Chrysostom on John 64
"Jesus lifted up His eyes, and said, Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me; and I knew that Thou hearest Me always, hut because of the people which stand by, I said it." And what follows.
[1.] What I have often said, I will now say, that Christ looketh not so much to His own honor as to our salvation; not how He may utter some sublime saying, but how something able to draw us to Him. On which account His sublime and mighty sayings are few, and those also hidden, but the humble and lowly are many, and abound1 through His discourses. For since by these men were the rather brought over, in these He continueth; and He doth not on the one hand utter these2 universally, lest the men that should come after should receive damage, nor, on the other hand, doth He entirely withhold those,3 lest the men of that time should be offended. Since they who have passed from lowmindedness unto perfection,4 will be able from even a single sublime doctrine to discern the whole, but those who were ever lowminded, unless they had often heard these lowly sayings,5 would not have come to Him6 at all. In fact, even after so many such sayings they do not remain firm, but even stone and persecute Him, and try to kill Him, and call Him blasphemer. And when He maketh Himself equal with God, they say, “This man blasphemeth” (Mt 9,3); and when He saith, “Thy sins be forgiven thee” (c. x. 20), they moreover call Him a demoniac. So when He saith that the man who heareth His words is stronger than death, or, “I am in the Father and the Father in Me” (c. 8,51), they leave Him; and again, they are offended when He saith that He came down from heaven. (c. 6,33, 60). If now they could not bear these sayings, though seldom uttered, scarcely, had His discourse been always sublime, had it been of this texture, would they have given heed to Him? When therefore He saith, “As the Father commanded Me, so I speak”7 (c. 14,31); and, “I am not come8 of Myself” (c. 7,28), then they believe. That they did believe then is clear, from the Evangelist signifying this besides, and saying, “As He spake these words, many believed on Him.” (c. 5,30). If then lowly speaking drew men to9 faith, and high speaking scared them away, 10 must it not be a mark of extreme folly not to see at a glance how to reckon 11 the sole reason of those lowly sayings, namely, that they were uttered because of the hearers. Since in another place when He had desired to say some high thing, He withheld it, adding this reason, and saying, “Lest we should offend them, cast a hook into the sea.” (Mt 17,27). Which also He doth here; for after saying, “I know that Thou hearest Me always,” He addeth. “but because of the multitude which standeth around I said it, that they might believe.” Are these words ours? Is this a human conjecture? When then a man will not endure to be persuaded by what is written, that 12 they were offended at sublime things, how, when he heareth Christ saying that He spake in a lowly manner that they might not be offended, how, after that, shall he suspect that the mean sayings belonged to His nature, not to His condescension? 13 So in another place, when a voice came down from heaven, He said, “This voice came not because of Me, but for your sakes.” (c. 12,30). He who is exalted may be allowed to speak lowly things of himself, but it is not lawful for the humble to utter concerning himself anything grand or sublime. For the former ariseth from condescension, and has for its cause the weakness of the hearers; or rather (it has for its cause) the leading them to 14 humblemindedness, and His being clothed in flesh, and the teaching the hearers to say nothing great concerning themselves, and His being deemed an enemy of God, and not being believed to have come from God, His being suspected of breaking the Law, and the fact that the hearers looked on Him with an evil eye, and were ill disposed towards Him, because He said that He was equal to God. 15 But that a lowly man should say any great thing of Himself, hath no cause either reasonable or unreasonable; 16 it can only be folly, impudence, and unpardonable boldness. Wherefore then doth Christ speak humbly, being of that ineffable and great Substance? For the reasons mentioned, and that He might not be deemed unbegotten; for Paul seems to have feared some such thing as this; wherefore he saith, “Except Him who did put all things under Him.” (1Co 15,27). This it is impious even to think of. Since if being less than Him who begat Him, and of a different Substance, He had been deemed equal, would He not have used every means that this might not be thought? But now He doth the contrary, saying, “If I do not the works of Him that sent Me, 17 believe Me not.” (c. 10,37). Indeed His saying, that “I am in the Father and the Father in Me” (c. 14,10), intimateth to us the equality. It would have behooved, if He had been inferior, to refute this opinion with much vehemence, and not at all to have said, “I am in the Father and the Father in me” (c. 10,30), or that, “We are One,” or that, “He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father.” (c. 14,9). Thus also, when His discourse was concerning power, He said, “I and the Father are One”; and when His discourse was concerning authority, He said again, “For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He wilt” (c. 5,21); which it would be impossible that He should do were He of a different substance; or even allowing that it were possible, yet it would not have behooved to say this, lest they should suspect that the substance was one and the same. Since if in order that they may not suppose Him to be an enemy of God, He often even uttereth words unsuited to Him, much more should He then have done so; but now, His saying, “That they should honor the Son even as they honor the Father” (c. 5,23); His saying, “The works which He doeth, I do also” (c. 5,19); His saying that He is “the Resurrection, and the Life, and the Light of the world” (c. 11,25; c. viii. 12), are the expressions of One making Himself equal to Him who begat Him, and confirming the suspicion which they entertained. Seest thou 18 how He maketh this speech and defense, to show that He broke not the Law, and that He not only doth not remove, but even confirmeth the opinion of His equality with the Father? So also when they said, “Thou blasphemest, because thou makest thyself God” (c. 10,33), from equality of works He established this thing.
