. JOHN. XVI. [vv. 27—30. 

27 unto you, that I will pray the Father for you : for the Father 
himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have 

28 believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the 
Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the 
world, and go to the Father. 

29 His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou 

30 plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that 

that I will pray] The pronoun is emphatic. On the word here ren- 
dered 'pray' (erotdn) see on xiv. 16. 
for you] More literally, concertiing you. 

27. himself] Without My intercession. 

loveth you] On the ditiference between the two Greek verbs for 'love' 
see on xi. 5. It is the more emotional word that is used here in both 
cases. At first sight it appears the less appropriate to express God's 
love for the disciples : but the point is that it is a Father's love, it flows 
spontaneously from a tiatural relationship as distinct from discriminating 

because ye have loved vie] Both pronouns are emphatic and are next 
one another in the Greek, pointing to the closeness of the relationship ; 
because ye Ale have loved. Note the 'because ;' it is their love for Christ 
which wins the Father's love (xiv. 21, 23). 

have loved have believed] Both perfects signify what has been 

and still continues. No argument can be drawn from the order of the 
verbs as to love preceding faith: 'have loved' naturally comes first on 
account of ' loveth ' immediately preceding. ' Love begets love ' is true 
both between man and man and between God and man. 'Faith begets 
faith ' cannot have any meaning between God and man. 

from God] The better reading is, from the Father (see on i. 6, xv. 
26). It was specially because they recognised Him as the Son sent 
from the Father, and not merely as a Prophet sent from God (i. 6), that 
they won the Father's love. 

28. I came forth fom] Our translators are again right in marking a 
difference but not quite right in their way of doing so (see on v. 7). 
The Greek rendered 'I coAtie forth from' here ditiers in the preposition 
used {ek) from that rendered 'I came out from' in z/. 27 {para). It 
would be better to transpose the translations. In z/. 27 it is the temporal 
mission of Christ from the Father that is meant (comp. xvii. 8) ; in v. 
28 the Eternal Generation of the Son is also included (comp. viii. 42). 
The verse would almost form a creed. The Son, of one Substance with 
the Father, was born into the world, suffered, and returned to the 

29. said] Rather, say. 

plainly] Literally, in plainness ox openness. As in vii. 4, the word 
here has a preposition (see on vii. 26). 

30. are we sure] Better, we know ; it is the same verb as ' thou 
knowest,' and the capricious change of rendering is regrettable. There 
is a similarly capricious change 2 Cor. xii. 2, 3. Christ had spoken in 

vv. 31, 32.] S. JOHN, XVI. 305 

thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man 
should ask thee : by this we believe that thou earnest forth 
from God. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? 31 
Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be 33 
scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone : 
and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. 

the future tense [v. 23); they emphatically speak in the present ; ''iimv 
we know.' They feel that His gracious promise is already being ful- 

thou knowest all things'] He had shewn them that He had read their 
hearts {v. 19); like the Samaritan woman (iv. 29, 39) they conclude that 
He knows all. 

by this] Or, Herein (see on iv. 37); literally 'in this.' His all-em- 
bracing knowledge is that in which their faith has root. 

we believe thai] The Greek might mean, 'we believe, because, &c.' 
But the A. V. is more in accordance with the context and with S. John's 

forth from God] They refer to Christ's mission only {v. 27), not to 
the Eternal Generation of the Son [v. 28). 

31. Do ye now believe?] The words are only half a question {comp. 
XX. 29). The belief of which they are conscious is no illusion, but it 
is not yet as perfect as they in their momentary enthusiasm suppose. 
'Now' means 'at this stage of your course;' it is not the word used 
by the Apostles (vv. 29, 30), but another of which S. John makes much 
use. The one {mtn) regards the present moment only, 'now' abso- 
lutely ; the other {arti) regards the present in relation to the past and 
future, 'at this crisis.' Comp. v. 12, xiii. 7, 19, 33, 37, &c. 

32. the hour cometh] Better (as in v. 25), there cometh an hour. 
yea, is now come] Omit 'now;' the expression is not the same as 

iv. 23. 

that ye shall be scattered] Rather, that ye msbj be scattered. 'That' = 
'in order that,' expressing the Divine purpose (comp. v. 2). This part 
of the allegory of the sheep-fold is to be illustrated even in the shepherds 
themselves (x. 12). 

to his own] 'To his own home,' as the margin has it here and the 
text of xix. 27; or more generally 'to his own property and pursuits,' 
his belongings and surroundings. Comp. i. 11. The Greek in all 
three passages is the same, 'his own' being neuter plural. 

shall leave] Rather, may leave, depending upon ' in order that.' 

and yet] The 'yet' is not expressed in the Greek, but implied, as 
often in S. John, in the collocation of the sentences. Comp. i. 10, rr, 
iii. 19, 32, vi. 70, vii. 4, 26, viii. 20, ix. 30. Our translators have 
as a rule wisely omitted the 'yet,' leaving S. John's simple constructions 
to tell their own meaning. Here the 'yet' is almost necessary. 

the Father is with me] The Divine background (as it seems to us) of 
Christ's life was to Him a Presence of which He was always conscious 
(viii. 29), with the awfiil exception in Matt, xxvii. 46. 


3o6 S. JOHN, XVI. [v. 33. 

33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might 
have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation : but be 
of good cheer; I have overcome the world. 

33. These things] These farewell discourses. 

might have peace] Better, may have peace. Christ's ministry ends, 
as His life began, with a message of peace (Luke ii. 14). 

ye shall have] Rather, ye have ; the tribulation has already begun. 

I have overcome] The pronoun is very emphatic. At the very moment 
when He is face to face with treachery, and disgrace, and death, Christ 
triumphantly claims the victory. Comp. i John ii. 13, 14, v. 4. In 
His victory His followers conquer also. 

Chap. XVH. The Prayer of the Great High Priest. 

"The prayer which follows the last discourse as its fit crown and 
conclusion has been designated by an old tradition the Prayer of the 
High Priest, now about to take upon Him His office, and to offer 
atonement for the sins of the people." S. p. 235. It is unique in the 
Gospels. The other Evangelists, especially S. Luke, mention the 
fact of Christ praying (Matt. xiv. 23; Mark i. 35; Luke iii. 21, v. 16, 
vi. 12, ix. 18, &c.), and give some words of His prayer at Gethsemane; 
but here the substance of a long act of devotion is preserved. S. John 
never mentions the fact of Christ praying, but in xii. 27 he perhaps 
gives us a few words of prayer, and in xi. 41 a thanksgiving which im- 
plies previous prayer. There is an approach to the first portion of this 
prayer in the thanksgiving in Matt. xi. 25, 26. 

This Oratio Summi Sacerdotis falls naturally into three portions; 
1. for Hitnself {1 — i); 2. for the disciples (6 — 19); 3. for the %v]iole Church 
(20 — 26), the last two verses forming a summary, in which the relations 
of Christ to the Father and to His own, and of His own to both Father 
and Son are gathered up. 

The prayer was spoken aloud {v. i), and thus was not only a prayer, 
but a source of comfort to those who heard it {v. 13), and by its preser- 
vation a means of faith and life to all (xx. 31). No doubt it was spoken 
in Aramaic, and we have here also, as in the discourses, no means of 
determining how far the Greek version preserves the very words, how 
far only the substance of what was spoken. We must take it reverently 
as it has been given to us, and we shall find abundant reason for be- 
lieving that on the one hand it quite transcends even the beloved dis- 
ciple's powers of invention; on the other that there is notliing in it to 
make us doubt that this report of it is from his pen. "It is urged that 
the triumphant elevation of this prayer is inconsistent with the Synoptic 
account of the Agony. But the liability to fluctuations of feeling and 
emotion is inherent in humanity, and was assumed wiili His manhood 
by Him Who was perfect man." S. p. 238. "All human experience 
bears witness in common life to the naturalness of abrupt transitions 
from joy to sadness in the contemplation of a supreme trial. The 
absolute insight and foresight of Christ makes such an alternation even 

w. I, 2.] S. JOHN, XVII. 307 

Chap. XVII. The Prayer of the Great High Priest. 

I — 5. The Prayer for Himself. 

These words spake Jesus, and lift up his eyes to heaven, 17 
and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy 
Son also may glorify thee : as thou hast given him power over a 

more intelligible. He could see, as man cannot do, both the complete- 
ness of His triumph and the suffering through which it was to be 
gained." W. p. 237. The three characteristics of the Gospel, sim- 
plicity, subtlety, and sublimity, reach a climax here. Bengal calls this 
chapter the simplest in language, the profoundest in meaning, in the 
whole Bible. 

The place where these words were spoken is not stated. If the view 
taken above (xiv. 31) is correct, they were spoken in the upper room, 
after the company had risen from supper, in the pause before starting 
for the Mount of Olives (xviii. i). Westcott thinks that "the upper 
chamber was certainly left after xiv, 31," and that as "it is inconceiv- 
able that chap. xvii. should have been spoken anywhere except under 
circumstances suited to its unapproachable solemnity," these would best 
be found in the Temple Courts. Here was the great Golden Vine, to 
suggest the allegory of the Vine (xvi. i — 11), and "nowhere could the 
outlines of the future spiritual Church be more fitly drawn than in the 
sanctuary of the old Church." It is perhaps slightly against this at- 
tractive suggestion, that surroundings so rich in meaning would prob- 
ably have been pointed out by a writer so full of feeling for dramatic 
contrasts and harmonies as the writer of this Divine Epic (comp. iii. 2, 
iv, 6, xiii. 30, xviii. 3, 5, 28, 40, xix. 23—27, 31—42). 

1 — 5. The Prayer for Himself. 

The Son was sent to give to men eternal life, which consists in the 
knowledge of God. This work the Son has completed to the glory of 
the Father, and therefore prays to be glorified by the Father. 

1. Thesewords'] More exactly, these tilings, as in xvi. i, 4, 6, 25, 33. 

lifted up his eyes] in calm confidence and in the assurance of victory 
(xvi. 33). The attitude is in marked contrast to His falling on His 
face in the garden (Matt. xxvi. 39). ' To heaven ' does not prove that 
He was in the open air: comp. Acts. vii. 55; Luke xviii. 13, 

Father] This is His claim to be heard. Comp. 'Abba, Father' in 
Mark xiv. 36, and see Lightfoot on Gal. iv. 6. 

the hour] See on ii. 4 and xii. 27. S. John loves to mark each 
great crisis in Christ's life ; this is the last. 

glorify thy Son] By His return to glory (z/. 5) through suffering and 
death. Comp. Phil. ii. 9 — 11. 

that thy Son also may glorify] By making known the glory of God, 
through the Son. To make God known is to glorify Him, 'Also' 
must be omitted, and for ' Thy Son ' we ought perhaps to read ' the 

20 — 2 

3o8 S. JOHN, XVII. [vv. 3, 4. 

all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou 

3 hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might 
know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou 

4 hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth : I have finished 

2. As thou hast given him power] Better, Even as Thou gavest 
Him authority. The authority was given once for all, and is the 
reason for the petition in v. i. Comp. v. 27. 

all flesh] A Hebraism not used elsewhere in this Gospel. Comp. 
Matt. xxiv. 22; Luke iii. 6; Acts ii. 17; Rom. iii. 20, &c. Fallen man, 
man in his frailty, is specially meant; but the Second Adam has do- 
minion also over ' all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field, 
the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea.' Ps. viii. 7, 8._ In the fol- 
lowing texts 'all flesh' includes the brute creation; Gen. vi. 19, vii. 15, 
16, 21, viii. 17, ix. II, 15, 16, 17; Ps. cxxxvi. 25; Jer. xxxii. 27, xlv. 5. 
Once more, therefore, Jewish enclusiveness is condemned. The Mes- 
siah is King of 'all flesh,' not of the Jews only. 

that he should give, &c.] Literally, in order that all that Thou hast 
given Him, He should give to them eternal life. 'AH that ' is neuter 
singular; 'to them' is masculine plural. Believers are given to Christ 
as a united whole ; they earn eternal life as individuals. Comp. i. 11, 
vi, 37. 

3. And this is life eternal] More exactly, But the life eternal i3 
this. ' The life eternal ' means that which has just been mentioned ; 
and 'is this' means ' this is what it consists in:' comp. iii. 19, xv. 12. 

that they might know] Literally, in order that they may recognise ; 
comp. vi. 29, XV. 12; I John iii. 11, 23, v. 3; 2 John 6. The eternal 
life is spoken of as already present (see on iii. 36, v. 24, vi. 47, 54); 
hence 'may,' not 'might.' Moreover it is the appropriation of the 
knowledge that is specially emphasized; hence 'recognise' rather than 
simply 'know.' Comp. Wisdom xv. 3. ^ 

thee the only true God] i.e. 'Thee as the only true God. For 
'true' see note on i. 9 and comp. iv. 23, vi. 32, xv. i : ' the only true 
God ' is directed against the many false, spurious gods of the heathen. 
This portion of the truth was what the Gentiles so signally failed to 

Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent] Better, Him whom Thou didst 
send— Jesus Christ; or, Jesus as Christ. This portion of the truth 
the Jews failed to recognise. But the words are not without difficulty, 
even when we insert the 'as;' and the run of the Greek words is 
rather against the insertion of 'as.' If 'Christ 'were a predicate and 
not part of the proper name we should expect 'Jesus, whom Thou didst 
send, as Christ. ' Probably in this verse we have the stihstance and not 
the exact words of Christ's utterance. That He should use the name 
'Jesus' here is perhaps improbable; that He should anticipate the use 
of 'Jesus Christ' as a proper name is very improbable; and the expres- 
sion ' the true God ' is not used elsewhere by Christ and is used by S. 
John (i John v. 20). We conclude, therefore, that the wording here is 
the Evangelist's, perhaps abbreviated from the actual words. 

vv. 5—7-] S. JOHN, XVII. 309 

the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, 5 
glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I 
had with thee before the world was. 

6 — 19. The Prayer for His Disciples. 

I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou 6 
gavest me out of the world : thine they were, and thou gavest 
them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have 7 

4. / have glorified] Better, I glorified. In confident anticipation 
Christ looks backs from the point when all shall be accomplished, and 
speaks of the whole work of redemption as one act. Our translators 
have been very capricious throughout this chapter, rendering aorists as 
perfects and perfects as aorists. Comp. vv. 6, 8, 18, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26. 

/ have finished\ According to the right reading, having finished or 
perfected. This is the way in which God is glorified, the completion 
of the work of revelation. 

gavest me] Better, hast given Me. Christ did not choose for Him- 

_ to do] Literally, in order that I may do it: this was GoA'?, purpose in 
giving it. It is S. John's favourite particle; comp. v. 36 and see on 
V. 3. 

5. And noiv\ When the ministry is completed. 

glorify thou me] The pronouns are placed side by side for emphasis, 
as in V. 4, where the Greek runs, 'I Thee glorified.' The two verses 
are parallels; 'I Thee glorified on earth; glorify Me Thou in heaven.' 

■with thine own self] In fellowship with Thee. The following great 
truths are contained in these two verses; (i) that the Son is in Person 
distinct from the Father; (2) that the Son, existing in glory with the 
Father from all eternity, working in obedience to the Father on eartli, 
existing in glory with the Father now, is in Person one and the 

I had] Imperfect tense, implying continual possession. 

6 — 19. The Prayer for His Disciples. 

6 — 8. The basis of the intercession ; — they have received the revela- 
tion given to them. The intercession itself begins v. 9. 

6. I have manifested] Better, I manifested : see on v. 4 and 
i. 31- 

which thou gavest] Better, whom Thou hast given : in the next 
clause 'gavest' is right. Sometimes the Father is said to 'give' or 
'draw'men to Christ {v. 24, vi. 37, 44, 65, x. 29, xviii. 9); sometimes 
Christ is said to 'choose' them (vi. 70, xv. 16): but it is always in their 
power to refuse; there is no compulsion (i. 11, 12, iii. 18, 19, xii. 47, 

Irpt thy word] S. John's favourite phrase (see on viii. 51): the 
notion is that of intent watching, Christ's revelation of Himself and of 

3IO S. JOHN, XVII. [vv. 8— II. 

known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of 

8 thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou 
gavest me; and they have received them, and have known 
surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed 

9 that thou didst send me. I pray for them : I pray not for 
the world, but for them which thou hast given me ; for they 

10 are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and 

11 I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the 

the Father is the Father's word (vii. i6, xii. 49) ; His doctrine as a 

7. they have knowii\ Rather, they know: hterally, 'they have 
recognised, come to know.' Comp. v. 42, vi. 69, viii. 52, 55, xiv. 9. 

whatsoever thou hast giveii\ Both His doctrine and His mission, as 
the next verse explains. The whole of Christ's work of redemption in 
word and act was in its origin and still is (present tense) of God. 

8. the %vords'\ Or, the sayings (see on v. 47). This is not the plural 
of 'word' {logos) in v. 6; but the other noun {rhemata), the singular of 
which is not used by S. John. It means the separate utterances as dis- 
tinct from the doctrine as a whole. 

they have received., have k7iown... have believed\ Better, M^j/received 
...recognised... believed. See on z/. 4. 

carne out from'] Better, came fortli frofu (see on xvi. 28). They 
recognised that His mission was Divine : they believed that He was sent 
as the Messiah. They had p7-oof of the first point ; the second was a 
matter of faith. 

9 — 19. The intercession for the disciples based on their need. 

9. I pray for them, &c.] Literally, I am praying concei-ning them ; 
concerning the world I am not praying, but concerning them whom, &c. 
'I,' 'them,' and 'the world' are emphatic. 'For them who have be- 
lieved I in turn am praying; for the world I am not praying.' On the 
word here used for 'pray' see on xiv. 16. Of course this verse does not 
mean that Christ never prays for unbelievers; v. 23 and Luke xxiii. 34 
prove the contrary; but it is for the chosen few, in return for their 
allegiance, that He is praying now. 

they are thitte] Although they have been given to the Son. 

10. all mine are thine] Better, all things that are Mine are Thine. 
The statement does not refer to persons only, but continues and ampli- 
fies the reason with which v. 9 concludes; 'Because they are Thine, and 
all My things are Thine.' There should be no full stop at the end of 
V. 9. 

thine are mine] Or, the things that are Thine are Mine. The 
statement is made conversely to insist on the perfect union between the 
Father and the Son. 

/am glorified] Better, I have been glorified; have been and still 

in them] As the vine is glorified in its branches and fruit. They are 
the vehicles and monuments of the glory. Comp. i Thess. ii. 20. 

V. 12.] S. JOHN, XVII. 311 

world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy 
Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast 
given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was 12 
with them in the world, I kept them in thy name : those that 
thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but 
the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. 

11 — 16. In ziv. 6 — 8 the disciples' acceptance of Christ is given as 
the basis of intercession for them : here another reason is added, — their 
need of help during Christ's absence. This plea is first stated in all 
simplicity, and then repeated at intervals in the petition. 

11. dui these\ Rather, and these. The coupling of the sentences is 
solemnly simple; 'And now. ..and these. ..and I.' 

