Copyright
Thomas Adam.

An exposition of the four Gospels (Volume 2) online

. (page 31 of 39)
Online LibraryThomas AdamAn exposition of the four Gospels (Volume 2) → online text (page 31 of 39)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


circumcise a man.

23. If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the



VEU. 25 — 39.] ST. JOHN. 427

law of Moses should not be broken ; are ye angry at nie because
I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day ?

Christ knew the miracle had wrought a perfect cure on
him in body and soul .

24. Judge not according to llie a})pearance, but judge righteous
judgment.

Consider before you condemn.



SECTION XXXI.

Chap. vii. ver. 25—39.

HIS DISCOURSE CONTINUED.

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 unto bini.
Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ.

Are they really of this mind, that they suffer him to
pass unmolested ? These, it seems, were some of the for-
wardest to have him censured, and they pretended to give
a reason why he could not be the Christ.

27. Ilowbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ
conicth, no man knoweth whence he is.

They were mistaken in both respects. Christ was not
of Nazareth, as they supposed ; and they might have
known that he was of Bethlehem ; which seems to be the
meaning of his saying in verse the twenty-eiglith.

28. Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye
both know me, aufl ye know whence I am : and I am not come of
myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not.

He tells them they knew, or might Iiave known, and
ihcy would not. In conclusion, he speaks to this effect.



428 ST. JOHN. [chap.



VII.



whatever you know, there is one thing of which you are
sadly ignorant : you know not God, nor ever will, till you
know him as sending me, and me as sent by him.

29. But I know hiin : for I am from him, and he hath sent
me,

If we do not know God, let us allow Christ to teach us
to know him.

30. Then they sought to take him : but no man laid liands on
liim, because his hour was not yet come.

See how God overrules the designs of men, and has his
bridle in their jaws. If he were to let them loose, there
would be no living in the world.

31. And many of the people believed on him, and said. When
Christ Cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man
hath done ?

They argued correctly ; and gave such a reason for their
belief, as all the world could not answer.

32. The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such tilings
concerning him ; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent of-
ficers to take him.

33. Then said Jesus unto them. Yet a little while am 1 with you,
and then I go unto him that sent me.

It may be but a little while with ws. We have a preci-
ous moment now in our hands, and death will soon snatch
it from us.

34. Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me : and where I aiu,
thither ye cannot come.

Because they would not. Nothing can kee]) us from God,
but our own wills.

35. 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, and teach the Gentiles ?

36. What manner of saying is this that he said. Ye shall seek
me, and shall not find me : and where I am, thither ye cannot
come !*



VKR. 40— ;j3.] ST. JOHN'. 429

They would have understood him better, if their wills
had inclined them to seek him ; and their hearts had been
set upon the place where he was going.

37. In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and
cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and
drink.

Christ, we may be sure, would give the most weighty in-
struction when there was the greatest concourse, "in the
last day." " Jesus stood and cried." Hark! he cries now,
and with so loud a voice as to be heard by all, in all parts
of the earth. "If any man thirst, let him come unto me,
and drink." Whoever is athirst for Christ, will come to
him, and none else can.

38. He tliat believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of
his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

That is, living water shall flow from Christ, as from a
fountain, or conduit, to believers. This is too much to be
said of any other, and the scripture says it only of Christ.
No man has such abundance, no, nor a drop of this living,
or life-giving water to bestow; it is all in Christ, and to
him we must go for it.

39. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that beheve
on liim should receive : for the Holy Ghost was not yet given ; be-
cause that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

The Holy Spirit then is the author and giver of life,
nainely, as sent by Christ, and acting in his stead, — the
purchase of his sufferings, and the fruit of his ascension
into glory, and his session in that state.



SECTION XXXII.
Chap. vii. ver. 40 — 53.

DIVERS OPINIONS OF CHRIST.

40. Many of the people dierelore, wlicn ihoy lieard this saving,
said, Of a truth this is the Proplu-t.



430 ST. JOHN. [chap. VII.

41. Others said, This is the Christ.

The Jews therefore did not suppose the prophet spoken
of by Moses, in Deut. xviii. 15 — 18, to be the Christ.

41. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee ?

42. Hath not the Scrijiture said, That Christ cometh of the
seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David
was ?

Here they contradict what they had said before in verse
twenty-seven, "When Christ cometh, no man knoweth
whence he is."

43. So there was a division among the people hecause of
him.

We may think there is no division among tis, at least in
one respect, and that we are all for Christ. But when he
comes, we are told he will make a separation, and that he
will set many who call themselves by his name, on the left
hand. He knows whose hearts are with him, whatever they
pretend.

44. And some of them would have taken him ; but no man laid
hands on him.

Before God's time, they could not. The true servants
of God know that nothing can hurt them without his leave;
and when it is his will, they give themselves >ip to suffer-
ing.

46. Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees ;
and they said unto them. Why have ye not brought him ?

46. The officers answered. Never man spake like this man.

So we think ; but to what purpose, if the truth from
his mouth do not tie up our hands, and restrain us from
acting against him, as it did them P

47. Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also de-
ceived ?

Fear not this reproach. As sure as ever any belong to
Christ, they must hear it from their ignorant neigh-
bours.



VEIL 40—53.] ST. jouyi. 431

48. Have any of ihe rulers or of the Pharisees believed on
him ?

This is a prevailing argument at all times with the care-
less, and the slothful, who will be at no pains to inquire
into the truth of the gospel of Christ. But we may ob-
serve from hence how necessary it is to judge for ourselves,
and that there are plain cases in which none can be de-
ceived. If the people, in this instance, had seen only with
the eyes of the learned, they would never have seen Christ.
On the other hand, there is certainly a deference due to law-
ful teachers, and to the apostle's injunction, " Obey them
that have the rule over you.*"

4'J. But tliis people who knoweth not the law are cursed.

Here the cursers were stark mad, completely blind, and
cursed themselves : they were the very men who knew not
the law.

50. Nicodenuis saith unto them, (lie that came to .Tesus by
night, being one of theiu,)

51. Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know
what he doeth ?

Nicodemus did not go to Jesus for nothing. He had
learned of him to purpose, and durst now own him in the
face of danger.

52. They answered and said imto him. Art thou also of Galilee ?
Search, and look : for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.

They flew in the face of Nicodemus at once, with a bit-
ter taunt. We have reason to be thankful to God, that he
did not regard it. They gave Nicodemus advice to search
and look ; but, alas ! they did not follow the advice them-
selves. If they would have traced Christ up to Betiile-
hem, as they might have done, their eyes might have been
opened. Let us search, and we shall see the truth. Why
are we blind in the things of Christ, but because we do not
inquire after them with care, and a suitable concern ?

o3. And every man went unto his own honst-.



432 ST. JOHN. [chap. VIII.

Nothing came of tlieir consultation against Jesus at that
time, because his hour for being delivered to their will was
not yet come. Nevertheless, though God restrained them,
their guilt was the same, and in his judgment they did what
they would have done. " Keep thy heart with all dili-
gence !"



SECTION XXXIII.
Chap. viii. ver. 1 — 11.

THE WOMAN TAKEN IN ADULTERY.

1. Jesus wentunto the mount of Olives.

2. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and
all the people came unto him ; and he sat down, and taught
them.

Christ was always intent upon his business. Minister,
look at thy pattern. " And all the people came unto him ;"
here is a lesson for the people. Christ is now going to
teach us. Let what he says reach our consciences; that
finding our sin, we may go to him for forgiveness, and
learn of him to abhor, and forsake all sin.

3. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman
taken in adultery ; and when they had set her in the midst,

4. They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adul-
tery, in the very act.

5. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be
stoned : but what sayest thou ?

6. This they said, tempting him, that they might have to ac-
cuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on
the ground, as though he heard them not.

