37. If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.38. But if I do, though you believe not me, believe the works; that you may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in him.39. Therefore they sought again to seize him, but he escaped out of their hands.40. And again he went away beyond Jordan, to the place where John first baptized, and abode there.41. And many came to him, and said, John indeed did no miracle; but all that John spoke about this man was true.42. And many believed on him there.
37. If I do not the works Lest the Jews might reply that it was in vain for him to boast of sanctification, and of all that depended on it, he again draws their attention to his miracles, in which there was a sufficiently evident proof of his Divinity. This is in the shape of a concession, as if he had said, |I do not wish you to be bound to give me credit on any other condition than that you see the fact plainly before your eyes. You may safely reject me, if God has not openly given testimony to me.|
The works of my Father. He gives them this name, because those works were truly Divine, and because so great power shone in them, that they could not be ascribed to a man.
38. But if I do. He shows that they are held plainly convicted of unbelieving and sacrilegious contempt, because they render no reverence or honor to what are undoubtedly the works of God. This is a second concession, when he says, |Though I allow you to doubt of my doctrine, you cannot deny, at least, that the miracles which I have performed are from God. You therefore openly reject God, and not a man.|
That you may know and believe. Though he places knowledge before faith, as if faith were inferior to it, he does so, because he has to do with unbelieving and obstinate men, who never yield to God, until they are vanquished and constrained by experience; for rebels wish to know before they believe And yet our gracious God indulges us so far, that he prepares us for faith by a knowledge of his works. But the knowledge of God and of his secret wisdom comes after faith, because the obedience of faith opens to us the door of the kingdom of heaven.
That the Father is in me, and I in him. He repeats the same thing which he had said before in other words, I and my Father are one All tends to this point, that in his ministry there is nothing contrary to his Father. |The Father, he says, is in me; that is, Divine power is manifested in me.|
And I am in my Father; that is, |I do nothing but by the command of God, so that there is a mutual connection between me and my Father.| For this discourse does not relate to the unity of essence, but to the manifestation of Divine power in the person of Christ, from which it was evident that he was sent by God.
39. Therefore they sought again to seize him. This was undoubtedly that they might drive him out of the temple, and immediately stone him; for their rage was not at all abated by the words of Christ. As to what the Evangelist says, that he escaped out of their hands, this could not be accomplished in any other way than by a wonderful exertion of Divine power. This reminds us that we are not exposed to the lawless passions of wicked men, which God restrains by his bridle, whenever he thinks fit.
40. He went away beyond Jordan. Christ passed beyond Jordan, that he might not have to fight continually without any advantage. He has therefore taught us, by his example, that we ought to avail ourselves of opportunities, when they occur. As to the place of his retreat, the reader may consult the observations which I have made at Chapter 1, verse 28.
41. And many came to him. This large assembly shows that Christ did not seek solitude, in order to cease from the discharge of his duty, but to erect a sanctuary of God in the wilderness, when Jerusalem, which was his own abode and dwelling-place, had obstinately driven him out. And indeed this was a dreadful vengeance of God, that, while the temple chosen by God was a den of robbers, (Jeremiah 7:11; Matthew 21:13,) the Church of God was collected in a despised place.
John indeed did no miracle. They infer that Christ is more excellent than John, because he has distinguished himself by so many miracles, while John did not perform a single miracle Not that we ought always to judge from miracles, but that miracles, when united with doctrine, have no small weight, as has already been repeatedly mentioned. Their argument is defective; for they compare Christ with John, but they express only one part of the comparison. Besides, they take for granted, that John was an eminent prophet of God, and that he was endued with extraordinary grace of the Holy Spirit. They justly argue, therefore, that Christ ought to be preferred to John, because it was only by the fixed Providence of God that it was brought about that John, though in other respects a very great prophet, yet was not honored by performing any miracle. Hence they conclude, that this was done on Christ's account, that he might be more highly esteemed.
But all that John said. It appears that this was not spoken by themselves, but was added by the Evangelist, in order to show that there were two reasons which induced them to believe in Christ. On the one hand, they saw that the testimony which John had given to him was true; and, on the other hand, the miracles of Christ procured for him greater authority.