Chrysostom on John 60
"I am the Good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine. As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep."
[1.] A Great matter, beloved, a great matter it is to preside over a Church: a matter needing wisdom and courage as great as that of which Christ speaketh, that a man should lay down his life for the sheep, and never leave them deserted or naked; that he should stand against the wolf nobly. For in this the shepherd differs from the hireling; the one always looks to his own safety, caring not for the sheep; the other always seeks that of the sheep, neglecting his own. Having therefore mentioned the marks of a shepherd, Christ hath put two kinds of spoilers; one, the thief who kills and steals; the other, one who doth not these things, but who when they are done doth not give heed nor hinder them. By the first, pointing to Theudas and those like him; by the second, exposing the teachers of the Jews, who neither cared for nor thought about the sheep entrusted to them. On which account Ezekiel of old rebuked them, and said, “Woe,1 ye shepherds of Israel! Do the shepherds feed themselves? Do not the shepherds feed the sheep?” (Ez 34,2 LXX). But they did the contrary, which is the worst kind of wickedness, and the cause of all the rest. Wherefore It saith, “They have not turned back the strayed, nor sought the lost, nor bound up the broken, nor healed the sick, because they fed themselves and not the sheep.” (Ez 34,4). As Paul also hath declared in another passage, saying, “For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s” (Ph 2,21); and again, “Let no man seek his own, but every man his neighbor’s.” (1Co 10,24). From both Christ distinguisheth Himself; from those who came to spoil, by saying, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have more abundantly” (Jn 10,10); and from those who cared not for the sheep being carried away by wolves, by never deserting them, but even laying down His life for them, that the sheep might not perish. For when they desired to kill Him, He neither altered His teaching, nor betrayed those who believed on Him, but stood firm, and chose to die. Wherefore He continually said, “I am the good Shepherd.” Then because His words appeared to be unsupported by testimony, (for though the, “I lay down My life,” was not long after proved, yet the, “that they might have life, and that they might have more abundantly,” was to come to pass after their departure hence in the life to come,) what doth He? He proveth one from the other; by giving His mortal life2 (He proveth) that He giveth life immortal.3 As Paul also saith, “If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more being reconciled we shall be saved.” (Rm 5,10). And again in another place, “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Rm 8,32).
But wherefore do they not now bring againstHim the charge which they did before, whenthey said, “Thou bearest witness of thyself, thywitness is not true?” (c. 8,13). Because He had often stopped their mouths, and because His boldness towards them had been increased by His miracles. Then because He said above “And the sheep hear his voice, and follow him,” lest any should say, “What then is this to those who believe not?” hear what He addeth “And I know My sheep, and am known of Mine.” As Paul declared when he said, “God hath not rejected His people whom He foreknew” (Rm 11,2); and Moses, “The Lord knew those that were His” (2Tm 2,19 comp. Nb 16,5); “those,” He saith, “I mean, whom He4 foreknew.” Then that thou mayest not deem the measure of knowledge to be equal, hear how He setteth the matter right by adding, “I know My sheep, and am known of Mine.” But the knowledge is not equal. “Where is it equal?” In the case of the Father and Me, for there, “As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father.” Had He not wished to prove this, why should He have added that expression? Because He often ranked Himself among the many, therefore, lest any one should deem that He knew as a man knoweth, He added, “As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father.” “I know Him as exactly as He knoweth Me.” Wherefore He said, “No man knoweth the Son5 save the Father, nor the Father save the Son” (Lc 10,22), speaking of a distinct kind of knowledge, and such as no other can possess.
[2.] “I lay down My life.” This He saith continually, to show that He is no deceiver. So also the Apostle, when he desired to show that he was a genuine teacher, and was arguing against the false apostles, established his authority by his dangers and deaths, saying, “In stripes above measure, in deaths oft.” (2Co 11,23). For to say, “I am light,” and “I am life,” seemed to the foolish to be a matter of pride; but to say, “I am willing to die,” admitted not any malice or envy. Wherefore they do not say to Him, “Thou bearest witness of thyself, thy witness is not true,” for the speech manifested very tender care for them, if indeed He was willing to give Himself for those who would have stoned Him. On this account also He seasonably introduceth mention of the Gentiles;
Jn 10,16. “For other sheep also I have,” He saith, “which are not of this fold, them also must I bring.”
Observe again, the word “must,” here used, doth not express necessity, but is declaratory of something which will certainly come to pass. As though He had said, “Why marvel ye if these shall follow Me, and if My sheep shall hear My voice? When ye shall see others also following Me and hearing My voice, then shall ye be astonished more.” And be not confounded when you hear Him say, “which are not of this fold” (Ga 5,6), for the difference relateth to the Law only, as also Paul saith, “Neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision.”
“Them also must I bring.” He showeth that both these and those were scattered and mixed, and without shepherds, because the good Shepherd had not yet come. Then He proclaimeth beforehand their future union, that,
“They shall be one fold.”6
Which same thing also Paul7 declared, saying, “For to make in Himself of twain one new man.” (Ep 2,15).
Jn 10,17. “Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again.”
What could be more full of humanity than this saying, if so be that on our account our Lord shall be beloved, because He dieth for us? What then? tell me, was He not beloved during the time before this; did the Father now begin to love Him, and were we the causes of His love? Seest thou how He used condescension? But what doth He here desire to prove? Because they said that He was alien from the Father, and a deceiver, and had come to ruin and destroy He telleth them, “This if nothing else would persuade Me to love you, namely, your being so beloved by the Father, that I also am beloved by Him, because I die for you.” Besides this He desireth also to prove that other point, that He came not to the action unwillingly, (for it unwillingly, how could what was done cause love?) and that this was especially known to the Father. And if He speaketh as a man, marvel not, for we have often mentioned the cause of this, and to say again the same things is superfluous and unpleasant.
