Chrysostom on John 48
"After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for He would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill Him. Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand."
[1.] Nothing is worse than envy and malice; through these death entered into the world. For when the devil saw man honored, he endured not his prosperity, but used every means to destroy him. (Sg 2,24). And from the same root one may everywhere see this same fruit produced. Thus Abel was slain; thus David, with many other just men, was like to have been so; from this also the Jews became Christ-slayers. And declaring this the Evangelist said, “After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for He had not power1 to walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill Him.” What sayest thou, O blessed John? Had not He “power,” who was able to do all that He would? He that said, “Whom seek ye?” (c. 18,6) and cast them backward? He who was present, yet not seen (c. xxi. 4), had not He “power”? How then afterwards did He come among them in the midst of the temple, in the midst of the feast, when there was an assembly, when they that longed for murder were present, and utter those sayings which enraged them yet the more? Yea, this at least men marveled at, saying, “Is not this He, whom they seek to kill? And, lo, He speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto Him.” (Jn 7,25-26). What mean these riddles? Away with the word!2 The Evangelist spake not so that he might be supposed to utter riddles, but to make it plain that He showeth proofs both of His Godhead and His Manhood. For when he saith, that “He had not power,” he speaketh of Him as a man, doing many things after the manner of men; but when he saith, that He stood in the midst of them, and they seized Him not, he showeth to us the power of the Godhead, (as man He fled, as God He appeared,) and in both cases he speaks truly. To be in the midst of those who were plotting against Him, and yet not be seized by them, showed His unrivaled and irresistible nature; to yield strengthened and authenticated the Dispensation, that neither Paul of Samosata,3 nor Marcion,4 nor those affected with their maladies, might have anything to say. By this then he stoppeth all5 their mouths.
“After these things was the Jews’ feast of tabernacles.” The words, “after these things,” mean only, that the writer has here been concise, and has passed over a long interval of time, as is clear from this circumstance. When Christ sat6 on the mountain, he saith, that it was the feast of the Passover;7 while here the writer mentions the “feast of tabernacles,” and during the five months hath neither related or taught us anything else, except the miracle of the loaves, and the sermon made to those who ate them. Yet He ceased not to work miracles, and to converse, both in the day, and in the evening, and oftentimes at night; at least, it was thus that He presided over His disciples, as all the Evangelists tell us. Why then have they omitted that interval? Because it was impossible to recount everything fully, and moreover, because they were anxious to mention those points which were followed8 by any fault-finding or gainsaying of the Jews. There were many circumstances like those which here are omitted; for that He raised the dead, healed the sick, and was admired, they have frequently recorded;9 but when they have anything uncommon to tell, when they have to describe any charge seemingly put forth against Him, these things they set down; such as this now, that “His brethren believed Him not.” For a circumstance like this brings with it no slight suspicion, and it is worth our while to admire their truth-loving disposition, how they are not ashamed to relate things which seem to bring disgrace upon their Teacher, but have been even more anxious to report these than other matters. For instance, the writer having passed by many signs and wonders and sermons, has sprung at once to this.
. For, saith he, “His brethren said unto Him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that Thy disciples also may see the works that Thou doest; for there is no man that doeth anything in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. Show thyself to the world. For neither did His brethren believe in Him.”
[2.] What unbelief, saith some one, is here? They exhort 10 Him to work miracles. It is great deed; for of unbelief come their words, and their insolence, and their unseasonable freedom of speech. For they thought, that owing to their relationship, it was lawful 11 for them to address Him boldly. And their request seems forsooth to be that of friends, but the words were those of great maliciousness. 12 For in this place they reproach Him with cowardice and vainglory: since to say, “no man doeth anything in secret,” is the expression of persons charging Him with cowardice, and suspecting the things done by Him as being not really done; and to add, that “he seeketh to be known,” was to accuse Him of vainglory. But observe, I pray you, the power of Christ. Of those who said these things, one became first Bishop of Jerusalem, the blessed James, of whom Paul saith, “Other of the Apostles saw I none, save James, the Lord’s brother” (Ga 1,19); and Judas also is said to have been a marvelous man. And yet these persons had been present also at Cana, when the wine was made, but as yet they profited nothing. Whence then had they so great unbelief? From their evil mind, 13 and from envy; for superiority among kindred is wont somehow to be envied by such as are not alike exalted. But who are those that they call disciples here? The crowd that followed Him, not the twelve. What then saith Christ? Observe how mildly He answered; He said not, “Who are ye that counsel and instruct Me thus?” but,
Jn 7,6. “My time is not yet come.”