[2.] And why say I that 19 the Son did this, when the Father also who took not 20 the flesh doeth the same thing? For He also endured that many lowly things should be said concerning Him for the salvation of the hearers. For the, “Adam, where art thou?” (Gn 3,9), and, “That I may know whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it” (Gn 18,21); and, “Now I know that thou fearest God” (Gn 22,12); and, “If they will hear” (Ez 3,11); and, “If they will understand” (Dt 5,29); and, “Who shall give the heart of this people to be so?” and the expression, “There is none like unto Thee among the gods, O Lord” (Ps 80,29); these and many other like sentences in the Old Testament, if a man should pick them out, he will find to be unworthy of the dignity of God. In the case of Ahab it is said, “Who shall entice Ahab for Me?” (2Ch 18,19). And the continually preferring Himself to the gods of the I heathen in the way of comparison, all these things are unworthy of God. Yet in another way they are made worthy of Him, for He is so kind, that for our salvation He careth not for expressions which become His dignity. Indeed, the becoming man is unworthy of Him, and the taking the form of a servant, and the speaking humble words, and the being clothed in 21 humble (garments), unworthy if one looks to His dignity, but worthy if one consider the unspeakable riches 22 of His lovingkindness. And there is another cause of the humility of His words. What is that? It is that they knew and confessed 23 the Father, but Him they knew not. Wherefore He continually betaketh Himself to the Father as being confessed by them, because He Himself was not as yet deemed worthy of credit; not on account of any inferiority of His own, but because of the folly and infirmity of the hearers. On this account He prayeth, and saith, “Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me.” For if He quickeneth whom He will, and quickeneth in like manner as doth the Father, wherefore doth He call upon Him?
