John 1

Verse 56. Prepared spices and ointments] This was in order to

embalm him; which sufficiently proves that they had no hope of his

resurrection the third day.

And rested the Sabbath day] For though the Jewish canons allowed

all works, necessary for the dead, to be done, even on the

Sabbath, such as washing and anointing, provided they moved not a

limb of the dead person, yet, as the Jews had put Christ to death

under the pretence of his being a malefactor, it would not have

been either prudent or safe to appear too forward in the present

business; and therefore they rested on the Sabbath.

CERTAIN copies of the Itala have some remarkable additions in

these concluding verses. The conclusion of the 48th verse,

Lu 23:48 in one of them, is read thus:

Beating their breasts and their foreheads, and saying, Wo to us

because of what is done this day, on account of our sins; for the

desolation of Jerusalem is at hand. To Lu 23:52, another adds:

And when Pilate heard that he was dead, he glorified God and

gave the body to Joseph. On the circumstances of the crucifixion,

see the observations at the end of Matt. 27, and

consider how heinous sin must be in the sight of God, when it

required such a sacrifice! See Clarke on Mt 27:66




-Usherian years of the World, 3999-4033.

-Alexandrian years of the World, 5497-5531.

-Antiochian years of the World, 5487-5621.

-Constantinopolitan AEra of the World, 5503-5537.

-Rabbinical years of the World, 3754-3788.

-Years of the Julian Period, 4708-4742.

-AEra of the Seleucide, 307-341.

-From B.C. 5, to A.D. 29.

-From An. Olymp. CXCIII. 3, to CCII. 1.

-Years of the building of Rome, 748-782.

-Years of the Julian AEra, 41-75.

-Years of the Caesarean AEra of Antioch, 44-78.

-Years of the Spanish AEra, 34-68.

-Years of the Paschal Cycle, or Dionysian Period, 529-31.

-Years of the Christian Lunar Cycle, or Golden Number, 15-11.

-Years of the Rabbinical Lunar Cycle, 12-8.

-Years of the Solar Cycle, 4-10.

-From the 25th year of the reign of the Emperor Augustus to the

18th of that of Tiberius.

N. B. As it was impossible to ascertain the precise dates of

several transactions recorded in this Gospel, I have constructed

the above Chronology in all the AEras which it includes, so as

to comprehend the whole of our Lord's life on earth, from his

conception to his ascension, which is generally allowed to

comprise the space of 34 years, Therefore, 34, added to the

first date in any of the above AEras, gives the second date;

e.g. Usherian year of the world, 3099+34=4033, and so of the



The eternity of the Divine Logos, or Word of God, the dispenser

of light and life, 1-5.

The mission of John the Baptist, 6-13.

The incarnation of the Logos or Word of God, 14.

John's testimony concerning the Logos, 15-18.

The priests and Levites question him concerning his mission and

his baptism, 19-22.

His answer, 23-28.

His farther testimony on seeing Christ, 29-34.

He points him out to two of his disciples, who thereupon follow

Jesus, 35-37.

Christ's address to them, 38, 39.

Andrew invites his brother, Simon Peter; Christ's address to

him, 40-42.

Christ calls Philip, and Philip invites Nathanael, 43-46.

Christ's character of Nathanael, 47.

A remarkable conversation between him and this disciple, 48-61.


John's introduction is from Joh 1:1-18. Some harmonists suppose

it to end with Joh 1:14. but, from the connection of the whole,

Joh 1:18 appears to be its natural close, at it contains a

reason why the Logos or Word was made flesh. Joh 1:15 refers to

Joh 1:6-8, and in these passages John's testimony is anticipated

in order of time, and is very fitly mentioned to illustrate

Christ's pre-eminence. Joh 1:16, 17 have a plain reference to

Joh 1:14. See Bp. Newcome.

Verse 1. In the beginning] That is, before any thing was

formed-ere God began the great work of creation. This is the

meaning of the word in Ge 1:1, to which the evangelist evidently

alludes. This phrase fully proves, in the mouth of an inspired

writer, that Jesus Christ was no part of the creation, as he

existed when no part of that existed; and that consequently he is

no creature, as all created nature was formed by him: for without

him was nothing made that is made, Joh 1:3. Now, as what was

before creation must be eternal, and as what gave being to all

things, could not have borrowed or derived its being from any

thing, therefore Jesus, who was before all things and who made all

things, must necessarily be the ETERNAL God.

Was the Word] Or, existed the Logos. This term should be left

untranslated, for the very same reason why the names Jesus and

Christ are left untranslated. The first I consider as proper an

apellative of the Saviour of the world as I do either of the two

last. And as it would be highly improper to say, the Deliverer,

the Anointed, instead of Jesus Christ, so I deem it improper to

say, the Word, instead of the Logos. But as every appellative of

the Saviour of the world was descriptive of some excellence in his

person, nature, or work, so the epithet λογος, Logos, which

signifies a word spoken, speech, eloquence, doctrine, reason, or

the faculty of reasoning, is very properly applied to him, who

is the true light which lighteth every man who cometh into the

world, Joh 1:9; who is the fountain of all

wisdom; who giveth being, life, light, knowledge, and reason, to

all men; who is the grand Source of revelation, who has declared

God unto mankind; who spake by the prophets, for the testimony of

Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, Re 19:10; who has illustrated

life and immortality by his Gospel, 2Ti 1:10; and who has fully

made manifest the deep mysteries which lay hidden in the bosom of

the invisible God from all eternity, Joh 1:18.

The apostle does not borrow this mode of speech from the

writings of Plato, as some have imagined: he took it from the

Scriptures of the Old Testament, and from the subsequent style of

the ancient Jews. It is true the Platonists make mention of the

Logos in this way:-καθοναειονταταγενομεναεγενετο-by whom,

eternally existing, all things were made. But as Plato,

Pythagoras, Zeno, and others, travelled among the Jews, and

conversed with them, it is reasonable to suppose that they

borrowed this, with many others of their most important notions

and doctrines, from them.

And the Word was God.] Or, God was the Logos: therefore no

subordinate being, no second to the Most High, but the supreme

eternal Jehovah.