Holy Father\ The expression occurs nowhere else; but comp. Rev. 
vi. 10; I John ii. 20; and 'Righteous Father,' v. 25. The epithet 
agrees with the prayer that God would preserve the disciples from the 
unholiness of the world {v. 15) in the holiness which Christ had revealed 
to them and prays the Father to give them (z;. 17). 

keep . . .giveii] The true reading gives us, keep them in Thy name 
which Thou hast given Me. In any case the Greek here rendered 
through Thy name,' and in v. 12 'm Thy name,' is the same, and 
should be translated in the same manner in both verses. Comp. Rev. ii. 
17, xix. 12, xxii. 4. God has given His name to Christ to reveal to the 
disciples; and Christ prays that they may be kept true to that revela- 
tion. On the meaning of 'name' see on i. 12. 

may be one\ They had just received a new bond of union. For long 
there had been oneness of belief Now they had been made one by 
union with Jesus; they were one bread and one body, for they had all 
partaken of the one Bread (i Cor. x. 17). 

as we are] Or, even as 7ve are (comp. v. 2) : in perfect spiritual 
union conforming to the essential union between the Father and the 

12. in the world'] These words are omitted by the best authorities. 
/ kept] Literally, / was keeping: Christ's continual watching over 

His disciples is expressed. 'I' is emphatic, implying 'now that I am 
leaving them, do Thou keep them. ' 

/ have kept] Rather, I guarded : both verb and tense are changed. 
This expresses the protection which is the result of the watching. More- 
over the reading must be changed as m v. u ; / kept them in Thy name 
which Thou hast given Me ; and I guarded them. 

none of them is lost] Better, not one of them perished. 

the son of perdition] The phrase is used twice only in N. T. ; here of 
Judas, in 2 Thess. ii. 3 of the 'man of sin.' Comp. 'children of light,' 
'children of darkness.' Such expressions are common in Hebrew (see on 
xii. 36). 'Children of perdition' occurs Is. Ivii. 4, 'people of perdition' 
Ecclus. xvi. 9, and 'son of death' 2 Sam. xii. 5. We cannot here pre- 
serve the full force of the original, in which 'perish' and 'perdition' are 
represented by cognate words; 'none perished but the son of perishing. ' 

312 S. JOHN, XVII. [vv. 13—18. 

13 And now come I to thee; and these thhigs I speak in the 
world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 

14 1 have given them thy word ; and the world hath hated them, 
because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the 

15 world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the 
world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 

16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 
'7 Sanctify them through thy truth : thy word is truth. As thou 

that the scripture] Ps. xli. 9: see on x. 35 and xiii. 18 and comp. xii. 38. 

13. And now cofue /] Better, But now I cotne. The conjunction 
introduces a contrast. Hitherto Christ has been with them watching 
over them; 'but now' it is so no longer. 

that they might] Better, that they may. Christ is praying aloud in 
order that His words may comfort them when they remember that He 
Himself consigned them to His Father's keeping. Comp. xi. 42. 

my joy\ Literally, the joy that is Aline: see on xiv. 27 and xv. 11. 

14. I have given] 'I* in emphatic opposition to the world. 

thy word] The revelation of God as a whole (see on v. 16 and 

V. 47)- 

hath hated] Rather, hated; the aorist expresses the single act of 
hate in contrast to the perfect, ' I have given ' a gift which they continue 
to possess. These are the two results of discipleship ; on the one side, 
Christ's protection [v. 12) and the gift of God's word; on the other, the 
hatred of the world. 

15. I pray not] See on xiv. 16. The nature of the protection is 
made clear to the listening disciples; not exemption from attack and 
temptation, but freedom from the permanent influence of the enemy. 

frotn the evil] Rather, /;-(?»« theevWone; comp. i John ii. 13, iii. 12, 
and especially v. 18. 'From'= 'out of:' just as Christ is that in which 
His disciples live and move, so the evil one, 'the ruler of this world' 
(xii. 31, xvi. 11), is that otit ^ which He prays that they may be kept. 
Thus "the relation of man to good and evil is a. personal relation:" 
comp. I John iv. 4. 

16. They are not.] What was stated in v. 14 as the reason 
for the world's hatred is repeated here as the introduction to a new and 
more definite petition ; not merely protection, but sanctification. There 
is a slight change from the order of the words m v. 14; 'Of the world 
they are not, even as I am not of the world.' In both verses 'I' is 

17. Sanctify] Or, consecrate. The word expresses God's destina- 
tion of them for their work and His endowment of them with the 
powers necessary for their work. The word is used of God's consecra- 
tion of Jeremiah, Moses, and the chosen people (Jer. i. 5; Ecclus. xlix. 
7, xiv. 4; 2 Mac. i. 25). This prayer has been called "the Prayer of 

through thy trnlli] Rather, in the truth. 'Thy' is a gloss, rightly 
explaining the text, but wantint^ in all the best MSS. The Truth is the 

w. 19—21.] S. JOHN, XVII. 313 

hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them 
into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that 19 
they also might be sanctified through the truth. 

20 — 26. TAe Prayer for the whole Church. 

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which 20 
shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be 21 

whole Christian revelation, the new environment in which believers are 
placed, and which helps to work their sanctification; just as a sickly 
wild plant is strengthened and changed by transplanting it to a garden. 
thy word] Literally, ike word that is Thine, a mode of expression 
which gives prominence to the adjective. Comp. 'My doctrine is not 
Mine, but His that sent Me,' vii. 16. The Greek for 'word' is logos, 
God's revelation as a whole, not any single utterance or collection of 
utterances. See on v. 47. 

18. As thou hast sent] Better, Even as Thou didst send. Comp. x. 


even so have I also sent] Better, I also did send. Comp. xx. 21, 
XV. 9. The Apostles had already received their commission (Matt. x. 
5 — 15; Mark vi. 7; Luke ix. 2—5), which is about to be renewed. 

19. sanctify^ Or, consecrate, as in w. 17. Christ does for Himself that 
which He prays the Father to do for His disciples. In x. 36 He speaks 
of Himself as consecrated by the Father ; set apart for a sacred purpose. 
But only thus far is the consecration of Christ and of His disciples the 
same. In them it also implied redemption and cleansing from sin ; and 
in this sense the word is frequently connected with ' purify ' (2 Cor. vii. 
I ; Eph. V. 26; 2 Tim. ii. 21 ; Heb. ix. 13). The radical meaning of the 
word is not separation, as is sometimes stated, but holiness, which in- 
volves separation, viz. the being set apart yi^r God. 

might be sanctified through the truth] Rather, may be sanctified or 
consecrated in trutli. ' In truth ' = in reality and not merely in name 
or appearance ; the expression is quite distinct from ' in the truth ' in v. 
17. As a Priest consecrated by the Father (x. 36) He consecrates 
Himself as a Sacrifice (Eph. v. 2), and thereby obtains a real internal 
consecration for them through the Paraclete (xvi. 7). 

20 — 26. The Prayer for the whole Church. 

20. Neither pray I for these alone] More accurately, Byxt not con- 
ca-ning these only do I pray (see on xiv. 16). The limitation stated in 
V. 9 is at an end : through the Church He prays for the world (v. 21). 

which shall believe] The true reading gives, wbo believe. The future 
body of believers is regarded by anticipation as already in existence : 
the Apostles are a guarantee and earnest of the Church that is to be. 

on me through their word] Perhaps through their word on Me would 
be better. The order of the Greek insists on the fact that those who 
believe believe through the Apostles' word. 

21. That they all may be one] This is the purpose rather than the 

314 S. JOHN, XVII. [w. 22, 23. 

one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also 
may be one in us : that the world may believe that thou hast 

22 sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given 

23 them ; that they may be one, even as we are one : I in them, 
and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and 
that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast 

purport of the prayer : Christ prays for blessings for His Church with 
this end in view, — tliat all may be one. 

as\ Or, even as. The unity of believers is like the unity of the 
Father with the Son (x. 30), not a merely moral unity of disposition 
and purpose, but a vital unity, in which the members share the life of 
one and the same organism (see on Rom. xii. 4, 5). A mere agreement 
in opinion and aim would not convince the world. See on. v. 11. Omit 
'art,' which is an insertion of our translators. 

may be 07ie in us\ The balance of authority is against 'one,' which 
may be an explanatory gloss. In vi. ^d and xv. 4, 5 Christ's followers 
are said to abide in Him : this is to abide in His Father also. 

hast sent\ Better, didst send (comp. v. 18). The eternal unity of be- 
lievers with one another will produce such external results ('see how 
these Christians love one another '), that the world will be induced to 
believe. Christian unity and love (Matt. vii. 12; Luke vi. 31; i Cor. 
xiii.) is a moral miracle, a conquest of the resisting will of man, and 
therefore more convincing than a physical miracle, which is a conquest 
of unresisting nature. Hence the divisions and animosities of Christians 
are a perpetual stumbling-block to the world. 

22. Having prayed for them with a view to their unity. He states 
what He Himself has done for tliem with the same end in view. 

gavest'\ Better, hast given (see on v. 4). The meaning of this gift 
of ' glory ' seems evident from v. 24 ; the glory of the ascended and 
glorified Christ in which l:)elievers are 'joint-lieirs' with Him (see on 
Rom. viii. 17). Looking forward with confidence to the issue of the 
conflict, Christ speaks of this glory as already given back to him {v. 5) 
and shared with His followers. Comp. xvi. 33. 

23. I in them, and thou in me] And therefore, 'Thou in them and 
they in Thee.' 

viade perfect in one] Literally, perfected into one; i. e. completed and 
made one. In the unity the completeness consists. The expression 
'into one' occurs elsewhere only xi. 52 (comp. i John v. 8). For 'per- 
fected' comp. I John ii. 5; iv. 12, 17, 18. 

may kjiow] Or, come to know, reco&nlse {v. 3) gradually and in 
time. This is the second effect of the unity of Christians, more perfect 
than the first. The first {v. 21) was that the world is induced to believe 
that God sent Christ ; the second is that the world comes to knmv that 
God sent Christ, and moreover that He loved the world even as He 
loved Christ. 'Hast sent' and 'hast loved' in both places are literally 
didst send and didst love; but in the case of the second of the two 
verbs the English perfect is perhaps the best representative of the 

vv. 24, 25.] S. JOHN, XVII. 315 

loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that 24 
they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where 

1 am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast 
given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of 
the world. 

25, 26, Summary. 

O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee : but 25 

Greek aorist. The second *Thou' in the verse and the last 'Me' 
are emphatic. 

24. Father] Comp. w. r, 5, ir, xi. 41, xii. 27. The relationship 
is the ground of the appeal ; He knows that His ' will ' is one with His 

Iwiir\ Comp. xxi. 22; Matt. viii. 3, xxiii. 37, xxvi. 39; Luke xii. 
49. He has already granted this by anticipation {v. 12) ; He wills that 
this anticipation may be realised. 

i/iey wkotnl Literally, that wMcli ; the faithful as a body. See on 
V, 2. 

where I ani\ Comp. xiv, 3. 

behold] In the sense of sharing and enjoying it ; for the faithful 'shall 
also reign with Him.' 2 Tim. ii. 12. This glory they behold with 
unveiled face, on which it is reflected as on the face of Moses. See on 

2 Cor. iii. 18 and comp. i John iii. 2. 

my glory] Literally, the glory which is Mine, a stronger expression 
than that in w. 22 : see on xiv. 27. 

which thotc hast given me] Not the glory of the Word, the Eternal 
Son, which was His in His equality with the Father, but the glory of 
Christ, the Incarnate Son, with which the risen and ascended Jesus 
was endowed. In sure confidence Christ speaks of this as already given, 
and wills that all believers may behold and share it. Thus two gifts of 
the Father to the Son meet and complete one another: those whom He 
has given behold the gloiy that He has given. 

fo}-] Better, because. 

the foundation of the world] Our Lord thrice uses this expression, 
here, Luke xi. 50, and Matt. xxv. 34. Two of those who heard it 
reproduce it (i Pet. i. 20; Rev, xiii. 8, xvii. 8): comp. Eph. i. 4; Heb. 
iv. 3, ix. 26, xi. II. 

25, 26. Summary. 

25. righteous Father] The epithet (comp. v. 11) harmonizes with the 
appeal to the justice of God which follows, which is based on a simple 
statement of the facts. The world knew not God ; Christ knew Him ; 
the disciples knew that Christ was sent by Him, ' Shall not the Judge 
of all the earth do right ? ' 

hath not known] Better, knew not. So also ' have known ' should 
in both cases be knew, and ' hast sent ' should be didst send. The 
verbs are all aorists. The conjunction kai before ' the world ' may be 

3i6 S. JOHN, XVII. [v. 26. 

I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast 
26 sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and 
will declare //.• that the love wherewii/i thou hast loved 
me may be in them, and I in them. 

rendered 'indeed,' meaning 'it is true the world knew Thee not, but 
yet &c.' Translate; the world indeed knew Tliee not, but I knew 

26. Aave declared... will declare"] Better, made known... wz7/ make 
known. The verb is cognate with that rendered ' know ' in v. 25, and 
here as there the aorist is used, not the perfect. Christ knows the 
Father and makes known His name, i.e. His attributes and will (see on 
i. 12), to the disciples. This imparting of knowledge is already accom- 
plished in part, — ' I made known ' (comp. xv. 15) ; but the knowledge 
and the love which imparts it being alike inexhaustible, there is room 
for perpetual instruction throughout all time, especially after the Para- 
clete has been given, — 'I will make known ' (comp. xiv. 26, xvi. 13). 

wherewith thott hast loved me] In the Greek we have a double accu- 
sative, as in Eph. ii. 4. ' Hast loved ' should be didst love (see on v. 4) : 
but possibly this is a case where the English present might be admitted 
as the best equivalent of the Greek aorist (see on xv. 8). 

may be in them] May rule in their hearts as a guiding principle, 
without which they cannot receive the knowledge here promised ; for 
' he that loveth not, knoweth not God ' (i John iv. 8). 

I in them] These last words of Christ's Mediatorial Prayer sum up 
its purpose. They are the thread which runs through all these farewell 
discourses. He is going away, and yet abides with them. His bodily 
presence passes away, His spiritual presence remains for ever ; not seen 
with the eye without, but felt as life and strength within. Having 
known Christ after the flesh, now they know Him so no more : they are 
in Christ, a new creation (2 Cor. v. 16, 17). 

Chap. XVIII. 

We enter now upon the second part of the second main division of the 
Gospel. The Evangelist having given us the inner Glorification 
OF Christ in His last Discourses (xiii. — xvii.), now sets forth 
Ills OUTER Glorification in His Passion and Death (xviii., xix.). 
This part, like the former (see introduction to chap, xiii.), may be 
divided into four. i. The Betrayal (xviii. i — 11); 2. The Jewish 
Trial (12 — 27); 3. The Roman Trial (xviii. 28 — xix. 16); 4. The 
Death and Burial\\^, — 42). 

" We return once more from discourse to narrative, which preponde- 
rates in the whole of the remaining portion of the (.jospel. Accordingly 
as we have found hitherto that in the narrative portions the marks of an 
eye-witness at once begin to multiply, so here especially they occur 
in such large amount and in such rapid succession that it appears impos- 
sible to resist the conviction that from an eye-witness and no one else the 
account proceeds." S. p. 239. 

S. JOHN, XVIII. 317 

Dr Westcott {Speaker's Commentary, N.T., Vol. II. p. ■249) observes; 
" r. It is a superficial and inadequate treatment of his narrative to 
regard it as a historical supplement of the other narratives, or of the 
current oral narrative on which they are based The record is inde- 
pendent and compute in itself. It is a whole, and like the rest of the 
Gospel an interpretation of the inner meaning of the history which it 

Thus in the history of the Passion three thoughts among others rise 
into clear prominence : 

(i) The voluntariness of Christ's sufferings ; xviii. 4, 8, 11, 36; 
xix. 28, 30. 

(2) The fulfilment of a divine plan in Chrisfs sufferings; xviii. 

4, 9, 11; xix. ii. 24, 28, 36, 37. 

(3) The majesty which shines through Christ's sufferings; xviii. 6, 

20 — 23 (comp. Luke xxii. 53), 37; xix. 11, 26, 27, 30. 
The narrative in this sense becomes a commentary on earlier words 
which point to the end; (i) x. 17, 18; (2) xiii. r; (3) xiii. 31. 

2. In several places the full meaning of S. John's narrative is first 
obtained by the help of words or incidents preserved by the synoptists. 
His narrative assumes facts found in them: e.g. xviii. 11, 33, 40, 
xix. 41. 

3. The main incidents recorded by more than one of the other 
Evangelists which are omitted by S. John are : (by all three) the agony, 
traitor's kiss, mockery as prophet, council at daybreak, impressment of 
Simon, reproaches of the spectators, darkness, confession of the centu- 
rion; (by S, Matthew and S. Mark) the desertion by all, examination 
before the Sanhedrin at night, false witness, adjuration, great Con- 
fession, mockery after condemnation, cry from Ps. xxii, rending of the 

Other incidents omitted by S. John are recorded by single Evange- 
lists : (S. Matthew) power over the hosts of heaven, Pilate's wife's mes- 
sage, Pilate's hand-washing, self-condemnation of the Jews, earthquake; 
{S. Mark) flight of the young man, Pilate's question as to the death of 
Christ ; (S. Luke) examination before Herod, lamentation of the women, 
three ' words ' from the Cross (xxiii. 34, 43, 46), repentance of one of 
the robbers. 

4. The main incidents peculiar to S. fohn are : the words of power 
at the arrest, examination before Annas, first conference of the Jews 
with Pilate and Pilate's private examination, first mockery and Ecce 
Homo, Pilate's maintenance of his words, the last charge (xix. 25 — 27), 
the thirst, piercing of the side, ministry of Nicodemus. 

5. In the narrative of incidents recorded elsewhere 6". yohn con- 
stantly adds details, often minute and yet most significant : e. g. xviii. i, 
2, ID, II, 12, 15, 16, 26, 28, xix. 14, 17,41. See the notes. 

6. In the midst of great differences of detail the Synoptists and 
S. yohn offer many impressive resemblances as to the spirit and character 
of the proceedings : e.g. (i) the activity of the 'High Priests' (i.e. the 
Sadducaean hierarchy) as distinguished from the Pharisees ; (2) the 
course of the accusation — civil charge, religious charge, personal influ- 
ence ; (3) the silence of the Lord in His public accusations, with the 

3i8 S. JOHN, XVIII. [vv. I, 2. 

1 — II. The Betrayal. 

18 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with 

his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, 

3 into the wliich he entered, and his disciples. And Judas 

also, which betrayed him, knew the place : for Jesus ofttimes 

significant exception, Matt, xxvi, 64; (4) the tone of mockery ; (5) the 
character of Pilate." 

1 — 11. The Betrayal. 

1. he went forth'] From the upper room. The same word is used 
of leaving the room, Matt. xxvi. 30; Mark xiv. 26; Luke xxii. 39. Those 
who suppose that the room is left at xiv. 31 (perhaps for the Temple), 
interpret this of the departure from the city, ■which of course it may 
mean in any case. 

the brjok Cedron] Literally, the ravine of the Kedron, or of the 
cedars, according to the reading, the differences of which are here ex- 
ceedingly interesting. Of the cedars {tCjv KeZpwi>) is the reading of the 
great majority of the authorities ; but of the Kedron [tov Kedpov or toS 
K(dpwv) is well supported. Of the cedars is the reading of the LXX. in 

1 K. XV. 13 and occurs as a various reading 2 S. xv. 23; i K. ii. 37; 

2 K. xxiii. 6, 12. The inference is that both names were current, the 
Hebrew having given birth to a Greek name of different meaning but 
very similar sound. Kedron or Kidron= 'black,' and is commonly sup- 
posed to refer to the dark colour of the water or the gloom of the ravine. 
But it might possibly refer to the black green of cedar trees, and thus the 
two names would be united. This detail of their crossing the * Wady ' 
of the Kidron is given by S. John alone ; but he gives no indication of 
a "reference to the history of the flight of David from Absalom and 
Ahitophel " (2 S. xv. 23). 'Brook' is misleading; the Greek word 
means 'winter-torrent,' but even in winter there is little water in the 
Kidron. Neither this word nor the name Kedron occurs elsewhere in 
N. T. 

a gardeft] Or, orchard. S. Matthew and S. Mark give us the name 
of the enclosure or 'parcel of ground' (John iv. 5) ratlier than 'place,' 
of which this 'garden' formed the whole or part. Gethsemane = oil- 
press, and no doubt olives abounded there. The very ancient olive-trees 
still existing on the traditional site were probably put there by pilgrims 
who replanted the spot after its devastation at the siege of Jerusalem. 
S. John gives no hint of a comparison between the two gardens, Eden 
and Gethsemane, which commentators from Cyril to Isaac Williams 
have traced. See on Mark i. 13 for another comparison. 

and his disciples] Literally, Himself and His disciples, Judas ex- 

2. which betrayed] Better, who was betraying : he was at that 
moment at work. Comp. v. 5. 

knew the place] Therefore Christ did not go thither to hide or escape. 