What ? Could they think that he who declared lustful
looking to be adultery, would countenance the gross
act ? No ; but they knew he had a way of his own
of discharging from sin, and doubted not but his answer



VEK.l 11.1 ST. JOHN. 433

would furnish thcni with matter of accusation against him,
as an enemy to the law, and to good works. We shall
find, that they were caught themselves, and made to become
their own accusers ; as we all shall be, whenever we know
ourselves.

No one knows what Christ wrote on the ground. It is
in vain to guess. Perhaps his intention might be to give
them time, and to prepare them for self- reflection.

7. So when ihey contimied asking liiin, he lUtfd up him-
self, and said unto dieni. He that is without sin among you, let
liim first cast a stone at her.

They would not be satisfied, but continued to ask. No
more would he. He now comes full upon them witli his
purpose. O what shall we do, when he lifts up himself
with his searching look, to make a way for himself into our
consciences ! It will be better to have this searching look
now, than that our first knowledge of all should come to
us at the day of judgment.

" He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a
stone at her." How many hard stones do many of us cast at
others every day of our lives, without ever thinking of sin
in ourselves !

8. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

9. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own con-
science, went out one by one, beginning at the cklest, even unto
the last : and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in llie
midst.

The most demure hypocrites, and those who came with
the best opinion of themselves, sneaked oft' first. Ikit let
every one, who thinks well of himself, lake especial notice,
that he is more hardened than they were, if these very
words do not bring light and conviction to his mind.

All the accusers were gone, and only Jesus, the woman,
and the company who witnessed the whole, were left.

10. When .Tesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but
VOL. II. ]■ !•



434 ST. JOHN. [chap. VIII.

the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine ac-
cusers ? hath no man condemned thee ?

Let us ask ourselves, each one, Have I never condemned
myself.^ If that be not the case with us, we shall be busy,
bold censurers of others all our lives.

11. She said. No man. Lord. And Jesus said unto her. Nei-
ther do I condemn thee : go, and sin no more.

The meaning is, I do not give thee up to condemnation :
there is mercy with the Lord. Blessed be God for this
saying. It is the very thing we all want ; and when we
know it, the words of Jesus will sound sweetly in our
hearts. But let us remember, all will be lost, if the next
words do not sound as deeply into them, " Go, and sin no
more," Let none pretend to believe one from the mouth
of Christ, if they do not believe the other.

The Pharisees knew that Jesus forgave sins, and
preached the forgiveness of sins, and supposing, in their
great wisdom, that it was a dangerous doctrine, laid a snare
for him, iwto which they thought he must necessarily fall,
either by retracting what he had said at other times of the
forgiveness of sins, or by diminishing from the sacredness
of the law. Jesus was not to be caught in the snare; but
with admirable address, he brought their consciences over
to his side ; and at the same time he preached both the law
and the gospel, by forgiving the sinner, and condemning all
sin.

Note, this passage of the woman taken in adultery, is
omitted in some copies of the Gospel of St. Luke, and re-
moved out of its place in others. But what miserable
mistakers of the gospel, and sacrilegious robbers of our
peace, were those who would have secreted it ! I suppose,
with the same pharisaicg,l pretence, as if it might do harm.



VEIL 12 — 52.] ST. JOHN. 435

SECTION XXXIV„

Chap. viii. vcr. 12 — 25.

CHllIST IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.

12. Then spake .fcsus again unto them, saying, I am the light
of the world : ho that followcth me shall not walk in darkness, but
shall have the light o(" life.

Christ is to the soul what the sun is to all nature ; and
those who follow him in liis teaching and example, are in
the way of a true life here, and have the light in them
which leadeth to eternal life; necessarily implying, that
whoever does not follow him, is in the darkness of death,
whatever he does, or whatever he thinks of himself.

13. The Pharisees therefore said unto him. Thou bearest record
of thyself; thy record is not true.

They declared that his record was not true ; because, as
they pretended, it was unsupported by other evidence.
What they said was false ; he had other witness besides
his own ; and we learn from hence that no evidence is suf-
ficient for those who will not be convinced.

14. Jesus answered and said unto them. 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 T
go-

" My record is true,"" in itself; for I know what I am,
though you do not.