Verse 3. All things were made by him] That is, by this Logos. In

Ge 1:1, GOD is said to have created all things: in this verse,

Christ is said to have created all things: the same unerring

Spirit spoke in Moses and in the evangelists: therefore Christ

and the Father are ONE. To say that Christ made all things by a

delegated power from God is absurd; because the thing is

impossible. Creation means causing that to exist that had no

previous being: this is evidently a work which can be effected

only by omnipotence. Now, God cannot delegate his omnipotence to

another: were this possible, he to whom this omnipotence was

delegated would, in consequence, become GOD; and he from whom it

was delegated would cease to be such: for it is impossible that

there should be two omnipotent beings.

On these important passages I find that many eminently learned

men differ from me: it seems they cannot be of my opinion, and I

feel I cannot be of theirs. May He, who is the Light and the

Truth, guide them and me into all truth!

Verse 4. In him was life] Many MSS., versions, and fathers,

connect this with the preceding verse, thus: All things were made

by him, and without him was nothing made. What was made had life

in it; but THIS LIFE was the light of men. That is, though every

thing he made had a principle of life in it, whether vegetable,

animal, or intellectual, yet this, that life or animal principle

in the human being, was not the light of men; not that light which

could guide them to heaven, for the world by wisdom knew not God,

1Co 1:21. Therefore, the expression,

in him was life, is not to be understood of life natural, but of

that life eternal which he revealed to the world, 2Ti 1:10, to

which he taught the way, Joh 14:6, which he promised to

believers, Joh 10:28, which he purchased for them,

Joh 6:51, 53, 54, which he is appointed to give them,

Joh 17:2, and to which he will raise them up, Joh 5:29,

because he hath the life in himself, Joh 5:26. All this may be

proved: 1. From the like expressions; 1Jo 5:11,

This is the promise that God hath given unto us, eternal life,

and this life is in his Son: whence he is styled the true God and

eternal life, 1Jo 5:20;

the resurrection and the life, Joh 11:25;

the way, the truth, and the life, Joh 14:6. 2. From these

words, Joh 1:7,

John came to bear witness of this light, that all might believe

through him, viz. to eternal life, 1Ti 1:16; for so John

witnesseth, Joh 3:15, 36. And hence it follows that this life

must be the light of men, by giving them the knowledge of this

life, and of the way leading to it. See Whitby on the place. Is

there any reference here to Ge 3:20: And Adam called his wife's

name Eve, chava, ζωη, LIFE, because she was the mother of

all living? And was not Jesus that seed of the woman that was to

bruise the head of the serpent, and to give life to the world?

Verse 5. And the light shineth in darkness] By darkness here may

be understood: 1. The heathen world, Eph 5:8. 2. The Jewish

people. 3. The fallen spirit of man.

Comprehended it not.] αυτοουκατελαβεν, Prevented it

not-hindered it not, says Mr. Wakefield, who adds the following

judicious note:-"Even in the midst of that darkness of ignorance

and idolatry which overspread the world, this light of Divine

wisdom was not totally eclipsed: the Jewish nation was a lamp

perpetually shining to the surrounding nations; and many bright

luminaries, among the heathen, were never wanting in just and

worthy notions of the attributes and providence of God's wisdom;

which enabled them to shine in some degree, though but as lights

in a dark place, 2Pe 1:19. Compare Ac 14:17; 17:28, 29."

Verse 6. Whose name was John.] This was John the Baptist; see

his name and the nature of his office explained, Mr 1:4, and

Mt 3:1-3.

Verse 7. That all men through him might believe.] He testified

that Jesus was the true light-the true teacher of the way to the

kingdom of glory, and the lamb or sacrifice of God, which was to

bear away the sin of the world, Joh 1:29, and invited men to

believe in him for the remission of their sins, that they might

receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost, Joh 1:32-34. This was

bearing the most direct witness to the light which was now shining

in the dark wilderness of Judea; and, from thence, shortly to be

diffused over the whole world.

Verse 9. Which lighteth every man] As Christ is the Spring and

Fountain of all wisdom, so all the wisdom that is in man comes

from him; the human intellect is a ray from his brightness; and

reason itself springs from this Logos, the eternal reason. Some

of the most eminent rabbins understand Isa 60:1,

Rise and shine, for thy LIGHT is come, of the Messiah who was to

illuminate Israel, and who, they believe, was referred to in that

word, Ge 1:3,

And God said, Let there be LIGHT; and there was light. Let a

Messiah be provided; and a Messiah was accordingly provided. See


That cometh into the world.] Or, coming into the world-ερχομενον

ειςτονκοσμον: a common phrase among the rabbins, to express

every human being. As the human creature sees the light of the

world as soon as it is born, from which it had been excluded while

in the womb of its parent; in like manner, this heavenly light

shines into the soul of every man, to convince of sin,

righteousness, and judgment; and it is through this light, which

no man brings into the world with him, but which Christ mercifully

gives to him on his coming into it, that what is termed conscience

among men is produced. No man could discern good from evil, were

it not for this light thus supernaturally and graciously restored.

There was much light in the law, but this shone only upon the

Jews; but the superior light of the Gospel is to be diffused over

the face of the whole earth.

The following not only proves what is asserted in this verse,

but is also an excellent illustration of it.

The GAYATRI, or holiest verse of the VEDAS, i.e. the ancient

Hindoo Scriptures.

"Let us adore the supremacy of that divine Sun, the Godhead who

illuminates all, who re-creates all; from whom all proceed; to

whom all must return; whom we invoke to direct our understandings

aright, in our progress towards his holy seat."

The ancient comment.

"What the sun and light are to this visible world, that are the

supreme good and truth to the intellectual and invisible

universe; and, as our corporeal eyes have a distinct perception of

objects enlightened by the sun, thus our souls acquire certain

knowledge by meditating on the light of truth, which emanates from

the Being of beings; that is the light by which alone our minds

can be directed in the path to blessedness." Sir Wm. Jones's

works, vol. vi. p. 417.

Sir William observes that the original word Bhargas, which he

translates Godhead, consists of three consonants, and is derived

from bha, to shine; ram, to delight; and gam, to move:-the Being

who is the light, the source of happiness, and the all-pervading


Verse 10. He was in the world] From its very commencement-he

governed the universe-regulated his Church-spake by his

prophets-and often, as the angel or messenger of Jehovah, appeared

to them, and to the patriarchs.