3.] S. JOHN, XVIII. 319 

resorted thither with his disciples, Judas then, having 3 
received a band of men, and officers from the chief priests 
and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and 

as Celsus scoffingly asserted. Origen {Cels. 11. 10) appeals to w. 4 and 
S as proving that Jesus deliberately surrendered Himself. 

ofttit)ies\ Comp. viii. i, and see on Luke xxi. 37, xxii. 39. The 
owner must have known of these gatherings, and may himself have been 
a disciple. 

resorted thitherl Literally, assembled there ; as if these gatherings 
were for teaching of a more private kind than was given to the 

3. Judas then'] Better, Judas therefore ; S. John's favourite parti- 
cle, as va.w. 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 19, 24, 27, 28, 29, 31, 33, 37, 
40. It was because Judas knew that Jesus often went thither that he 
came thither to take Him. "Our English version gives little idea of the 
exactness of the description which follows." S. p. 241. 

a band of vien] Rather, the band ^soldiers. This is one part of 
the company ; Roman soldiers sent to prevent ' an uproar ' among the 
thousands of pilgrims assembled to keep the Passover (see on Matt. 
xxvi. 5). The word for band, speira, seems elsewhere in N. T. to mean 
'cohort,' the tenth of a legion (Matl. xxvii. 27 ; Mark xv. 16; Acts x. i, 
xxi. 31, xxvii. i), and with this Polybius (xi. xxi. i; [xxiii. i]) agrees. 
But Polybius sometimes (vi. xxiv. 5, xv. ix. 7, iii. cxiii. 3) appears 
to use sfeira for 'maniple,' the third part of a cohort and about 200 
men. In any case only a portion of the cohort which formed the garri- 
son of the fortress of Antonia can here be meant : but that the arrest of 
Jesus was expected to produce a crisis is shewn by the presence of the 
chief o'iiic&x of the cohort (z/. 12). The Jewish hierarchy had no doubt 
communicated with Pilate, and his being ready to try the case at so early 
an hour as 5 A. M. may be accounted for in this way. 

officers from the chief priests and Pharisees] i. e. from the Sanhedrin. 
These may have been either officers of justice appointed by the Sanhe- 
drin, or a portion of the Levitical temple-police : that some of the latter 
were present is clear from Luke xxii. 4, 52. This is a second part 
of the company. S. Luke (xxii. 52) tells us that some of tne chief priests 
themselves were there also. Thus there were (i) Roman soldiers, 
(2) Jewish officials, (3) chief priests. 

with lanterns and torches] The ordinary equipment for night duty, 
which the Paschal full-moon would not render useless. It was possible 
that dark woods or buildings would have to be searched. The word for 
' lantern, '/^a«05, occurs here only in N. T. ; and here only is latnpas 
rendered 'torch;' elsewhere either 'light' (Acts xx. 8) or 'lamp' (Matt. 
XXV. I — 8 ; Rev. iv. 5, viii. 10). ' Torch ' would perhaps be best in all 
cases, even in Matt. xxv. i — 8, leaving 'lamp' free as the translation of 
luchttos (v. 35; Matt. v. 15, vi. 22; Mark iv. 21; Luke viii. 16, xi. 33, 
34, 36, &c.) for which 'light' and 'candle' are either inadequate or 
misleading. Torches were fed with oil carried in a vessel (Matt. xxv. 4) 
for the purpose. 

320 S. JOHN, XVI 1 1. [w. 4—6. 

4 weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should 
come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom 

5 seek ye ? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus 
saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed 

6 him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto 

4. all things that should come] Better, all the tMngs that were 

■went forth'] From what? (i) from the shade into the light; 
(2) from the circle of disciples; (3) from the depth of the garden; 
(4) from the garden itself. It is impossible to say which of these sug- 
gestions is right ; the last is not contradicted by v. 26. The kiss of 
Judas is by some placed here, by others after v. 8. While 'His hour 
was not yet come ' (vii. 30, viii. 20), He had withdrawn from danger 
(viii. 59, xi. 54, xii. 36) ; now he goes forth to meet it. He who had 
avoided notoriety (v, 13) and royalty (vi. 15), goes forth to welcome 

said] The better reading gives saith. His question perhaps had 
two objects; to withdraw attention from the disciples [v. 8), and to 
make His captors realise what they were doing. 

6. Jestis of Nazareth] Or, fesus the Nazarene (Matt. ii. 13), a 
rather more contemptuous expression than ' Jesus of Nazareth ' (i. 46 ; 
Acts X. 38; comp. Matt. xxi. 11). ' The Nazarene ' in a contemptuous 
sense occurs xix. 19; Matt. xxvi. 71; Mark xiv. 67. It is sometimes 
used in a neutral sense (Mark x. 47; Luke xviii. 37, xxiv. 19). Later 
on the contempt of Jews and heathen became the glory of Christians 
(Acts ii. 22, iii. 6, iv. 10, vi. 14). 

I am he] The 'he' is not expressed in the Greek: and 'I am' to 
Jewish ears was the name of Jehovah. We have had the same expres- 
sion several times in this Gospel (iv. 26), vi. 20, viii. 24, 28, 58, xiii. 13 
(see notes in each place). Judas, if not the chief priests, must have 
noticed the significant words. There is nothing in the narrative to 
shew that either the whole company were miraculously blinded (Luke 
xxiv. 16), or that Judas in particular was blinded or paralysed. Even 
those who knew Him well might fail to recognise Him at once by 
night and with the traces of the Agony fresh upon Him. 

which betrayed him, stood] Literally, who was betraying H im [v. 2), 
was standing. This tragic detail is impressed on S. John's memory. 
In this as in the lanterns and torches, which he alone mentions, we 
have the vividness of the eye-witness. S. Luke (xxii. 47) tells us that 
'Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus 
to kiss Him.' Apparently, after having done this, he fell back and 
rejoined Christ's enemies, standing in the foreground. 

6. As soon then as he had said] Better, when therefore (see on v. 3) 
He said. The Evangelist intimates that what followed was the imme- 
diate consequence of Christ's words. 

went backward, and fell] Whether this was the natural effect of 
guilt meeting with absolute innocence, or a supernatural effect wrought 

vv. 7— lo.] S. JOHN, XVIII. 321 

them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. 
Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, 7 
Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I s 
am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way: that 9 
the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which 
thou gavest me have I lost none. Then Simon Peter 10 

by Christ's will, is a question which we have not the means of deter- 
mining. Moreover, the distinction may be an unreal one. Is it not 
His will that guilt should quail before innocence? The result in this 
case proved both to the disciples and to His foes that His surrender 
was entirely voluntary (x. 18). Once before, the majesty of His words 
had overwhelmed those who had come to arrest Him (vii. 46) ; and it 
would have been so now, had not He willed to be taken. Comp. 
Matt. xxvi. 53, where the expression ^legions of angels' may have 
reference to the fragment of a legion that had come to superintend His 

7. The)i asked he them again] Again therefore {v. 3) //e asked 
them. Their first onset had been baffled; He Himself therefore gives 
them another opening. They repeat the terms of their warrant; they 
have been sent to arrest Jesus the Nazarene. 

8. I have told] Rather, I told. 

let these] At first Jesus had gone forward {v. 4) from His company, 
as Judas from his. Judas had fallen back on his followers while the 
disciples followed up and gathered round Christ. Thus the two bands 
confronted one another. 

9. thou gavest me have I lost] Better, I'hou hast given me I lost 
(see on xvii. 4). The reference is to xvii. 12, and is a strong confirma- 
tion of the historical truth of chap. xvii. If the prayer were the compo- 
sition of the Evangelist to set forth in an ideal form Christ's mental 
condition at the time, this reference to a definite portion of it would be 
most unnatural. The change from * not one of them perished ' to ' I 
lost of them not one' brings out more clearly the protective intervention 
of Christ. 

It does not follow, because S. John gives this interpretation of 
Christ's words, that therefore they have no other. This was a first ful- 
filment, within an hour or two of their utterance, an earnest of a larger 
fulfilment in the future. The meaning here must not be limited to 
bodily preservation. Had they been captured, apostasy (at least for a 
time) might have been the result, as was actually the case with S. 

10. Theft Simon Peter] Simon Peter therefore {v. 3), because he 
'saw what would follow' (Luke xxii. 49). All four Evangelists men- 
tion this act of violence; S. John alone gives the names. While S. 
Peter was alive it was only prudent not to mention his name; and prob- 
ably S. John was the only one who knew [v. 15) the servant's name. 
S. Peter's impetuous boldness now illustrates his impetuous words 
xiii. 37 and Mark viii. 32. 

S. JOHN 2 I 

322 S. JOHN, XVIII. [vv. II— 13. 

having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, 
and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus. 

11 Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the 
sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I 
not drink it? 

12 — 27. The Jewish or Ecclesiastical Trial. 

12 Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews 

13 took Jesus, and bound him, and led him away to Annas 

having a sword'\ Probably one of the two produced in misunder- 
standing of Christ's words at the end of the supper (Luke xxii. 38). 
To carry arms on a feast-day was forbidden; so that we have here 
some indication that the Last Supper was not the Passover. 

the high priesfs servant] No doubt he had been prominent in the 
attack on Jesus, and S. Peter had aimed at his liead. S. Luke also 
mentions that it was the right ear that was cut, and he alone mentions 
the healing, under cover of which S. Peter probably escaped. 

11. Then said ^esus] Jesus therefore [v. 3) said. 

the cup] S. John alone gives these words. On the other hand, the 
Synoptists alone give Christ's prayer in the garden (Matt. xxvi. 39, &c.) 
to which they obviously refer. Thus the two accounts confirm one 
another. See on ii. 19. For the metaphor comp. Ps. Ixxv. 8, Ix. 3; 
Job xxi. 20; Jer. xxv. 15; Rev. xiv. lo, xvi. 19, &c. S. Matthew gives 
another reason for putting up the sword into its place; 'all they that 
take the sword shall perish with the sword ' (xxvi. 52). 

12—27. The Jewish or Ecclesiastical Trial. 

12. Then the band, and the captain] Therefore (v. 3) the band &c., 
because of this violent attempt at resistance. The captain or chiliairh 
is the tribune or chief officer of the Roman cohort. The representa- 
tions of the hierarchy to the Romans are confirmed by S. Peter's act: 
Jesus the Nazarene is a dangerous character who stirs up His followers 
to rebellion ; He must be properly secured and bound. Perhaps also 
their falling to the ground on meeting Him impressed them with the 
necessity of using the utmost caution, as with a powerful magician. 
The whole force is required to secure Him. 

13. to Annas first] Whether Annas was ' chief of the priests 
(2 K. xxv. 18), or president, or vice-president, of the Sanhedrin, we 
have no information. Certainly he was one of the most influential 
members of the hierarchy, as is shewn by his securing the high-priest- 
hood for no less than live of his sons as well as for his son-in-law 
Caiaphas, after he liad been deposed himself He held office A. D. 
7—14, his son Eleazar a.d. 16, Joseph Caiaphas a.d. 18 — 36; after 
him four sons of Annas held the office, the last of whom, another 
Annas (a.d. 62), put to dcatli S. James, the first bishop of Jerusalem. 
The high-priests at this time were often mere nominees of the civil 

w. 14—16.] S. JOHN, XVIII. 323 

first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the 
high priest that same year. Now Caiaphas was he, which 14 
gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one 
man should die for the people. 

And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another 15 
disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and 
went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest. But 16 

power, and were changed with a rapidity which must have scandalised 
serious Jews. There were probably five or six deposed high-priests in 
the Sanhedrin which tried our Lord (see on Luke iii. 2). Other forms 
of the name Annas are Ananias, Ananus, and Hanan. 

for he was father-in- lazv\ And therefore Caiaphas would be sure to 
respect the results of a preliminary examination conducted by him. 
Possibly the chief priests thought that Annas was a safer man than 
Caiaphas, and the father-in-law having taken the lead which they 
wanted the high-priest would be compelled to follow. This examina- 
tion before Annas is given us by S. John only, who tacitly corrects the 
impression that the examination before Caiaphas was the only one. 

that same year-"] Omit 'same' and see on xi. 49. Comp. xx. 19 and 
Mark iv. 35, where ' same ' is improperly inserted, as here. 

14. Now Caiaphas was he^ See on xi. 50 — 52. The remark is 
made here to recall the prophecy now so near fulfilment, and perhaps 
to intimate that with Caiaphas and his father-in-law to direct the trial 
it could have but one issue. 

15. followed'\ Or, was following; the descriptive imperfect. 
anotha- disciple\ Some good authorities read 'the other disciple,' but 

the balance is very decidedly in favour of ' awother. ' There is no reason 
for doubting the almost universal opinion that this 'other' was S. John 
himself; an opinion which agrees with the Evangelist's habitual reserve 
about himself (i. 40, xiii. 23 — 25, xix. 26, xx. 2 — 8, xxi. 20 — 24); and 
also vdth the fact that S. John frequently accompanies S. Peter (Luke 
xxii. 8; Acts iii. i, iv. 13, viii. 14). But it must be allowed that the 
opinion is short of certain ; although the fact that S. John elsewhere 
designates himself as 'the disciple whom Jesus loved' is in no degree 
against the identification. Here the description, 'the disciple whom 
Jesus loved,' would explain nothing and would therefore be out of 
place (see Introduction, chap. 11. iii. (3) b). S. Augustine, Calvin and 
others suppose some person otherwise unknown to be meant. Other 
conjectures are, S. James, the Evangelist's brother, and (strangely 
enough) Judas I.scariot. 

was h>iown] The nature of this 'acquaintance' (Luke ii. 44, xxiii. 
49) is nowhere explained. 

the hi^h priest] Caiaphas is probably meant {vv. 13, 24); but as de- 
posed high priests still kept the title sometimes (Luke iii. 2; Acts iv. 6), 
it is possible that Annas is intended. 

the pa/ace] Rather, the court or open space in the centre or in front 
of the house (Luke xxii. 55). The same word is used for the 'sheep- 

21 — 2 

324 S. JOHN, XVIII. [vv. 17—19. 

Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other 
disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake 

17 unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter. Then 
saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou 

18 also one of this man's disciples ? He saith, I am not. And 
the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of 
coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and 
Peter stood with them, and warmed himself. 

19 The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of 

fold' (x. T, 16). It is not improbable that Annas lived in a portion of 
the official residence of his son-in-law ; but even if this was not the case, 
it is no violent supposition that Annas conducted a preliminary examina- 
tion in the house of Caiaphas (see on v. 13). 

16. stood'\ Or, was standing; the descriptive imperfect again. 
Comp. vv. 5, 15. The details here also indicate the report of an eye- 
witness. 'At the door without'' seems to indicate that the 'court' was 
inside rather than in front of the building. 

her that kept the door\ Comp. Rlioda, Acts xii. 13. 

17. Then saith the damscl\ The damsel therefore [v. 3) saith. 
Art not thou also\ Rather, Art thou also (as well as thy companion) 

or, surely thou art not: S. Peter's denial is thus, as it were, put into his 
mouth. Sec on iv. 29 and comp. iv. 33, vi. 67, vii. 47, ix. 40. In all 
these passages the form of the question anticipates a negative answer. 

one of this man's disciples^ Or, one of the disciples of this man. 'This 
man' and the turn of the sentence are contemptuous. Comp. ix. 16, 24, 
xi. 47. S. John had hurried on to the room where Christ was being 
examined; as at the Cross (xix. 26) he kept close to his Master; and in 
neither case was mole ted. S. Peter, who 'followed afar off (Luke xxii. 
54) and that rather out of curiosity 'to seethe end' (Matt. xxvi. 58) than 
out of love, encountered temptation and fell. 

18. And the servants, &c.] Belter, Now the servants and the officers, 
having made... were standing and warming themselves. The triljune 
(z/. 12) having deposited his prisoner in safety, has withdrawn with his 
men. Only the Jewish oflicials remain, joined now by the household 
servants of the high priests. 

a fire of coal s^ Charcoal in a brazier, 'to the light' of which (Luke 
xxii. 56) S. Peter turned. Comp. xxi. 9; Ecclus. xi. 32. 

for it was cold] Cold nights are exceptional but not uncommon in 
Palestine in April. Jerusalem stands high. 

and Peter, &c.] Rather, And Peter also was with them, standing 
and warming himself, pretending to be indifferent, but restlessly 
changing his posture. S. Luke says he 'sat to the light.' 

19. Jhe high priest then] Rather, therefore {v. 3), connecting what 
follows with vv. 13, I4. Again we are in doubt as to who is meant by 
the high-priest (see on v. 15), but it will be safest to consider 
Caiaphas is meant throughout. Neither hypothesis is free from difficulty. 

vv. 20—23.] S. JOHN, XVIII. 325 

his doctrine. Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the 20 
world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, 
whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said 
nothing. Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me., 21 
what I have said unto them: bthold, they know what I said. 
And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which 22 
stood by stroke Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, 
Answerest thou the high priest so? Jesus answered him, 23 
If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, 

If the high priest here is Caiaphas, the difficulty is to explain v. ■24 (see 
note there). But we may suppose that while Annas is conducting the 
examination Caiaphas enters and takes part in it. 

of his disciples, &c.] It was hoped that some evidence might be 
obtained which would be of service in the formal trial that was to 

20. / spake\ The true reading gives, I have spoken. There is a 
strong emphasis on 'I.' Christ answers no questions about His disciples ; 
He bears the brunt Himself alone. Moreover He seems to contrast the 
openness of His proceedings with the secrecy of His enemies. 

openly\ See on vii. 4, 26. 

to the world^ Not to a secret society. Comp. viii. 26. 

in the synagogue'] All the best MSS. omit the article; in synagogue, 
as we say 'in church.' See on vi. 59. 

whither the yews always resort] The better reading gives, where all 
the yews come together. The word rendered 'resort' is not the same 
as that rendered 'resort' in v. 2. 'I always taught in public places, 
where all the Jews meet.' Nothing could be more open than His 
teaching. Comp. Matt. x. 27. 

have I said] Rather, I spake, the aorist of the verb in the first clause, 
which is in the perfect. See next verse. 

21. which heard] Better, Who have heard; and 'I liave said' should 
again be I spake. 

they know] Or, these know, as if implying that they were present and 
ought to be examined. According to Jewish rule witnesses for the de- 
fence were heard first. 'These' cannot refer to S. Peter and S. John. 
S. Peter is still outside by the fire. 

22. struck Jesus with the palm of his hand] Literally, gave a blow, 
and the word for 'blow' (elsewhere xix. 3, Mark xiv. 65 only) etymo- 
logically means a 'blow with a rod,' but is also used for a 'blow with 
the open hand.' The word used for 'smite' in v. 23 is slightly in 
favour of the former : but Matt. v. 39 and Acts xxiii. 2 are in favour of 
the latter. 

23. If I have spokeii] Rather (as at the end of w. 20, 11), If I 
spake (comp. xiii. 14, xv. 20). This seems to shew that Christ does not 
refer, as our version would lead us to suppose, to His answer to the 
high-priest, but to the teaching about which He is being examined. 

326 S. JOHN, XVIII. [w. 24—26. 

24 why smitest thou me? Now Annas had sent him bound unto 
Caiaphas the high priest. 

25 And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They 
said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his 

26 disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not. One of the 
servants of the high priest, being kis kinsman whose ear 

He here gives His own illustration of His own precept (Matt. v. 39); 
to exclude personal retaliation does not exclude calm protest and re- 

24. No2v Annas had sent him bound'\ The received text, following 
important authorities, has no conjunction. The Sinaitic MS. and some 
minor authorities insert 'now' or 'but' {5i). But an overwhelming 
amount of evidence, including the Vatican MS., gives S. John's favourite 
particle, therefore (odv). Moreover the verb is aorist, not pluperfect. 
Annas tlierefore sent Him. It is not necessary to enquire whether the 
aorist may not virtually be pluperfect in meaning. Even if 'now' were 
genuine and the remark were an after-thought which ought to have pre- 
ceded V. 19, the aorist might still be rendered literally, as in Matt. xxvi. 
48 ('gave them,' not 'had given them a sign'). Comp. Matt, xiv, 

3. 4. 

