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case of the blind man healed by Christ, and of the Pharisees, who in their self-inflicted blindness oppose themselves to Him. We see, further, how the blind beggar, who sat at the temple

, gate, becomes an enlightened preacher of repentance to the blinded priests and scribes who rule in the temple. After this, we get a sight of the clerical temple-ban in its entire impotence: how it cannot hinder the excommunicated man from attaining to the blessedness of faith; whilst the Lord, at the same time, points the eye to the really heavy ban of sin under which those who pronounce the sentence of excommunication are themselves placed (chap. ix. 41). The Lord then describes the

) sheep-fold and the flock in their symbolical significance for the kingdom of God. We become acquainted with the true door for the souls of men, and on the other hand, also, with the true marks of soul-seduction in all pseudo-messianic systems, in all perversions of the pastoral office, in all despotisms and hierarchical dominations; and as the false guides have been presented to us from one point of view as thieves and robbers, they appear in another respect in the forms of the hireling and the wolf, and in the mutual relation which subsists between both. In the entire threefold sphere of school, state, and church, no false exercise of spiritual influence or of official duty can occur which is not here illustrated and explained. As, however, the nocturnal thief, when seen by day, passes partly into the hireling, partly into the wolf, the nocturnal under-shepherd, on the other hand, by daylight and on the pasture-ground, melts, in the presence of the chief Shepherd, into one of the flock. But all true pastoral life on earth, as well in the department of nature as in the department of spirit, is here made a prophecy of the good Shepherd, who lays down His life for the sheep. The relation of Christ to His own, especially according to their eternal election, grounded as it is on His relation to the Father, is here brought out in its fundamental characteristics. We see the two flocks

. in their grand historical delineations, the one enclosed in a fold, the other which is not of that fold, or rather is without fold, and how they are made one flock under the one Shepherd. Finally, also, the death of the faithful Shepherd is explained, as well in the wide range of its influence as in the depth and intensity of its power; and at the last we see how powerfully already this reference of Jesus to His death furthers the process of separation, in which we are met by an image of the coming judgment.


The period of all the transactions included in this section stretches from the first days of the feast of Tabernacles to some days immediately succeeding its close.




(Chap. x. 22-xiii. 30.)

The great fermentation called forth by the influence of Christ on the spiritual world around Him, comes at length to a crisis. The opposition between the elements of light and the elements of darkness, in individual minds, reaches the point of decision. Some attach themselves to the light, others to the darkness. By this decision the separation between the children of light and the children of darkness is introduced. It presents itself first in the breach between the ruling party in Judea,which wishes to stone the Lord, and compels Him, by its persecution of Him, to make His escape,—and the believers in Perea, who readily receive Him and afford Him an asylum. Proceeding on its course, it produces a separation between the unbelievers and the believers in Judea at the grave of Lazarus. A similar separation meets us in the antagonism displayed between the rejoicing of the festive multitude, who make a triumphal procession in honour of the Lord, and the rage of the Pharisees at this act of homage. Again, a new separation is caused by the opposition between the believing Hellenes, who come to seek the Lord, and the hardened portion of the people, from whom He withdraws Himself. As the completion of these separations, appears the purging of the company of the disciples


from the presence of Judas, which had already indicated its approach at the anointing in Bethany. This forms the close. It is the type of the completion of the judgment, of the completed purification of the Church.

According to the Gospel of John, the Jewish festivals during the life of Jesus had a peculiarly tragic significance. According to their proper aim, they should have been nothing else than days prophetic of His coming—a constant advent-celebration ; but they have become the great days of offence, on which the rejection of Jesus hurries on from its incipient stages to its final completion. At the first Passover feast at which He publicly appears, His mode of operation already occasions suppressed astonishment among the Judaists. At the second feast which He publicly celebrates—the feast of Purim—they take such offence as to commence a process against Him with a view to put Him to death. At the third festival—the feast of Tabernacles—a resolution is taken by the Sanhedrim to take Him prisoner in order to put Him out of the way, and likewise to excommunicate His open adherents. We see Him now for a fourth time appear at a feast-the feast of the Dedication ; and they form a design to stone Him to death. This is the prelude to the last Jewish festival, at which the proscription of the true spirit of these festivals, or the rejection of Christ, is completed the Passover feast at which He was crucified.

