46. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do
ye not believe me?
He that is of God heareth Godís words: ye therefore hear them not,
because ye are not of God.
48. Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that
thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?
49. Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye
do dishonour me.
50. And I seek not mine own glory; there is one that seeketh and
51. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall
never see death.
52. 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 taste of death.
53. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the
prophets are dead; whom makest thou thyself?
54. Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing; it is my
Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:
55. Yet ye have not known 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
56. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was
57. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and
hast thou seen Abraham?
58. Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before
Abraham was, I am.
59. 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.
Ye wish to kill Me then, because ye are enemies of the
truth, not that ye have any fault to find in Me: for, which of you
convinceth Me of sin? [Hom. liv. s. 3.]
if to say: If ye are the sons of God, ye ought to hold sinners in hatred.
If ye hate Me, when ye cannot convince Me of sin, it is evident that ye hate
Me because of the truth: i.e. because I said I was the Son of God.
bold speech this; which none could have had the confidence to utter, but he
Who did no sin; even our Lord. [tom. xx. in Joan. s. 25]
Observe here the condescension of God. He who by virtue of His Divinity
could justify sinners, deigns to shew from reason, that He is not a sinner.
It follows: He that is of God heareth Godís words; ye
therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. [Hom. xviii. in
this not to their nature, but to their faults. They both are from God, and
are not from God at the same time; their nature is from God, their fault is
not from God. This was spoken too to those, who were not only faulty, by
reason of sin, in the way in which all are: but who it was foreknown would
never possess such faith as would free them from the bonds of sin.
GREG. Let him
then, who would understand Godís words, ask himself whether he hears them
with the ears of his heart. For there are some who do not deign to hear
Godís commands even with their bodily ears; and there are others who do
this, but do not embrace them with their heartís desire; and there are
others again who receive Godís words readily, yea and are touched, even to
tears: but who afterwards go back to their sins again; and therefore cannot
be said to hear the word of God, because they neglect to practise it.
answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a
Samaritan, and hast a devil?
answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour
50. And I
seek not mine own glory; there is one that seeketh and judgeth.
verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.
CHRYS. Whenever our Lord said any thing of lofty meaning, the Jews in
their insensibility set it down madness: Then answered the Jews and said
unto Him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?
how, we may ask, when the Samaritans denied a future life, and the
immortality of the soul, could they dare to call our Saviour, Who had
preached so much on the resurrection and the judgment, a Samaritan? Perhaps
they only mean a general rebuke to Him for teaching, what they did not
[tom. xx. 28.]
Samaritans were hated by the Jews; they lived in the land that formerly
belonged to the ten tribes, who had been carried away.
ORIGEN. It is
not unlikely too, some may have thought that He held the Samaritan opinion
of there being no future state really, and only put forth the doctrine of a
resurrection and eternal life, in order gain to the favour of the Jews.
They said that He had a devil, because His discourses were above human
capacity, those, viz. in which He asserted that God was His Father, and that
He had come down from heaven, and others of a like kind: or perhaps from a
suspicion, which many had, that He cast out devils by Beelzebub, the prince
of the devils.
[tom. xx. 28.]
they called Him a Samaritan, because He transgressed the Hebrew ordinances,
as that of the sabbath: the Samaritans not being correct observers of the
law. And they suspected Him of having a devil, because He could disclose
what was in their thoughts. When it was that they called Him a Samaritan,
the Evangelist no where says: a proof that the Evangelists left out many
GREG. See; when God suffers a wrong, He does not reply reproachfully:
Jesus answered, I have not a devil. An intimation this to us, that
when reproached by our neighbours falsely, we should not retort upon them by
bringing forward their evil deeds, however true such charges might be; lest
the vehicle of a just rebuke turn into a weapon of rage. [Hom.
xviii. in Evang.]
And observe, when He had to teach them, and pull down their pride, He used
roughness; but now that He has to suffer rebuke, He treats them with the
utmost mildness: a lesson to us to be severe in what concerns God, but
careless of ourselves.
[Hom. lv. 1.]
AUG. And to
imitate His patience first, if we would attain to His power. But though
being reviled, He reviled not again, it was incumbent on Him to deny the
charge. Two charges had been made against Him: Thou art a Samaritan, and
hast a devil. In reply He does not say, I am not a Samaritan:
for Samaritan means keeper; and He knew He was a keeper: He could not redeem
us, without at the same time preserving us. Lastly, He is the Samaritan,
who went up to the wounded, and had compassion on him.