(He here seemeth to me to hint at something other than He expresseth; perhaps in their envy they designed to deliver Him up to the Jews; and pointing out this to them, He saith, “My time is not yet come,” that is, “the time of the Cross and the Death, why then hasten ye to slay Me before the time?”
“But your time is always ready.”
As though He had said, “Though ye be ever with the Jews, they will not slay you who desire the same things with them; but Me they will straightway wish to kill. So that it is ever your time to be with them without danger, but My time is when the season of the Cross is at hand, when I must die.” For that this was His meaning, He showed by what followed.
Jn 7,7. “The world cannot hate you;” (how should it hate those who desire, and who run for the same objects as itself?) “but Me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.”
“That is, because I upbraid and rebuke it, therefore I am hated.” From this let us learn to master our anger, and not to give way to unworthy passion, though they be mean men who give us counsel. For if Christ meekly bore with unbelievers counseling Him, when their counsel was improper and not from any good intention, what pardon shall we obtain, who being but dust and ashes, yet are annoyed with those who counsel us, and deem that we are unworthily treated, although the persons who do this may be but a little humbler than ourselves? Observe in this instance how He repelleth their accusation with all gentleness; for when they say, “Show Thyself to the world,” He replieth, “The world cannot hate you, but Me the world hateth”; thus removing their accusation. “So far,” He saith, “am I from seeking honor from men, that I cease not to reprove them, and this when I know that by this course hatred is produced against and death prepared for Me.” “And where,” asketh some one, “did He rebuke men?” When did He ever cease to do so? Did He not say, “Think not that I will accuse you to the Father? There is one that accuseth you, even Moses.” (c. 5,45). And again; “I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you”: and “How can ye believe, who receive honor from men, 14 and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?” Seest thou how He hath everywhere shown, that it was the open rebuke, not the violation of the Sabbath, which caused the hatred against Him?
And wherefore doth He send them to the feast, saying,
Jn 7,8. “Go ye up to the feast: I go not up yet”?
To show that He said these things not as needing them, or desiring to be flattered 15 by them, but permitting them to do what pertained to Jews. “How then,” saith some one, “went He up after saying, ‘I go not up’?” He said not, once for all, 16 “I go not up,” but, “now,” that is, “not with you.”
“For My time is not yet fulfilled.”
And yet He was about to be crucified at the coming Passover. “How then went He not up also? for if He went not up because the time was not yet come, He ought not to have gone up at all.” But He went not up for this purpose, that He might suffer, but that He might instruct them. “But wherefore secretly? since He might by going openly both have been amidst them, and have restrained their unruly impulses as He often did.” It was because He would not do this continually. Since had He gone up openly, and again blinded them, 17 He would have made His Godhead to shine through in a greater degree, which at present behooved not, but He rather concealed it. 18 And since they thought that His remaining was from cowardice, He showeth them the contrary, and that it was from confidence, and a dispensation, 19 and that knowing beforehand the time when He should suffer, He would, when it should at length be at hand, be most desirous of going up to Jerusalem. And methinks by saying, “Go ye up,” He meant, “Think not that I compel you to stay with Me against your will,” and this addition of, “My time is not yet fully come,” is the expression of one declaring that miracles must be wrought and sermons spoken, so that greater multitudes might believe, and the disciples be made more steadfast by seeing the boldness and the sufferings of their Master.