“I lay down My life, that I might take it again.”
Jn 10,18. “No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.”
Because they often took counsel to kill Him, He telleth them, “Except I will, your labor is unavailing.” And by the first He proveth the second, by the Death, the Resurrection. For this is the strange and wonderful thing. Since both took place in a new way, and beyond ordinary custom. But let us give heed exactly to what He saith, “I have power to lay down My life.” And who hath not “power to lay down his life”? Since it is in the power of any that will, to kill himself. But He saith it not so, but how? “I have in such a way the power to lay it down, that no one can effect this against My will.” And this is a power not belonging to men; for we have no power to lay it down in any other way than by killing ourselves. And if we fall into the hands of men who plot against us, and have the power to kill us, we no longer are free to lay it down or not, but even against our will they take it from us. Now this was not the case with Christ, but even when others plotted against Him, He had power not to lay it down. Having therefore said that, “No man taketh it from Me,” He addeth, “I have power to lay down My life,” that is, “I alone can decide as to laying it down,” a thing which doth not rest with us,8 for many others also are able to take it from us. Now this He said not at first, (since the assertion would not have seemed credible,) but when He had received the testimony of facts, and when, having often plotted against Him, the), had been unable to lay hold on Him, (for He escaped from their hands ten thousand tithes,) He then saith, “No man taketh it from me.” But if this be true, that other point follows, that He came to death voluntarily. And if this be true, the next point is also certain, that He can “take it again” when He will. For if the dying9 was a greater thing than man could do, doubt no more about the other. Since the fact that He alone was able to let go His life, showeth that He was able by the same power to take it again. Seest thou how from the first He proved the second, and from His death showed that His Resurrection was indisputable?
“This commandment have I received of My Father.”
What commandment was this? To die for the world. Did He then wait first to hear, and then choose, and had He need of learning it? Who that had sense would assert this? But before when He said, “Therefore doth My Father love Me,” He showed that the first motion was voluntary, and removed all suspicion of opposition to the Father; so here when He saith that He received a commandment from the Father, He declared nothing save that, “this which I do seemeth good to Him,” in order that when they should slay Him, they might not think that they had slain Him as one deserted and given up by the Father, nor reproach Him with such reproaches as they did, “He saved others, himself he cannot save”; and, “If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross” (Mt 27,42 Mt 27,40); yet the very reason of His not coming down was, that He was the Son of God.
[3.] Then test on hearing that, “I have received a command from the Father,” thou shouldest deem that the achievement 10 doth not belong to Him, He hath said preventing the, “The good Shepherd layeth down His life for the sheep”; showing by this that the sheep were His, and that all which took place was His achievement, and that He needed no command. For had He needed a commandment, how could He have said, “I lay it down of Myself”? for He that layeth it down of Himself needeth no commandment. He also assigneth the cause for which He doeth this. And what is that? That He is the Shepherd, and the good Shepherd. Now the good Shepherd needeth no one to arouse him to his duty; and if this be the case with man, much more is it so with God. Wherefore Paul said, that “He emptied Himself.” (Ph 2,7). So the “commandment” put here means nothing else, but to show His unanimity with the Father; and if He speaketh in so humble and human a way, the cause is the infirmity of His hearers.
Jn 10,19. “There was a division therefore 11 among the Jews. 12 And some 13 said, He hath a devil (and is mad 14 ). Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil: can a devil open the eyes of the blind?”
For because His words were greater than belonged to man, and not of common use, they said that He had a devil, calling Him so now for the fourth time. For they before had said “Thou hast a devil, who seeketh to kill thee?” (c. 7,20); and again, “Said we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?” (c. 8,48); and here, “He hath a devil and is mad why hear ye him?” Or rather we should say, that He heard this not for the fourth time, but frequently. For to ask, “Said we not well that thou hast a devil?” is a sign that they had said so not twice or thrice, but many times. “Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil: can a devil open the eyes of the blind?” For since they could not silence their opponents by words, they now brought proof from His works. “Certainly neither are the words those of one that hath a devil, yet if ye are not persuaded by the words, be ye shamed by the works. For if they are not the acts of one that hath a devil, and are greater than belong to man, it is quite clear that they proceed from some divine power.” Seest thou the argument? That they were greater than belonged to man is plain, from the Jews saying, “He hath a devil” that He had not a devil, He showed by what He did.
What then did Christ? He answered nothing to these things. Before this He had replied, “I have not a devil”; but not so now; for since He had afforded proof by His actions, He afterwards held His peace. For neither were they worthy of an answer, who said that He was possessed of a devil, on account of those actions for which they ought to have admired and deemed Him to be God. And how were any farther refutations from Him needed, when they opposed and refuted each other? Wherefore He was silent, and bore all mildly. And not for this reason alone, but also to teach us all meekness and long-suffering.