But it is time now to go through the passage from the beginning. 24 “Then they took up the stone where the dead man lay. And Jesus lifted up His eyes, and said, Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me. And I knew that Thou hearest Me always, but because of the people that stand by I said it, that they might believe that Thou hast sent Me.” Let us then ask the heretic, Did He receive an impulse 25 from the prayer, and so raise the dead man? How then did He work other miracles without prayer? saying, “Thou evil spirit, I charge thee, come out of him” (Mc 9,25); and, “I will, be thou clean” (Mc 1,41); and, “Arise, take up thy bed” (c. 5,8); and, “Thy sins be forgiven thee” (Mt 9,2); and to the sea, “Peace, be still.” (Mc 4,39). In short, what hath He more than the Apostles, if so be that He also worketh by 26 prayer? Or rather I should say, that neither did they work all with prayer, but often they wrought without prayer, calling upon the Name of Jesus. Now, if His Name had such great power, how could He have needed prayer? Had He needed prayer, His Name would not have availed. When He wholly made man, what manner of prayer did He need? was there not then great equality of honor? “Let Us make,” It saith, “man.” (Gn 1,26). What could be greater sign of weakness, if He needed prayer? But let us see what the prayer was; “I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me.” Who now ever prayed in this manner? Before uttering any prayer, He saith, “I thank Thee,” showing that He needed not prayer. 27 “And I knew that Thou hearest Me always.” This He said not as though He Himself were powerless, but to show that His will and the Father’s is one. But why did He assume the form of prayer? Hear, not me, but Himself, saying, “For the sake of the people which stand by, that they may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” He said not, "That they may believe that I am inferior, that I have need of an impulse from above, that without prayer I cannot do anything; but, “That Thou hast sent Me.” For all these things the prayer declareth, if we take it simply. He said not, “Thou hast sent me weak, acknowledging servitude, and doing nothing of Myself”; but dismissing all these things, that thou mayest have no such suspicions, He putteth the real cause of the prayer, “That they may not deem Me an enemy of God; that they may not say, He is not of God, that I may show them that the work hath been done according to Thy will.” All but saying, “Had I been an enemy of God, what is done would not have succeeded,” but the, “Thou heardest Me,” is said in the case of friends andequals. “And I knew that Thou hearest Me always,” that is, “in order that My will be done I need no prayer, except to persuade men that to Thee and Me belongeth one will.” “Why then prayest Thou?” For the sake of the weak and grosser 28 sort.
Jn 11,43. “And when He had thus spoken, He cried with a loud voice.”
Why said He not, “In the name of My Father come forth”? Or why said He not, “Father, raise him up”? Why did he omit all these expressions, and after assuming the attitude of one praying, show by His actions His independent authority? Because this also was a part of His wisdom, to show condescension by words, but by His deeds, power. For since they had nothing else to charge Him with except that He was not of God, and since in this way they deceived many, He on this account most abundantly proveth this very point by what He saith, and in the way that their infirmity required. For it was in His power by other means to show at once His agreement with the Father and His own dignity, but the multitude could not ascend so far. And He saith,
“Lazarus, come forth.”
[3.] This is that of which He spake, “The hour is coming, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.” (c. 5,28). For, that thou mightest not think that He received the power of working from another, He taught thee this before, and gave proof by deeds, and said not, Arise, but, “Come forth,” conversing with the dead man as though living. What can be equal to this authority? And if He doth it not by His own strength, what shall He have more than the Apostles, who say, “Why look ye so earnestly on us as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?” (Ac 3,12). For if, not working by His own power, He did not add what the Apostles said concerning themselves, they will in a manner be more truly wise than He, because they refused the glory. And 29 in another place, “Why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions as you.” (Ac 14,15). The Apostles since they did nothing of themselves, spoke in this way to persuade men of this; but He when the like opinion was formed concerning Him, would He not have removed the suspicion, if at least He did not act by His own authority? Who would assert this? But in truth Christ doeth the contrary, when He saith, 30 “Because of the people which stand by I said it, that they might believe”; so that had they believed, there would have been no need of prayer. Now if prayer were not beneath His dignity, why should He account them the cause of His praying? Why said He not, “I do it in order that they may believe that I am not equal to Thee”; for He ought on account of the suspicion to have come to this point. When He was suspected of breaking the Law, He used the very expression, even when they had not said anything, “Think not that I am come to destroy the Law” (Mt 5,17); but in this place He establisheth their suspicion. In fact, what need was there at all of going such a round, and of using such dark sayings? It had been enough to say, “I am not equal,” and to be rid of the matter. “But what,” saith some one, “did He not say that, I do not My own will?” Even this He did in a covert way, and one suited to their infirmity, and from the same cause through which the prayer was made. But what meaneth “That Thou hast heard Me”? It meaneth, 31 “That there is nothing on My part opposed to Thee.” As then the, “That Thou hast heard Me,” is not the saying of one declaring, that of Himself He had not the power, (for were this the case, it would be not only impotence but ignorance, if before praying He did not know that God would grant the prayer; and if He knew not, how was it that He said, “I go that I may awake him,” instead of, “I go to pray My Father to awake him?”) As then this expression is a sign, not of weakness, but of identity of will, so also is the, “Thou hearest Me always.” We must then either say this, or else that it was addressed to their suspicions. If now He was neither ignorant nor weak, it is clear that He uttereth these lowly words, that thou mayest be persuaded by their very excess, and mayest be compelled to confess, that they suit not His dignity, but are from condescension. What then say the enemies of truth? “He spake not those words, Thou hast heard me,” saith some one, “to the infirmity of the hearers, but in order to show a superiority.” Yet this was not to show a superiority, 32 but to humble Himself greatly, and to show Himself as having nothing more than man. For to pray is not proper to God, nor to the sharer of the Throne. Seest thou then that He came to this 33 from no other cause than their unbelief? Observe at least that the action beareth witness to His authority.