[3.] Learn we then, from what hath been said, His kindness and gentleness; “Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart” (Mt 11,29); and let us cast away 20 all bitterness. If any exalt himself against us, let us be humble; if any be bold, let us wait upon him; if any bite and devour us with mocks and jests, let us not be overcome; lest in defending ourselves we destroy ourselves. For wrath is a wild beast, a wild beast keen and angry. Let us then repeat to ourselves 21 soothing charms drawn from the holy Scripture, and say, “Thou art earth and ashes.” “Why is earth and ashes proud?” (Si 10,9), and, “The sway of his fury shall be his destruction” (Si 1,22): and, “The wrathful man is not comely” (Pr 11,25 LXX).; for there is nothing more shameful, nothing uglier than a visage inflamed with anger. As when you stir up mud there is an ill savor, so when a soul is disturbed by passion there is great indecency and unpleasantness. “But,” saith some one, “I endure not insult from mine enemies.” Wherefore? tell me. If the charge be true, then thou oughtest, even before the affront, to have been pricked at heart, and thank thine enemy for his rebukes; if it be false, despise 22 it. He hath called thee poor, laugh at him; he hath called thee base-born and foolish, then mourn for him; for “He that saith to his brother, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” (Mt 5,22). Whenever therefore one insults thee, consider the punishment that he undergoeth; then shalt thou not only not be angry, but shalt even shed tears for him. For no man is wroth with one in a fever or inflammation, but pities and weeps for all such; and such a thing is a soul that is angry. Nay, if even thou desire to avenge thyself, hold thy peace, and thou hast dealt thine enemy a mortal blow; while if thou addest reviling to reviling, thou hast kindled a fire. “But,” saith some one, “the bystanders accuse us of weakness if we hold our peace.” No, they will not condemn your weakness, but admire you for your wisdom. Moreover, if you are stung by insolence, you become insolent; and being stung, compel men to think that what hath been said of you is true. Wherefore, tell me, doth a rich man laugh when he is called poor? Is it not because he is conscious that he is not poor? if therefore 23 we will laugh at insults, we shall afford the strongest proof that we are not conscious of the faults alleged. Besides, how long are we to dread the accounts we render to men? how long are we to despise our common Lord, and be nailed to the flesh? “For whereas there is among you strife, and envying, and divisions, are ye not carnal?” (1Co 3,3). Let us then become spiritual, and bridle this dreadful wild beast. Anger differs nothing from madness, it is a temporary devil, or rather it is a thing worse than having a devil; for one that hath a devil may be excused, but the angry man deserves ten thousand punishments, voluntarily casting himself into the pit of destruction, and before the hell which is to come suffering punishment from this already, by bringing a certain restless turmoil and never silent 24 storm of fury, through all the night and through all the day, upon the reasonings of his soul. Let us therefore, that we may deliver ourselves from the punishment here and the vengeance hereafter, cast out this passion, and show forth all meekness and gentleness, that we may find rest for our souls both here and in the Kingdom of Heaven. To which may we all attain, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom, to the Father and the Holy Spirit be glory, now and ever and world without end. Amen).
1 al). “but secretly.”
2 lit). “dispensed.”
3 lit). “economize somewhat.”
4 al). “were eager.”
5 al). “it behooved.”
6 al). “besides, because.”
7 sfadazovntwn, al). ajkmazovntwn.
8 “at the feast,” N. T.
9 al). “they were always eager for murder, and by means of these (feasts) desired to catch Him.”
10 or, “directly after.”
11 al). “were eager.”
12 al). “and at the same time.”
13 al). “showed.”
14 al). “opinion.”
15 al). “which thing is especially characteristic of the multitude.’”
16 “into the Temple.” N. T.
17 al). “they who seek Him and say.”
18 al). “was wicked.”
19 calavsa", al). caunwvsa").
20 lit). “took.”
21 al). “knoweth he.”
22 al). “reveal.”
23 “all Mine are Thine,” &c.
24 i.e. from the Father’s.
26 al). “(He that desires to speak of himself, desires it on no other account, but only to reap glory from this.”
27 i.e. other than He willeth).
29 i.e. of their error.
30 “go to thine house,” N. T.
31 i.e. to meet the charge of.
32 prokataplhttomevnh" aujtw`n wJ" wj/ovvnto. This appears to be the meaning, if the text is correct. The passage is suspected, but there is no other reading.