[4.] Let us now imitate Him. For not only did He now hold His peace, but even came among them again, 15 and being questioned answered and showed the things relating to His foreknowledge; and though called “demoniac” and “madman,” by men who had received from Him ten thousand benefits, and that not once or twice but many times, not only did He refrain from avenging Himself, but even ceased not to benefit them. To benefit, do I say? He laid down His life for them, and while being crucified spake in their behalf to His Father. This then let us also imitate, for to be a disciple of Christ, is the being gentle and kind. But whence can this gentleness come to us? If we continuallyreckon up our sins, if we mourn, if we weep; for neither doth a soul that dwelleth in the company of so much grief endure to be provoked or angered. Since wherever there is mourning, it is impossible that there should be anger; where grief is, all anger is out of the way; where there is brokenness of spirit, there is no provocation. For the mind, when scourged by sorrow, hath not leisure to be roused, but will groan 16 bitterly, and weep yet more bitterly. I know that many laugh on hearing these things, but I will not cease to lament for the laughers. For the present is a time for mourning, and wailings, and lamentations, since we do many sins both in word and deed, and hell awaiteth those who commit such transgressions, and the river boiling with a roaring stream of fire, and banishment from the Kingdom, which is the most grievous thing of all. When these things then are threatened, tell me, dost thou laugh and bear thee proudly? And when thy Lord is angered and threatening, dost thou stand careless, 17 and fearest thou not lest by this thou light for thyselfthe furnace to a blaze? Hearest thou not whatHe crieth out every day? “Ye saw Me 18 an hungered, and gave Me no meat;thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink; depart ye into the fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Mt 25). And these things He threatened every day. “But,” saith some one, “I did give Him meat.” When, and for how many days? Ten or twenty? But He willeth it not merely for so much time as this, but as much as thou spendest upon earth. For the virgins also had oil, yet not sufficient for their salvation; they too lighted their lamps, yet they were shut out from the bridechamber. And with reason, since the lamps had gone out before the coming of the Bridegroom. On this account we need much oil, and abundant lovingkindness. Hear at least what the Prophet saith, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy great mercy.” (Ps 51,1). We therefore must so take pity upon our neighbor, according to His great mercy towards us. For such as we are towards our fellow-servants,such shall we find our Lord towards ourselves. And what kind of “mercy” is “great”? When we give not of our abundance, but of our deficiency. But if we give not even of our abundance, what hope shall there be for us? Whence shall we have deliverance from those woes? Where shall we be enabled to flee and to find salvation? For if the virgins after so many and so great toils found no comfort anywhere, who shall stand forth for us when we hear those fearful words of the Judge Himself, addressing and reproaching us, because “I was an hungered, and ye gave Me no meat; for inasmuch,” It saith, “as ye did it not unto one of the least ofthese, ye did it not unto Me”; saying this not merely of His disciples, nor of those who have taken upon themselves the ascetic life, but of every faithful man. For such an one though he be a slave, or one of those that beg in the market-place, yet if he believeth in God, ought by right to enjoy all our good will. And if we neglect such an one when naked or hungry, we shall hear those words. With reason. For what difficult or grievous thing hath He demanded of us? What that is not of the very lightest and easiest? He saith not, “I was sick, and ye restored Me not,” but, “and ye visited Me not.” He saith not, “I was in prison, and ye delivered Me not,” but, “and ye came not unto Me.” In proportion therefore as the commands are easy, so is the punishment greater to them that disobey. For what is easier, tell me, than to walk forth and enter into a prison? And what more pleasant? For when thou seest some bound, others covered with filth, others with uncut hairand clothed in rags, others perishing with hunger, and running like dogs to your feet, others with deep ploughed sides, 19 others now returning in chains from the market-place, who beg all day and do not collect even necessary sustenance, and yet at evening are required by those set over them to furnish that wicked and savage service; 20 though thou be like any stone, thou wilt certainly be rendered kinder; though thou livest a soft and dissipated life, thou wilt certainly become wiser, when thou observest the nature of human affairs in other men’s misfortunes; for thou wilt surely gain an idea of that fearful day, and of its varied punishments. Revolving and considering these things, thou wilt certainly cast out both wrath and pleasure, and the love of worldly things, and wilt make thy soul more calm than the calmest harbor; and thou wilt reason concerning that Judgment seat, reflecting that if among men there is so much forethought, and order, and terror, and threatenings, much more will there be with God. “For there is no power but from God.” (Rm 13,1). He therefore who permitteth rulers to order these things thus, will much more do the same Himself.
[5.] And certainly were there not this fear, all would be lost, when though such punishments hang over them, there are many who go over to the side of wickedness. These things if thou wisely observe, thou wilt be more ready-minded towards alms-doing, and wilt reap much pleasure, far greater than those who come down from the theater. For they when they remove from thence are inflamed and burn with desire. Having seen those women hovering 21 on the stage, and received fromthem ten thousand wounds, they will be in no better condition than a tossing sea, when the image of the faces, the gestures, the speeches, the walk, and all the rest, stand before their eyes and besiege their soul. But they who come forth from a prison will suffer nothing of this kind, but will enjoy great calmand tranquillity. For the compunction arising from the sight of the prisoners, quenches all that fire. And if a woman that is an harlot and a wanton meet a man coming forth from among the prisoners, she will work him no mischief. For becoming for the time to come, as it were, incapable of molding, 22 he will thus not be taken by the nets of her countenance, because instead of that wanton countenance there will then be placed before his eyes the fear of the Judgment. On this account, he who had gone over every kind of luxury said, “It is better to go into the house of mourning than into the house of mirth.” (Qo 7,2). And so “here” thou wilt show forth great wisdom, and “there” wilt hear those words which are worth ten thousand blessings. Let us then not neglect such a practice and occupation. For although we be not able to bring them food, nor to help them by giving money, yet shall we be able to comfort them by our words, and to raise up the drooping spirit, and to help them in many other ways by conversing with those who cast them into prison, and by making their keepers kinder, and we certainly shall effect either small or great good. But if thou sayest that the men there are neither men of condition, 23 nor good, nor gentle, but man-slayers, tomb-breakers, cut-purses, adulterers, intemperate, and full of many wickednesses, by this again thou showest to me