But 'therefore shews that the remark is not an after-thought. Be- 
cause the results of the preliminary investigation before Annas were 
such (there was a primd facie case, but nothing conclusive), 'Annas 
tJierefore sent Him' {or formal trial to Caiaphas, who had apparently 
been present (see on v. 19) during the previous interrogation and had 
taken part in it. 

bound'\ He had been bound by the Roman soldiers and Jewish 
officials when He was arrested {v. 12). This was to prevent escape or 
rescue. During the examination he would be set free as possibly in- 
nocent. After the examination He was bound again as presumably 
guilty, or as before to prevent escape. 

25. And Simon Peter stood and 7uarmedhimsclf'\ Better, Now 3Vw^m 
Peter was standing and warming himself {v. 18). 

They said therefore^ The movement in taking Jesus from Annas to 
Caiaphas once more attracted attention to the stranger by the fire. 

Art not thou also] Rather, Art thou also (see on v. 17). A look of 
sympathy and distress on S. Peter's face, as His Master appears bound 
as a criminal, and perhaps with the mark of the IjIow (v. 22) on His 
face, provokes the exclamation. Surety thou also art not one of His 

26. his kinsman] A kinsman of him. How natural that an 
acquaintance of the high-priest {v. 15) and known to his portress (z'. 16) 
should know this fact also as well as Malchus' name {v. 10). This 
confirms the ordinary view that the 'other disciple' (z/. 15) is the 
Evangelist himself. This third accusation and denial was, as S. Luke 
tells us, about an hour after the second; so that our Lord must have 
'turned and looked upon Peter' either from a room looking into the 

27.'] S. JOHN, XVIII. 327 

Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with 
him? Peter then denied again: and immediately //^^ cock 27 

court, or as He was being led to receive the formal sentence of the 
Sanhedrin after the trial before Caiaphas, not as He was being taken 
from Annas to Caiaphas. 

Did not I see thee] ' I ' is emphatic ; ' with my own eyes. ' 

27. Peter then denied againi Again therefore {v. 3) Pelef denied; 
because he had denied before. S. John, like S. Luke, omits the oaths 
and curses (Mark xiv. 71; Matt. xxvi. 73). We may believe that 
S. Peter himself through S. Mark was the first to include this aggrava- 
tion of his guilt in the current tradition. 

the cock cre%v\ Rather, a cock crciv. In none of the gospels is there 
the definite article which our translation inserts. This was the second 
crowing (Mark xiv. 72). A difficulty has been made here because the 
Talmud says that fowls, which scratch in dunghills, are unclean. But 
(i) the Talmud is inconsistent on this point with itself; (2) not all Jews 
would be so scrupulous as to keep no fowls in Jerusalem ; (3) certainly 
the Romans would care nothing about such scruples. 

Just as the Evangelist implies (v. 11), without mentioning, the Agony 
in the garden, so he implies (xxi. 15), without mentioning, the repent- 
ance of S. Peter. The question has been raised, why he narrates 
S. Peter's fall, which had been thrice told already. There is no need to 
seek far-fetched explanations, as that "there might be contained in it 
some great principle or prophetic history, and perhaps both : some great 
principle to be developed in the future history of the Church, or of 
S. Peter's Church." Rather, it is part of S. John's own experience 
which falls naturally into the scope and plan of his Gospel, setting forth 
on the one side the Divinity of Christ, on the other the glorification of 
His manhood through suffering. Christ's foreknowledge of the fall of 
His chief apostle (xiii. 38) illustrated both : it was evidence of His 
Divinity (comp. ii. 24, 25), and it intensified His suffering. S. John, 
therefore, gives both the prophecy and the fulfilment. It has been 
notice^ that it is "S. Peter's friend S. John, who seems to mention 
most what may lessen the fault of his brother apostle;" thai servants 
and officers were about him; that in the second case he was pressed by 
more than one; and that on the last occasion a kinsman of Malchus 
was among his accusers, which may greatly have increased Peter's terror. 
Moreover, this instance of human frailty in one so exalted (an instance 
which the life of the great Exemplar Himself fc?///^ not afford), is given 
us with fourfold emphasis, that none may presume and none despair. 

On the difficulties connected with the four accounts of S. Peter's 
denials see Appendix B. 

28— XIX. 16. The Roman or Civil Trial. 

As already stated, S. John omits both the examination before Caiaphas 
and the Sanhedrin at an irregular time and place, at midnight and at 
'the Booths' (Matt. xxvi. 57 — 68: Mark xiv. 53 — 6-;), and also the 

32S S. JOHN, XVIII. fv. 28. 

28 — XIX. 16. l^he Rojnan or Civil Trial. 

28 Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of 
judgment : and it was early; and they themselves went not 

formal meeting of the Sanhedrin after daybreak in the proper place 
(Matt, xxvii. i ; Mark xv. i; Luke xxii. 66 — 71), at which Jesus was 
sentenced to death. He proceeds to narrate what the Synoptists omit, 
the conference between Pilate and the Jews {vv. 28 — 32) and two 
private examinations of Jesus by Pilate [yv. 33 — 38 and xix. 8 — 11). 
Here also we seem to have the evidence of an eyewitness. We know 
that S. John followed his Lord into the high priest's palace [v. 15), and 
stood by the Cross (xix. 26); it is therefore probable enough that he 
followed Him into the Procurator's court. 

28. Then led they] Better, They led therefore {v. 3). S. John 
assumes that his readers know the result of Jesus being taken to 
Caiaphas (v. 24): He had been condemned to death; and now His 
enemies (there is no need to name them) take Him to the Roman 
governor to get the sentence executed. 

the hall of judgment] The margin is better, Pilate's house, i. e. the 
palace. In the original it is praito? ion, the Greek form of praetoiiiim. 
Our translators have varied their rendering of it capriciously: Matt, 
xxvii. 27, 'common hall,' with 'governor's house' in the margin; 
Mark xv. 16, 'Praetorium;' John xviii. 33 and xix. 9, 'judgment-hall.' 
Yet the meaning must be the same in all these passages. Comp. Acts 
xxiii. 35, 'judgment-hall;' Phil. i. 13, 'the palace.' The meaning of 
praetoriitm varies according to the context. The word is of military 
origin; (i) 'the general's tent' or 'head quarters.' Hence, in the 
provinces, {2) 'the governor's residence,' the meaning in Acts xxiii. 35: 
in a sort of metaphorical sense, (3) a 'mansion' or 'palace' (Juvenal 
I. 75): at Rome. (4) 'the praetorian guard,' the probable meaning in 
Phil. i. 13. Of these leading significations the second is probably right 
here and throughout the Gos])els; the official residence of the Procurator. 
Where Pilate resided in Jerusalem is not quite certain. We know that 
'Herod's Practorium,' a magnificent building on the western hill of 
Jerusalem, was used by Roman governors somewhat later (Phild, Peg. 
ad Gaium, p. 1034). But it is perhaps more likely that Pilate occupied 
part of the fortress Antonia, on the supposed site of which a chamber 
with a column in it has recently been discovered, which it is thought 
may possibly be the scene of the scourging. 

S. John's narrative alternates between the outside and inside of the 
Praetorium. Outside; 28 — 32; 38 — 40; xix. 4 — 7; 12 — 16. Inside; 
33—37; xix- 1—3; 8— II. 

28 — 32. Outside the Practorium; the Jews claim the execution of 
the Sanhedrin's sentence of death, and Pilate refuses it. 

early\ The same word, prdi, is rendered 'morning' ATatt. x%'i. 3; 
Mark i. 35, xi. 20, xiii. 35, xv. i ; the last passage being partly parallel 
to this. In Mark xiii. 35 the word stands for the fouith watch (see on 
Mark vi. 48), which lasted from 3.0 to 6.0 a. m. A Roman court might 

V. 29.] S. JOHN, XVIII. 329 

into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that 
they might eat the passover. Pilate then went out unto 29 

be held directly after sunrise; and as Pilate had probably been informed 
that an important case was to be brought before him, delay in which 
might cause serious disturbance, there is nothing improbable in his 
being ready to open his court between 4.0 and 5.0 a.m. The hierarchy 
were in a difficulty. Jesus could not safely be arrested by daylight, and 
the Sanhedrin could not legally pronounce sentence of death by night : 
hence they had had to wait till dawn to condemn Him. Now another 
regulation hampers ihem : a day must intervene between sentence and 
execution. This they shuffled out of by going at once to Pilate. Of 
course if he undertook the execution, he must fix the time; and their 
representations would secure his ordering immediate execution. Thus 
they shifted the breach of the law from themselves to him. 

As in the life of our Lord as a whole, so also in this last week and 
last day of it, the exact sequence and time of the events cannot be 
ascertained with certainty. Chronology is not what the Evangelists 
aim at giving us. For a tentative arrangement of the chief events of 
the Passion see Appendix C. 

they themselves] In contrast with their Victim, whom they sent in 
under a Roman guard. 

lest they slumld] Better, that they nught not, omitting 'that they' 
in the next clause. 

be defiled] by entering a house not properly cleansed of leaven (Ex. 
xii. 15). 

eat the passover] It is quite evident that S. John does not regard the 
Last Supper as a Paschal meal. Comp. xiii. r, 29. It is equally 
evident that the synoptic narratives convey the impression that the Last 
Supper was the ordinary Jewish Passover (Matt. xxvi. 17, 18, 19; Mark 
xiv. 14, 16; Luke xxii. 7, 8, 11, 13, 15). Whatever be the right 
solution of the difficulty, the independence of the author of the Fourth 
Gospel is manifest. Would anyone counterfeiting an Apostle venture 
thus to contradict what seemed to have such strong Apostolic authority? 
Would he not expect that a glaring discrepancy on so important a point 
would prove fatal to his pretensions? Assume that S. John is simply 
recording his own vivid recollections, whether or no we suppose him to 
be correcting the impression produced by the Synoptists, and this 
difficulty at any rate Is avoided. S. John's narrative is too precise and 
consistent to be explained away. On the difficulty as regards the 
Synoptists see Appendix A; also Excursus V at the end of Dr Farrar's 
S. Luke. 

29. Pilate then] Pilate therefore {v. 3). Because they would not 
enter, he went out to them. The Evangelist assumes that his readers 
know who Pilate is, just as he assumes that they know the Twelve 
(vi. 67) and Mary Magdalene (xix. 25) ; all are introduced without ex- 

ivent out] The verb stands first in the Greek for emphasis. The 
best MS. add 'outside' to make it still more emphatic; ivent out there- 

330 vS. JOHN, XVIII. [vv. 30—32. 

them, and said, What accusation bring you against this man? 

30 They answered and said unto him, If he were not a 
malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee. 

31 Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him 
according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, 

32 It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: that the 

fore Pilate outside unto them ; as if attention were specialy called to this 
Roman concession to Jewish reHgiousness. 

What accusatioit] Not that he does not know, but in accordance with 
strict procedure he demands a formal indictment? 

30. a mahfacto7-\ Literally, 'doing evil' or an evil-doer; not the 
same expression as Luke xxiii. 32. The Jews are taken aback at 
Pilate's evident intention of trying the case himself. Tlieyhad expected 
him merely to carry out their sentence, and had not come provided with 
any definite accusation. Blasphemy, for which they had condemned 
Him (Matt. xxvi. 65, 6(^), might be no crime with Pilate (comp. Acts 
xviii. 16). Hence the vagueness of their first charge. Later on (xix. 7) 
they throw in the charge of blasphemy; but they rely mainly on three 
distinct charges, which being political, Pilate must hear; (1) seditious 
agitation, (2) forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, (3) assuming the title, 
'King of the Jews' (Luke xxiii. 3). 

31. Then said Pilate] Pilate therefore (v. 3) said. If they will 
not make a specific charge, he will not deal with the case. Pilate, im- 
pressed probably by his wife's dream (Matt, xxvii. 19) tries in various 
ways to avoid sentencing Jesus to death, (i) He would have the Jews 
deal with the case themselves; (2) he sends Jesus to Herod ; (3) he pro- 
poses to release Him in honour of the Feast ; (4) he will scourge Him 
and let Him go. Roman governors were not commonly so scrupulous, 
and Pilate was not above the average : a vague superstitious dread was 
perhaps his strongest motive. Thrice in the course of these attempts 
does he pronounce Jesus innocent (v. 39, xix. 4, 6). 

Take ye, &c.] Literally, 7a/(v /«>« yourselves, and according to your 
law judge Hirn. 'Yourselves' and 'your' are emphatic and slightly 
contemptuous. The ' therefore ' which follows is wanting in most of 
the best MSS. 

ft is not lawful, &c.] These words are to be taken quite literally, 
and without any addition, such as 'at the Passover' or 'by crucifixion,' 
or 'for high treason.' The question whether the Sanhedrin had or had 
not the right to inflict capital punishment at this time is a vexed one. 
On the one hand we have (1) this verse; (2) the statement of the Talmud 
that 40 years before the destruction of Jerusalem the Jews lost this 
power; (3) the evidence of Josephus {Ant. xx. ix. i ; comp. xviii. i. i; 
XVI. ii. 4, and vi.) that the high priest could not summon a judicial 
court of the Sanhedrin without the Procurator's leave; (4) the analogy 
of Roman law. To this it is replied (Diillinger, First oqc of the Church, 
Appendix li.) ; (1) that the Jews quibbled in oriler to cause Jesus to be 
crucified at the Feast instead of slo'.icd after all the people had disjicrsed; 

V. 33-] S. JOHN, XVIII. 331 

saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signi- 
fying what death he should die. Then Pilate entered into 33 
the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto 

and Pilate would not have insulted the Jews from the tribunal by telling 
them to put Jesus to death, if they had no power to do so; (2) that the 
Talmud^ is in error, for the Roman dominion began 60 years before the 
destruction of Jerusalem; (3) that Josephus (xx. ix. i) shews that the 
Jews had this power: Ananus is accused to Albinus not for putting 
people to death, but for holding a court without leave : had the former 
been criminal it would have been mentioned ; (4) that the analogy of 
Roman law proves nothing, for cities and countries subject to Rome 
often retained their autonomy : and there are the cases of Stephen, those 
for whose death S. Paul voted (Acts xxvi. 10), and the Apostles, whom 
the Sanhedrin wished to put to death (Acts v. 33); and Gamaliel in dis- 
suading the council never hints that to inflict death will bring trouble 
upon themselves. To this it may be replied again; (r) that Pilate 
would have exposed a quibble had there been one, and his dignity as 
judge was evidently not above shewing ironical contempt for the plain- 
tiffs; (2) that the Talmud may be wrong about the date and right about 
the fact; possibly it is right about both; (3) to mention the holding of a 
court by Ananus was enough to secure the interference of Albinus, and 
more may have been said than Josephus reports ; (4) autonomy in the 
case of subject states was the exception ; therefore the burden of proof 
rests with those who assert it of the Jews. Stephen's death (if judicial 
at all) and the other cases (comp. John v. 18, vii. i, 25, viii. 37, 59; 
Acts xxi. 31) only prove that the Jews sometimes ventured on acts of 
violence of which the Romans took little notice. Besides we do not 
know that in all these cases the Sanhedrin proposed to do more than to 
sentence to death, trusting to the Romans to execute the sentence, as 
here. Pilate's whole action, and his express statement xix. 10, seem to 
imply that he alone has the power to inflict death. 

32. the saying\ Ot word, xii. 32; Matt. xx. 19. 

7uhat death] Rather, by what manner of death, as in xii. 33 and 
xxi. 19. So in x. 32 the Greek means ' for what kind of a work,' not 
merely 'for which work.' Comp. Matt. xxi. 23; xxii. 36; Luke vi. 32, 
xxiv. 19. Had the Sanhedrin executed Him as a blasphemer or a false 
prophet, He would have been stoned. The Jews had other forms of 
capital punishment, but crucifixion was not among them. 

33 — 37. Inside the Praetorium ; Jesus is privately examined by Pilate 
and makes 'a good confession ' (i Tim. vi. 13). 

33. Then Pilate'] Pilate therefore [v. 3). Because of the impor- 
tunity of the Jews Pilate is obhged to investigate further; and being 
only Procurator, although cicm potestate, has no Quaestor, but conducts 
the examination himself. 

called Jems] Probably the Roman guards had already brought Him 
inside the Praetorium : Pilate now calls Him before the judgment-seat. 

332 S. JOHN, XVIII. [vv. 34—37. 

34 him, Art thou the King of the Jews ? Jesus answered him, 
Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell // thee of 

35 me? Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and 
the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast 

36 thou done ? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this 
world : if my kingdom were of this world, then would my 
servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: 

37 but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore 

The conversation implies that Jesus had not heard the previous conver- 
sation with the Jews. 

Art thou the King of the ye70s?\ In all four Gospels these are the 
first words of Pilate to Jesus, and in all four there is an emphasis on 
'Thou.' The pitiable appearance of Jesus was in such contrast to the 
royal title that Pilate speaks with a tone of surprise (comp. iv. 12). The 
question may mean either 'Dost Thou claim to be King?' or, 'Art 
Thou the so-called King?' The royal title first appears in the mouth 
of the wise men. Matt. ii. r, next in the mouth of Pilate. 

34. answered him'\ Omit 'him:' the introductions to vv. 34, 35, 
36 are alike in form and are solemn in their brevity. The Synoptists 
give merely a portion of tlie reply in v. 37. 

tell it thee'] 'It' is not in the original and need not be supplied. Jesus 
claims a right to know the author of the charge. Moreover the mean- 
ing of the title, and therefore the truth of it, would depend on the 
person who used it. In Pilate's sense He was not King; in another 
sense He was. 

35. Am la yezvF] 'Is it likely that I, a Roman governor, have any 
interest in these Jewish questions? ' 

have delivered thee unto me: zvliat hast thoic done?] Better, delivered 
Tliee unlo tne : what didst Tliou do to make Thine own people turn 
against Thee? 

36. yi/y kingdom'] There is a strong emphasis on 'My' througliout 
the verse; 'the kingdom that is Mine, the servants that are Mine;' 
i.e. those that are truly such (see on xiv. -27). The word for 'sei^vants' 
here is the same as is rendered 'officers' in w. 3, 12, iS, 22, vii. 
32, 45, 46 (comp. Matt. v. 25), and no doubt contains an allusion to 
the officials of the Jewish hierarchy. In Luke i. 2, the only other place 
in the Gospels where the word is used of Christians, it is rendered 
'ministers,' as also in i Cor. iv. i, the only place where the word occurs 
in the Epistles. Comp. Acts xiii. 5. 

is 7iot of this world] Has not its origin or root there so as to draw its 
power from thence. Comp. viii. 23, x". 19, xvii. 14, 16. 

if my kingdom] In the original the order is impressively reversed; if 
of this world were My kingdom. For the construction comp. v. 46. 

fight] Better, be striving (comp. Luke xiii. 24; i Cor. ix. 25). For 
the construction comp. v. 46, viii. 19, 42, ix. 41, xv. 19. 

but now] The meaning of 'now' is clear from the context and also 

V. 37-] S. JOHN, XVIII. 333 

said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou 
sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for 
this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness 
unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my 

from viii. 40, ix. 41, xv. 22, 24, 'as it is,' 'as the case really stands.' 
It does not mean 'My kingdom is not of this world now, but shall be so 
hereafter ; ' as if Christ were promising a millenium. 

37. Ari than a king ^/wn] The Greek for 'then' (ptikmin) occurs here 
only in N. T. The 'Thou' is even more emphatic than in v. 33. The 
two together give a tone of scorn to the question, which is half an ex- 
clamation. 'So then, 77zc2< art a king ! ' Comp. i. 21. 