[Tr. xliii. 1,
Lord, even more than Paul, wished to become all things to all men, that He
might gain some: and therefore He did not deny being a Samaritan. I have
not a devil, is what Jesus alone can say; as He alone can say, The
prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me. None of us are
quite free from having a devil. For even lesser faults come from him. [tom.
xx. s. 28. s. 29.]
after being so reviled, all that He says to vindicate His glory, is, But
I honour My Father: as if to say, That you may not think Me arrogant, I
tell you, I have One, Whom I honour. [Tr.
honoured the Father, by revenging Him, and not suffering murderers or liars
to call themselves the true sons of God.
Christ alone honoured the Father perfectly. No one, who honours any thing
which is not honoured by God, honours God. [tom.
GREG. As all
who have zeal toward God are liable to meet with dishonour from wicked men,
our Lord has Himself set us an example of patience under this trial; And
ye do dishonour Me. [Hom.
AUG. As if to
say, I do my duty: ye do not do yours.
this was not addressed to them only, but to all who by unrighteous deeds
inflict injury upon Christ, who is righteousness; or by scoffing at wisdom
wrong Him who is wisdom: and the like.
[tom. xx. 29.]
GREG. How we are to take injuries, He shews us by His own example, when
He adds, I seek not Mine own glory, there is one that seeketh and
judgeth. [ut sup.]
CHRYS. As if
to say, I have told you this [i.e. that they had no right to call God their
Father] on account of the honour which I have for My Father; and for this ye
dishonour Me. But I concern not myself for your reviling: ye are
accountable to Him, for whose sake I undergo it.
[Hom. lv. 1.]
seeks Christís glory, in everyone of those who receive Him: which glory He
finds in those who cultivate the seeds of virtue implanted in them. And
those in whom He finds not His Sonís glory, He punishes: There is one
that seeketh and judgeth. [tom.
of course the Father. But how is it then that He says in another place,
The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son. [John
5, 22.] Judgment is sometimes put for condemnation, whereas here it only
stands for trial: as if to say, There is one, even My Father, who
distinguishes My glory from yours; ye glory after this world, I not after
this world. The Father distinguishes the glory of the Son, from that of all
men: for that He has been made man, does not bring us to a comparison with
Him. We men have sin: He was without sin, even when He was in the form of a
servant; for, as the Word which was in the beginning, who can speak worthily
thus; If that is true which our Saviour says below, All men are thine,
[John 17, 10.] it is manifest that the judgment itself of the Son, is the
[tom. xx. 31.]
GREG. As the perversity of the wicked increases, preaching so far from
giving way, ought even to become more active. Thus our Lord, after He had
been accused of having a devil, imparts the treasures of preaching in a
still larger degree: Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep My
saying, he shall never see death. [Hom.
xviii. in Evang.]
is put for experience. But since, about to die Himself, He spoke with those
about to die, what means this, if a man keep My saying, he shall never
see death? What, but that He saw another death from which He came to
free us, death eternal, the death of the damned, which is shared with the
devil and his angels! That is the true death: the other is a passage only. [Tr.
xliii. 10, 11.]
must understand Him, as it were, to say, If a man keep My light, he shall
not see darkness for ever; for ever being taken as common to both clauses,
as if the sentence were, if a man keep My saying for ever, He shall not see
death for ever: meaning that a man does not see death, so long as he keeps
Christís word. But when a man, by becoming sluggish in the observance of
His words, and negligent in the keeping of his own heart, ceases to keep
them, he then sees death; he brings it upon himself. Thus taught then by
our Saviour, to the prophet who asks, What man is he that liveth, and
shall not see death? we are able to answer, He who keepeth Christís
[tom. xx. 31.]
says, keep, i.e. not by faith, but by purity of life. And at the same time
too He means as a tacit intimation that they can do nothing to Him. For if
whoever keepeth His word, shall never die, much less is it possible that He
Himself should die.
[Hom. lv. 1.]
52. 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 taste
53. Art thou
greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead;
whom makest thou thyself?
answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing; it is my Father that
honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:
55. Yet ye
have not known 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.
father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
GREG. As it is necessary that the good should grow better by contumely,
so are the reprobate made worse by kindness. On hearing our Lordís words,
the Jews again blaspheme: Then said the Jews unto Him, Now we know Thou
hast a devil. [ut sup.]