The world knew him not.] αυτονουκεγνω-Did not acknowledge him;

for the Jewish rulers knew well enough that he was a teacher come

from God; but they did not choose to acknowledge him as such. Men

love the world, and this love hinders them from knowing him who

made it, though he made it only to make himself known. Christ, by

whom all things were made, Joh 1:3, and by whom all things are

continually supported, Col 1:16, 17; Heb 1:3, has way every

where, is continually manifesting himself by his providence and by

his grace, and yet the foolish heart of man regardeth it not! See

the reason, Joh 3:19.

Verse 11. He came unto his own] ταιδια-to those of his own

family, city, country:-and his own people, οιιδιοι-his own

citizens, brethren, subjects.

The Septuagint, Josephus, and Arrian, use these words, ταιδιοι

and οιιδιοι, in the different senses given them above.

Received him not.] Would not acknowledge him as the Messiah, nor

believe in him for salvation.

How very similar to this are the words of Creeshna, (an

incarnation of the Supreme Being, according to the theology of the

ancient Hindoos!) Addressing one of his disciples, he says: "The

foolish, being unacquainted with my supreme and divine nature, as

Lord of all things, despise me in this human form; trusting to the

evil, diabolic, and deceitful principle within them. They are of

vain hope, of vain endeavours, of vain wisdom, and void of reason;

whilst men of great minds, trusting to their divine natures,

discover that I am before all things, and incorruptible, and serve

me with their hearts undiverted by other beings." See Bhagvat

Geeta, p. 79.

To receive Christ is to acknowledge him as the promised Messiah;

to believe in him as the victim that bears away the sin of the

world; to obey his Gospel, and to become a partaker of his

holiness, without which no man, on the Gospel plan, can ever see


Verse 12. Gave he power] εξουσιαν, Privilege, honour, dignity,

or right. He who is made a child of God enjoys the greatest

privilege which the Divine Being can confer on this side eternity.

Those who accept Jesus Christ, as he is offered to them in the

Gospel, have, through his blood, a right to this sonship; for by

that sacrifice this blessing was purchased; and the fullest

promises of God confirm it to all who believe. And those who are

engrafted in the heavenly family have the highest honour and

dignity to which it is possible for a human soul to arrive. What

an astonishing thought is this! The sinner, who was an heir to all

God's curses, has, through the sacrifice of Jesus, a claim on the

mercy of the Most High, and a right to be saved! Even justice

itself, on the ground of its holy and eternal nature, gives

salvation to the vilest who take refuge in this atonement; for

justice has nothing to grant, or Heaven to give, which the blood

of the Son of God has not merited.

Verse 13. Which were born, not of blood] Who were regenerated,

ουκεξαιματων, not of bloods-the union of father and mother, or

of a distinguished or illustrious ancestry; for the Hebrew

language makes use of the plural to point out the dignity or

excellence of a thing: and probably by this the evangelist

intended to show his countrymen, that having Abraham and Sarah for

their parents would not entitle them to the blessings of the new

covenant; as no man could lay claim to them, but in consequence of

being born of God; therefore, neither the will of the flesh-any

thing that the corrupt heart of man could purpose or determine in

its own behalf; nor the will of man-any thing that another may be

disposed to do in our behalf, can avail here; this new birth must

come through the will of God-through; his own unlimited power and

boundless mercy, prescribing salvation by Christ Jesus alone. It

has been already observed that the Jews required circumcision,

baptism, and sacrifice, in order to make a proselyte. They allow

that the Israelites had in Egypt cast off circumcision, and were

consequently out of the covenant; but at length they were

circumcised, and they mingled the blood of circumcision with the

blood of the paschal lamb, and from this union of bloods they were

again made the children of God. See Lightfoot. This was the only

way by which the Jews could be made the sons of God; but the

evangelist shows them that, under the Gospel dispensation, no

person could become a child of God, but by being spiritually


Verse 14. And the Word was made flesh] That very person who was

in the beginning-who was with God-and who was God, Joh 1:1, in

the fulness of time became flesh-became incarnated by the power of

the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the virgin. Allowing this apostle

to have written by Divine inspiration, is not this verse, taken in

connection with Joh 1:1, an absolute and incontestable proof of

the proper and eternal Godhead of Christ Jesus?

And dwelt among us] καιεσκηνωσενενημιν, And tabernacled among

us: the human nature which he took of the virgin, being as the

shrine, house, or temple, in which his immaculate Deity

condescended to dwell. The word is probably an allusion to the

Divine Shechinah in the Jewish temple; and as God has represented

the whole Gospel dispensation by the types and ceremonies of the

old covenant, so the Shechinah in the tabernacle and temple

pointed out this manifestation of God in the flesh. The word is

thus used by the Jewish writers: it signifies with them a

manifestation of the Divine Shechinah.

The original word, σκηνοω, from σκια, a shadow, signifies: 1.

To build a booth, tent, or temporary hut, for present shelter or

convenience; and does not properly signify a lasting habitation or

dwelling place; and is therefore fitly applied to the human nature

of Christ, which, like the tabernacle of old, was to be here only

for a temporary residence for the eternal Divinity. 2. It

signifies to erect such a building as was used on festival

occasions, when a man invited and enjoyed the company of his

friends. To this meaning of the word, which is a common one in the

best Greek writers, the evangelist might allude, to point out

Christ's associating his disciples with himself; living,

conversing, eating, and drinking with them: so that, while they

had the fullest proof of his Divinity by the miracles which he

wrought, they had the clearest evidence of his humanity, by his

tabernacling among, eating, drinking, and conversing with them.

Concerning the various acceptations of the verb σκηνοω see

Raphelius on this verse.

The doctrine of vicarious sacrifice and the incarnation of the

Deity have prevailed among the most ancient nations in the world,

and even among those which were not favoured with the letter of

Divine revelation. The Hindoos believe that their god has already

become incarnate, not less than nine times, to save the wretched

race of man.