Thou sayest that, &c.] This may be rendered, Thou sayest {ix\^y); 
because, &c. But the A. V. is better : Christ leaves the title and ex- 
plains the nature of His kingdom — the realm of truth. 

To this end. ..for this caiise\ The Greek for both is the same, and 
should be rendered in the same way in English ; to this end. Both 
refer to what precedes; not one to what precedes and one to what 
follows. To be a king, He became incarnate; to be a king, He entered 
the world. 

ivas I born... came /] Better, have I been born. I come. Both 
verbs are perfects and express not merely a past event but one which 
continues in its effects; Christ has come and remains in the world. The 
pronoun is very emphatic; in this respect Christ stands alone among 
men. The verbs point to His previous existence with the Father, al- 
though Pilate would not see this. The expression 'come into the world' 
is frequent in S. John (i. 9, ix. 39, xi. 27, xvi. 28) : as applied to Christ 
it includes the notion of His mission (iii. 17, x. 36, xii. 47, 49, xvii. 18). 

that I shoulcT\ This is the Divine purpose of His royal power. 

bear ivitness unto the truth^ Not merely 'witness the truth,' i. e. give 
a testimony that is true, but bear witness to the objective reality of the 
Truth : again, not merely 'bear witness of i.e. respecting the Truth (i. 
7, 15, ii. 25, v. 31 — 39, viii. 13 — 18, &c.), but 'bear witness /t>,' i.e. in 
support and defence of the Truth (v. 33). Both these expressions, 'wit- 
ness' and 'truth,' have been seen to be very frequent in S. John (see 
especially chaps, i. iii. v. viii. passim). We have them combined here, 
as in V. 33. This is the object of Christ's sovereignty, — to bear witness 
to the Truth. It is characteristic of the Gospel that it claims to be 
'the Truth.' "This title of the Gospel is not found in the Synoptists, 
Acts, or Apocalypse; but it occurs in the Catholic Epistles (James i. 
18; r Pet. i. 22 ; 2 Pet. ii. 2) and in S. Paul (2 Thess. ii. 12; 2 Cor. 
xiii. 8; Eph. i. 13, &c). It is specially characteristic of the Gospel and 
Epistles of S. John." Westcott, Introduction to S. John, p. xliv. 

that is of the truth'] That has his root in it, so as to draw the power 
of his life from it. Comp. v. 36, iii. 31, viii. 47, and especially i John 
ii. 21, iii. 19. 

"It is of great interest to compare this confession before Pilate with 
the corresponding confession before the high priest (Matt. xxvi. 64). 

334 S. JOHN, XVIII. [w. 38, 39. 

38 voice. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when 
he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and 

39 saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all. But ye 
have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the 

The one addressed to the Jews is in the language of prophecy, the other 
addressed to a Roman appeals to the universal testimony of conscience. 
The one speaks of a future manifestation of glory, the other of a present 

manifestation of truth It is obvious how completely they answer 

severally to the circumstances of the two occasions." Westcott, in loco. 

38. What is truth .?] Pilate does not ask about 'the Truth,' but 
truth in any particular case. His question does not indicate any serious 
wish to know what truth really is, nor yet the despairing scepticism of a 
baffled thinker ; nor, on the other hand, is it uttered in a light spirit of 
'jesting' (as Bacon thought). Rather it is the half-pitying, half- 
impatient, question of a practical man of the world, whose experience of 
life has convinced him that truth is a dream of enthusiasts, and that 
a kingdom in which truth is to be supreme is as visionary as that of the 
Stoics. He has heard enough to convince him that the Accused is no 
dangerous incendiary, and he abruptly brings the investigation to a close 
with a question, which to his mind cuts at the root of the Prisoner's 
aspirations. Here probably we must insert the sending to Herod Anti- 
pas, who had come from Tiberias, as Pilate from Caesarea, on account 
of the Feast, the one to win popularity, the other to keep order (Luke 
xxiii. 6 — 12). 

38—40. Outside the Praetorium ; Pilate pronounces Him innocent 
and offers to release Him in honour of the feast : the Jews prefer 

38. unto the ye^vs\ Apparently this means the mob and not the 
hierarchy. Pilate hoped that only a minority were moving against 
Jesus ; by an appeal to the majority he might be able to acquit Him 
without incurring odium P.y pronouncing Him legally innocent he 
would gain this majority ; by proposing to release Him_ on account of 
the Feast ratlier than of His innocence he would avoid insulting the 
Sanhedrin, who had already pronounced Him guilty. From S. Mark 
(xv. 8, 11) it would appear that soitie of the multitude hoped to deliver 
Jesus 'on the plea of the Feast and took the initiative in reminding 
Pilate of the custom, but were controlled by the priests and made to 
clamour for Barabbas. 

I find in him no fault at all\ Rather, I find no ground of accusa- 
tion in him. As in xix. 6, the pronoun is emphatic; 'I, the Roman 
judge, in contrast to you Jewish fanatics.' The word here and xix. 4, 6 
rendered 'fault' [aitia) is rendered 'accusation' Matt, xxvii. 37 and 
Mark xv. 26, and 'cause' Acts xiii. 28, x.xviii. 18. In all these pas- 
sages it seems to mean 'legal ground for prosecution.' 

39. ye have a custom] Nothing is known of this custom beyond 
what is told us in the Gospels, Prisoners were sometimes released at 
Rome at certain festivals, and it would be quite in harmony with the 

w. 40.] S. JOHN, XVIII. 335 

passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King 
of the Jews? Then cried they all again, saying. Not this 40 
man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber. 

conciliatory policy of Rome to honour native festivals in this way in the 
case of subject nations. In Luke xxiii. 17 the custom is said to be an 
obligation ; ' of necessity he must ;' but the verse is of very doubtful 

that I should^ 'LiitrsXXy, in order thut I should. See on xv. 12. 

the -King of the yews] Expressive of scornful contempt. Comp. 
xix. 15. 

40. Then cried they all agaiti] Better, They cried out therefore 
(v. 3) again all of them. S. John has not mentioned any previous shout 
of the multitude; he once more assumes that his readers know the chief 
facts. See on xix. 6. 

Barabbas] Or, Bar-Abbas, son of Abba (father). The innocent Son 
of the Father is rejected for the bloodstained son of a father. In 
Matt, xxvii. 16 and 17 some inferior authorities read ' yesiis Barabbas' 
as his name, and Pilate asks ' Which do ye wish that I release to 
you, Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus Who is called Christ ?' The reading is 
remarkable, but it is supported by no good MS. 

Now Barabbas was a robber] There is a tragic impressiveness in this 
brief remark. Comp. 'Jesus wept' (xi. 35), and 'And it was night' 
(xiii. 30). It is to be regretted that 'robber' has not always been given 
as the translation of the Greek word used here (Xtjcttjs not k-X^ttttjs). 
Thus we should have 'denof roW^j' or ' robbers' cave' (Matt. xxi. 13); 'as 
against a robber^ (Matt. xxvi. 55) ; 'two robbers^ (Matt, xxvii. 38, 44). The 
'robber ' is the bandit or brigand, who is more dangerous to persons than 
to property, and sometimes combines something of chivalry with his vio- 
lence. In the case of Barabbas we know from S. Mark and S. Luke that 
he had been guilty of insurrection and consequent bloodshed rather than 
of stealing; and this was very likely the case also with the two robbers 
crucified with Jesus. Thus by a strange irony of fate the hierarchy 
obtain the release of a man guilty of the very political crime with which 
they charged Christ, — sedition. The people no doubt had some sym- 
pathy with the insurrectionary movement of Barabbas, and on this the 
priests worked. Barabbas had done, just what Jesus had refused to do, 
take the lead against the Romans. "They laid information against 
Jesus before the Roman government as a dangerous character; their 
real complaint against Him was precisely this, that He was not danger- 
ous. Pilate executed Him on the ground that His kingdom was of this 
world ; the Jews procured His execution precisely l)ecause it was not." 
Ecce Homo, p. 27. 

336 S. JOHN, XIX. [vv. 1—3, 

Chap. XIX. 

19 Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And 
' the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put // on his head, 
3 and they put on him a purple robe, and said, Hail, King of 

Chap. XIX. 
1 — 3. Inside the Praetorinm ; the scourging and mockery by the 

1. T/ien Pilate therefore^ Because the attempt to release Him in 
honour of the Feast had failed, Pilate now tries whether the severe and 
degrading punishment of scourging will not satisfy the Jews. In 
Pilate's hands the boasted justice of Roman Law ends in the policy 
"What evil did He do? I found no cause of death in Him: I will 
therefo?-e chastise Him and let Him go" (Luke xxiii. •22). Scourging 
was part of Roman capital punishment, and had we only the first two 
Gospels we might suppose that the scourging was inflicted immediately 
before the crucifixion: but this is not stated, and S. John, combined 
with S. Luke, makes it clear that scourging was inflicted as a separate 
punishment in the hope that it would suffice. The supposition of a 
second scourging as part of the execution is unnecessary and improb- 
able. Pilate, sick of the bloody work and angry at being forced to 
commit a judicial murder, would not have allowed it; and it maybe 
doubted whether any human frame could have survived a Roman 
scourging twice in one day. One infliction was sometimes fatal ; ille 
flagellis ad mortem caesus, Hor. S. 1. ii. 41. Comp. ^ horribile flagellum^ 
S. I. iii. 1 19. 

2. And the soldiers'] Herod and his troops (Luke xxiii. 11) had set 
an example which the Roman soldiers were ready enough to follow. 
Pilate countenances the brutality as aiding his own plan of satisfying 
Jewish hatred with something less than death. The soldiers had in- 
flicted the scourging; for Pilate, being only Procurator, would have no 

a crffivn of thorns'] The context seems to shew that this was in 
mockery of a royal crown rather than of a victor's wreath. The jilant 
is supposed to be the thiirny iicibk, with flexible branches, and leaves 
like ivy, abundant in the Jordan valley and round about Jerusalem. 

a purple robe] S. Mark has 'purple,' S. Matthew 'scarlet,' S. Luke 
is silent. ' Purple' with the ancients was a vague term for bright rich 
colour and would be used of crimson as well as of violet. The robe was 
a military chlamys, or paludamentiini, perhaps one of Pilate's cast-off 
cloaks. The garment in which Herod had mocked Jesus was probably 
white. Comp. i Mace. viii. 14, x. 20, 62. The scourging and 
mockery were very possibly visible to the Jews outside. 

3. And said] The best authorities acid a graphic touch not given 
by the Synoptisls ; and they kept coming unto Him and saying. We 
see each soldier coming up in turn to ofTer his mock homage. 

Hail, King of the Jc7vs] Like the Procurator, they mock the Jews 
as well as their Victim. 

w. 4—6.] S. JOHN, XIX. 337 

the Jews : and they smote him with their hands. Pilate 4 
therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I 
bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no 
fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of s 
thorns, and the purple robe. And Pi/afe saith unto them, 
Behold the man. When the chief priests therefore and 6 
ofhcers saw him, they cried out, saying. Crucify Aim, crucify 
/ii'm. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify 

smofe him with their hands'] Literally, gave Him blows, but 
whether with a rod, as the root of the word implies, or with the hand, 
as is more probable, we are uncertain (see on xviii. 22). The old 
Latin version adds infaciem. 

4—7. Outside the Praetoriuin ; Pilate's appeal, ' Behold the man ;' 
the Jews' rejoinder, 'He made Himself Son of God.' 

4. Pilate therefore'] The true text gives, and Pilate. What follows 
is a contimiance rather than a consequence of what has preceded. 

If}id 710 fault in him] There is a slight change from xix. 38, the 
emphasis here being on 'crime' instead of on 'I'; ground of accusa- 
tion I find none in Him. 

5. Then came Jesus] Better, Jesus therefore came. The Evange- 
list repeats the details oi v. 2 ; they are details of a picture deeply 
imprinted on his memory. Whether or no he went into the Praetorium, 
he no doubt witnessed the Ecce Homo. 

wearing] Not simply 'having' or 'bearing' (fhorSn not pheron). 
The crown and robe are now His pei;manent dress. 

Behold the man I] In pity rather than contempt. Pilate appeals to 
their humanity : surely the most bitter among them will now be satisfied, 
or at least the more compassionate will control the rest. No one can 
think that this Man is dangerous, or needs further punishment. When 
this appeal fails, Pilate's pity turns to bitterness {v. 14). 

6. and officers] Better (as in xviii. 18), and the officers.^ The 
leaders take the initiative, to prevent any expression of compassion on 
the part of the crowd. The sight of ' the Man ' maddens rather than 
softens them. 

cried out] The verb [kraugazo] expresses a loud cry, and (excepting 
Matt. xii. 19; Acts xxii. 23) occurs only in this Gospel in N. T. Comp. 
xi. 43, xii. 13, xviii. 40, xix. 12, 15. 

Crucify him] Omit the pronoun, which is not in the_ Greek. The 
simple imperative better expresses the cry which was to give the cue to 
the multitude. According to all four Evangelists the demand for cruci- 
fixion was not made at first, but after the offer to release Jesus in 
honour of the Feast. 

Take ye hitn] Better, Take Him yourselves, as in xviii. 31. We 
may admit that it ought to have been beneath the dignity of a Roman 
judge to taunt the people with a suggestion which he knew that they 
dare not follow ; but there is nothing so improbable in it as to compel 

S. JOHN 22 

338 S. JOHN, XIX. [w. 7— ii. 

7 him: for I find no fault in him. The Jews answered him, 
We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he 
made himself the Son of God. 

8 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the 

9 more afraid; and went again into the judgment hall, and 
saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou ? But Jesus gave him no 

10 answer. Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not 
unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify 

11 thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou 

us to believe that the Jews had the power of inflicting capital punishment 
(see on xviii. 31). Pilate is goaded into an exhibition of feeling un- 
worthy of his office. 

for IJifid] As in xviii. 38, the 'I' is emphatic; 'for / do not find 
in Him a ground of accusation.' 

7. i4^e have a latv] The Jews answer Pilate's taunt by a plea 
hitherto kept in the background. He may think lightly of the seditious 
conduct of Jesus, but as a Procurator he is bound by Roman precedent to 
pay respect to the law of subject nationalities. He has challenged them 
to take the law into their own hands; let him hear what their law is. 

by our law] Rather, according to the law ; 'of us' is not genuine. 
They refer to Lev. xxiv. 16. 

the Son of God] Omit 'the.' Pilate had said, 'Behold i\\Q ManP 
The Jews retort, ' He made Himself Son of God.' Comp. v. 18, x. 33. 
They answer his appeal to their compassion by an appeal to his fears. 

8 — 11. Inside the Praetoruini ; Christ's origin is asked and not told; 
the origin of authority is told unasked. 

8. that saying] Better, this word [logos), the charge of blasphemy. 
he 2vas the more afraid] The message from his wife and the awe 

which Christ's presence was probably inspiring had already in some 
degree affected him. This mysterious claim still further excites his 
fears. Was it the offspring of a divinity that he had so infamously 
handled? Comp. Matt, xxvii. 54. 

9. judgment-hall] See on xviii. 28. 

Whence art thou'?] Pilate tries a vague question which might apply 
to Christ's dwelling-place, which he already knew (Luke xxiii. 6), 
hoping for an answer as to His origin. Would the prisoner assert his 
mysterious claim to him, or explain it ? 

no answer] Pilate could not have understood the answer ; and what 
had it to do with the merits of the case? Comp. Matt, xxvii. 12 — 14 
and Christ's own precept. Matt. vii. 6. 

10. Then saith, &c.] Better, Pilate therefore saith to Hitn, To me 
Speakest thou not? Whatever He might do before His Jewish persecu- 
tors, it was folly to refuse an answer to the Roman governor, 

power] Or, authority. See on i. 12 and comp. v. 27, x. 18, 
xvii, 2. In the best texts 'to release' is placed first, 'to crucify' 

V. 12.] S. JOHN, XIX. 339 

couldest have no power at all against me, except it were 
given thee from above : therefore he that delivered me unto 
thee hath the greater sin. And from thenceforth Pilate 12 
sought to release him : but the Jews cried out, saying, If 
thou let this f7ian go, thou art not Cesar's friend : whoso- 

11. Thou cotddest] Or, wouldest. This is Christ's last word to 
Pilate ; a defence of the supremacy of God, and a protest against the 
claim of any human potentate to be irresponsible. 

f?'om above] i. e. from God. This even Pilate could understand : 
had Jesus said 'from My Father' he would have remained uninstructed. 
The point is not, that Pilate is an instrument ordained for the carrying 
out of God's purposes (Acts ii. 23) ; he was such, but that is not the 
meaning here. Rather, that the possession and exercise of all authority 
is the gift of God; iii. 27; Rom. xiii. i — 7 (see notes there). To in- 
terpret ' from above ' of the higher tribunal of the Sanhedrin is quite 
inadequate. Comp. iii. 3, 7, 31; James i. 17, iii. 15, 17, where the 
same adverb, anothen, is used : see notes in each place. 

therefore] Better, for tMs cause (xii, 18, 27); comp. i. 31, v. 16, 18, 
vii. 22, viii. 47. 

he that delivered me unto thee] Caiaphas, the representative of the 
Sanhedrin and of the nation. The expression rendered ' he that de- 
livered ' is used in xiii. ii, xviii. 2, 5 of Judas. But the addition 'to 
thee ' shews that Judas is not meant ; Judas had not betrayed Jesus to 
Pilate but to the Sanhedrin. The same verb is used of the Sanhedrin 
delivering Him to Pilate, xviii. 35. 

hath the greater sin] Because he had the opportunity of knowing 
Who Jesus was. Once more we have the expression, peculiar to S. 
John, 'to have sin' (ix. 41, xv. 22, 24; i John i. 8). 

12 — 16. Outside the Praetorium; the power from above controlled 
from below pronounces public sentence against the Innocent. 

12. And from thenceforth] Or (as in vi. 66), Hereupon. Result 
rather than time seems to be meant ; but the Greek (here and vi. 66 only 
in N. T.) may mean either. Omit 'and.' 

sought] Imperfect tense, of continued efforts. Indirect means, such 
as the release in honour of the Feast, the appeal to compassion, and 
taunts having proved unsuccessful, Pilate now makes more direct efforts 
to release Jesus. What these were the Evangelist does not tell us. 

If thou let this man go] Better, If thou release this man; it is the 
same verb as in the first clause. The Jews once more shift their tactics 
and from the ecclesiastical charge [v. 7) go back to the political, which 
they now back up by an appeal to Pilate's own political interests. They 
know their man : it is not a love of justice, but personal feeling which 
moves him to seek to release Jesus ; and they will overcome one personal 
feeling by another still stronger. Pilate's unexplained interest in Jesus 
and supercilious contempt for His accusers must give way before a fear 
for his own position and possibly even his life. 

Cesar^ s friend] Whether or no there was any such title of honour 

22 — -a 

340 S. JOHN, XIX. [vv. 13, 14. 

13 ever maketh himself a king speaketh against Cesar. When 
Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, 
and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called 

14 the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was 

as amicus Cesaris, like our 'Queen's Counsel,' there is no need to sup- 
pose that any formal official distinction is intended here. The words 
probably mean no more than 'loyal to Cesar.' 

whosoever] Literally, every one who. 

maketh himself] Comp. v. 7, x, 33. The phrase perhaps implies 
action as well as words. 

speaketh against Caesar] ipso facto declares himself a rebel; and for a 
Roman governor to countenance and even protect such a person would 
be high treason {majestas). The Jews perhaps scarcely knew how 
powerful their weapon was. Pilate's patron Sejanus (executed A. D. 31) 
was losing his hold over Tiberius, even if he had not already fallen. 
Pilate had already thrice nearly driven the Jews to revolt, and his cha- 
racter therefore would not stand high with an Emperor who justly 
prided himself on the good government of the provinces. Above all, 
the terrible Lex Majcstatis was by this time worked in such a way that 
prosecution under it was almost certain death. 

