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Commentary On John Volume 1 by Jean Calvin

John 11:53-57

53. From that day, therefore, they consulted to put him to death.54. Therefore Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews, but retired to a country near the wilderness, into a city which is called Ephraim, and there dwelt with his disciples.55. Now the passover of the Jews was at hand, and many of that country went up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves.56. They therefore sought Jesus, and said among themselves, while they stood in the temple, What think you? will he not come to the feast? 57. Now the chief priests and Pharisees had issued an order, that if any one knew where he was, he would show it, that they might seize him.

53. They consulted to put him to death. The Evangelist relates that Christ again fled, knowing that his enemies sought him with so great rage. Yet let us remember that he did not fly in order to withdraw from his Father's calling; for he had no other intention than to present himself to undergo voluntary death at the time which God had appointed. This consultation, which the Evangelist mentions, related not so much to slaying Christ as to find out some method of crushing him. They had already determined to put him to death; it only remained to advise in what way they could carry their resolution into effect.

54. Which is called Ephraim. As to the name of the town which is mentioned here, I think that either it was pronounced at that time in a corrupted manner, or it was entirely new. For we know how greatly the language was changed after the captivity into Babylon, and likewise how different was the appearance of the country; so that we need not be surprised that some places are mentioned, which in ancient times were altogether unknown.

And there he dwelt with his disciples. By calling them disciples of Christ, he means not those who had received his doctrine, but those who were his constant companions, and who were wont to live under the same roof.

55. Many from that country went up to Jerusalem. It was not absolutely enjoined that they should purify themselves before sacrificing the passover; and, therefore, the Evangelist does not say that all came, but many No unclean person, indeed, was permitted to eat; but I say that this sanctification was undertaken voluntarily and from their own inclination, so that others were not forbidden to eat, though they had not been prepared by such a ceremony before the day of the feast

56. They therefore sought Jesus. The design of the Evangelist is, to show how extensively the fame of Christ was diffused through the whole of Judea; for they who assemble in the temple, from whatever quarter they come, are eager to seek Christ, and are employed in holding conversations among themselves concerning him. It is true that they seek him after a human fashion, but yet, in seeking him, they discover that it is the tyranny of the priests which prevents him from appearing openly.

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