On this subject, Creeshna, an incarnation of the supreme God,

according to the Hindoo theology, is represented in the Bhagvat

Geeta, as thus addressing one of his disciples: "Although I am not

in my nature subject to birth or decay, and am the Lord of all

created beings, yet, having command over my own nature, I am made

evident by my own power; and, as often as there is a decline of

virtue and an insurrection of vice and injustice in the world, I

make myself evident; and thus I appear from age to age, for the

preservation of the just, the destruction of the wicked, and the

establishment of virtue." Geeta, pp. 51, 52.

The following piece, already mentioned, Lu 1:68, translated

from the Sanscreet, found on a stone, in a cave near the ancient

city of Gya in the East Indies, is the most astonishing and

important of any thing found out of the compass of the Sacred

Writings, and a proper illustration of this text.

"The Deity, who is the Lord, the possessor of all, APPEARED in

this ocean of natural beings, at the beginning of the Kalee Yoog

(the age of contention and baseness.) He who is omnipresent, and

everlastingly to be contemplated, the Supreme Being, the eternal

ONE, the Divinity worthy to be adored-APPEARED here, with a

PORTION of his DIVINE NATURE. Reverence be unto thee in the form

of (a) Bood-dha! Reverence be unto the Lord of the earth!

Reverence be unto thee, an INCARNATION of the Deity, and the

Eternal ONE! Reverence be unto thee, O GOD! in the form of the God

of mercy! the dispeller of PAIN and TROUBLE, the Lord of ALL

things, the Deity who overcometh the sins of the Kalee Yoog, the

guardian of the universe, the emblem of mercy towards those who

serve thee! (b) O'M! the possessor of all things, in VITAL FORM!

Thou art (c) Brahma, (d) Veeshnoo, and (e) Mahesa! Thou art Lord

of the universe! Thou art under the form of all things, movable

and immovable, the possessor of the whole! And thus I adore thee!

Reverence be unto the BESTOWER of SALVATION, and the ruler of the

faculties! Reverence be unto thee, the DESTROYER of the EVIL

SPIRIT! O Damordara, (f) show me favour! I adore thee who art

celebrated by a thousand names, and under various forms, in the

shape of Bood-dha, the God of mercy! Be propitious, O most high

God!" Asiatic Researches, vol. i. p. 284, 285.

We beheld his glory] This refers to the transfiguration, at

which John was present, in company with Peter and James.

The glory as of the only begotten] That is, such a glory as

became, or was proper to, the Son of God; for thus the particle

ως should be here understood. There is also here an allusion to

the manifestations of God above the ark in the tabernacle: see

Ex 25:22; Nu 7:89; and this connects itself with the first

clause, he tabernacled, or fixed his tent among us. While God

dwelt in the tabernacle, among the Jews, the priests saw his

glory; and while Jesus dwelt among men his glory was manifested in

his gracious words and miraculous acts.

The only begotten of the Father] That is, the only person born

of a woman, whose human nature never came by the ordinary way of

generation; it being a mere creation in the womb of the virgin, by

the energy of the Holy Ghost.

Full of grace and truth.] Full of favour, kindness, and mercy to

men; teaching the way to the kingdom of God, with all the

simplicity, plainness, dignity, and energy of truth.


(a) Bood-dha. The name of the Deity, as author of happiness.

(b) O'M. A mystic emblem of the Deity, forbidden to be

pronounced but in silence. It is a syllable formed of the

Sanscreet letters a, o o, which in composition coalesce, and

make o, and the nasal consonant m. The first letter stands for the

Creator, the second for the Preserver, and the third for the

Destroyer. It is the same among the Hindoos as Yehovah

is among the Hebrews.

(c) Brahma, the Deity in his creative quality.

(d) Veeshnoo. He who filleth all space: the Deity in his

preserving quality.

(c) Mahesa. The Deity in his destroying quality.

This is properly the Hindoo Trinity: for these three names belong

to the same God. See the notes to the Bhagvat Geeta.

(f) Damordara, or Darmadeve, the Indian god of virtue.

Verse 15. Of him] The glorious personage before mentioned: John

the Baptist, whose history was well known to the persons to whom

this Gospel came in the beginning, bare witness; and he

cried,-being deeply convinced of the importance and truth of the

subject, he delivered his testimony with the utmost zeal and

earnestness,-saying, This is he of whom I spake, He that cometh

after me-for I am no other than the voice of the crier in the

wilderness, Isa 40:3, the forerunner of the Messiah.

Was before me.] Speaking by the prophets, and warning your

fathers to repent and return to God, as I now warn you; for he was

before me-he was from eternity, and from him I have derived both

my being and my ministry.

Verse 16. This verse should be put in place of the fifteenth,

and the 15th inserted between the 18th and 19th, which appears to

be its proper place: thus John's testimony is properly connected.

Joh 1:15-19

And of his fulness] Of the plenitude of his grace and mercy,

by which he made an atonement for sin; and of the plenitude of his

wisdom and truth, by which the mysteries of heaven have been

revealed, and the science of eternal truth taught, we have all

received: all we apostles have received grace or mercy to pardon

our sins, and truth to enable us so to write and speak,

concerning these things, that those who attend to our testimony

shall be unerringly directed in the way of salvation, and with us

continue to receive grace upon grace, one blessing after another,

till they are filled with all the fulness of God. I believe the

above to be the meaning of the evangelist, and think it improper

to distract the mind of the reader with the various translations

and definitions which have been given of the phrase, grace for

grace. It is only necessary to add, that John seems here to refer

to the Gospel as succeeding the law: the law was certainly a

dispensation both of grace and truth; for it pointed out the

gracious design of God to save men by Christ Jesus; and it was at

least a most expressive and well-defined shadow of good things to

come: but the Gospel, which had now taken place, introduced that

plenitude of grace and truth to the whole world, which the law

had only shadowed forth to the Jewish people, and which they

imagined should have been restrained to themselves alone. In the

most gracious economy of God, one dispensation of mercy and truth

is designed to make way for, and to be followed by, another and a

greater: thus the law succeeded the patriarchal dispensation, and

the Gospel the law; more and more of the plenitude of the grace of

the Gospel becomes daily manifest to the genuine followers of

Christ; and, to those who are faithful unto death, a heaven full

of eternal glory will soon succeed to the grace of the Gospel. To

illustrate this point more fully, the following passage in Philo

the Jew has been adduced: "God is always sparing of his first

blessings or graces, (πρωταςχαριτας,) and afterwards gives other

graces upon them, (αντεκεινων,) and a third sort upon the

second, and always new ones upon old ones, sometimes of a

different kind, and at other times of the same sort." Vol. i. p.