a pressing reason for spending time there. For we are not commanded to take pity on the good and to punish the evil, but to manifest this lovingkindness to all men. “Be ye,” It saith, “like to My Father 24 which is in heaven, for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Mt 5,45). Do not then accuse other men’s faults bitterly, nor be a severe judge, but mild and merciful. For we also, if we have not been adulterers, or tomb-breakers, or cut-purses, yet have we other transgressions which deserve infinite punishment. Perchance we have called our brother “fool,” which prepares 25 for us the pit; we have looked on women with unchastened eyes, which constitutes absolute adultery; and what is more 26 grievous than all, we partake not worthily of the Mysteries, which maketh us guilty of the Body and Blood of Christ. Let us then not be bitter enquirers into the conduct of others, but consider our own state, so shall we desist from this inhumanity and cruelty. Besides this, it may be said that we shall there find many good men, and often men worth as much as all the city. Since even that prison-house in which Joseph was had in it many evil men, yet that just man had the care of them all, and was, with the rest, concealed as to his real character; for he was worth as much as all the land of Egypt, yet still he dwelt in the prison-house, and no one knew him of those that were within it. Thus also even now it is likely that there are 27 many good and virtuous men, though they be not visible to all men, and the care thou takest of such as these gives thee a return for thy exertions in favor of the whole. Or if there be none such, still even in this case great is thy recompense; for thy Lord conversed not with the just only, while He avoided the unclean, but received with kindness both the Canaanitish woman, and her of Samaria, the abominable and impure; another also who was a harlot, on whose account the Jews reproached Him, He both received and healed, and allowed His feet to be washed by the tears of the polluted one, teaching us to condescend to those that are in sin, for this most of all is kindness. What sayest thou? Do robbers and tomb-breakers dwell in the prison? And, tell me, are all they just men that dwell in the city? Nay, are there not many worse even than these, robbing with greater shamelessness? For the one sort, if there be no other excuse for them, at least put before themselves the veil of solitude and darkness, and the doing these things clandestinely; but the others throw away the mask and go after their wickedness with uncovered head, being violent, grasping, and covetous. Hard it is to find a man pure from injustice.
[6.] If we do not take by violence gold, or such and such a number of acres of land, yet we bring about the same end by deceit and robbery in lesser matters, and where we are able to do so. For when in making contracts, or when we must buy or sell anything, we dispute and strive to pay less than the value, and use our utmost endeavors to have it so, is not the action robbery? Is it not theft and covetousness? Tell not me that thou hast not wrested away houses or slaves, for injustice is judged not by the measure of the things taken, but by the intention of those who commit the robbery. Since “just” and “unjust” have the same force in great and in little things; and I call cut-purses alike the man who cuts through a purse and takes the gold, and him who buying from any of the market people deducts something from the proper price; nor is he the only house-breaker who breaks through a wall and steals anything within, but that manalso who corrupts justice, and takes anything from his neighbor.
Let us not then pass by our own faults, and become judges of other men’s; nor let us, when it is time for lovingkindness, be searching out their wickedness; but considering what our own state was once, let us now be gentle and kind. What then was our state? Hear Paul say; “For we ourselves also were sometime foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, hateful, and hating one another” (Tt 3,3); and again, “We were by nature children of wrath.” (Ep 2,3). But God seeing us as it were confined in a prison-house, and bound with grievous chains, far more grievous than those of iron, was not ashamed of us, but came and entered the prison, and, though we deserved ten thousand punishments, both brought us out from hence, and brought us to a kingdom, and made us more glorious than the heaven, that we also might do the same according to our power. For when He saith to His disciples, “If I, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another’s feet; for I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you” (c. 13,14), He writeth this law not merely for the washing the feet, but also in all the other acts which He manifested towards us. Is it a manslayer who inhabits the prison? Yet let not us be weary in doing Him good. Is it a tomb-breaker, or an adulterer? Let us pity not his wickedness, but his calamity. But often, as I before said, one will be found there worth ten thousand; and if thou goest continually to the prisoners, thou shall not miss so great a prize. For as Abraham, by entertaining even common guests, once met with Angels, so shall we meet with great men too, if we make the action a business. And if I may make a strange assertion, he who entertains a great man is not so worthy of praise as he who receives the wretched and miserable. For the former hath, in his own life, no slight occasion of being well treated, but the other, rejected and given up by all, hath one only harbor, the pity of his benefactor;so that this most of all is pure kindness. He,moreover, who shows attention to an admired and illustrious man, doth it often for ostentationamong men, but he who tends the abject and despairing, doth it only because of the command of God. Wherefore, if we make a feast, we are bidden to entertain the lame and halt, and if we do works of mercy, we are bidden to do them to the least and meanest. “For,” It saith, “inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, ye have done it unto Me.” (Mt 25,45). Knowing, therefore, the treasure which is laid up in that place, 28 let us enter continually, and make it our business, and turn 29 there our eager feelings about theaters. If thou hast nothing to contribute, contribute the comfort of thy words. For God recompenseth not only him that feedeth, but him also who goeth in. When thou enterest and arouseth the trembling and fearful soul, exhorting, succoring, promising assistance, teaching it true wisdom, thou shalt thence reap no small reward. For if thou shouldest speak in such manner outside the prison, many will even laugh, being dissipated 30 by their excessive luxury: but those who are in adversity, having their minds humbled, shall meekly attend to thy words, and praise them, and become better men. Since even when Paul preached, the Jews often derided him, but the prisoners listened with much stillness. For nothing renders the soul so fit for heavenly wisdom as calamity and temptation, and the pressure of affliction. Considering all these things, and how much good we shall work both to those within the prison, and to ourselves, by being continually mixed 31 up with them, let us there spend the time we used to spend in the market-place, and in unseasonable occupations, that we may both win them and gladden ourselves, and by causing God to be glorified, may obtain the everlasting blessings, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom, to the Father and the Holy Ghost, be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
1 [“and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.”] N. T.