“He called, and the dead man came forth wrapped.” 34 Then that the matter might not seem to be an appearance, (for his coming forth bound did not seem to be less marvelous than his resurrection,) Jesus commanded to loose him, in order that having touched and having been near him, they might see that it was really he. And He saith,
“Let him go.”
Seest thou His freedom from boastfulness? He doth not lead him on, nor bid him go about 35 with Him, lest He should seem to any to be showing him; so well knew He how to observe moderation.
When the sign had been wrought, some wondered, others went and told it to the Pharisees. 36 What then did they? When they ought to have been astonished and to have admired Him, they took counsel to kill Him who had raised the dead. What folly! They thought to give up to death Him who had overcome death in the bodies of others.
Jn 11,47. “And they said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.”
They still call Him “man,” these who had received such proof of His divinity. “What do we?” They ought to have believed, and served, and bowed down to Him, and no longer to have deemed Him a man.
Jn 11,48. “If we let him thus alone, the Romans will come, 37 and will take away both our nation and city.” 38
What is it which they counsel to do? 39 They wish to stir up the people, as though they themselves would be in danger on suspicion of establishing a kingdom. “For if,” saith one of them, “the Romans learn 40 that this Man is leading the multitudes, they will suspect us, 41 and will come and destroy our city.” Wherefore, tell me? Did He teach revolt? Did He not permit you to give tribute to Caesar? Did not ye wish to make Him a king, and He fly from you? Did He not follow 42 a mean and unpretending 43 life, having neither house nor anything else of the kind? They therefore said this, not from any such expectation, but from malice. Yet it so fell out contrary to their expectation, and the Romans took their nation and city when they had slain Christ. For the things done by Him were beyond all suspicion. For He who healed the sick, and taught the most excellent way of life, and commanded men to obey their rulers, was not establishing but undoing a tyranny. “But,” saith some one, “we conjecture from former (impostors).” But they taught revolt, He the contrary. Seest thou that the words were but a pretense? For what action of the kind did He exhibit? Did He lead about with Him 44 pompous 45 guards? had He a train of chariots? Did He not seek the deserts? But they, that they may not seem to be speaking from their own ill feeling, 46 say that all the city is in danger, that the common weal is being plotted against, and that they have to fear the worst. These were not the causes of your captivity, but things contrary to them; both of this last, and of the Babylonish, and of that under Antiochus which followed: it was not that there were worshipers among you, but that there were among you those who did unjustly, and excited God to wrath, this caused you to be given up into bondage. But such a thing is envy, allowing men to see nothing which they ought to see, when it has once for all blinded the soul. Did He not teach men to be meek? Did He not bid them when smitten on the right cheek to turn the other also? Did He not bid them when injured to bear it? to show greater readiness to endure evil, than others have to inflict it? Are these, tell me, the signs of one establishing a tyranny, and not rather of one pulling a tyranny down?