254, ed. Mang. In the above passage the preposition αντι for, is

used thrice in the sense of επι, upon. To confirm the above

interpretation Bp. Pearce produces the following quotations.

Ecclus xxvi. 15: χαριςεπιχαριτιγυνηαισχυντηρα-A modest woman

is a grace upon a grace, i.e. a double grace or blessing.

Euripides uses the very same phrase with John, where he makes

Theoclymenus say to Helena. χαριςαντιχαριτοςελθετω, May

grace upon grace come to you! Helen v. 1250. ed. Barn.

Verse 17. The law was given by Moses] Moses received the law

from God, and through him it was given to the Jews, Ac 7:38.

But grace and truth] Which he had already mentioned, and which

were to be the subject of the book which he was now writing, came

to all mankind through Jesus Christ, who is the mediator of the

new covenant, as Moses was of the old: Heb 8:6; 9:15;

Ga 3:19. See a fine discourse on this text by Mr.

Claude, "Essay on the Composition of a Sermon," vol. i. p. 119,

&c. edit. Lond. 1788.

The law of Moses, however excellent in itself, was little in

comparison of the Gospel: as it proceeded from the justice and

holiness of God, and was intended to convict men of sin, that the

way of the Gospel might be the better prepared, it was a law of

rigour, condemnation, and death: Ro 4:15; 2Co 3:7, 8. It

was a law of shadows, types, and figures: Heb 10:1, and

incapable of expiating sin by its sacrifices: Ro 8:3;

Heb 7:18, 19; 10:1, 11. But Christ has brought that

grace which is opposed to condemnation: Ro 5:15, 20, 21; 8:1;

Ga 3:10; and he is himself the

spirit and substance of all those shadows: Col 2:19;

Heb 10:1.

Jesus Christ.] JESUS the CHRIST, the Messiah, or anointed

prophet, priest, and king, sent from heaven. To what has already

been said on the important name Jesus, (See Mt 1:21, and the

places there referred to,) I shall add the following explanation,

chiefly taken from Professor Schultens, who has given a better

view of the ideal meaning of the root yasha, than any other

divine or critic.

He observes that this root, in its true force, meaning, and

majesty, both in Hebrew and Arabic, includes the ideas of

amplitude, expansion, and space, and should be translated, he

was spacious-open-ample; and, particularly, he possessed a

spacious or extensive degree or rank: and is applied, 1. To a

person possessing abundance of riches. 2. To one possessing

abundant power. 3. To one possessing abundant or extensive

knowledge. 4. To one possessing abundance of happiness, beatitude,

and glory. Hence we may learn the true meaning of Zec 9:9:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion-behold, thy king cometh unto

thee; he is JUST, and having SALVATION:--he is possessed of

all power to enrich, strengthen, teach, enlarge, and raise to

glory and happiness, them who trust in him. Man by nature is in

want and poverty: in abjectness and weakness: in darkness

and ignorance: in straits and captivity: in wretchedness and

infamy. His Redeemer is called JESUS-he who looses,

enlarges, and endows with salvation. 1. He enriches man's

poverty: 2. strengthens his weakness: 3. teaches his

ignorance: 4. brings him out of straits and difficulties: and 5.

raises him to happiness, beatitude, and glory. And the aggregate

of these is SALVATION. Hence that saying, His name shall be called

JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. See Schultens

Origines Hebraeae, p. 15.

Verse 18. No man hath seen God at any time] Moses and others

heard his voice, and saw the cloud and the fire, which were the

symbols of his presence; but such a manifestation of God as had

now taken place, in the person of Jesus Christ, had never before

been exhibited to the world. It is likely that the word seen,

here, is put for known, as in Joh 3:32; 1Jo 3:2, 6, and

3Jo 1:11; and this sense the latter clause of the verse seems to

require:-No man, how highly soever favoured, hath fully known God,

at any time, in any nation or age; the only begotten Son,

(See Clarke on Joh 1:14,)

who is in the bosom of the Father, who was intimately acquainted

with all the counsels of the Most High, he hath declared him,

εξηγησατο, hath announced the Divine oracles unto men; for in

this sense the word is used by the best Greek writers. See Kypke

in loco. 1095

Lying in the bosom, is spoken of in reference to the Asiatic

custom of reclining while at meals; the person who was next the

other was said to lie in his bosom; and he who had this place in

reference to the master of the feast was supposed to share his

peculiar regards, and so be in a state of the utmost favour and

intimacy with him.

Verse 19. And this is the record of John] He persisted in this

assertion, testifying to the Jews that this Jesus was THE CHRIST.

Verse 20. He confessed, and denied not; but confessed] A common

mode of Jewish phraseology. John renounces himself, that Jesus may

be all in all. Though God had highly honoured him, and favoured

him with peculiar influence in the discharge of his work, yet he

considered he had nothing but what he had received, and therefore,

giving all praise to his benefactor, takes care to direct the

attention of the people to him alone from whom he had received his

mercies. He who makes use of God's gifts to feed and strengthen

his pride and vanity will be sure to be stripped of the goods

wherein he trusts, and fall down into the condemnation of the

devil. We have nothing but what we have received; we deserve

nothing of what we possess; and it is only God's infinite mercy

which keeps us in the possession of the blessings which we now


Verse 21. Art thou Elias?] The scribes themselves had taught

that Elijah was to come before the Messiah. See Mt 17:10; and

this belief of theirs they supported by a literal construction of

Mal 4:5.

Art thou that prophet?] the prophet spoken of by Moses,

De 18:15, 18. This text they had also misunderstood: for the

prophet or teacher promised by Moses was no other than the

Messiah himself. See Ac 3:22. But the Jews had a tradition that

Jeremiah was to return to life, and restore the pot of manna, the

ark of the covenant, &c., which he had hidden that the Babylonians

might not get them. Besides this, they had a general expectation

that all the prophets should come to life in the days of the


I am not.] I am not the prophet which you expect, nor Elijah:

though he was the Elijah that was to come; for in the spirit and

power of that eminent prophet he came, proclaiming the necessity

of reformation in Israel. See Mt 11:14; 17:10-13.