15. Ye judge after the liesh ; I judge no man.

Ye judge blindly, proudly, without self-knowledge, and
therefore without pity; as in case of the poor woman. "I
judge no man," without first offering liim mercy, and call-
ing him to repentance.

It). And \et if 1 judge, my judgment is true: for 1 am not
alone, but 1 and the P'atber that sent me.

F V 2



436 ST. JOHN. [chap. VIII.

Christ's judgment is infallible, and strictly just, though
he were to give up all to condemnation. But to our comfort,
He, who best knoweth the desert of sin, and cannot be de-
ceived in judging of any, is not like rash man, for proceed-
ing to extremities at once.

17. It is also written in your law, that tlie testimony of two
men is true.

18. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that
sent me beareth witness of me.

Though his testimony was true in itself, he did not ex-
pect they should acquiesce in it, but refers them again to
fuller evidence, that of the Father bearing witness to his
mission by miracles. Those who reject him, will be made
to know that it was not for want of proof.

19. Then said they unto him. Where is thy Father? Jesus
answered, Ye neither know me nor my Father ; if ye had known
me, ye should have known my Father also.

This assertion came from his mouth more than once, or
twice. We cannot possibly know God in his justice and
holiness, what he does to save us, and what he expects from
us, and why he will condemn us, but through the know-
ledge of Christ. And yet vain man, who neither knows
himself, nor anything else, will be prying into the mind of
God, and telling him what he must do.

20. These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the
temple : and no man laid hands on him ; for his hour was not vet
come.

St. John repeats this observation, and it has great weight
in it. Whatever men propose, they cannot stir one step
in the execution of their designs, without the will of God.

21. Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall
seek me, and shall die in your sins : whither I go, ye cannot come.

How dreadful, never to find the want of Christ, till we
are dying in our sins ! " Whither I go, ye cannot come."
The impossibility was in their own wills, and worldly
hearts.



VER. 26—38.] ST. JOHN. 437

22. Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith.
Whither I go, ye cannot come.

They meant, that they would have him, if he was any-
where in the world.

23. And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath ; I am from
above : ye arc of this world ; I am not of this world.

This is the case of all out of Christ ; and they are in a
state of condemnation, because they are from beneath, and
of this world, and have not got above it, by faith in Christ.
The consequence he states in the next verse.

24. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins : for
if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

This is the awful consequence of unbelief at all times,
and to all persons. — Edit.

25. Then said they unto him. Who art thou ? And Jesus saith
unto them. Even the same that I said unto you from the begin-
ning.

How many are so ignorant of Christ, as to be ready to
ask, who he is? How many say plainly, christian know-
ledge is too deep for them !

Jesua, in effect, tells us, " he is the same," he is at a
word with us, and cannot alter himself to suit our purpose.
If we stay till doom's-day, he will never be any other than
what he has already declared himself to be.



SECTION XXXV.

Chap. viii. ver. 26—38.

CHRIST JUSTIFIES HIS DOCTRINE.

26. I have many things to say and to judge of you : but he that
sent me is true ; and I speak to the world those things which I have
heard of him.



438 ST. JOHN. [chap. VIII.

Let us take heed lest Chi'ist should have many things to
say and judge of us.

27. They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.

And therefore what he spake was the same as if it had
been spoken by the Father. This is what every Christian
believes.

28. Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the
Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do no-
thing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these
things.

He says that they should know him after his crucifixion,
by his resurrection, ascension, and sending the Holy Spirit.
But did they generally know, and own him ? No. The
meaning thei-efore is, that they should have the fullest
possible means of knowing him. They knew indeed in
dreadful reality who he was, in their national punishment.

29. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left
me alone ; for I do always those things that please him.

He that is able to say this sincerely, knows Christ, and
the way to have God with him.

30. As he spake these words, many believed on him.

31. Then said Jesus to those Jews which beheved on him. If ye
continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.

Let us learn of Christ himself what is a sure mark of
discipleship. But how can we receive, or continue in his
word, if we will not be at the pains to know what it is ?

32. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you
free.

Blessed is the man who says, I will know the truth, and
be of it, whatever it costs me. " And the truth shall make
you free." Free from the tyranny of sin, the yoke of the
law as a covenant, a spirit of bondage, and the fear of
condemnation : free to choose what God chooses for us.

33. They answered liim, We be Abraham's seed, and were



VEIL 2G— 38.] ST. JOHN. 439

never in bondage to any man : liow sayest thou, ye shall be made
free ?

It was utterly false that they were never in bondao-e.
Besides the inward bondage of sin, of which Christ was here
speaking, they were not their own masters ; yet they would
not understand that they had been, and were then, in a state
of outward bondage to another nation. How blind and
perverse is man !

34. Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Who-
soever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

He is a poor slave to the worst of masters ; he has as
many masters as sins, and nothing but death for his wages.

35. And the servant abideth not in die house for ever : but the
Son abideth ever.

In Christ we are sons, and heirs with him. He came to
make us sons and heirs. He came to free us from sin,
which we have contracted through our blindness and iono-
ranee ; he came to make us free to righteousness, through
the truth. Out of Christ we have neither lot nor portion
in God's family.

36. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free
indeed.

To this test we must come. Has Christ indeed made us
free, to serve God, and live according to his will, with the
full consent of our minds t For servants we must be, either
of God or Satan ; and freedom, is not freedom to do what
we please, but what we should. AVe know that we should
love and obey God, and yet the world and our lusts will
not suffer us. What is this but Satan''s chain about us.? As
ever you would be happy, let Christ take it off.

37. I know that ye are Abraham's seed : but ye seek to kill ine
because my word hath no place in you.

38. 1 speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do
that which ye have seen with your father.

Who that father is he tells them afterwards. We have
either the nature of God, or that of the devil, in us: and



440 ST. JOHN. [chap. viii.

according to thai nature, one, or the other, is our father.
AVe have no other choice. Surely it behoves us to know
whose children we are.



SECTION XXXVI.

Chap. viii. ver. 39—49.
Christ's authority asserted.

39. They answered and said unto liini, Abraham is our father,
•lesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would
do the works of Abraham.

So he says to us ; what is your baptism, and Christian
profession, without the works proper to them .'*

40. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that lialh told you the
truth, which I have heard of God : this did not Abraham.

41. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they unto him,
We be not born of fornication ; we have one Father, even God,

Saying this vehemently, is not sufficient. Let us think
how much is implied in being a child of God.

42. Jesus said unto them. If God were your Father, ye would
love me : for I jjroceeded forth, and came from God ; neither came
I of myself, but he sent me.

Jesus tells us he came from the Father, to teach us to
know and love him as a Father.

43. Why do ye not understand my speech ? even because ye
cannot hear my word.

Hearing, is hearing in an honest and good heart ; and in
the want of this, they could not, none can, hear and under-
stand.

44. Ye are of your father tlie devil, and the lusts of your father
ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not
in the truth, Ijccause there is no truth in him. Wlien he sjtcaketh
a lie, he spcakelli of his own : for he is a liar, and tlic father of it.



VER. 39— 49.] ST. JOHN. 441

This is a horrid relation ! If we have not already broken
ourselves oft' from Satan, surely we shall do it as soon as
jDossible.

45. Anil because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

The very reason why the gospel is so little believed is,
because it is the truth. It does not suit our worldly wills,
and depraved natures ; which for the most part, is what
we mean by our reason.

46. Which of you conviuceth inc of sin ? And if I say the truth,
why do ye not believe nie :'

He had not one blemish in his life, to lessen the force of
truth from his mouth. None other could ever make this
challenge.

47. He that is of God, heareth God's words : ye therefore hear
them not, because ye are not of God.

You do not hear God's word with effect. The true dis-
ciple not only hears, but approves, and believes. Others
" hear, and hear not." Having nothing of God in them,



Online LibraryThomas AdamAn exposition of the four Gospels (Volume 2) → online text (page 31 of 39)