2 al). “make a question.”
4 “Therefore his sisters sent unto Him, saying,” &c., N. T.
5 “our brother,” N. T.
6 al). “to the Lord.”
7 v. 6). “When He had heard therefore that he was sick, He abode two days still in the same place where He was.” N. T.
9 [“again”] N. T).
10 al). “more cowardly.”
11 ver. 9, 10). “If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.” N. T.
12 al). “and this He said desiring to show.”
13 al). “shall be.”
14 ver. 13–15). “Howbeit, Jesus spake of his death, but they thought that He had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless, let us go to him.” N. T.
16 al). “alone ran.”
17 ver. 17). “Then when Jesus came, He found that he had lain in the grave four days already.”
18 i.e. that Lazarus was sick).
19 “nigh unto Jerusalem,” N. T.
20 [“To Martha and Mary”] N. T.
21 [“concerning their brother”] N. T.
22 Ben. has a different reading, with no variety of sense.
23 ver. 20). “Then Martha, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary sat in the house.”
24 al). “had not yet heard.”
25 al). “but believed, saying.”
26 The words are used by Martha also; but she afterwards implies want of faith.
27 al). “they know not yet.”
28 al. and that they knew not, is manifest from their saying, “If Thou,” &c., and from their adding, “Whatsoever,” &c.
29 “But I know that even now, whatsoever,” &c., N. T.
30 Ben). “fitly made the saying of a middle character.”
31 [“in the Resurrection”] N. T.
32 al). “other help,” al). “helper.”
33 al). “she.”
34 from ver. 25.
35 or, “of this death.”
36 or, “one who has risen.”
37 al). “making bloody.”
38 al). “and raise loud wailings, and leap.”
39 lit). “Greeks.”
40 al). “have been thus inflamed.”
41 lit). “Greeks.”
42 i.e. about to sacrifice.
43 al). “loose n.”
44 al). “bewail.”
45 al). “to mourn, and we mourn it.”
46 al). “why, do I.”
47 al). “I forbid not to grieve, but I forbid to act unseemly.”
48 or, “is overcome.”
49 al). “give.”
50 see Hom. XII. p. 43, and note.
51 al). “more.”
52 al). “folly,” al). “madness.”
54 al). “thought.”
55 al). “consider the spiritual.”
56 lit). “Greeks.”
57 al). “for of grief.”
58 al). “it darkens.”
59 al). “without meat.”
"And it was at Jerusalem, the Feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. Then came the Jews round about Him, and said unto Him, How long dost thou make us to doubt?"
[1.] Every virtue is a good thing, but most of all gentleness and meekness. This showeth us men; this maketh us to differ from wild beasts; this fitteth us to vie with Angels. Wherefore Christ continually expendeth many words about this virtue, bidding us be meek and gentle. Nor doth He merely expend words about it, but also teacheth it by His actions; at one time buffeted and bearing it, at another reproached and plotted against; yet again coming to those who plotted against Him. For those men who had called Him a demoniac, and a Samaritan and who had often desired to kill Him, and had cast stones at Him, the same surrounded and asked Him, “Art thou the Christ?” Yet not even in this case did He reject them after so many and so great plots against Him, but answered them with great gentleness.
But it is necessary rather to enquire into thewhole passage from the beginning.
“It was,” It saith, “at Jerusalem, the Feast of the dedication, and it was winter.” This feast was a great and national one. For they celebrated with great zeal the day on which the Temple was rebuilt, on their return from their long captivity in Persia. At this feast Christ also was present, for henceforth He continually abode in Judaea, because the Passion was nigh.1 “Then came the Jews round about Him, and said, How long dost thou make us to doubt?”
“If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.”
(He did not reply, “What enquire ye2 of Me? Often have ye called Me demoniac, madman, and Samaritan, and have deemed me an enemy of God, and a deceiver, and ye said but now, Thou bearest witness of thyself, thy witness is not true; how is it then that ye seek and desire to learn from Me, whose witness ye reject?” But He said nothing of the kind, although He knew that the intention with which they made the enquiry was evil. For their surrounding Him and saying, “How long dost thou make us to doubt?” seemed to proceed from a certain longing and desire of learning, but the intention with which they asked the question was corrupt and deceitful. For since His works admitted not of their slander and insolence, while they might attack His sayings by finding out in them a sense other than that in which they were spoken, they continually proposed questions, desiring to silence Hint by means of His sayings; and when they could find no fault with His. works, they wished to find a handle in His words. Therefore they said, “Tell us”; yet He had often told them. For He said to the woman of Samaria, “I Am that speak unto thee” (Jn 4,26); and to the blind man, “Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee.” (Jn 9,37). And He had told them also, if not in the same, at least in other words. And indeed, had they been wise,and had they desired to enquire aright, it remained for them to confess Him by words, since by works He had often proved the point in question. But now observe their perverse and disputations temper. When He addresseth them, and instructeth them by His words, they say, “What sign showest thou us?” (Jn 6,30). But when He giveth them proofs by His works, they say to Him, “Art thou the Christ? Tell us plainly”; when the works cry aloud, they seek words, and when the words teach, then they betake themselves to works, ever setting themselves to the contrary. But that they enquired not for the sake of learning, the end showed. For Him whom they deemed to be so worthy of credit, as to receive His witness of Himself, when He had spoken a few words they straightway stoned; so that their very surrounding and pressing upon Him was done with ill intent.