33 or, “when.”
34 al). “to admit what had taken place as a charge against Himself.”
35 i.e. by ver. 22). “Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not because it is of Moses, but the fathers) and ye on the Sabbath day circumcise a man.”
37 kata; tou` n.
38 al). “but hinted by saying.”
39 ver. 23). “If a man on the Sabbath day receive circumcision, that the Law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at Me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the Sabbath day?”
40 al). “soul of man.”
41 al). “but this is.”
43 al). “for how great is, &c. little.”
44 al). “and afterwards we perish miserably.”
45 al). “offend against.”
46 al). “escorts.”
"When He had said these words unto them, He abode still in Galilee. But when His brethren were gone up, then went He up also unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret."
[1.] The things done2 by Christ after the manner of men, are not so done only to establish the Incarnation, but also to educate us for virtue. For had He done all as God, how could we have known, on falling in with such things as we wished not, what we must do? As, for instance, when He was in this very place, and the Jews would have killed Him, He came into the midst of them, and so appeased the tumult. Now had He done this continually, how should we, not being able to do so, and yet falling into the like case, have known in what way we ought to deal with the matter, whether to perish at once, or even to use some contrivance3 in order that the word might go forward? Since, therefore, we who have no power could not have understood what to do on coming into the midst of our foes, on this account we are taught this very thing by Him. For, saith the Evangelist, Jesus, “when He had said these words, abode in Galilee; but when His brethren were gone up, then went He up also unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.” The expression, “when His brethren were gone up,” is that of one showing that He chose not to go up with them. On which account He abode where He was, and manifested not Himself, although they in a manner urged4 Him to do so. But why did He, who ever spake openly, do so now “as it were in secret”? The writer saith not “secretly,” but, “as it were in secret.” For thus, as I have said, He seemed5 to be instructing us how to manage matters. And, apart from this,6 it was not the same to come among them when heated and restive,7 as to do so afterwards when the feast was ended.
Jn 7,11. “Then the Jews sought Him,8 and said, Where is He?”
Excellent truly the good deeds at their feasts! they are eager for murder, and wish to seize Him, even during the feast.9 At least, in another place they speak thus, “Think ye that He will not come to the feast?” (Jn 11,56); and here they said, “Where is He?” Through their excessive hatred and enmity they would not even call Him by name. Great was their reverence towards the feast, great their caution. By occasion of 10 the very feast they wished 11 to entrap Him!
Jn 7,12. “And there was much murmuring among the people concerning Him.”
I think they were exasperated by the place where the miracle had been wrought, and were 12 greatly infuriated and afraid, not so much from anger at what had gone before, as from fear lest He should again work something similar. But all fell out contrary to what they desired, and against their will they rendered Him conspicuous.
“And some said, He is a good man; others said, Nay, but He deceiveth the people.”
Methinks the first of these opinions was that of the many, the other that of the rulers and priests. For to slander Him suited their malice and wickedness. “He deceiveth,” say they, “the people.” How, tell me? Was it by seeming to work, not really working miracles? But experience witnesses 13 the contrary.
Jn 7,13. “Howbeit no man spake openly of Him for fear of the Jews.”
Seest thou everywhere the ruling body corrupted, and the ruled sound indeed in judgment, but not having that proper courage 14 which a multitude especially lacketh? 15
Jn 7,14. “Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up 16 and taught.”
By the delay He made them more attentive; for they who had sought Him on the first days and said, 17 “Where is He?” when they saw Him suddenly present, observe how they drew near, and were like to press upon Him as He was speaking, both those who said that He was a good man, and those who said that He was not such; 18 the former so as to profit by and admire Him, the latter to lay hold on and detain Him. One party then said, “He deceiveth the people,” by reason of the teaching and the doctrines, not understanding His meaning; the other on account of the miracles said, “He is a good man.” He therefore thus came among them when He had slackened 19 their anger, so that they might hear His words at leisure, when passion no longer stopped their ears. What He taught, the Evangelist hath not told us; that He taught marvelously, this only he saith, and that He won 20 and brought them over. Such was the power of His speech. And they who had said, “He deceiveth the people,” altered their opinion, “and marveled.” Wherefore also they said,
Jn 7,15. “How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?”