And it was the feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem, and it was winter.-This festival was celebrated in remembrance of the re-consecration of the temple, which had been profaned by Syrian idolatry. It had been appointed by Judas Maccabeus, and lasted eight days. It took place in the month Chisleu ; and on this occasion its commencement was on 20th December.?And Jesus walked in the temple, in Soloman's porch-on the eastern side of the temple; according to tradition, a remnant of the first temple: hence the name.—Then came the Jews around Him, and said unto Him, How long dost thou hold our minds in doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. This was the last transient blazing up of a desire to do Him homage, under the condition that He would respond to their chiliastic-political Messias-ideal, and in so far the last repetition of the temptation in the wilderness, which He had also once again encountered at

See above, vol. üi. p. 431.




the feast of Tabernacles. The answer of Jesus bears witness to the most prudent caution: 'I told you, and ye believe not


, (because, namely, He had not said it in their sense). The works that I do in My Father's name, they testify of Me. But ye believe not,' He said again, because ye are not of My sheep, as I said unto you. He had told them this about two months before; and indeed He had said it to the same party, on an entirely similar occasion, when they wished to stamp Him as the Messiah according to their chiliastic notions. Therefore He must come back on the words which He had then spoken to them. They did not believe Him in the higher ethical sense in which He demanded their faith. They would not submit themselves to His spiritual guidance, but wished to guide Him as their instrument. As for the rest, they seem really to admit that He may possess the historical predicates of the Messiah. This interpretation of the words of Jesus follows clearly from the sequel: 'For My sheep hear My voice, and I know them—in their progress towards the light, they have unfolded their real individuality, their capability of being recognised—and they follow Me—they do not demand that Christ follow them. And I give unto them eternal life. And they shall never perish, neither shall any one pluck them out of My hand. This He said to them, probably, in the first instance with reference to their wretched public policy, whose predominating principle was the fear that they would perish under the dominion of the Romans, if they did not free themselves from it by a political Messias ; but also with reference to the faithful among the people who followed Him, but whom they persecuted and desired to pluck

Stier's opinion (v. 484), that my conception of this passage must be relegated to my other unexegetical imaginations, I allow to pass with various other authoritative judgments pronounced by him. So long as Stier thinks that a willingness on the part of the Jews to believe in Jesus, in the sense of their chiliastic expectations, must be regarded as a real willingness to believe,—that their determination, therefore, not to believe in the sense of Jesus, contradicts the supposition of a chiliastic willingness to believe,-he bas not understood my "unexegetical imagination,' and here also, no doubt, as not unfrequently, the text of John itself.

? What has been urged by Strauss, against the historical probability of Jesus referring back to the allegory of the good shepherd, has been already refuted, see vol. iii. 439, but has been again served up by Baur, Kritische Untersuchungen über die kanonischen Evang. 181, without paying any regard to that refutation.

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out of His hand. "My Father, who gave them to Me, is greater than all. And no one is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand.'

"I and the Father are one!'

In these words lay, in the first place, the proof that His people are hid in the Father's hand. He and the Father are one. Consequently, the sheep who are in His hand are also in the Father's hand.

At the same time, however, these words expressed the peculiar mystery of His being, His true Messianic character in contrast to their idea of the Messias; the consciousness of His unity with the Father in His divine existence, as also in His will, thus His divinity.

Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. This was the constant cause of offence which they found in the life and in the words of Christ : His real oneness with God, which involved the real propitiation, and the real Church, and the real worship, and from which proceeded, as a necessary consequence, the dissolution of their entire typical priestly glory, their learning, and their righteousness.

Jesus, unruffled by this outburst of rage, calmly replied, Many good works have I showed you from My Father. For which of these works do ye stone Me?' He could with good ground put this question, as He was conscious of the unity of His life in work and word, and as the life exhibits itself proportionally stronger in works than in words. More calmly and beautifully He could not have expressed the consciousness of His innocence, and more pointedly He could not have told them that they desired to kill Him for righteousness' sake, and thus made themselves the executioners of a pseudo-theocratic criminal jurisprudence of darkness, in opposition to the light. This rebuke brought them in some measure to reflection. They replied, *For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.' They have, therefore, the notion, that the human and the divine exclude each other, and this they regard as orthodoxy. Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law—that so imperatively binds you, as ye say, whilst to Me it is more than law, namely, life-I said, Ye are gods (Psa. Ixxxii. 6')? If now he

! On this passage, see Stier, v. 500.


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