And the mode of questioning was full of much hatred. “Tell us plainly, Art thou the Christ?” Yet He spake all things openly, being ever present at their feasts, and in secret He said nothing; but they brought forward words of deceit, “How long dost thou make us to doubt?” in order that having drawn Him out, they might again find some handle against Him. For that in every case they questioned Him not in order to learn, but to find fault with His words, is clear, not from this passage only, but from many others also. Since when they came to Him and asked, “Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar or not?” (Mt 22,17), when they spake about putting away a wife (Mt 19,3), when they enquired about her who, they said, had had seven husbands (Mt 22,23), they were convicted of bringing their questions to Him, not from desire of learning, but from an evil intention. But there He rebuked them, saying, “Why tempt ye Me, ye hypocrites?” showing that He knew their secret thoughts, while here He said nothing of the kind; teaching us not always to rebuke those who plot against us, but to bear many things with meekness and gentleness.
Since then it was a sign of folly, when the works proclaimed Him aloud, to seek the witness of words, hear how He answereth them, at once hinting to them that they made these enquiries superfluously, and not for the sake of learning, and at the same time showing that He uttered a voice plainer than that by words, namely, that by works.
Jn 10,25. “I told you often,”3 He saith, “and ye believe not: the works that I do in My Father’s Name, they are they that bear witness of Me.”
[2.] A remark which the more tolerable among them continually made to one another; “A man that is a sinner cannot4 do such miracles.” And again, “A devil cannot open the eyes of the blind”: and, “No man can do such miracles except God be with him.” (Jn 3,2). And beholding the miracles that He did, they said, “Is not this the Christ?” Others said, “When Christ cometh, will He do greater miracles than those which this Man hath done?” (Jn 7,31). And these very persons as many as then desired to believe on Him, saying, “What sign showest thou us, that we may see, and believe thee?” (Jn 6,30). When then they who had not been persuaded by such great works, pretended that they should be persuaded by a bare word, He rebuketh their wickedness, saying, “If ye believe not My works, how will ye believe My words? so that your questioning is superfluous.”
Jn 10,26. “But,” He saith, “I told you, and ye5 believe not, because ye are not of My sheep.”6
“For I on My part have fulfilled all that it behooved a Shepherd to do, and if ye follow Me not, it is not because I am not a Shepherd, but because ye are not My sheep.”
. “For My sheep hear My voice,7 and follow Me; and I give unto them eternal life8 ; neither can9 any man pluck them out of My hand. The Father, 10 which gave them Me, is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand. I and the Father are One.”
Observe how in renouncing He exciteth them to follow Him. “Ye hear Me not,” He saith, “for neither are ye sheep, but they who follow, these are of the flock.” This He said, that they might strive to become sheep. Then by mentioning what they should obtain, He maketh these men jealous, so as to rouse them, and cause them to desire such things.
“What then? Is it through the power of the Father that no man plucketh them away, and hast thou no strength, but art too weak to guard them?” By no means. And in order that thou mayest learn that the expression, “The Father which gave them to Me,” is used on their account, that they might not again call Him an enemy of God, therefore, after asserting that, “No man plucketh them out of My hand,” He proceedeth to show, that His hand and the Father’s is One. Since had not this been so, it would have been natural for Him to say, “The Father which gave them to Me is greater than all, and no man can pluck them out of My hand.” But He said not so, but, “out of My Father’s hand.” Then that thou mayest not suppose that He indeed is weak, but that the sheep are in safety through the power of the Father, He addeth, “I and the Father are One.” As though He had said “I did not assert that on account of the Father no man plucketh them away, as though I were too weak to keep the sheep. For I and the Father are One.” Speaking here with reference to Power, for concerning this was all His discourse; and if the power 11 be the same, it is clear that the Essence is also. And when the Jews used ten thousand means, plotting and casting men out of their synagogues, He telleth them that all their contrivances are useless and vain; “For the sheep are in My Father’s hand”; as the Prophet saith, “Upon My hand I have pictured thy walls.” (Is 49,16). Then to show that the hand is One, He sometimes saith that it is His own, sometimes the Father’s. But when thou hearest the word “hand,” do not understand anything material, but the power, the authority. Again, if it was on this account that no one could pluck away the sheep, because the Father gave Him power, it would have been superfluous to say what follows, “I and the Father are One.” Since were He inferior to Him, this would have been a very daring saying, for it declares nothing else than an equality of power; of which the Jews were conscious, and took up stones to cast at Him. (Jn 10,31). Yet not evenso did He remove this opinion and suspicion; though if their suspicion were erroneous, He ought to have set them right, and to have said, “Wherefore do ye these things? I spake not thus to testify that my power and the Father’s are equal”; but now He doth quite the contrary, and confirmeth their suspicion, and clencheth it, and that too when they were exasperated. For He maketh no excuse for what had been said, as though it had been said ill, but rebuketh them for not entertaining a right opinion concerning Him. For when they said,
. 12 “For a good workwe stone thee not, but for blasphemy; and because that thou being a man makest thyself God”; hear His answer; 13 “If the Scripture called 14 them gods unto whom the word of God came, 15 how sayye that I blaspheme, because I said, I am the Son of God?”
What He saith is of this kind: “If those who have received this honor by grace, are not found fault with for calling themselves gods, how can He who hath this by nature deserve to be rebuked?” Yet He spake not so, but proved it at a later time, having first relaxed and yielded somewhat in His discourse, and said, “Whom the Father hath sanctified and sent.” And when He had softened their anger, He bringeth forward the plain assertion. For a while, that His speech might be received, He spoke in a humbler strain, but afterwards He raised it higher, saying,
Jn 10,37-38. “If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not; but if I do, though ye believe not Me, believe the works.”