Observest thou how the Evangelist showeth here also their marveling to be full of wickedness? for he saith not, that they admired the teaching, or that they received the words, but simply that they “marveled.” That is, were thrown into a state of astonishment, and doubted, saying, “Whence hath this man 21 these things”? when they ought from this very difficulty to have known that there was nothing merely human in Him. But because they would not confess 22 this, but stopped at wondering only, hear what He saith.
Jn 7,16. “My doctrine is not Mine.”
Again He answereth to their secret thoughts, referring them to the Father, and so desiring to stop their mouths.
Jn 7,17. “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself.”
What He saith is this, “Cast out from yourselves the malice and wrath and envy and hatred which has without cause been conceived against Me, then there is nothing to hinder you from knowing that My words are indeed the words of God. For at present these things cast a darkness over you, and destroy the light of right judgment, while if ye remove them this shall no longer be your case.” Yet He spake not (plainly) thus, (for so He would have confounded them exceedingly,) but implied it all by saying, “He that doeth His will shall know of the doctrine, whether it is of God, or whether I speak of Myself”; that is, “whether I speak anything different and strange and contrary to God.” For, “of Myself” is always put with this meaning, that “I say nothing except what seemeth good to Him, but all that the Father willeth, I will also.”
“If any man do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.”
“What meaneth,” “If any man do His will?” “If any man be a lover of the life which is according to virtue, he shall know the power of the sayings.” “If any man will give heed to the prophecies, to see whether I speak according to them or not.”
[2.] But how is the doctrine His and not His? For He said not, “This doctrine is not Mine”; but having first said, “it is Mine,” and having claimed it as His own, He then added, “it is not Mine.” How then can the same thing be both “His” and not “His”? It is “His,” because He spake it not as one who had been taught; and it is “not His,” because it was the doctrine of the Father. How then saith He, “All that is the Father’s is Mine, and Mine His”? (c. xvii. 10. 23 ) “For if because the doctrine is the Father’s, it is not thine, that other assertion is false, for according to that it ought to be thine.” But the “is not Mine,” affords a strong proof that His doctrine and the Father’s are one; as if He had said, “It hath nothing different, 24 as though it were another’s. For though My Person 25 be different, yet so do I speak and do as not to be supposed to speak or do anything contrary to the Father, but rather the very same things that the Father saith and doeth.” Then He addeth another incontrovertible argument, bringing forward something merely human, and instructing them by things to which they were accustomed. And what is that?
Jn 7,18. “He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory.”
That is, “He that desireth to establish any doctrine of his own, desireth to do so only that he himself may enjoy the glory. 26 Now if I desire not to enjoy glory, wherefore should I desire to establish any doctrine of My own? He that speaketh of himself, that is, who speaketh anything peculiar or different from others, speaketh on this account, that he may establish his own glory; but if I seek the glory of Him that sent Me, wherefore should I choose to teach other 27 things?” Seest thou that there was a cause wherefore He said there too that He “did nothing of Himself”? (c. 5,19, and 8,28). What was it? It was that they might believe that He desired not the honor of the many. Therefore when His words are lowly, “I seek,” He saith, “the glory of the Father,” everywhere desiring to persuade them that He Himself loveth not glory. Now there are many reasons for His using lowly words, as that He might not be deemed unbegotten, or opposed to God, His being clothed with flesh, the infirmity of His hearers, that He might teach men to be modest, and to speak no great thing of themselves: while for speaking lofty words one could only find one reason, the greatness of His Nature. And if when He said, “Before Abraham was, I am” (c. 8,58), they were offended, what would have been their case if they had continually heard high expressions?
Jn 7,19. “Did not Moses give you the Law? and yet none of you keepeth the Law? Why go ye about to kill Me?”