13. that saying] The better reading gives, these words. Pilate's 
mind seems to be made up at once. 

brought yesus forth] Sentence must be pronounced in public. Thus 
we find that Pilate, in giving judgment about the standards, which had 
been brought into Jerusalem, has his tribunal in the great circus at 
Caesarea, and Florus erects his in front of the palace (Josephus, B. J. 
II. ix. 3, xiv. 8). 

sat down] The Greek verb (kathizo) may be either transitive, as in 
I Cor. vi. 4; Eph. i. 20, or intransitive, as in Matt. xix. 28; xxv. 31. 
If it is transitive here, the meaning will be, 'placed him on a seat,' as 
an illustration of his mocking exclamation, 'Behold your King!' — i.e. 
'There He sits enthroned ! But [viii. 2 ;] xii. 14; Rev, iii. 21, xx. 4, 
the only places where S. John uses the word, and Acts xii. 21, xxv. 6, 
1 7, where we have the same phrase as here, are against the transitive 
meaning in this place. 

in the judgment scat] In the true text there is no article, which may 
mean that it was not the usual Bona but a temporary one. Every 
where else in N. T. 'judgment seat' has the definite article. 

Pavement] Literally, stone-paved. Josephus {Ant. v. v. 2) says that 
the Temple-mount, on part of which the fortress of Antonia stood, was 
covered with a tesselated pavement. 

in the Hebrew, Gabbatha] Omit 'the,' as in v. 20, and see on xx. 16. 
It was, we may conclude "from its having a Hebrew name, a fixed 
spot, and not the portable mosaic work which Roman generals some- 
times carried about with them." S. p. 250. The fact that there was 
a fixed pavement supports this view; but Gabbatha { = Gab Baitha) 
means 'the ridge of the House' i.e. 'the Temple-mound,' and refers to 
the shape of the ground (like a back), not to the pavement upon it. 

V. 140 S. JOHN, XIX. 341 

the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour : 

14. the preparation] i. e. the day before the Passover, the 'eve.' See 
Appendix A. 

and about the sixth hour'\ The best MSS. have 'it was' for 'and;' 
it was about the sixth hour. In two abrupt sentences S. John calls 
special attention to the day and hour; 7iow it was the eve of the Passover: 
it was about the sixth hour. It is difficult to beUeve that he can be 
utterly mistaken about both. The question of the day is discussed 
elsewhere (Appendix A) ; the question as to the hour remains. 

We have seen already (i. 39, iv. 6, 52, xi. 9), that whatever view we 
may take of the balance of probability in each case, there is nothing thus 
far which is conclusively in favour of the antecedently improbable view, 
that S. John reckons the hours of the day as we do, from midnight to 
noon and noon to midnight. 

The modern method is sometimes spoken of as the Roman method. 
This is misleading, as it seems to imply that the Romans counted their 
hours as we do. If this were so, it would not surprise us so much to 
find that S. John, living away from Palestine and in the caphal of a 
Roman province, had adopted the Roman reckoning. But the Romans 
and Greeks, as well as the Jeivs, counted their hours jrom sunrise. Mar- 
tial, who goes through the day hour by hour (iv. viii.), places the 
Roman method beyond a doubt. The difference between the Romans 
and the Jews was not as to the mode of counting the houf-s, but as to the 
limits of each individual day. The Jews placed the boundary at sunset, 
the Romans (as we do) at midnight. (Comp. Phny Nat. Hist. 11. 
Ixxvii.) The 'this day' of Pilate's wife (Matt, xxvii. 19) proves no- 
thing; it would fit either the Roman or the Jewish method; and some 
suppose her to have been a proselyte. In this particular S. John does 
seem to have adopted the Roman method; for (^xx. 19) he speaks of 
the evening of Easter Day as 'the same dz.y at evening' (comp. Luke 
xxiv. 29, 33). This must be admitted as against the explanation that 
'yesterday' in iv. 54 was spoken before midnight and refers to the time 
before sunset : but the servants may have met their master after mid- 

But there is some evidence of a custom of reckoning the hours from 
midnight in Asia Minor. Polycarp was martyred 'at the eighth hour' 
(Mart. Pol. XXI.), Pionius at 'the tenth hour' [Acta Mart. ^. 137); 
both at Smyrna. Such exhibitions commonly took place in the morning 
(Philo, II. 529); so that 8.0 and lo.o A.M. are more probable than 2.0 
and 4.0 P.M. 

McClellan adds another argument. " The phraseology of our present 
passage is unique in the Gospels. The hour is mentioned in conjunction 
with the day. To cite the words of St Augustine, but with the correct 
rendering of Paraskeue, 'S. John does not say, It was about the sixth 
hour of the day, nor merely, It was about the sixth hour, but // was the 
Ykiday of the Passover ; it was about the Sixth hour.' Hence in the 
straightforward sense of the words, the sixth hour that he means is the 
sixth hour of the Friday; and so it is rendered in the Thebaic Version. 

342 S. JOHN, XIX. [vv. 15, 16. 

15 and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King. But they 
cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. 
Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The 

16 chief priests answered, We have no king but Cesar. Then 
delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. 

And they took Jesus, and led him away. 

But Fnday in S. John is the name of the whole Roman civil day, and 
the Roman civil days are reckoned from midnight " Neiv Test. I. p. 742. 

This solution may therefore be adopted, not as certain, but as less 
unsatisfactory than the conjecture of a false reading either here or in 
Mark xv. 25, or the various forced interpretations which have been 
given of S. John's words. If, however, the mode of reckoning in both 
Gospels be the same, the preference in point of accuracy must be given 
to the Evangelist who stood by tlie cross. 

Behold your A'ing.] Like the title on the cross and unlike the " Ecce 
Homo,'''' these words are spoken in bitter irony. This man in His mock 
insignia is a fit sovereign for the miseralile Jews. Perhaps Pilate would 
also taunt them with their own glorification of Him on Palm Sunday. 

15. But they] The true text gives. They therefore, with the pronoun 
of opposition {f/c.-iz/o/) in harmony with their cry. They will have no- 
thing to do with such a king. 

Shall J] Or, must /. There is a strong emphasis on 'King,' which 
stands first in the original. Pilate begins (xviii. 33) and ends with the 
same idea, the one dangerous item in the indictment, the claim of Jesus 
to be King of the Jews. 

The chie/ priests] This depth of degradation was reserved for them. 
"The official organs of the theocracy themselves proclaim that they have 
abandoned the faith by which the nation had lived." Sooner than 
acknowledge that Jesus is the Messiah they proclaim that a heathen 
Emperor is their King. And their baseness is at once followed by 
Pilate's : sooner than meet a dangerous charge he condemns the inno- 
cent to death. 

16. Then delivered he, &c. ] Better, Then therefore delivered he, &c. 
In none of the Gospels does it appear that Pilate pronounced sentence 
on Jesus; he perhaps purposely avoided doing so. But in delivering 
Him over to the priests he does not allow them to act for themselves : 
'he delivered Him to them that He might be crucified^ by Roman 
soldiers; not tliat they might crucify Him themselves. 

And they took] The best authorities give, T'/^^^ therefore /^i>/{'. The 
word for 'took' should rather be rendered received, as in the only other 
places in which it occurs in this Gospel, i. 11, xiv. 3. It means to 
'accept what is offered, receive from the hands of another.' A com- 
parison of the three texts is instructive. The eternal Son is given by 
the Father, comes to his own inheritance, and His own people received 
Him not (i. 11). The Incarnate Son is given up by Pilate to His own 
people, and they received Him to crucify Him (xix. 16). The glorified 

w. 17, 18.] S. JOHN, XIX. 343 

17 — 42. The Death and Burial. 

17 — 22. TJie Crucifixion and the Title on the Cross. 

And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called 17 
the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha : 
where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either 18 

Son comes again to His own people, to receive them unto Himself 
(xiv. 3). 

and led him away\ These words are of very doubtful authority. 

17 — 42. The Death and Burial. 

For what is peculiar to S. John's narrative in this section see the 
introductory note to chap, xviii. Besides this, the title on the cross, the 
Jews' criticism of it, and the conduct of the four soldiers, are given with 
more exactness by S. John than by the Synoptists. 

The section falls into four double parts of which the second and 
fourth contain a marked dramatic contrast, such as S. John loves to 
point out : — 

(i) The Cmcifixion and the title on the cross (17 — 22). 

(2) The four enemies and the four friends (23 — 27). 

(3) The two words, 'I thirst,' 'It is finished' (28—30). 

(4) The hostile and the frieitdly petitions (31 — 42). 

17—22. The Crucifixion and the Title on the Cross, 

17. hearing his cross'] The better reading gives, bearing the cross 
for Himself. S. John omits the help vi'hich Simon the Cyrenian was 
soon compelled to render, as also (vk^hat seems to be implied by Mark 
XV. 22) that at last they were obliged to carry Jesus Himself. Comp. 
the Lesson for Good Friday morning. Gen. xxii., especially v. 6. 

went forth] "The place of public execution appears to have been 
situated north of the city. It was outside the gate (Heb. xiii. 12) and 
yet 'nigh unto the city' (v. 20). In the Mishna it is placed outside the 
city by a reference to Lev. xxiv. 14. It is said to have been 'two men 
high' (Sanh. vi. i). The Jews still point out the site at the cliff, north 
of the Damascus gate, where is a cave now called 'Jeremiah's Grotto.' 
This site has therefore some claim to be considered as that of the Cruci- 
fixion. It was witliin 200 yards of the wall of Agrippa, but was certainly 
outside the ancient city. It was also close to the gardens and the tombs 
of the old city, which stretch northwards from the cliff; and it was close 
to the main north road, in a conspicuous position, such as might 
naturally be selected for a place of public execution." Conder, Hand- 
book to the Bible, pp. 356, 7. 

of a skull] Probably on account of its shape. It would be contrary 
to Jewish law to leave skulls unburied ; and if this were the meaning of 
the name we should expect 'of skulls' rather than 'of a skull.' 

18. two other] Robbers or bandits (not 'thieves'), as S. Matthew 

344 S. JOHN, XIX. [w. 19—21. 

19 side one, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote 
a title, and put // on the cross. And the writing was, 

20 This title then read many of the Jews : for the place where 
Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in 

21 Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then said the chief priests 
of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews ; 

and S. Mark call them, probably guilty of the same crimes as Barabbas 
(see on xviii. 40). Jesus is crucified with them as being condemned 
under a similar charge of sedition and treason. 

Jesus in the midst] Here also we seem to have a tragic contrast 
— the Christ between two criminals. It is the place of honour mock- 
ingly given to Him as King. 

19. n title\ Better, a title also. It was common to put on the cross 
the name and crime of the person executed, after making him carry it 
round his neck to the place of execution. S. John alone tells us that 
Pilate wrote the title himself. The meaning of the 'also' is not quite 
clear; perhaps it looks back to v. 16. S. John uses the Latin term, 
tilulus, in a Greek form, titlos. S. Matthew has 'His indictment' 
(xxvii. 37); S. Mark, 'the inscription of His indictment' (xv. 26); 
S. Luke, 'an inscription' (xxiii. 38). 

the ivriting was\ Literally, there was written (see on ii. 1 7). The 
other three give the inscription thus; — S. Matthew, 'This is jesus the 
King of the Jews;' S. Mark, 'The King of the Jews;' S. Luke, 'This 
is the King of the Jews.' 

20. nigh to the cily\ Pictures are often misleading in placing the city 
a mile or two in the background of the Crucifixion. S. John's exact 
topographical knowledge comes out again here. 

in Hcbre^v, and Greek, and Latin] The better texts give, In Hebrew 
and in Latin and in Greek. The national and the official languages 
would naturally be placed before Greek, — and for different reasons 
either Hebrew or Latin might be placed first. In Luke xxiii. 38 the 
order is Greek, Latin, Hebrew; but the clause is of verj' doubtful 
authority. In any case the three representative languages of the world 
at that time, the languages of religion, of empire, and of intellect, were 
employed. Thus did they 'tell it out among the heathen that the Lord 
is king,' or (according to a remarkable reading of the LXX. in Ps. xcvi. 
10) 'that the Lord reigned from the tree.' (See on xx. 16.) 

21. Then said] Better, said theiefOTe. Now that they have wrung 
what they wanted out of Pilate they see that in granting it he has in- 
sulted them publicly before the thousands present at the Passover, and 
in a way not easy to resent. 

the chief priests of the Jeivs] The addition ' of the Jews' is remarkable, 
and it occurs nowhere else in N.T. It probably refers to the title: 
these 'chief priests (y///f yi^f'j-' objected to Hi? being called 'the King 
of the Jeios.'' 

w. 22— 24-] S. JOHN, XIX. 345 

but that he said, I am King of the Jews. Pilate answered, 22 
What I have written I have written. 

23 — 27. The four Enemies and the four Friends. 
Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his 23 
garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part ; and 
also his coat : now the coat was without seam, woven from 
the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, 24 
Let us not rent it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be : 
that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They 
parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture 

22. Pilate answered^ His answer illustrates the mixture of obstinacy 
and relentlessness, which Philo says was characteristic of him. His 
own interests are not at stake, so he will have his way : where he had 
anything to fear or to gain he could be supple enough. A shrewd, 
practical man of the world, with all a Roman official's contemptuous 
impartiality and severity, and all the disbehef in truth and disinterested- 
ness which the age had taught him, he seems to have been one of the 
many whose self-interest is stronger than their convictions, and who can 
walk uprightly when to do so is easy, but fail in the presence of danger 
and difficulty. 

23—27. The four Enemies and the four Friends. 

23. Then the soldiers] 'S.tHer, The soldiers IheveiforQ. The 'there- 
fore' looks back to v. 18. 

his garments'] The loose, outer garment, or toga, with the girdle and 
fastenings. This was large enough to be worth dividing, and in some 
cases was the only garment worn. 

four parts] A mark of accurate knowledge ; a quaternion of soldiers 
has charge of the prisoner, as in Acts xii. 4 ; but there the prisoner has 
to be guarded and kept alive, so four quaternions mount guard in turn, 
one for each watch. The clothes of executed criminals were the per- 
quisite of the soldiers on duty. 

liis coat] Better, the coat or shirt : it fitted somewhat close to the 
body, reaching from the neck to the knees or ancles. 

withottt seam] Josephus tells us that that of the high-priest was 
seamless, whereas in other cases this garment was commonly made of 
two pieces {Ant. iii. vii. 4). 

24. that the sciipture] It was in order that the Divine purpose, 
already declared by the Psalmist, might be accomplished, that this two- 
fold assignment of Christ's garments took place. S. John quotes the 
LXX. verbatim, although there the difference, which both he and the 
original Hebrew mark between the upper and under garment, is obli- 
terated. It is from this passage that the reference to Ps. xxii. 18 has been 
inserted in Matt, xxvii. 35 ; none of the Synoptists refer to the Psalm. _ 

my raiment] A capricious change of translation ; the same word is 
rendered garments in v. 23. 

346 S. JOHN, XIX. [vv. 25—27. 

they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers 

25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and 
his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary 

26 Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the 
disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his 

27 mother, Woman, behold thy son. Then saith he to the 

25. Now there stood] Or, But there were standing. By two small 
particles (men in v. 23 and de here), scarcely translatable in English, 
S. John indicates the contrast between the two groups. On the one 
hand, the four plundering soldiers with the centurion; on the other, the 
four ministering women with the beloved disciple. 

his mother's sister, Maryl The Greek, like the English, leaves us in 
doubt whether we here have two women or one, whether altogether there 
are four women or three. The former is much the more probable alterna- 
tive, (i) It avoids the very improbable supposition of two sisters having 
the same name. (2) S. John is fond of parallel expressions; 'His 
mother and His mother's sister, Mary of Clopas and Mary Magdalene' 
are two pairs set one against the other. (3) S. Mark (xv. 40) mentions 
Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the Less, and Salome. 
Mary Magdalene is common to both narratives, 'Mary the mother of 
James the Less' is the same as 'Mary of Clopas:' the natural inference 
is that Salome is the same as 'His mother's sister.' If this is correct, 
(4) S. John's silence about the name of ' His mother's sister' is explained : 
she was his own mother, and he is habitually reserved about all closely 
connected with himself. We have seen already that he never mentions 
either his own name, or his brother's, or the Virgin's. (5) The very 
ancient Peshito or Syriac Version adopts this view by inserting 'and' 
before 'Mary the (wife) of Clopas.' 

the wife of Cleophas^ Rather, the tvife of Clopas. The Greek is 
simply 'the of Clopas,' and 'the daughter of Clopas' may be right, or 
'the mother,'' or even 'the sister:' but 'wife' is more probably to be 
supplied. There is no reason for identifying Clopas here with Cleopas 
in Luke xxiv. 18: Clopas is y\ramaic, Cleopas is Greek. The spelling 
Cleop/^as is a mistake derived from Latin MSS. All Greek authorities 
have Cleopas. If 'wife' is rightly inserted, and she is the mother of 
James the Less, Clopas is the same as Alphaeus (Matt. x. 3 ; comp. 
xxvii. 56). It is said that Clopas and Alphaeus may be different forms 
of the same Aramaic name. 

Mary Magdalene] Introduced, like the Twelve (vi. 67) and Pilate 
(xviii. 29) abruptly and without explanation, as being quite familiar to 
the readers of the Gospel. See on Matt, xxvii. 56 and Luke viii. 2. 

26. zchom he loved] See on xiii. 23. The expression here is not a 
mere periphrasis to avoid giving the name, still less a boastful insertion: 
it explains why Jesus committed the two to one another, (See Intro- 
duction, II. iii. 3 b.) 

IVo/ua;/] .See on ii. 4. 

V. 28.] S. JOHN, XIX. 347 

disciple, Behold thy mother. And from that hour that 
disciple took her unto his own hottie. 

28 — 30. The two words fro?n the Cross, '/ Thirst^ '■It is 


After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accom- 28 
plished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. 

behold thy son.'\ If, as has just been maintained (2nd note on v. 25), 
S. John was the Virgin's nephew, and if, as is probable (see on ii. 12), 
Christ's 'brethren' were the sons of Joseph by a former marriage, the 
fact that Christ committed His mother to her nephew and His own 
beloved disciple rather than to her step-sons requires no explanation. 
Even if His 'brethren' were the sons of Joseph and Mary, their not 
believing on Him (vii. 5) would sufficiently accoimt for their being set 
aside; and we have no evidence that they beheved until after the 
Resurrection (Acts i. 14). 

27. from that hour'] Quite literally, as soon as all was over {v. 30) ; 
or he may have led her away at once and then have returned (v. 35). 

imto his own ho/iie] Although the commendation was double, each 
being given to the other, yet (as was natural) S. John assumes the care 
of Mary rather than she of him. This shews the untenability of the 
view that not only S. John, but in him all the Apostles, were committed 
by Christ to the guardianship of Mary. We have had the Greek 
expression for 'his own (home)' twice already in this Gospel: see on 
i. 1 1 and xvi. 32. That S. John was known to the high-priest (xviii. 15) 
and that his family had hired servants (Mark i. 20) would seem to imply 
that he was a man of some position and substance. 

28 — 30. The two words from the Cross, 'I Thirst,' 'It is 


28. After t/iis'] See on v. 38. 
knowing] Comp. xiii. r. 

were now accomplished] Rather, are already finished. The veiy 
same word is used here as in v. 30, and this identity must be preserved 
in translation. 

thai the scripture, &c.] Many critics make this depend on 'are 
already finished,' in order to avoid the apparent contradiction between 
all things being already finished and something still remaining to be 
accomplished. But this construction is somewhat awkward. It is 

better to connect 'that fulfilled' with 'saith,' especially when Ps. 

Ixix. 21 speaks so plainly of the thirst. The apparent contradiction 
almost disappears when we remember that the thirst had been felt 
sometime before it was expressed. All things were finished, including 
the thirst ; but Christ alone knew this. In order that the prophecy might 
be accomplished, it was necessary that He should make known His 
thirst. 'Brought to its due end' or 'made perfect' is the natural 
meaning of the very unusual expression translated 'fulfilled.' 