Seest thou how He proveth what I said, that He is in nothing inferior to the Father, but in every way equal to Him? For since it was impossible to see His Essence, from the equality and sameness of the works He affordeth a proof of unvaryingness as to Power. And what, tell me, shall we believe?
[3.] “That I am in the Father, and the Father in Me.” 16
“For I am nothing other than what the Father is, yet still Son; He nothing other than what I am, yet still Father. And if any man know Me, he knoweth the Father, and if he knoweth the Father, 17 he hath learnt also the Son.” Now were the power inferior, then also what relateth to the knowledge would be false, for it is not possible to become acquainted with one substance or power by means of another.
. “Therefore they sought again to take Him, but He escaped out of their hands, and went away again beyond Jordan, into the place where Jn at first baptized. 18 And many resorted unto Him, and said, Jn did no miracle, but all things that John spake of this man were true.”
When He hath uttered anything great and sublime, He quickly retireth, giving way to their anger, so that the passion may abate and cease through His absence. And thus He acted at that time. But wherefore doth the Evangelist mention the place? That thou mayest learn that He went there to remind them of the things there done and said by John, and of his testimony; at least when they came there, they straightway remembered John. Wherefore also they said, “Jn indeed did no miracle,” since how did it follow that they should add this, unless the place had brought the Baptist to their memory, and they had come to remember his testimony. And observe howthey form incontrovertible syllogisms. “Jn indeed did no miracle,” “but this man doth,” saith some one; “hence therefore his superiority is shown. If therefore men 19 believed him who did no miracles, much more must they believe this man.” Then, since it was Jn who bore the witness, lest his having done no miracle might seem to prove him unworthy of being a witness, 20 they added, “Yet if he did no miracle, still he spake all things truly concerning this man”; no longer proving Christ to be trustworthy by means of John, but Jn to be so by what Christ had done.
Jn 10,42. “Many therefore believed on Him.” 21 There were many things that attracted them. They remembered the words which Jn had spoken, calling Christ “mightier than himself,” and “light,” and “life,” and “truth,” and all the rest. They remembered the Voice which came down from heaven, and the Spirit which appeared in the shape of a dove, and pointed Him out to all; and with this they recollected the demonstration afforded by the miracles, looking to which they were for the future established. “For,” saith some one, “if it was fight that we should believe John, much more ought we to believe this man; if him without miracles, much more this man, who besides the testimony of John, hath also the proof 22 from miracles.” Seest thou howmuch the abiding in this place, and the being freed from the presence of evil men, profiled them? wherefore Jesus continually leadeth and draweth them away from the company of those persons; as also He seemeth to have done under the old Covenant, forming and ordering the Jews in all points, in the desert, at a distance from the Egyptians.
And this He now adviseth us also to do, bidding us avoid public places, and tumults, and disturbances, and pray peacefully in the chamber. For the vessel which is free from confusion, sails with a fair wind, and the soul which is separated from worldly matters rests in harbor. Wherefore women ought to have more true wisdom than men, because they are for the most part riveted to keeping at home. So, for instance, Jacob was a plain 23 man, because he dwelt at home, and was free from the bustle of public life; for not without a cause hath Scripture put this, when It saith, “dwelling in a house.” (Gn 25,27). “But,” saith some woman, “even in a house there is great confusion.” Yes, when thou wilt have it so, and bringest about thyself a crowd of cares. For the man who spends his time in the midst of the market-places and courts of justice is overwhelmed, as if by waves, by external troubles; but the women who sits in her house as in some school of true wisdom, and collects her thoughts within herself, will be enabled to apply herself to prayers, and readings, and other heavenly wisdom. And as they who dwell in deserts have none to disturb them, so she being continually within can enjoy a perpetual calm. Nor even if at any time she need to go forth, is there then any cause for confusion. For the necessary occasions for a women to leave her house are, either for the purpose of coming hither, or when the body need to be cleansed in the bath; but for the most part she sits at home, and it is possible for her both to be herself truly wise, and receiving her husband when agitated to calm and compose him, to abate the excess and fierceness of his thoughts, and so to send him forth again, having put off all the mischiefs which he collected from the market-place, and carrying with him whatever good he learnt at home. For nothing, nothing is more powerful than a pious and sensible women to bring a man into proper order, and to mould his soul as she will. For he will not endure friends, or teachers, or rulers, as he will his partner advising and counseling him, since the advice carries even some pleasure with it, because she who gives the counsel is greatly loved. I could tell of many hard and disobedient men who have been softened in this way. For she who shares his table, his bed, and his embraces, his words and secrets, his comings in and goings out, and many other things, who is entirely given up 24 and joined to him, as it is likely that a body would be joined to a head, if she happen to be discreet and well attuned, will go beyond and excel all others in the management of her husband.
