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views: such as the desire of fame, or the gratification of some other selfish passion, which he will not fail to manifest in his conduct : but he who appears more concerned about the honour of God than his own reputation, and who can preach to the world doctrines which expose him to contempt and hatred, gives such evidence of disinterestedness as must free him from the suspicion of deceit or imposture, and prove his preten. sions to a divine commission to be well founded.
19. Did not Moses give you the law ? and yet none of you keepeth the law. Why go ye about to kill me?
This the rulers of the Jews had endeavoured to do, ever since he cured the infirm man at the pool of Bethesda, on the sabbath-day. It was on this account that he retired to Galilee, and it was on this account that he was so late in coming to the festival. To profess such veneration for the law of the sabbath, but to violate that which prohibited murder, was just matter of reproach.
20. The people answered and said, Thou hast a dæmon; who goeth about to kill thee?
To have a dæmon signifies the same thing as to be mad: for dæmons, or the spirits of wicked men, were supposed to be the cause of madness; in another-passage, John X. 20, they are both joined together. - Thou hast a dæmon, and art mad." This the Jews imputed to him, because he appeared to suspect them of a design against his life. It seems that the common people were not in the secret of the rulers, who had resolved to put him to death.
21. Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work and ye all marvel therefore, or, " at it,” for it is here that the phrase rendered - therefore," in the next verse ought to be subjoined.
The work referred to, is that mentioned already, the cure of the lame man at the pool of Bethesda.
22. Moses gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses but of the fathers, “ of the patriarchs,”) and ye, on the sabbath-day, circumcise a man.
23. If a man 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 ? or, “ an entire man well on the sabbath-day.”
The reasoning of Christ seems to be this: if ye, on the sabbath-day, mutilate a man, in order that the law of Moses which injoins circumcision on the eighth day may not be broken, can ye justly be displeased with me for making a man who had lost the use of all his limbs well on that day? So that their own practice would justify what he had done. The law of circumcision was delivered to Abraham, long before the delivery of the law by Moses; however, Moses had made some regulations respecting it.
24. Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
In appearance I have violated the law which enjoins the observation of the sabbath; but if you consider the object I had in view, in working on that day, that it was to heal a man who was ill, you will perceive that the law has not been broken. Judge, therefore, equitably' and impartially in the case.
25. Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he whom they seek to kill ?
26. But lo he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing.
The inhabitants of Jerusalem were acquainted with the design that was formed in that city for taking away the life of Christ, but it was not known to the inhabitants of the country
Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ? rather, 6 know certainly that this is the Christ* ?" .
Are the rulers, who were once so intent upon putting Jesus to death as an impostor, now really convinced that he is the Messiah, and do they on that account suffer him to proceed thus without molestation ?
27. How beit, we know this man whence he is; but when Christ cometh no man knoweth whence he is.
An illustrious prophecy concerning the Messiah, Is. liii. contains the following expression, according to our translation. “And who shall declare his generation;" which the Jews probably understood as referring to the difficulty of tracing his origin, and which in modern times has been referred to his supposed miraculous birth, or his being without a father. But Bishop Lowth thus translates the passage, “ And his manner of life who would declare?” And another able critic, “ And the men of his generation who will be able to describe?” In either case there is no reference to the birth or origin of Christ; but the Jews might possibly mistake the sense of the passage, as we have done. Jesus, knowing what these inhabitants of Jerusalem said of him, delivered the words that follow in a loud voice, in order that they might hear distinctly what he said; and as these Jews expressed a disbelief of his being the Messiah, because they knew whence he was, he takes occasion thence to tell them whence or from whom he came. * The word shich we render very is not found in many manuscripts..
28. Then cried Jesus, in the temple, as he taught, saying, Ye both know me and whence I am, and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not.
You imagine I cannot be the Messiah foretold in the prophets, because you know my birth and origin. Yet that I have a divine commission to teach, and do not set up a claim to it of myself, is evident from the testimony of the Divine Being, who accompanies my preaching with miracles, whose testimony is every way worthy of credit, since he could not suffer you to be imposed upon; but with the counsels of this Being you are not so well acquainted as you imagine.
29. But I know him ; for I am from him, and he hath sent me.
I am acquainted with his counsels, and particularly with his designs respecting the Messiah : for I have had intercourse with him, and it is he who sent me out to preach.
30. Then they sought to take him ; but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.
They were provoked to hear Jesus say that he was better acquainted with the divine counsels than themselves, and discovered an earnest desire to apprehend him, but were prevented from executing their purpose by Divine Providence, in order that Jesus might be reserved for a public trial.
31. And many of the people, “ many of the multitude,” believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh will he do more miracles than these, which this man hath done? Vol. 2. .
1. We may observe how justly Christ appeals to the disinterestedness of his own conduct, as a proof of his acting by a divine commission : “ he that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory.” The object of impostors is invariably something of a selfish nature; the advancement of their temporal interest, the acquisition of fame or of power, or, in one way or other, the aggrandizement of self. Whoever will take the trouble of examining their conduct, will always find it to proceed from some or other of these motives. But nothing in the conduct of Christ can give ground to suspect that he was actuated by the same views. He sought not wealth, or fame, or power, or any of those objects which engage the pursuit of worldly minded and selfish men. But, on the contrary, when he forsook his occupation in life, and chose another, which would not provide for him a dwelling, and obliged him to subsist upon the occasional benevolence of his followers; when he assumed a character totally opposite to that expected by the Jews in their Messiah; when he voluntarily offended and drove away not only the scribes and Pharisees, men of power and reputation, who could communicate both reputation and power to others, but even the common people, as soon as they appeared to be actuated by improper views, he appeared to be totally indifferent to, and to despise, such objects of pursuit. The great object of his life appears to have been the glory of God, by fulfilling the purposes of his mission; to reform the abuses which had taken place in religion, by which the honour of God was lessened, and to teach men a pure system of pietv and morality. To this grand end he applied himself, with indefatigable industry, while he lived, and to this he at length sacrificed his life. The fidelity of such a teacher there appears no reason to question.