Verse 22. That we may give an answer to them that sent us.]

These Pharisees were probably a deputation from the grand

Sanhedrin; the members of which, hearing of the success of the

Baptist's preaching, were puzzled to know what to make of him, and

seriously desired to hear from himself what he professed to be.

Verse 23. I am the voice of one crying]

See Clarke on Mt 3:3;

and Mr 1:4, 5.

Verse 25. Why baptizest thou then?] Baptism was a very common

ceremony among the Jews, who never received a proselyte into the

full enjoyment of a Jew's privileges, till he was both baptized

and circumcised. But such baptisms were never performed except by

an ordinance of the Sanhedrin, or in the presence of three

magistrates: besides, they never baptized any Jew or Jewess, nor

even those who were the children of their proselytes; for, as all

these were considered as born in the covenant, they had no need of

baptism, which was used only as an introductory rite. Now, as John

had, in this respect, altered the common custom so very

essentially, admitting to his baptism the Jews in general, the

Sanhedrin took it for granted that no man had authority to make

such changes, unless especially commissioned from on high; and

that only the prophet, or Elijah, or the Messiah himself; could

have authority to act as John did. See the observations at the

conclusion of Mark.

Verse 26. I baptize with water] See Clarke on Mr 1:8. I use

the common form, though I direct the baptized to a different end, viz.

that they shall repent of their sins, and believe in the Messiah.

There standeth one among you] That is, the person whose

forerunner I am is now dwelling in the land of Judea, and will

shortly make his appearance among you. Christ was not present when

John spoke thus, as may be seen from Joh 1:29.

Verse 27. Is preferred before me] οςεμπροσθενμουγεγονεν, Who

was before me. This clause is wanting in BC*L, four others, the

Coptic, AEthiopic, Slavonic, and two copies of the Itala, and in

some of the primitive fathers. Griesbach has left it out of the

text. It is likely that it was omitted by the above, because it

was found in verses 15 and 30. Joh 1:15, 30 At the end of this

verse, EG, and ten others, with some copies of the Slavonic, add,

He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.

Verse 28. These things were done in Bethabara] It is very

probable that the word Bethany should be inserted here, instead of

Bethabara. This reading, in the judgment of the best critics, is

the genuine one. The following are the authorities by which it is

supported: ABCEGHLMSX, BV, of Matthai, upwards of a hundred

others, Syriac, Armenian, Persic, Coptic, Slavonic, Vulgate,

Saxon, and all the Itala, with some of the most eminent of the

primitive fathers, before the time of Origen, who is supposed to

have first changed the reading. Bethabara signifies literally the

house of passage, and is thought to be the place where the

Israelites passed the river Jordan under Joshua. There was a place

called Bethany, about two miles from Jerusalem, at the foot of the

mount of Olives. But there was another of the same name, beyond

Jordan, in the tribe of Reuben. It was probably of this that the

evangelist speaks; and Origen, not knowing of this second Bethany,

altered the reading to Bethabara. See Rosenmuller.

Verse 29. The next day] The day after that on which the Jews had

been with John, Joh 1:19.

Behold the Lamb of God, &c.] This was said in allusion to what

was spoken Isa 53:7. Jesus was the true Lamb or Sacrifice

required and appointed by God, of which those offered daily in the

tabernacle and temple, Ex 29:38, 39, and especially the

paschal lamb, were only the types and representatives. See

Ex 12:4, 5; 1Co 5:7. The

continual morning and evening sacrifice of a lamb, under the

Jewish law, was intended to point out the continual efficacy of

the blood of atonement: for even at the throne of God, Jesus

Christ is ever represented as a lamb newly slain, Re 5:6. But

John, pointing to Christ, calls him emphatically, the Lamb of

God:-all the lambs which had been hitherto offered had been

furnished by men: this was provided by GOD, as the only sufficient

and available sacrifice for the sin of the world. In three

essential respects, this lamb differed from those by which it was

represented. 1st. It was the Lamb of God; the most excellent, and

the most available. 2nd. It made an atonement for sin: it

carried sin away in reality, the others only representatively.

3rd. It carried away the sin of the WORLD, whereas the other was

offered only on behalf of the Jewish people. In Yalcut Rubeni,

fol. 30, it is said, "The Messiah shall bear the sins of the

Israelites." But this salvation was now to be extended to the

whole world.

Verse 31. And I knew him not, &c.] John did not know our Lord

personally, and perhaps had never seen him, at the time he spoke

the words in Joh 1:15. Nor is it any wonder that the Baptist

should have been unacquainted with Christ, as he had spent thirty

years in the hill country of Hebron, and our Lord remained in a

state of great privacy in the obscure city of Nazareth, in the

extreme borders of Galilee.

But that he should be made manifest to Israel] One design of my

publicly baptizing was, that he, coming to my baptism, should be

shown to be what he is, by some extraordinary sign from heaven.

Verse 32. I saw the Spirit descending, &c.] See the notes on

Mt 3:16, 17.

Verse 33. He that sent me-said unto me] From this we may clearly

perceive that John had a most intimate acquaintance with the

Divine Being; and received not only his call and mission at first,

but every subsequent direction, by immediate, unequivocal

inspiration. Who is fit to proclaim Jesus, but he who has

continual intercourse with God; who is constantly receiving light

and life from Christ their fountain; who bears a steady, uniform

testimony to Jesus, even in the presence of his enemies; and who

at all times abases himself, that Jesus alone may be magnified!

Reformation of manners, and salvation of souls, will

accompany such a person's labours whithersoever he goeth.

Verse 35. The next day] After that mentioned Joh 1:29.

Two of his disciples] One of them was Andrew, Joh 1:40, and

it is very likely that John himself was the other; in every thing

in which he might receive honour he studiously endeavours to

conceal his own name.

Verse 36. And looking upon Jesus] Attentively beholding,

εμβλεψας, from εν, into, and βλεπω, to look-to view with

steadfastness and attention. He who desires to discover the

glories and excellencies of this Lamb of God, must thus look on

him. At first sight, he appears only as a man among men, and as

dying in testimony to the truth, as many others have died. But, on

a more attentive consideration, he appears to be no less than God

manifest in the flesh, and, by his death, making an atonement for

the sin of the world.