348 S. JOHN, XIX. [vv. 29, 30. 

29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar : and they filled a 
spunge with vinegar, and put // upon hyssop, and put it to 

30 his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, 
he said, It is finished : and he bowed his head, and gave up 
the ghost. 

^^. No7v...vi7iegar\ Omit 'now.' S. John's precise knowledge appears 
once more : the other three do not mention the vessel, but he had stood 
close to it. The 'vinegar' was probably the sour wine or posca in a 
large jar ' set ' by the soldiers for their own use while on guard. Criminals 
sometimes hved for many hours, even a day or two, on the cross. 

and they filled, &c.] The true text gives, having placed therefore a 
sponge full of the vinegar upon hyssop they/w/ it to his mouth. The 
difference between the two verbs rendered 'put' is very graphic; the 
one exi)resses the placing of the sponge round the stalk (comp. Matt. 
xxi. 33, xxvii. 28, 48), the other the offering (xvi. 2) and applying 
(Mark x. 13) it to his lips. 

hyssop\ The plant cannot be identified with certainty. The caper- 
plant, which is as likely as any, has stalks which run to two or three 
feet, and this would suffice. It is not probable that Christ's feet were 
on a level with the spectators' heads, as pictures represent : this would 
have involved needless trouble and expense. Moreover the mockery of 
the soldiers recorded by S. Luke (see on xxiii. 36) is more intelligible if 
we suppose that they could almost put a vessel to His lips. S. John 
alone mentions the hyssop ; another mark of exact knowledge. 

put it to his month] The actors and their motive are left doubtful. 
Probably soldiers, but possibly Jews, and probably in compassion rather 
than mockery; or perhaps in compassion under cover of mockery (comp. 
Mark xv. 36). 

30. received] He had refused the stupefying draught (Matt, xxvii, 
34; Mark xv. 23), which would have clouded his faculties: He accepts 
what will revive them for the effort of a willing surrender of His life. 

// is finished] Just as the thirst was there before he expressed it, so 
the consciousness that His work was finished was there [v. 28) before 
He declared it. The Messiah's work of redemption was accomplished; 
His Father's commandment had been obeyed; types and prophecies 
had been fulfilled ; His hfe had been lived, and His teaching completed; 
His last earthly tie had been severed [mi. 16, 27) ; and the end had 
come. The final 'wages of sin' alone remained to be paid. 

he bowed his head] Another detail peculiar to the Evangelist who 
witnessed it. 

gave itp the ghost] The two apostles mark with special clearness that 
the Messiah's death was entirely voluntary. S. Matthew says, 'He let 
go His spirit' (xxvii. 50); S. John, 'He gave up His spirit.' None of 
the four says 'He died.' The other two have 'He breathed out;' and 
S. Luke shews clearly that the surrender of life was a willing one by 
giving the words of svirrendcr ' Father into Thy hands I commend my 
spirit.'— 'No one takcth it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself 

V. 31.] S. JOHN, XIX. 349 

31 — 42. The petition of the Jeivs and the petition of Joseph. 

The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that 31 
the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath 
day, (for that sabbath day was a high day,) besought Pilate 
that their legs might be broken, and that they might be 

It was the one thing which Christ claimed to do 'of Himself (x. 18). 
Contrast v. 30, vii. 28, viii. 28, 42. 

On 'the seven words from the cross' see on Luke xxiii. 34; Mark 
XV. 34 ; Matt, xxvii, 46. Between the two words recorded in these 
verses (28 — 30) there is again a contrast. 'I thirst' is an expression of 
suffering; the only one during the Passion. 'It is finished' is a cry of 
triumph; and the 'therefore' in v. 30 shews how the expression of 
suffering led on to the cry of triumph. S. John omits the 'loud voice' 
which all the Synoptists give as immediately preceding Christ's death. 
It proved that His end was voluntary and not the necessary result of 

31 — 42. The petition of the Jews and the petition of Joseph. 

31. As in xviii. 28, the Jews shew themselves to be among those 
'who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.' In ihe midst of deliberate 
judicial murder they are scrupulous about ceremonial observances. 

The Jews iherefore\ The 'therefore,' as in v. 23, probably does not 
refer to what immediately precedes : it looks back to vv. 20, 2 r. The 
Jews still continue their relentless hostility. They do not know whether 
any one of the three sufferers is dead or not ; their request shews that ; 
so that 'therefore' cannot mean in consequence of Jesus' death. In 
order to save the Sabbath, and perhaps also to inflict still further 
suffering, they ask Pilate for this terrible addition to the punishment of 
crucifixion. Certainly the lesson 'I will have mercy and not sacrifice,' 
of which Christ had twice reminded them, and once in connexion with 
the Sabbath (Matt. xii. 7, ix. 13), had taken no hold on them. 

the preparation^ The eve of the Sabbath ; and the Sabbath on this 
occasion coincided with the 15th Nisan, the first day of the Passover. 
This first day ranked as a Sabbath (Exod. xii. 16; Lev. xxiii. 7); so 
that the day was doubly holy. 

that... high day\ Literally, the day of that Sabbath was great (comp. 

vii. 37)- 

tegs might be broken\ The crurifragium, like crucifixion, was a 
punishment commonly reserved for slaves. The two were sometimes 
combined, as here. Lactantius (iv. xxvi.) says, 'His executioners did 
not think it necessary to break His bones, as was their prevailing 
custom;' which seems to imply that to Jewish crucifixions this horror 
was commonly added, perhaps to hasten death. For even without a 
Sabbath to make matters more urgent, corpses ought to be removed 
before night-fall (Deut. xxi. 23); whereas the Roman custom was to 
leave them to putrefy on the cross, like our obsolete custom of hanging 
in chains. 

350 S. JOHN, XIX. [w. 32—35. 

32 taken away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of 
the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. 

33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead 

34 already, they brake not his legs : but one of the soldiers 
with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out 

35 blood and water. And he that saw // bare record, and his 

32. Then came the soldiers] The soldiers therefore came, in conse- 
quence of the fresh order from Pilate which the Jews would bring. Two 
probably went to each of the robbers. 

34. pierced] To make quite sure that He was dead. The Greek 
word is not the same as that used in z/. 37 ; this means either to 'prick' 
or to 'stab,' that to 'pierce deeply.' 

blood and water] There has been very much discussion as to the 
physical cause of Christ's death ; and those who investigate this try 
to frame an hypothesis which will at the same time account for the 
effusion of blood and water. Two or three such hypotheses have been 
put forward. But it may be doubted whether they are not altogether 
out of place. It has been seen {v. 30) how the Evangelists insist on the 
fact that the Lord's death was a voluntary surrender of life, not a result 
forced upon Him. Of course it may be that the voluntariness consisted 
in welcoming causes which must prove fatal. But it is more simple to 
believe that He delivered up His life before natural causes became fatal. 
' No one,' neither Jew nor Roman, 'took it from Him ' by any means 
whatever : 'He lays it down of Himself (x. 18). And if we decline to 
investigate the physical cause of the Lord's death, we need not ask for a 
physical explanation of what is recorded here. S. John assures us that 
he saw it with his own eyes, and he records it that we 'may believe:' 
i. e. he regards it as a ' sign ' that the corpse was no ordinary one, but a 
Body that even in death was Divine. 

We can scarcely be wrong in supposing that the blood and water are 
symbolical. The order confirms this. Blood symbolizes the work of 
redemption which had just been completed by His death ; and water 
symbolizes the 'birth from above,' with its cleansing from sin, which 
was the result of His death, and is the means by which we appropriate 
it. Thus the two great Sacraments are represented. 

35. And he is true] Rather, He that hath seen hath home wit- 
ness and his witness is trtie {zovix^. i. 19, 32, 34, viii. 13, 14, xii. 17). 
Besides the change from ' record ' to witness, for the sake of marking 
by uniform translation S. John's fondness for this verb and substantive, 
the correction from ' saw ' to hath seen must be noted. The use of the 
perfect rather than the aorist is evidence that the writer himself is the 
person who saw. If he were appealing to the witness of another person 
he would almost certainly have written, as the A. V., 'he that j-a«/,' 
The inference that the author is the person who saw becomes still more 
clear if we omit the centre of the verse, which is somewhat parentheti- 
cal : ^He that hath seen hath borne witness, in order that ye all also may 
believe.^ The natural sense of this statement is that the narrator is 

w. 36, 37.] S. JOHN, XIX. 351 

record is true : and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye 
might believe. For these things were done, that the scrip- 36 
ture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be 
broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall 37 
look on him whom they pierced. 

appealing to his own experience. Thus the Apostolic authorship of the 
Gospel is afijain confirmed. (See Westcott, Introduction, p. xxvii.) 

is true] Not simply truthful, but genuine, perfect : it fulfils the con- 
ditions of sufficient evidence. (See on i. 9 and comp. viii. 16, vii. 28.) 

sait/i true] Better, saitA things that are true. There is no tauto- 
logy, as in the A. V. S. John first says that his evidence is adequate ; 
he then adds that the contents of it are true. Testimony may be suffi- 
cient (e. g. of a competent eyewitness) but false : or it may be insufficient 
(e.g. of half-witted child) but true. S. John declares that his testimony 
is both sufficient and true ; both alcthinos and alethes. 

that ye niight] Better, that ye also may ; ye as well as the witness 
who saw for himself. 

Why does S. John attest thus earnestly the trustworthiness of his nar- 
rative at this particular point ? Four reasons may be assigned. This 
incident proved (i) the reality of Christ's humaiiity against Docetic 
views; and these verses therefore are conclusive evidence against the 
theory that the Fourth Gospel is the work of a Docetic Gnostic (see on iv. 
22) : (2) the reality of Christ's Divinity, against Ebionite views ; while 
His human form was no mere phantom, but flesh and blood, yet He 
was not therefore a mere man, but the Son of God : (3) the reality of 
Christ's death, and therefore of His Resurrection, against Jewish insinu- 
ations of trickery (comp. Matt, xxviii. 13 — 15): (4) the clear and un- 
expected fulfilment of two Messianic prophecies. 

36. were done] Better, came to pass. Note that S. John uses the 
aorist {iyiveTo), where S. Matthew, writing nearer to the events, uses 
the perfect [■yiyovev). ' Hath come to pass ' implies that the event is not 
very remote: Matt. i. 22, xxi. 4, xxvi. 56. The 'for' depends upon 
'believe.' Belief has the support of Scripture ; for the two surprising 
events, Christ's escaping the crurifragium and yet having His side 
pierced, were evidently preordained in the Divine counsels. 

shall not be broken] Exod. xii. 46. Thus he who at the opening of 
this Gospel was proclaimed as the Lamb of God (i. 29, 36), at the close 
of it is declared to be the true Paschal Lamb. Once more we have 
evidence that S. John's consistent and precise view is, that the death of 
Christ coincided with the killing of the Paschal Lamb. And this seems 
also to have been S. Paul's view (see on i Cor. v. 7). 

37. They shall look] All present, especially the Jews, The whole 
world was represented there. 

pierced] See on v. 34. The word here used occurs nowhere else in 
N. T. excepting Rev. i. 7, and forms a connexion worth noting between 
the Gospel and the Apocalypse (see on xi. 44, xv. 20, and xx. 16); all 
the more so because S. John here agrees with the present Masoretic 

352 S. JOHN, XIX. [vv. 38, 39- 

38 And after this Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of 
Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that 
he might take away the body of Jesus : and Pilate gave Aim 
leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. 

39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to 
Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, 

Hebrew text and in every word differs from the Greek of the LXX. 
The Greek softens down ' pierced through ' (which seemed a strange 
expression to use of men's treatment of Jehovah) into 'insulted.' See 
on vi. 45, xii. 13, 15, where there is further evidence of the Evangelist 
having independent knowledge of Hebrew, and therefore being a Jew 
of Palestine. 

38. And after this] More literally, But after these things. The 
' but ' marks a contrast between the hostile petition of the Jews and the 
friendly petition of Joseph. ' These things ' as distinct from ' this ' will 
shew that no one event is singled out with which what follows is con- 
nected : the sequence is indefinite. Comp. iii. 22, vi. 14. ' After //4w ' 
in V. 28 is right : there the sequence is direct and definite. Comp. 
ii. 12, xi. 7, ir. 

Joseph of Arimathea'] See notes on Matt, xxvii. 57; Mark xv. 43; 
Luke xxiii. 50. The Synoptists tell us that he was rich, a member of 
the Sanhedrin, a good and just man who had not consented to the San- 
hedrin's counsel and crime, one who (like Simon and Anna) waited for 
the kingdom of God, and had become a disciple of Christ. 

secretly for far of the Je^us] This forms a coincidence with S. Mark, 
who says of him (xv. 43) that 'having suvunoncd courage he went in 
unto Pilate,' implying that like Nicodemus he was naturally timid. 
Joseph probably went to Pilate as soon as he knew that Jesus was dead : 
the vague ' after these things ' need not mean that he did not act till 
after the piercing of the side. 

took the body] As the friends of the Baptist (Matt. xiv. 12) and of 
S. Stephen (Acts viii. 1) did in each case. 

39. Nicodeiinis] Another coincidence. Nicodemus also was a mem- 
ber of the Sanhedrin (iii. i), and his acquaintance with Joseph is thus 
explained. And it is S. Mark who tells us that Joseph was one of the 
Sanhedrin, S. John who brings him in contact with Nicodemus. It 
would seem as if Joseph's unusual courage had inspired Nicodemus also. 
We are not told whether or no Nicodemus had 'consented to the counsel 
and deed of them.' 

at the first] Either the first time that he came to Jesus, in contrast 
to other occasions ; or simply at the beginning of Christ's ministr}'. 
Comp. x. 40). 

myrrh and aloes] Myrrh-resin and pounded aloe-wood, both aromatic 
substances: 'AH thy garments are myrrh and aloes' (Ps. xlv. 8). Comp. 
Matt. ii. II. Aloes are not mentioned elsewhere in N. T. For 'mix- 
ture ' [inigma) the two best MSS. read roll [eligma), and ihe purpose of 

vv. 40— 42.] S. JOHN, XIX. 353 

about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body 40 
of Jesus, and wound it in hnen clothes with the spices, as 
the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place 41 
where he was crucified there was a garden ; and in the 
garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. 
There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' prepa- 42 
ration day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand. 

this large quantity was probably to cover the Body entirely. Comp. 
1 Chron. xvi. 14. 

abotit an himdred p<nmd\ 1-200 ounces. There is nothing incredible 
in the amount. It is a rich man's proof of devotion, and possibly of re- 
morse for a timidity in the past which now seemed irremediable ; his 
courage had come too late. 

40. 'J lien took they] They took therefore. 

wound it, &c.] Or, bound // in linen clotlis. The ' cloths ' seem to 
refer to the bandages which kept the whole together rather than the 
large ' linen sheet ' mentioned by the other Evangelists, which Joseph 
had bought on purpose (Mark xv. 46). The word here used for ' linen 
cloths ' occurs also in Luke xxiv. 12 : see note there. 

the manner of the yei.vs\ As distinct from the manner of the Egyp- 
tians, whose three methods of embalming are elaborately described by 
Herodotus (11. bcxxvi. ff.). The Egyptians in all cases removed part 
of the intestines and steeped the body in nitre. 

to bury] The Greek verb is rare in Scripture; in N. T. only Matt. 
xxvi. 12. The cognate substantive occurs xii. 7; Mark xiv. 8. In 
Gen. 1. 2 it is used by the LXX. for the embalming of Jacob. 

41. there was a garden"] Contrast xviii. i. S. John alone tells of 
the garden, which probably belonged to Joseph, for S. Matthew tells us 
that the sepulchre was his. 

a new sepulchre] S. Matthew also states that it was new, and S. 
Luke that no one had ever yet been laid in it. S. John states this fact 
in both ways with great emphasis. Not even in its contact with the 
grave did 'His flesh see corruption.' 

S. John omits what all the others note, that the sepulchre was hewn 
in the rock. 

42. the yews' preparation day] Perhaps another slight indication 
that the Gospel was written outside Palestine. Or the addition 'of the 
Jews' may point to the time when there was already a Christian 'prepa- 
ration-day.' See notes on 'the Passover of the ye'Ms' (ii. 13; xi. 55). 

It would seem as if the burial was hastily and temporarily performed. 
They probably intended after the Sabbath to make a more solemn and 
complete burial elsewhere. 

was nigh at hand] Perhaps this fact suggested to Joseph the thought 
of going to Pilate. He had a sepulchre of his own close to Golgotha. 

S.JOHN 23 

354 S. JOHN, XX. 


We enter now upon the third and last part of the second main division 
of the Gospel. The Evangelist having set before us the inner Glori- 
fication OF Christ in His last Discourses (xiii. — xvii.), and His 
OUTER Glorification in His Passion and Death (xviii, xix.), now 
gives us his record of THE RESURRECTION and threefold Manifes- 
tation OF Christ (xx.). 

The chapter falls naturally into five sections, i. The first Evidence 
of the Resurrection (i — lo). 2. The Manifestation to Mary Magdalene 
(11 — 18). 3. The Manifestation to the Ten aiid others [\g — 23). 4. 
The Alanifestation to S. Thomas and others {2^ — 29). 5. The Conclu- 
sion and Purpose of the Gospel (30, 31). 

S. John's Gospel preserves its character to the end. Like the rest of 
his narrative, the account of the Resurrection is not intended as a com- 
plete record ; — it is avowedly the very reverse of complete {v. 30) ; — but 
a series of typical scenes selected as embodiments of spiritual truth. 
Here also, as in the rest of the narrative, we have individual characters 
marked with singular distinctness. The traits which distinguisli S. 
Peter, S. John, S. Thomas, and the Magdalene in this chapter are both 
clear in themselves and completely in harmony with what is told of the 
four elsewhere. 

Of the incidents omitted by S. John a good many are given in the 
other Gospels or by S. Paul : (S. Matthew and S. Mark) the angel's 
message to the two Marys and Salome; (6". Afatthr^v and [S. A/arh]) 
the farewell charge and promise; {S. Litle and [S. Afari]) the manifes- 
tation to two disciples not Apostles; {S. Alatthew) the earthquake, 
angel's descent to remove the stone, soldiers' terror and report to the 
priests, device of the Sanhedrin, manifestation on the mountain in Gali- 
lee (comp. I Cor. xv. 6) ; {[^. AIark'\) the reproach for unbelief; {S. 
Lnke) the manifestation to S. Peter (comp. i Cor. xv. 5), conversation 
on the road to Emmaus, proof that He is not a spirit (xxiv. 38, 39), mani- 
festation before the Ascension (50, 51; comp. Acts i. 6—9); (S. Paul) 
manifestations to the Twelve, to S. James, and to S. Paul himself ( i 
Cor. XV. 6, 7, 8). 

To these incidents S. John adds, besides the contents of chap, xxi, 
the gift of the power of absolution, and the manifestation on the second 
Lord's Day, when S. Thomas was present. 

It may be freely admitted that the difficulty of harmonizing the diffe- 
rent accounts of the Resurrection is very great. As so often in the 
Gospel narrative, wc have not the knowledge required for piecing to- 
gether the fragmentary accounts that have been granted to us. To this 
extent it may be allowed that the evidence for the Resurrection is not 
what we should antecedently have desired. 

But it is no paradox to say that for this very reason, as well as for other 
reasons, the evidence is sufficient. Impostors would have made the evi- 
dence more harmonious. The difficulty arises from independent wit- 
nesses telling their own tale, not caring in their consciousness of its 
truth to make it clearly agree with what had been told elsewhere. The 
writer of the Fourth CK)spel must have known of some, if not all, 

vv. I, 2.] S. JOHN, XX. 355 

I — lo. The first Evidence of the Resurrection. 