who believe the Holy Scriptures, understand that what men do contrary to
right reason, is not done without the operation of devils. Thus the Jews
thought that Jesus had spoken by the influence of the devil, when He said,
If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death. And this idea they
laboured under, because they did not know the power of God. For here He was
speaking of that death of enmity to reason, by which sinners perish: whereas
they understand Him of that death which is common to all; and therefore
blame Him for so speaking, when it was certain that Abraham and the Prophets
were dead: Abraham is dead, and the Prophets; and Thou sayest, if a man
keep My saying, he shall never taste of death. Shall never taste of
death, they say, instead of, shall not see death; though between tasting
and seeing death there is a difference. Like careless bearers, they mistake
what our Lord said. For as our Lord in that He is the true bread, is good
to taste; in that He is wisdom, is beautiful to behold; in like manner His
adversary death is both to be tasted and seen. When then a man stands by
Christís help in the spiritual place pointed out to him, he shall not taste
of death if he preserves that state: according to Matthew, There are
those standing here, which, shall not taste of death. [Matt. 16, 28.]
But when a man hears Christís words and keeps them, he shall not see death.
xx. 32, 33.]
CHRYS. Again, they have recourse to the vainglorious argument of their
descent: Art Thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead?
They might have said, Art Thou greater than God, whose words they are dead
who heard? But they do not say this, because they thought Him inferior even
to Abraham. [Hom.
they do not see that not Abraham only, but everyone born of woman, is less
than He who was born of a Virgin. Now were the Jews right in saying that
Abraham was dead? for he heard the word of Christ, and kept it, as did also
the Prophets, who, they say, were dead. For they kept the word of the Son
of God, when the word of the Lord came to Hosea, Isaiah, or Jeremiah; if
anyone else kept the word, surely those Prophets did. They utter a lie then
when they say, We know that Thou hast a devil; and when they say,
Abraham is dead, and the Prophets. [tom.
being given over to eternal death, which death they saw not, and thinking
only, as they did, of the death of the body, their minds were darkened, even
while the Truth Himself was speaking. They add: Whom makest Thou
Thyself? [ut sup.]
if to say, Thou a person of no account, a carpenterís son of Galilee, to
take glory to Thyself!
makest Thou Thyself? i.e. Of what merit, of what dignity wouldest Thou
be accounted? Nevertheless, Abraham only died in the body; his soul lived.
And the death of the soul which is to live for ever, is greater than the
death of the body that must die some time.
ORIGEN. This was the speech of persons spiritually blind. For Jesus
did not make Himself what He was, but received it from the Father: Jesus
answered and said, If I honour Myself, My honour is nothing. [tom.
is to answer their suspicions; as above, If I bear witness of Myself, My
witness is not true.
[Hom. liv. 1,
shews in these words that the glory of this present life is nothing.
AUG. This is
to answer those who said, Whom makest Thou Thyself? He refers His
glory to the Father, from Whom He is: It is My Father that honoureth Me.
The Arians take occasion from those words to calumniate our faith, and say,
Lo, the Father is greater, for He glorifieth the Son. Heretics, have ye not
read that the Son also glorifieth the Father?
Father glorified the Son, at His baptism, on the mount, at the time of His
passion, when a voice came to Him, in the midst of the crowd, when He raised
Him up again after His passion, and placed Him at the right hand of His
adds, Of whom ye say that He is your God; meaning to tell them that
they were Dot only ignorant of the Father, but even of God. [Hom.
THEOPHYL. For had they known the Father really, they would have
reverenced the Son. But they even despise God, who in the Law forbad
murder, by their clamours against Christ. Wherefore He says, Ye have not
ALCUIN. As if
to say, Ye call Him your God, after a carnal manner, serving Him for
temporal rewards. Ye have not known Him, as He should be known; ye are not
able to serve Him spiritually.
heretics say that the God proclaimed in the Old Testament is not the Father
of Christ, but a kind of prince of bad angels. These He contradicts when He
calls Him His Father, whom the Jews called their God, and knew not. For had
they known Him, they would have received His Son. Of Himself however He
adds, But I know Him. And here too, to men judging after the flesh,
He might appear arrogant. But let not arrogance be so guarded against, as
that truth be deserted. Therefore our Lord says, And if I should say I
know Him not, I should be a liar like unto you.
CHRYS. As if
to say, As ye, saying that ye know Him, lie; so were I a liar, did I say I
knew Him not. It follows, however, (which is the greatest proof of all that
He was sent from God,) But I know Him.
[Hom. lv. 2.]
Having that knowledge by nature; for as I am, so is the Father also; I know
Myself, and therefore I know Him. And He gives the proof that He knows Him:
And I keep His saying, i.e. His commandments. Some understand, I
keep His saying, to mean, I keep the nature of His substance unchanged;
for the substance of the Father and the Son is the same, as their nature is
the same; and therefore I know the Father. And here has the force of
because: I know Him because I keep His saying.