Behold the Lamb of God!] By this the Baptist designed to direct

the attention of his own disciples to Jesus, not only as the great

sacrifice for the sin of the world, but also as the complete

teacher of heavenly truth.

Verse 37. And the two disciples heard him] And they perfectly

understood their master's meaning; in consequence of which, they

followed Jesus. Happy they who, on hearing of the salvation of

Christ, immediately attach themselves to its author! Delays are

always dangerous; and, in this case, often fatal. Reader! hast

thou ever had Christ as a sacrifice for thy sin pointed out unto

thee? If so, hast thou followed him? If not, thou art not in the

way to the kingdom of God. Lose not another moment! Eternity is at

hand! and thou art not prepared to meet thy God. Pray that he may

alarm thy conscience, and stir up thy soul to seek till thou have


Verse 38. What seek ye?] These disciples might have felt some

embarrassment in addressing our blessed Lord, after hearing the

character which the Baptist gave of him; to remove or prevent

this, he graciously accosts them, and gives them an opportunity of

explaining themselves to him. Such questions, we may conceive, the

blessed Jesus still puts to those who in simplicity of heart

desire an acquaintance with him. A question of this nature we may

profitably ask ourselves: What seek ye? In this place! In the

company you frequent? In the conversation you engage in? In the

affairs with which you are occupied? In the works which you

perform? Do you seek the humiliation, illumination, justification,

edification, or sanctification of your soul? The edification of

your neighbour? The good of the Church of Christ? Or, The glory of

God? Questions of this nature often put to our hearts, in the fear

of God, would induce us to do many things which we now leave

undone, and to leave undone many things which we now perform.

Rabbi] Teacher. Behold the modesty of these disciples-we wish to

be scholars, we are ignorant-we desire to be taught; we believe

thou art a teacher come from God.

Where dwellest thou?] That we may come and receive thy


Verse 39. Come and see.] If those who know not the salvation of

God would come at the command of Christ, they should soon see that

with him is the fountain of life, and in his light they should see

light. Reader, if thou art seriously inquiring where Christ

dwelleth, take the following for answer: He dwells not in the

tumult of worldly affairs, nor in profane assemblies, nor in

worldly pleasures, nor in the place where drunkards proclaim

their shame, nor in carelessness and indolence. But he is found in

his temple, wherever two or three are gathered together in his

name, in secret prayer, in self-denial, in fasting, in

self-examination. He also dwells in the humble, contrite spirit,

in the spirit of faith, of love, of forgiveness, of universal

obedience; in a word, he dwells in the heaven of heavens,

whither he graciously purposes to bring thee, if thou wilt come

and learn of him, and receive the salvation which he has bought

for thee by his own blood.

The tenth hour] Generally supposed to be about what we call four

o'clock in the afternoon. According to Joh 11:9, the Jews

reckoned twelve hours in the day; and of course each hour of the

day, thus reckoned, must have been something longer or shorter,

according to the different times of the year in that climate. The

sixth hour with them answered to our twelve o'clock, as appears

from what Josephus says in his life, chap. liv. That on the

Sabbath day it was the rule for the Jews to go to dinner at the

sixth hour, (εκτηωρα.) The Romans had the same way of reckoning

twelve hours in each of their days. Hence what we meet with in

Hor. lib. ii. sat. vi. l. 34: ante secundam signifies, as we

should express it, before eight o'clock. And when, in lib. i. sat.

vi. l. 122, he says, ad quartam jaceo, he means that he lay in bed

till ten o'clock. See Bishop Pearce on this place. Dr. Macknight,

however, is of opinion that the evangelist is to be understood as

speaking of the Roman hour, which was ten o'clock in the morning;

and as the evangelist remarks, they abode with him that day, it

implies that there was a considerable portion of time spent with

our Lord, in which, by his conversation, he removed all their

scruples, and convinced them that he was the Messiah. But, had it

been the Jewish tenth hour, it would have been useless to remark

their abiding with him that day, as there were only two hours of

it still remaining. Harmony, vol. i. p. 52.

Verse 41. Findeth his own brother Simon] Every discovery of the

Gospel of the Son of God produces benevolence, and leads those to

whom it is made to communicate it to others. Those who find Jesus

find in him a treasure of wisdom and knowledge, through which they

may not only become rich themselves, but be instruments, in the

hand of God, of enriching others. These disciples, having tasted

the good word of Christ, were not willing to eat their bread

alone, but went and invited others to partake with them. Thus the

knowledge of Christ became diffused-one invited another to come

and see: Jesus received all, and the number of disciples was

increased, and the attentive hearers were innumerable. Every man

who has been brought to an acquaintance with God should endeavour

to bring, at least, another with him; and his first attention

should be fixed upon those of his own household.

Verse 42. Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.] πετρος

signifies a stone, or fragment of a rock. The reason why this name

was given to Simon, who was ever afterwards called Peter, may be

seen in the notes on Mt 16:18, 19, and particularly in Luke, at

the end of chap 9. See Clarke on Lu 9:62

Verse 43. Philip] This apostle was a native of Bethsaida in

Galilee. Eusebius says he was a married man, and had several

daughters. Clemens Alexandrinus mentions it as a thing universally

acknowledged that it was this apostle who, when commanded by our

Lord to follow him, said, Let me first go and bury my father,

Mt 8:21, 22.

Theodoret says he preached in the two Phrygias; and Eusebius

says he was buried in Phrygia Pacatiana. He must not be confounded

with Philip the deacon, spoken of Ac 6:5.

Verse 45. Nathanael] This apostle is supposed to be the same

with Bartholomew, which is very likely, for these reasons 1. That

the evangelists who mention Bartholomew say nothing of Nathanael;

and that St. John, who speaks of Nathanael, says nothing of

Bartholomew. 2. No notice is taken any where of Bartholomew's

vocation, unless his and that of Nathanael mentioned here be the

same. 3. The name of Bartholomew is not a proper name; it

signifies the son of Ptolomy; and Nathanael might have been his

own name. 4. St. John seems to rank Nathanael with the apostles,

when he says that Peter and Thomas, the two sons of Zebedee,

Nathanael, and two other disciples, being gone a fishing, Jesus

showed himself to them, Joh 21:2-4.

