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me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
These words seem to be a continuation of what Christ had been saying in the beginning of the preceding verse: he had there observed that there were some who did not believe in him; he now assigns the reason of a former declaration in the forty-fourth verse, where he had said that no man could come unto him, except it were given to him of his Father; that is, unless God would incline his heart to do so, not by supernatural but ordinary means.
66. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
They were so disgusted with the figurative language which Christ had used, and which they could not comprehend, that they would continue with him no longer; and Jesus, perceiving their sensual disposition, and that he should derive no credit from such followers, took no pains to retain them. I think indeed it is clear from the whole of this discourse, that he intended to drive them away: for he seems to have given himself no trouble to remove their difficulties, but, on the contrary, when they were perplexed with the strong language which he had used, he made use of still stronger.
67. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
68. Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.
Jesus had told his followers that those who eat his flesh and drink his blood should have eternal life: in this language he referred to his doctrine, and to this Peter, it seems, understood him to refer; for the motive which he assigns for attachment to him is that he had the words, or the doctrine, of eternal life.
69. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, or, " the Christ," the son of the living God,
The other followers of Jesus were offended with him, because he had said that he came down from heaven, when they knew that he had a father and mother like other men: but Peter understands no more by this expression than that he claimed a divine commission, and was the promised Messiah. You see from this verse, what indeed is evident from many other examples, that Christ and Son of God are terms signifying the same thing.
70. Jesus answered them, Have I not chosen you twelve, rather, "Did I not choose you, the twelve, for myself," and one of you is a devil, rather, "false accuser," or, "slanderer."
So the term devil is translated in the epistles of Paul; and there can be no doubt that Judas was something more, or intended being something more, than a mere betrayer of his master, and that he purposed justifying his own conduct by accusing him of some crime. This purpose, however, he was prevented from executing by his intervening repentance.
71. He spake of Judas, the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, rather, "that was going to betray him," being one of the twelve.
1. We have here a fresh instance of the excellence of Christ's character, in his showing himself superior to
popular applause. The miracles which he wrought drew after him many followers; and if he had chosen to gratify their humours, and accommodate himself to their prejudices, they would have continued with him. To be accompanied every where by a multitude of professed disciples, although they were of the lower classes of mankind, would have given him distinction, and have flattered his vanity, if he had possessed any; at least, it would have afforded him some consolation for the want of proselytes among the higher orders of the Jews, among the members of the Sanhedrim, thẹ scribes and pharisees: but Christ had a mind superior to the love of praise or applause, from whatever quarter it might come, whether from the rich or the poor. Often have we heard him use the most offensive language, in respect to persons of power and influence among the Jews, exposing their hypocrisy and reproving their vices, without reserve, and hereby showing himself indifferent about their favour: here we find him equally unconcerned about the favour of the multitude: for he refuses to work a fresh miracle to supply them with bread, which he knew was what they desired, and has recourse to such figurative language as he was aware they would not understand, and at which they would take offence: thus proving, by his conduct towards both, that the object which he had in view was not the gratification of pride or vanity, or any of those passions which usually actuate mankind, in proposing a false religion to the world; but the fulfilment of the purposes of Providence, by a faithful discharge of his office.
2. Let us never forget that we have the same motives for attachment to Christ which Peter and the twelve apostles had. He has the words of eternal life: he alone can give us satisfactory information respecting a state of being after death, and suitable directions for attaining it. The notions entertained by the heathens upon this subject were full of obscurity and uncertainty, and the Jewish scriptures, although they plainly discover that the sacred writers believed the doctrine, yet convey no certain information concerning it.
Were the light of the gospel to be withdrawn, mankind would be soon involved again in the same uncertainty. When, therefore, we are at any time tempted to forsake Christ by renouncing his gospel, and by violating any of its precepts, let us ask ourselves as Peter does, To whom shall we go? Where shall we find like information? Where shall we meet with so good a guide; with so excellent a master? and let the answer which must be given to this question determine us to continue with him.
John vii. 1-13.
1. After these things, or, after this," Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, "Judæa," because the Jews sought to kill him.
The principal enemies of Christ were the Pharisaic scribes, or teachers of the law, who resided in Jerusalem and the neighbourhood: these were so offended at his censures and reproofs that they were resolved to accomplish his destruction, by any means which might be attended with safety to themselves. escape their malice, Jesus retires into another country, under another government. For although he was willing to die, where it might be necessary to promote the purposes of his mission, he was desirous to avoid it, where his death might be accomplished in an irregular manner, by private assassination, or by instigating the populace to stone him.
2. Now the Jews' festival of tabernacles was at hand.
This festival was observed in commemoration of the Jews' dwelling in tents in the wilderness, and was intended to remind them, when settled in a fruitful country, of their former unsettled condition: for this purpose all the males were required to appear at Jerusalem,
and to reside in tents about the city during the eight days that the festival lasted. It began on the fifteenth day of the month Tisri, which corresponds with the end of September, or the beginning of the month of October.
3. His His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judæa, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest.
4. For there is no man that doth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly: if thou do these things, show thyself to the world.
These kinsmen of Jesus, supposing him actuated by a desire of fame in assuming the office of a teacher, reproach him with the absurdity of his conduct, having such views, in remaining in an obscure part of the country; and advise him to go up to Jerusalem, the seat of influence and power, that, by performing his miracles there, and gaining proselytes, he might gratify his ruling passion.
5. For neither did his brethren believe in him.
Those who supposed him actuated by a desire of fame could not consider him as under a divine impulse, or as aiming to promote what he professed to have in view, the glory of God. The persons who held this language are called our Lord's brethren: but the word so translated is often applied to persons in a more remote relationship, to cousins; and such was probably the relationship of the persons here referred to. Their unbelief is to be accounted for upon the same principles as that of his fellow-citizens and townsmen in Nazareth.