The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, 20 
when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the 
stone taken away from the sepulchre. Then she runneth, 2 
and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom 
Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the 

of the Synoptic accounts; but he writes freely and firmly from his own 
independent experience and information. All the Gospels agree in the 
following veiy important particulars ; 

1. The Resurrection itself is left undescribed. 

2. The manifestations were granted to disciples only, but to disci- 
ples wholly unexpectant of a Resurrection. 

3. They were received with doubt and hesitation at first. 

4. Mere reports were rejected. 

5. The manifestations were granted to all kinds of witnesses, both 
male and female, both individuals and companies. 

6. The result was a conviction, which nothing ever shook, that 'the 
Lord had risen indeed' and been present with them. 

All four accounts also agree in some of the details; 

1. The evidence begins with the visit of women to the sepulchre in 
the early morning. 

2. The first sign was the removal of the stone. 

3. Angels were seen before the Lord was seen. 
(See Westcott, Speaker's Cotntnentary, 11. pp. 287, 8.) 

1 — 10. The first Evidence of the Resurrection. 

1. The first dayi\ Better, But on the first day; literally, 'day one.' 
We have the same expression Luke xxiv. i. 

the stone taken away] All four Gospels note the displacement of the 
stone; S. Mark alone notes the placing of it and S. Matthew the sealing. 
The words 'taken away from' should rather be lifted out of: the Synop- 
tists all speak of 'rot/ing away' the stone. 

2. Then she mnneth] She runneth therefore, concluding that the 
body must be gone. 

Simon Peter] His fall was probably known and his deep repentance 
also : he is still chief of the Apostles, and as such the one consulted first. 

and to the other] The repetition of 'to' implies that the two Apostles 
were not lodging together, although v. 3 implies that they were close to 
one another. 

whom Jesus loved] Perhaps the expression is meant to apply to 
Simon Peter also; 'the other disciple whom Jesus loved.' This becomes 
probable when we notice that the word for 'loved' is not that used of S. 
John in xix. 26, xxi. 7, 20 [agapdn), but the more general word {phi- 
lein). See on xi. 5. 

They have taken] She does not attempt to determine who, whether 
friends or foes. 


356 S. JOHN, XX. [w. 3-9- 

Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they 
shave laid him. Peter therefore went forth, and that other 

4 disciple, and came to the sepulchre. So they ran both 
together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came 

5 first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking 

6 in, saw the linen clothes lying ; yet went he not in. Then 
cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the 

7 sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, and the napkin, 
that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, 

8 but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in 
also tJiat other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, 

9 and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the 

we know noi\ This possibly implies that other women had been 
with her, as stated by the Synoptists. If so, she may have outstripped 
them in going to the garden. 

3. and that. ..sepulchre\ Better, and tbe other disciple, and they were 
coining towards the sepulchre. 

4. So they rati] More exactly, But they began to run. 

did outrun] Literally, ran on more quickly than, as being much the 
younger man. Would a writer of the second century have thought of 
this in inventing a narrative? 

5. stooping down, and looking in] In the Greek this is expressed in 
a single word, which occurs again v. 11 and Luke xxiv. 12, in a literal 
sense, of 'bending down to look carefully at;' and in a figurative sense in 
I Pet. i. 12 and James i. 25 (see notes in both places). In Ecclus. xiv. 
23 it is used of the earnest searcher after wisdom, in xxi. 23 of the rude 
prying of a fool. 

saw] Better, seeth, at a glance (blepci). 

6. Then cometh, &c.] IJetter, Sijiion Peter therefore also cometh; 
because S. John has remained standing there in awe and meditation. 
S. Peter with his natural impulsiveness goes in at once. Both Apostles 
act characteristically. 

seeth] Or, beholdeth {theorei). He takes a complete survey, and 
hence sees the 'napkin,' which S. John in his short look had not 

7. the napkin] See on xi. 44 : the same word is used here. 

about his head] Literally, upon His head : there is no need to men- 
tion His name. The writer is absorbed in Ins subject. 
in a place by itself] Literally, apart into one place. 

8. Ihcn that other] Better, Therefore went in also the other. 

He is encouraged by his older companion. Note how all the details 
tell of the eye-witness : he remembers even that the napkin was folded. 
Contrast the want of detail in Luke xxiv. 12. 

and believed] More difhculty has perhaps been made about this than is 
necessary. 'Believed what?' is asked. That Jesus was risen. The 

vv. 10-13.] S. JOHN, XX. 357 

scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. Then the 10 
disciples went away again unto their own home. 

II — 18. The Manifestatmi to Mary Magdalene. 

But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping : and n 
as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the 
sepulchre, and seeth two angels in white sitting, the one 12 
at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body 
of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why 13 

whole context implies if, and comp. v. 25. The careful arrangement 
of the grave-cloths proved that tlie body had not been taken away in 
haste as by a foe : and friends would scarcely have removed them at all. 
It is thoroughly natural that S. John speaks only of himself, saying 
nothing of S. Peter. He is full of the impression which the empty and 
orderly tomb made upon his own mind. S. Luke (xxiv. 12) speaks only 
of S. Peter's wonder, neither affirming nor denying his belief. 

9. they knew not the scripture'] S. John's belief in the Resurrection 
was as yet based only on what he had seen in the sepulchre. He had 
nothing derived from prophecy to help him. The candour of the Evan- 
gelists is again shewn very strongly in the simple avowal that the love 
of Apostles failed to grasp and remember what the enmity of the priests 
understood and treasured up. Even with Christ to expound Scripture 
to them, the prophecies about His Passion and Resurrection had re- 
mained a sealed book to them (comp. Luke xxiv. 25 — 27). 

he mitst] Comp. iii. 14, xii. 34; Matt. xvi. 21, xxvi. 54; Mark viii. 
31; Luke ix. 22, xvii. 25, xxii. 37, xxiv. 7, 26, 44. The Divine deter- 
mination meets us throughout Christ's life on earth, and is pointed out 
with increasing frequency towards the close of it. Comp. Eph. iii. i r. 

10. 77ien the disciples'] The disciples therefore ; because nothing 
more could be done at the sepulchre. 

11 — 18. The Manifestation to Mary Magdalene. 

11. But Maiy] She had returned to the sepulchre after the hurry- 
ing Apostles. Mark xvi. 9 states definitely, what we gather from this 
section, that the risen Lord's first appearance was to Maiy Magdalene : 
the details of the meeting are given by S. John alone. 

stood] Or, continued standing, after the other two had gone. 
stooped down, and looked] See on z*. 5. 

12. seeth] Or, beholdeth, as in v. 6, a long contemplative gaze. 
tivo angels] This is the only place where angels appear in S. John's 

narrative. Comp. i. 51, xii. 29, [v. 4]. 

in white] In the Greek 'white' is plural, 'garments' being under- 
stood, as in Rev. iii. 4 : in Rev. iii. 5, iS, iv. 4 'garments' is expressed. 
Omit 'the' before 'one' and for 'the other ' read 'one;' one at the head 
and one at the feet. 

13. Woman] See on ii. 4, xix. 26. 

358 S. JOHN, XX. [w. 14-16. 

weepest thou ? She saith unto them, Because they have 
taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have 
,4 laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned her- 
self back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it 

15 was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest 
thou ? whom seekest thou ? She, supposing him to be the 
gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, 
tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 

16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith 

my Lord, and I know not\ In v. 2 it was ' i/ie Lord and we know 
not.' In speaking to Apostles she includes other believers; in speaking 
to strangers she represents the relationship and the loss as personal. 
These words express the burden of her thoughts since she first saw that 
the stone had been removed. We may reasonably suppose that the 
Evangelist obtained his information from Mary Magdalene herself. 
"The extreme simplicity of the narrative, it may be added, reflects 
something of the solemn majesty of the scene. The sentences follow 
without any connecting particles till v. 19. (Comp. c. xv.)" Westcott 

in loco. 

14. And when] Omit 'and.' Perhaps she becomes m some way 
conscious of another Presence. 

saw] Better, belioldeth, as in vv. 6, 12. 

knew not] Christ's Risen Body is so changed as not to be recognised 
at once even by those who had known Him well. It has new powers 
and a new majesty. Comp. xxi. 4; Luke xxiv. 16, 37; Matt, xxviii. 17; 
[Mark xvi. 12]. 

15. the gardener] Because he was there at that early hour. 

if thou have borne him hence] The omission of the name is very life- 
like : she is so full of her loss that she assumes that others must know 
all about it. 'Thou' is emphatic; 'Thou and not, as I fear, some 

I will take him away^ In her loving devotion she docs not measure 
her strength. Note that throughout it is 'the Lord' (;:'. 2), 'my Lord ' 
(v. 13), ' Him ' thrice {v. 15), never ' His body' or ' the corpse.' His 
lifeless form is to her still Himself. 

16. Maryf] The term of general address, 'Woman,' awoke no 
echo in her heart ; the sign of personal knowledge and sympathy comes 
home to her at once. Thus ' He calleth His own sheep by name' (x. 3). 

saith unto him] We must add with the best authorities, in Hebrew. 
The insertion is of importance as indicating the language spoken be- 
tween Christ and His disciples. S. John thinks it well to remind Greek 
readers that Greek was not the language used. Comp. Acts xxii. 2, 
xxvi. 14. The expression here used {Hebrdisti) occurs only in this Go- 
spel (v. 2, xix. 13, 17, 20) and in Revelation (ix. 11, xvi. 16). See on 
xix. 37 

vv. 17, 18.] S. JOHN, XX. 359 

unto him, Rabboni ; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith 17 
unto her, Touch me not ; for I am not yet ascended to my 
Father: iDut go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend 
unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your 
God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that 18 

Rabboni^ More exactly, Rabbunl. This precise form occurs also in 
Mark x. 51, but has been obliterated in the A. V. It is said to be 
Galilean, and if so natural in a woman of Magdala. Would any but a 
Jew of Palestine have preserved this detail ? 

Master\ Or, Teacher. Its literal meaning is ' my Master,' but the 
pronominal portion of the word had lost almost all meaning. S. John's 
translation shews that as yet her belief is very imperfect : she uses 
a mere human title. 

17. Touch me not, for, &c.] This is a passage of well-known difficulty. 
At first sight the reason given for refraining from touching would seem 
to be more suitable to a permission to touch. It is perhaps needless to 
enquire whether the ' for ' refers to the whole of what follows or only to 
the first sentence, 'I am not yet ascended to the Father?' In either 
case the meaning would be, that the Ascension has not yet taken place, 
although it soon will do so, whereas Mary's action assumes that it has 
taken place. If 'for' refers to the first clause only, then the emphasis 
is thrown on Mary's mistake ; if ' for ' refers to the whole of what 
is said, then the emphasis is thrown on the promise that what Mary 
craves shall be granted in a higher way to both her and others very soon. 
The translation ' touch Me not ' is inadequate and gives a false im- 
pression. The vtrb {haptesthai) dues not mean to 'touch' and 'handle' 
with a view to seeing whether His body was real ; this Christ not only 
allowed but enjoined {v. 27 ; Luke xxiv. 39; comp. i John i. i) : rather 
it means to ' hold on to ' and 'cling to.' Moreover it is the present (not 
aorist) imperative ; and the full meaning will therefore be, ' Do not 
continue holding Me' ox %\m-^\j, hold Me not. The old and often in- 
terrupted earthly intercourse is over ; the new and continuous intercourse 
with the Ascended Lord has not yet begun : but that Presence willbe 
granted soon, and there will be no need of straining eyes and clinging 
hands to realize it. (For a large collection of various interpretations see 

to my Father} The better reading gives, to the Father; with this 'My 
brethren ' immediately following agrees better. The general relation- 
ship applying both to Him and them, is stated first, and then pointedly 
distinguished in its application to Him and to them. 

I ascend\ Or, I am ascending. The change has already begim. 
7ny God] The risen and glorified Redeemer is still perfect man. 
Comp. Rev. iii. 1-2. Thus also S. Paul and S. Peter speak of 'the God 
and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.' Comp. Eph. i. 3 ; 2 Cor. xi. 31 ; 
I Peter i. 3; and see on Rom. xv. 6; 2 Cor. i. 3, where the expression 
is blurred in the A. V. 

18. came and told] Better, cometh and telleth; literally, comcth 
telling instead of the more usual 'having come telleth.' 

36o S. JOHN, XX. [v. 19. 

she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things 
unto her. 

19 — 23. The Manifestation to the Ten and others. 

■9 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the 
week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were 

Thus as Mary's love seems to have been the first to manifest itself 
(v. i), so the first Manifestation of the Risen Lord is granted to her. It 
confirms our trust in the Gospel narratives to find this stated. A writer 
of a fictitious account would almost certainly have represented the first 
appearance as being to the Virgin, or to S. Peter, the chief of the 
Apostles, or to S. John, the beloved disciple, or to the chosen three. 
But these are all passed over, and this honour is given to her, who had 
once been possessed by seven devils, to Mary of Magdala, 'for she loved 
much.' A late and worthless tradition does assign the first appearance 
to the Virgin ; but so completely has Christ's earthly relationship to her 
been severed (xix. 26, 27), that henceforth she appears only among the 
other believers (Acts i, 14). 

19 — 23. The Manifestation to the Ten and others. 

19. The7t the same day, &c.] Rather, When therefore it was even- 
ing on that day, the first day of the week. Note the great precision 
of the expression. 'That day,' that memorable day, the 'day of days.' 

Oh ! day of days ! shall hearts set free 

No minstrel rapture find for thee? 

Thou art the Sun of other days. 

They shine by giving back thy rays. 

Keble, Clu-istian Year, Easter Day. 
Comp. i. 39, V. 9, xi. 49, xviii. 13, where 'that' has a similar meaning. 
Evidently the hour is late; the disciples have returned from Emniaus 
(Luke xxiv. ■23), and it was evening when they left Emmaus. At least it 
must be long after sunset, when the second day of the week, according 
to the Jewish reckoning, would begin. And S. John speaks of it as still 
part of the first day. This is a point in favour of S. John's using the 
modern method in counting the hours: it has a special bearing on the 
explanation of 'the seventh hour' in iv. 52. See notes there and on 
xix. 14. 

7vhen the doors were shui'\ This is mentioned both here and v. 26 to 
shew that the appearance was miraculous. Afier the Resurrection 
Christ's human form, though slill real and corporeal, is not subject to 
the ordinary conditions of material bodies. Before the Resurrection He 
was visible, unless lie willed it otherwise; after the Resurrection it 
would seem that He was invisible, unless He willed it otherwise. Comp. 
Luke xxiv. 31. 

where the disciples iverel The best authorities all omit 'assembled.' 
S. Luke says more definitely, ' the eleven and they that were with them' 

vv. 20, 21.] S. JOHN, XX. 361 

assembled for fear of the JeAvs, came Jesus and stood in the 
midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when 2 
he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. 
Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. 
Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you : as my 2 

(xxiv. 33); 'the eleven' meaning the Apostolic company, although one 
was absent. It was natural that the small community of believers should 
be gathered together, not merely for mutual protection and comfort, but 
to discuss the reported appearances to the women and to S. Peter. 

for fear of the ye%us\ Literally, because of the (prevailing) fear of the 
JrMs (comp. vii. 1 3). It was not certain that the Sanhedrin would rest 
content with having put Jesus to death; all the less so as rumours of His 
being alive again were spreading. 

came JesusX It is futile to discuss how ; that the doors were miracu- 
lously opened, as in S. Peter's release from prison, is neither stated nor 

Peace be unto yon'\ The ordinary greeting intensified. _ His last word 
to them in their sorrow before His Passion (xvi. 33), His first word to 
them in their terror (Luke xxiv. 37) at His return, is 'Peace.' Possibly 
the place was the same, the large upper room where they had last been 
all together. 

20. his hands and his side\ S. Luke (xxiv. 40), who does not men- 
tion the piercing of the side, says 'His hands and His feet,' and adds 
that He told them to 'handle' Him, the very word used in i John i. i. 

Then were the disciples^ The disciples therefore -were. Their sorrow 
is turned into joy (xvi. 20), joy which at first made them doubt its reality 
(Luke xxiv. 41). 

when they saw the Lord] Till then they had seen a form, but like 
Mary of Magdala and the two at Emmaus, knew not whose it was. 

21. Then said Jesus'] Jesus therefore said; because now they were 
ready to receive it. Their alarm was dispelled and they knew that He 
was the Lord. He repeats His message of 'Peace.' 

as my Father, &c.] Better, As the Father hath sent Me. Christ's 
mission is sometimes spoken of in the aorist tense, as having taken place 
at a definite point in history (iii. 17, 34, v. 38, vi. 29, 57, vii. 29, viii. 
42, X. 36, xi. 42, xvii. 3, 8, 18, 21, 23, 25), in which case the fact of the 
Incarnation is the prominent idea. Sometimes, though much less often, 
it is spoken of, as here, in the peifcct tense, as a fact which continues in 
its results (v. 36; i John iv. 9, 14), in which case the present and 
permanent effects of the mission are the prominent idea. Christ's 
mission is henceforth to be carried on by His disciples. 

The Greek for 'send' is not the same in both clauses; in the first, 
'hath sent,' it is apostelleiti ; in the second, 'send,' it is pempein. 
The latter is the most general word for 'send,' implying no special rela- 
tion between sender and sent ; the former adds the notion of a delegated 
authority constituting the person sent the envoy or representative of the 
sender. Both verbs are used both of the mission of Christ and of the 

362 S. JOHN, XX. [vv. 22, 23. 

22 Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he 
had said this, he breathed on t/ie7u, and saith unto them, 

23 Receive ye the Holy Ghost : whose soever sins ye remit, 

mission of the disciples. Apostelldn is used of the mission of Christ in 
all the passages quoted above : it is used of the mission of the disciples, 
iv. 38, xvii. 18. (Comp. i. 6, 19, 24, iii. 28, v. 33, vii. 32, xi. 3.) Pempein 
is used of Christ's mission only in the aorist participle (iv. 34, v. 23, 24, 
30. 37, vi. 38, 39, 40, 44, vii. 16, 18, 28, 33, viii. 16, 18, 26, 29, ix. 4; 
and in all the passages in chaps, xii — xvi.); the aorist participle of 
apostellein is not used by S. John, although the S}Tioptists use it in this 
very sense (Matt. x. 40; Mark ix. 37; Luke ix. 48, x. 16). Pempein is 
used of disciples here and in xiii. 20 (of the Spirit, xiv. 26, xvi. 7). 

"The general result... seems to be, that in this charge the Lord pre- 
sents His ovk'n Mission as the one abiding Mission of the Father; this 
He fulfils through His Church. His disciples receive no new commis- 
sion, but carry out His." Westcott in loco. 

send I you] Or, am I sending ji'ij?^ ; their mission has already begun 
(comp. V. x-], xvii. 9); and the first and main part of it was to be the 
proclamation of the truth just brought home to themselves— the Resur- 
rection (Acts i. 22, ii. 24, iv. 2, 33, &c.). 

22. he breathed on tlietn'\ The very same Greek verb (here only in 
N.T.) is used by the LXX. in Gen. ii. 7 (Wisdom xv. 11) of breathing 
life into Adam. This Gospel of the new Creation looks back at its close, 
as at its beginning (i. i), to the first Creation. 

We are probably to regard the breath here not merely as the emblem 
of the Spirit (iii. 8), but as the means by which the Spirit was imparted 
tothem. _ 'Receive ye,' combined with the action of breathing, imphes 
this. This is all the more clear in the Greek, because pneuma means 
both 'breath' and 'spirit,' a point which cannot be preserved in English; 
but at least _' Spirit ' is better than 'Ghost.' We have here, therefore, 
an anticipation and earnest of Pentecost; just as Christ's bodily return 
from the grave and temporary manifestation to them was an anticipa- 
tion of His spiritual return and abiding Presence with them 'even unto 
the end of the world.' 

Receive ye] Or, take^r, implying that the recipient may welcome or 
reject the gift : he is not a mere passive receptacle. It is the very word 
used for 'Pake' (Matt, xxvi. 26; Mark xiv. 22; Luke xxii. 17) in the 
account of the institution of the Eucharist ; which somewhat confirms the 
view that here, as there, there is an outward sign and vehicle of an in- 
ward spiritual grace. The expression still more plainly implies that 
some gift was offered and bestowed then and there : it is an unnatural 
wresting of plain language to make 'Take ye'