Moses in the law] See Ge 3:16; 22:18; 49:10; De 18:18.

And the prophets] See Isa 4:2; 7:14; 9:5; 40:10; 53:1, &c.;

Jer 23:5; 33:14, 15; Eze 34:23; 37:24; Da 9:24; Mic 5:2;

Zec 6:12; 9:9; 12:10.

Verse 46. Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?] Bp.

Pearce supposes that the τιαγαθον of the evangelist has some

particular force in it: for, in Jer 33:14, God says, I will

perform that good thing which I promised, &c.; and this, in

Jer 33:15 is explained to mean, his causing

the branch of righteousness (i.e. the Messiah) to grow up unto

David, from whom Jesus was descended: in this view, Nathanael's

question seems to imply, that not Nazareth, but Bethlehem, was to

be the birth-place of the Messiah, according to what the chief

priests and scribes had determined, Mt 2:4-6. If this conjecture

be not thought solid, we may suppose that Nazareth, at this time,

was become so abandoned that no good could be expected from any of

those who dwelt in it, and that its wickedness had passed into a

proverb: Can any thing good be found in Nazareth? Or, that the

question is illiberal, and full of national prejudice.

Come and see.] He who candidly examines the evidences of the

religion of Christ will infallibly become a believer. No history

ever published among men has so many external and internal proofs

of authenticity as this has. A man should judge of nothing by

first appearances, or human prejudices. Who are they who cry out,

The Bible is a fable? Those who have never read it, or read it

only with the fixed purpose to gainsay it. I once met with a

person who professed to disbelieve every tittle of the New

Testament, a chapter of which, he acknowledged, he had never read.

I asked him, had he ever read the Old? He answered, No! And yet

this man had the assurance to reject the whole as an imposture!

God has mercy on those whose ignorance leads them to form

prejudices against the truth; but he confounds those who take them

up through envy and malice, and endeavour to communicate them to


Verse 47. Behold an Israelite indeed] A worthy descendant of the

patriarch Jacob, who not only professes to believe in Israel's

God, but who worships him in sincerity and truth, according to his


In whom is no guile!] Deceitfulness ever has been, and still is,

the deeply marked characteristic of the Jewish people. To find a

man, living in the midst of so much corruption, walking in

uprightness before his Maker, was a subject worthy the attention

of God himself. Behold this man! and, while you see and admire,

imitate his conduct.

Verse 48. Whence knowest thou me?] He was not yet acquainted

with the divinity of Christ, could not conceive that he could

search his heart, and therefore asks how he could acquire this

knowledge of him, or who had given him that character. It is the

comfort of the sincere and upright, that God knows their hearts;

and it should be the terror of the deceitful and of the hypocrite,

that their false dealing is ever noticed by the all-seeing eye of


Under the fig tree] Probably engaged in prayer with God, for the

speedy appearing of the salvation of Israel; and the shade of this

fig tree was perhaps the ordinary place of retreat for this

upright man. It is not A fig tree, but τηνσυκην, THE fig tree,

one particularly distinguished from the others. There are many

proofs that the Jewish rabbins chose the shade of trees, and

particularly the fig tree, to sit and study under. See many

examples in Schoettgen. How true is the saying, The eyes of the

Lord are through all the earth, beholding the evil and the good!

Wheresoever we are, whatsoever we are about, may a deep conviction

of this truth rest upon our hearts, Thou God seest ME!

Verse 49. Rabbi] That is, Teacher! and so this word should be


Thou art the Son of God] The promised Messiah.

Thou art the King of Israel.] The real descendant of David, who

art to sit on that spiritual throne of which the throne of David

was the type.

Verse 50. Because I said-I saw thee, &c.] As thou hast credited

my Divine mission on this simple proof, that I saw thee when and

where no human eye, placed where mine was, could see thee, thy

faith shall not rest merely upon this, for thou shalt see greater

things than these-more numerous and express proofs of my eternal

power and Godhead.

Verse 51. Verily, verily] Amen, amen. The doubling of this word

probably came from this circumstance: that it was written both in

Hebrew and in Greek αμην, signifying, it is true.

Heaven open] This seems to be a figurative expression: 1. Christ

may be understood by this saying to mean, that a clear and

abundant revelation of God's will should be now made unto men;

that heaven itself should be laid as it were open, and all the

mysteries which had been shut up and hidden in it from eternity,

relative to the salvation and glorification of man; should be now

fully revealed. 2. That by the angels of God ascending and

descending, is to be understood, that a perpetual intercourse

should now be opened between heaven and earth, through the medium

of Christ, who was God manifested in the flesh. Our blessed Lord

is represented in his mediatorial capacity as the ambassador of

God to men; and the angels ascending and descending upon the Son

of man, is a metaphor taken from the custom of despatching

couriers or messengers from the prince to his ambassador in a

foreign court, and from the ambassador back to the prince. This

metaphor will receive considerable light when compared with

2Co 5:19, 20: God was in Christ reconciling the world unto

himself:-We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech

you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead to be reconciled to God.

The whole concerns of human salvation shall be carried on, from

henceforth, through the Son of man; and an incessant intercourse

be established between heaven and earth. Some have illustrated

this passage by the account of Jacob's vision, Ge 28:12. But

though that vision may intimate that God had established at that

time a communication between heaven and earth, through the medium

of angels, yet it does not appear that our Lord's saying here has

any reference to it; but that it should be understood as stated


What a glorious view does this give us of the Gospel

dispensation! It is heaven opened to earth; and heaven opened on

earth. The Church militant and the Church triumphant become one,

and the whole heavenly family, in both, see and adore their common

Lord. Neither the world nor the Church is left to the caprices of

time or chance. The Son of man governs as he upholds all. Wherever

we are praying, studying, hearing, meditating, his gracious eye is

upon us. He notes our wants, our weakness, and our petitions; and

his eye affects his heart. Let us be without guile, deeply,

habitually sincere, serious, and upright; and then we may rest

assured, that not only the eye, but the hand, of our Lord shall be

ever upon us for good. Happy the man whose heart can rejoice in

the reflection, Thou God seest me!

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