AUG. He spoke
the saying of the Father too, as being the Son; and He was Himself that Word
of the Father, which He spoke to men.
CHRYS. In answer then to their question, Art Thou greater than our
father Abraham, He shews them that He is greater than Abraham; Your
father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: he saw it, and was glad; he must
have rejoiced, because My day would benefit him, which is to acknowledge Me
greater than himself.
[Hom. lv. 2.]
if to say, He regarded My day, as a day to be desired, and full of joy; not
as if I was an unimportant or common person.
AUG. He did
not fear, but rejoiced to see: he rejoiced in hope, believing, and so
by faith saw. It admits of doubt whether He is speaking here of the
temporal day of the Lord, that, viz, of His coming in the flesh, or of that
day which knows neither rising or setting. I doubt not however that our
father Abraham knew the whole: as he says to his servant whom he sent,
Put thy hand under my thigh, and swear to me by the God of heaven. [Gen.
24, 2.] What did that oath signify, but that the God of heaven was to come
in the flesh, out of the stock of Abraham.
saw the day of the Lord even then, when he entertained the three Angels, a
figure of the Trinity. [Hom.
xv. in Evang.]
are aliens from Abraham if they grieve over what he rejoiced in. By
this day perhaps He means the day of the cross, which Abraham prefigured by
the offering up of Isaac and the ram: intimating hereby that He did not come
to His passion unwillingly. [Hom.
AUG. If they
rejoiced to whom the Word appeared in the flesh, what was his joy, who
beheld in spiritual vision the light ineffable, the abiding Word, the bright
illumination of pious souls, the indefectible wisdom, still abiding with God
the Father, and sometime to come in the flesh, but not to leave the Fatherís
57. Then said
the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen
said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
59. 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.
GREG. The carnal minds of the Jews are intent on the flesh only; they
think only of His age in the flesh: Then said the Jews unto Him, Thou art
not fifty years old, and hast Thou seen Abraham? that is to say, Many
ages have passed since Abraham died; and how then could he see thy day? For
they took His words in a carnal sense. [Hom.
xviii. in Evang.]
Christ was then thirty-three years old. Why then do they not say, Thou art
not yet forty years old, instead of fifty? A needless question this: they
simply spoke as chance led them at the time. Some however say that they
mentioned the fiftieth year on account of its sacred character, as being the
year of jubilee, in which they redeemed their captives, and gave up the
possessions they had bought.
GREG. Our Saviour mildly draws them away from their carnal view, to the
contemplation of His Divinity; Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I
say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Before is a particle of
past time, am, of present. Divinity has no past or future, but
always the present; and therefore He does not say, Before Abraham was, I
was: but, Before Abraham was, I am: as it is in Exodus, I am that
I am. Before and after might be said of Abraham with
reference to different periods of his life; to be, in the present, is
said of the truth only. [ut sup.]
being a creature, He did not say before Abraham was, but, before
Abraham was made. Nor does He say, I am made; because that, in the
beginning was the Word. [Tr.
GREG. Their unbelieving minds, however, were unable to support these
indications of eternity; and not understanding Him, sought to destroy Him:
Then they took up stones to cast at Him. [ut sup.]
hardness of heart, whither was it to run, but to its truest likeness, even
the stones? But now that He had done all that He could do as a teacher, and
they in return wished to stone Him, since they could not bear correction, He
leaves them: Jesus hid Himself; and went out of the temple. He did
not hide Himself in a corner of the temple, as if He was afraid, or take
refuge in a house, or run behind a wall, or a pillar; but by His heavenly
power, making Himself invisible to His enemies, went through the midst of
them: Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple.
had He chosen to exert the power of His Divinity, could, without a word, by
His mere nod, have seized them, with the very stones in their hands, and
delivered them to immediate death. But he who came to suffer, was slow to
execute judgment. [ut
AUG. For His
part was more to exhibit patience than exercise power. [Tr.
fled, because His hour was not yet come; and because He had not chosen this
kind of death.
AUG. So then,
as a man, He flies from the stones; but woe to them, from whose stony hearts
God flies. [Tr. xliii. 18.]
Mystically, a man throws a stone at Jesus, as often as he harbours an evil
thought; and if he follows it up, so far as lies in him, he kills Jesus.
does our Lord mean by hiding Himself, but that the truth is hidden to them,
who despise His words. The truth flies the company of an unhumbled soul.
His example shews us, that we should in all humility rather retreat from the
wrath of the proud, when it rises, than resist it, even though we might be