[4.] Wherefore I exhort women to make this their employment, and to give fitting counsel. For as they have great power for good, so have they also for evil. A women destroyed Absalom, a woman destroyed Amnon, a woman was like to have destroyed Job, a woman rescued Nabal from the slaughter. Women have preserved whole nations; for Deborah and Judith exhibited successes worthy of men; so also do ten thousand other women. Wherefore Paul saith, “For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shall save thy husband?” (1Co 7,16). And in those times we see Persis and Mary and Priscilla taking part in the labors 25 of the Apostles (Rm 16); whom we 26 also needs must imitate, and not by words only, but also by actions, bring into order him that dwelleth with us. But how shall we instruct him by our actions? When he sees that thou art not evilly disposed, not fond of expense or ornament, not demanding extravagant supplies of money, but content with what thou hast, then will he endure thee counseling him. But if thou art wise in word, and in actions doest the contrary, he will condemn thee for very foolish talking. But when together with words thou affordest him also instruction by thy works, then will he admit thee and obey thee the more readily; as when thou desirest not gold, nor pearls, nor costly clothing, but instead of these, modesty, sobriety, kindness; when thou exhibitest these virtues on thy part and requirest them on his. For if thou must needs do somewhat to please thy husband, thou shouldest adorn thy soul, not adorn and so spoil thy person. The gold which thou puttest about thee will not make thee so lovely and desirable to him, as modesty and kindness towards himself, and a readiness to die for thy partner; these things most subdue men. Indeed, that splendor of apparel even displeases him, as straitening his means, and causing him much expense and care; but those things which I have named will rivet a husband to a wife; for kindness and friendship and love cause no cares, give rise to no expense, but quite the contrary. That outward adornment becomes palling by use, but that of the soul blooms day by day, and kindles a stronger flame. So that if thou wouldest please thy husband. adorn thy soul with modesty, piety, and management of the house. These things both subdue him more, and never cease. Age destroys not this adornment, sickness wastes it not. The adornment of the body length of time is wont to undo, sickness and many other things to waste, but what relates to the soul is above all this. That adornment causes envy, and kindles jealousy, but this is pure from disease, and free from all vainglory. Thus will matters at home be easier, and your income without trouble, when the gold is not laid on about your body or encircling your arms, but passes on 27 to necessary uses, such as the feeding of servants, the necessary care of children, and other useful purposes. But if this be not the case, if the (wife’s) face becovered with ornaments, while the (husband’s) heart is pressed by anxiety, what profit, what kind of advantage is there? The one being grieved allows not the marvelous beauty of the other to be seen. For ye know, ye know that though a man see the most beautiful of all women, he cannot feel pleasure at the sight while his soul is sorrowful, because in order to feel pleasure a man must first rejoice and be glad. And when all his gold is heaped together to adorn a woman’s body, while there is distress in his dwelling, her partner can have no pleasure. So that if we desire to be agreeable to our husbands, let us give them pleasure; and we shall give them pleasure, if we remove our ornaments and fineries. For all these things at the actual time of marriage appear to afford some delight, but this afterwards fades by time. Since if when the heaven is so beautiful, and the sun, to which thou canst not name any body that is equal, so bright, we admire them less from habitually seeing them, how shall we admire a body tricked out with gewgaws? These things I say, desiring that you should be adorned with that wholesome adornment which Paul enjoined; “Not with gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” (1Tm 2,9-10). But dost thou wish to please strangers, and to be praised by them? Then assuredly this is not the desire of a modest woman. However, if thou wishest it, by doing as I have said, thou wilt have strangers also to love thee much, and to praise thy modesty. For the woman who adorns her person no virtuous and sober person will praise, but the intemperate and lascivious; nay, rather neither will these praise her, but will even speak vilely of her, having their eyes inflamed by the wantonness displayed about her; but the other all will approve, both the one sort and the other, because they receive no harm from her, but even instruction in heavenly wisdom. And great shall be her praise from men, and great her reward with God. After such adornment then let us strive, that we may live here without fear, and may obtain the blessings which are to come; which may we all obtain through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen).
1 ver. 31). “The Jews then which were with her, when they saw Mary that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.”
2 al). “any real wisdom.”
4 al). “good.”
5 al). “senseless.”
6 al). “but rising straightway went to meet Him.”
7 al). “the place.”
8 al). “being.”
9 al). “speak to.”
10 al). “perhaps it is proved.”
11 Ver. 32, 33). “Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saving unto Him, Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, He groaned in the spirit, and troubled Himself.”
12 al). “they were about to gain much.”
13 th;n qhvran.
14 al). “showeth for a time.”
16 Ver. 38). “Jesus therefore, again groaning in Himself, cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.”
17 al). “rebuked.”
18 al). “all things more humble.”
19 i.e. the other Evangelists.
20 Ben. omits “the trembling.”
21 i.e. which raised the stone.
22 al). “garments.”
23 al). “saith gently.”
24 Ben). “great and causing many blessings.”
26 “if ye believe,” It saith, &c.
28 al). “discover, but slips off.”
29 al). “strip off by.”
30 th;n e]xwqen
31 al). “who were familiar with.”
32 al). “had got together.”
33 al). “these they cast as dust, and.”
34 al). “so that these appeared henceforward to be truly philosophers, but those fools by nature and out of their senses.”
35 al). “devices.”
36 lit). “having only the natural life,” yuciko;", opposed in G. T. to pneumatiko;".
37 al). “is the ridiculous thing.”
38 al). “the many.”
39 al). “right.”
40 al). “Christ discourseth the more about this, and saith.”
41 al). “I never knew you”: and again, “Rejoice not that the devils are subject to you”: for, &c.
42 al). “often turn aside.”
43 al). “attend to.”
44 i.e. after marriage.
45 al). “lie with.”
46 al). “for of such saith God.”
47 “dieth not,” &c.
48 al). “stupidity.”
49 “the woman which hath.”
50 “whosoever shall.”
51 proxenou`sa, al). ejpavgousa.
52 al). “introducing himself.”
53 al). “everywhere.”
54 al). “give diligence to be.”
55 al). “will.”
56 al). “sanctuary.”
57 al). “place"”
Chrysostom on John 60