“And what connection,” saith some one, “has this, or what has this to do with what was said before?” The Jews brought against Him two accusations; one, that He broke the Sabbath; the other, that He called God His Father, making Himself equal with God. And that this was no imagination of theirs, but His own declared judgment, 28 and that He spake not as do the many, but in a special and peculiar sense, is clear from this circumstance. Many often called God their Father; as “Have we not all one Father, hath not one God created us?” (Ml 2,10), but not for that was the people equal to God, on which account the hearers were not offended. As then when the Jews said, “This man is not from God,” He often healed them, 29 and made defense for the violation of the Sabbath; so now had the sense they assigned to His words been according to their imagination, not according to His intention, He would have corrected them, and said, “Why suppose ye Me equal to God? I am not equal”; yet He said nothing of the kind, but, on the contrary, declared by what followed, that He is equal. For, “As the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, so also the Son” (c. 5,21); and “That all may honor the Son as they honor the Father”; and “The works which He doeth, the same doeth the Son likewise;” all these go to establish His equality. Again, concerning the Law He saith, “Think not that I am come to destroy the Law or the Prophets.” (Mt 5,17). Thus He knoweth how to remove evil suspicions which are in their minds; but in this place He not only doth not remove, but even confirmeth their suspicion of His equality. On which account also, when they said in another place, “Thou makest thyself God,” He did not remove their suspicion, but even confirmed it, saying, “That ye may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins, He saith to the sick of the palsy, Take up thy bed, and walk.” 30 (Mt 9,6). This then He first aimed at, to make Himself equal with God, showing that He was not God’s adversary, but that He said the same and taught the same with Him, and afterwards He setteth Himself to 31 the breach of the Sabbath, saying, “Did not Moses give you the Law, and none of you keepeth the Law?” As though He had said, “The Law saith, Thou shall not kill; but ye kill, and yet accuse Me as transgressing the Law.” But wherefore saith He, “None of you”? Because they all sought to kill Him. “And if,” He saith, “I even have broken the Law, it was in saving a man, but ye transgress it for evil. And if My action was even a transgression, yet it was in order to save, and I ought not to be judged by you who transgress in the greatest matters. For your conduct is a subverting of the whole Law.” Then also He presseth it farther, although He had said many things to them before, but at that former time He spake after a loftier manner, and more suitably to His own dignity, while now He speaketh more humbly. Wherefore? Because He would not continually irritate them. At present their anger had become intense, and they went on to murder. And therefore He continueth to check them in these two ways, by reproving their evil daring, and saying, “Why go ye about to kill Me?” and by modestly calling Himself, “A Man that hath told you the truth” (c. viii. 40), and by showing that murderers in heart are not worthy to judge others. And observe both the humility of Christ’s question, and the insolence of their answer.
Jn 7,20. “Thou hast a devil; who goeth about to kill thee?”
[3.] The expression is one of wrath and anger, and of a soul made shameless by an unexpected reproof, and put to confusion before their time, as they thought. 32 For just as a sort of robbers who sing over their plots, then when they desire to put him against whom they are plotting off his guard, effect their object by keeping silence, so also do these. But He, omitting to rebuke them for this, so as not to make them more shameless, again taketh in hand His defense with respect to the Sabbath, reasoning with them from the Law. And observe how prudently. “No wonder,” He saith, “if ye disobey Me, when ye disobey the Law which ye think ye obey, and which ye hold to have been given you by Moses. It is therefore no new thing, if ye give not heed to My words.” For because 33 they said, “God spake to Moses, but as for this fellow we know not whence he is” (c. 9,29), He showeth that they were insulting Moses as well as Himself, for Moses gave them the Law, and they obeyed it not.
Jn 7,21. “I have done one work, and ye all marvel.”
Observe how He argueth, where it is necessary to defend Himself, and make His defense a charge against them. 34 For with respect to that which had been wrought, He introduceth not the Person of the Father, but His own: “I have done one work.” He would show, 35 that not to have done it would have been to break the Law, and that there are many things more authoritative 36 than the Law, and that “Moses” endured to receive a command against 37 the Law, and more authoritative than the Law. For “circumcision” is more authoritative than the Sabbath, and yet circumcision is not of the Law, but of “the fathers.” “But I,” He saith, “have done that which is more authoritative and better than circumcision.” Then He mentioneth not the command of the Law; for instance, that the Priests profane the Sabbath, as He had said already, but speaketh more largely. The meaning of, “Ye marvel” (Mt 12,5) is, “Ye are confused,” “are troubled.” For if the Law was to be lasting, circumcision would not have been more authoritative than it. And He said not, “I have done a thing greater than circumcision,” but abundantly refuteth them by saying, 38
Jn 7,23. “If a man receive circumcision.” 39 “Seest thou that the Law is most established when a man breaketh it? Seest thou that the breaking of the Sabbath is the keeping of the Law? that if the Sabbath were not broken, the Law must needs have been broken? so that I also have established the Law.” He said not, “Ye are wroth with Me because I have wrought a thing which is greater than circumcision,” but having merely mentioned what had been done, He left it to them to judge, whether entire health was not a more necessary thing than circumcision. “The Law,” He saith, “is broken, that a man may receive a sign which contributeth nothing to health; are ye vexed and indignant at its being broken, that one might be freed from so grievous a disease?”
Jn 7,24. “Judge not according to appearance.”
What is, “according to appearance”? “Do not, since Moses hath the greatest honor among you, give your decision according to your estimation of persons, but according to the nature of things; for this is to judge rightly. Wherefore hath no one of you reproved Moses? Wherefore hath no one disobeyed him when he ordereth that the Sabbath be broken by a commandment introduced from without into the Law? He alloweth a commandment to be of more authority than his own Law; a commandment not introduced by the Law, but from without, which is especially wonderful; while ye who are not lawgivers are beyond measure jealous for the Law, and defend it. Yet Moses, who ordereth that the Law be broken by a commandment which is not of the Law, is more worthy of confidence than you.” By saying then, (I have made) “a whole man (healthy),” He showeth that circumcision also was “partial” health. And what was the health procured by circumcision? “Every soul,” 40 It saith, “that is not circumcised, shall be utterly destroyed.” (Gn 17,14). “But I have raised up a man not partially afflicted, but wholly undone.” “Judge not,” therefore, “according to appearance.”
Be we persuaded that this is 41 said not merely to the men of that time, but to us also, that in nothing we pervert justice, but do all in its behalf; that whether a man be poor or rich, we give no heed to persons, but enquire into things. “Thou shalt not pity,” 42 It saith, “the poor in judgment.” (Ex 23,3). What is meant? “Be not broken down, nor bent,” It saith, “if he that doth the wrong be a poor man.” Now if you may not favor a poor man, much less a rich. And this I say not only to you who are judges, but to all men, that they nowhere pervert justice, but preserve it everywhere pure. “The Lord,” It saith, “loveth righteousness”; and, “he that loveth iniquity hateth his own soul.” (Ps 11,7 and Ps 11,5, Ps 11,5 LXX). Let us not, I entreat, hate our own souls, nor love unrighteousness. For certainly its profit in the present world is little 43 or nothing, and for the world to come it brings great damage. 44 Or rather, I should say, that not even here can we enjoy it; for when we live softly, yet with an evil conscience, is not this vengeance and punishment? Let us then love righteousness, and never look aside 45 from that law. For what fruit shall we gain from the present life, if we depart without having attained unto excellence? What there will help us? Will friendship, or relations, or this or that man’s favor? What am I saying? this or that man’s favor? Though we have Noah, Job, or Daniel for a father, this will avail us nothing if we be betrayed by our own works. One thing alone we need, that is, excellency of soul. This will be able to carry you safe through, and to deliver you from everlasting fire, this will escort 46 you to the Kingdom of Heaven. To which may we all attain, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom, to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, now and ever and world without end. Amen).
1 al). “perplexity.”
3 “of God,” N. T.
5 “murmuring such things concerning Him,” N. T.
6 “the Pharisees and Chief Priests sent,” N. T.
7 or, “sent their s. to be exposed” (ejkdovtou").
9 ti; uJsterw` ejgw;, I.XX., thus rendered in margin of E. V.
10 i.e. one prediction.
11 lit). “Greeks.”
12 i.e. in baptism.
Chrysostom on John 48