[4.] But, as I said, a dreadful thing is malice, and full of hypocrisy; this hath filled the world with ten thousand evils; through this malady the law courts are filled, from this comes the desire of fame and wealth, from this the love of rule, and insolence, 47 through this the roads have wicked robbers and the sea pirates, 48 from this proceed the murders through the world, through this our race is rent asunder, and whatever evil thou mayest see, thou wilt perceive to arise from this. This hath even burst into 49 the churches, this hath caused ten thousand dreadful things from the beginning, this is the mother of avarice, this malady hath turned all things upside down, and corrupted justice. For “gifts,” It saith, “blind the eyes of the wise, and as a muzzle on the mouth turn away reproofs.” (Si 20,29 LXX. and marg. of E.V). This makes slaves of freemen, concerning this we talk every day, and no good comes of it, we become worse than wild beasts; we plunder orphans, strip widows, do wrong to the poor, join woe to woe. “Alas! that the righteous hath perished from the earth!” (Mi 7,1-2). It is our part too henceforth to mourn, or rather we have need to say this every day. We profit nothing by our prayers, nothing by our advice and exhortation, it remaineth therefore that we weep. Thus did Christ; after having many times exhorted those in Jerusalem, when they profiled nothing, He wept at their hardness. 50 This also do the Prophets, and this let us do now. Henceforth is the season for mourning and tears and wailing; it is seasonable for us also to say now, “Call for the mourning women, and send for the cunning women, that they may cry aloud” (Jr 9,17); perhaps thus we shall be able to east out the malady of those who build splendid houses, of those who surround themselves with lands gotten by rapine. It is seasonable to mourn; but do ye take part with me in the mourning, ye who have been stripped and injured, by your mournings bring down my tears. But while mourning we will mourn, not for ourselves but for them; they have not injured you, but they have destroyed themselves; for you have the Kingdom of heaven in return for the injustice done you, they hell in return for their gain. On this account it is better to be injured than to injure. Let us bewail them with a lamentation not of man’s making, 51 but that from the Holy Scriptures with which the Prophets also wailed. With Isaiah let us wail bitterly, and say, “Woe, they that add house to house, that lay field to field, that they may take somewhat from their neighbor; will ye dwell alone upon the earth? Great houses and fair, and there shall be no inhabitants in them.” (Is 5,8-9).
Let us mourn with Nahum, and say with him, “Woe to him that buildeth his house on high.” (Perhaps Jr 22,13). Or rather let us mourn for them as Christ mourned for those of old. “Woe to you that are rich, for ye have received your consolation.” (Lc 6,24). Let us, I beseech you, not cease thus lamenting, and if it be not unseemly, let us even beat our breasts for the carelessness of our brethren. Let us not weep for him who is already dead, but let us weep for the rapacious man, the grasping, the covetous, the insatiable. Why should we mourn for the dead, in whose case it is impossible henceforth to effect anything? Let us mourn for these who are capable even of change. But while we are lamenting, perhaps they will laugh. Even this is a worthy cause for lamentation, that they laugh when they ought to mourn. For had they been at all affected by our sorrows, it would have behooved us to cease from sorrowing on account of their promise of amendment; but since they are of an insensible disposition, let us continue to weep, not merely for the rich, but for the lovers of money, the greedy, the rapacious. Wealth is not an evil thing, (for we may use it rightly when we spend it upon those who have need,) but greediness is an evil, and it prepares 52 deathless punishments. Let us then bewail them; perhaps there will be some amendment; or even if they who have fallen in do not escape, others at least will not fall into the danger, but will guard against it. May it come to pass that both they may be freed from their malady, and that none of us may ever fall into it, that we all may in common obtain the promised goods, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen).
2 or, “is it not the multitude.”
3 “the Law,” N. T.
4 oijkeivoi" akoi`", i.e. in matters affecting themselves.
5 Ver. 10, 11). “But the Chief Priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death, because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.”
6 i.e. that of the blind man).
7 Ben). “did not so much as think they were.”
8 i.e. the second Table.
9 Ver. 12–15). “On the next day, much people that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet Him, and cried Hosanna, Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. And Jesus, when He had found a young ass, sat thereon as it is written, Fear not, daughter of Sion; behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt.”
10 “in the way,” N. T.
11 “Fear not,” N. T.
12 Ver. 16). “These things understood not the disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things unto Him.” N. T.
13 al). “neither did they know this.”
14 ejn kathfeiva/.
15 Ver. 17, 18). “The people therefore that was with Him when He called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record. For this cause the people also met Him, for that they heard that He had done this miracle.” N. T.
16 E. V). “host.”
17 “cannot hate,” N. T.
18 perhaps, “went to,” h[/esan, conj. for h\san.
19 Ver. 21, 22). “The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida in Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew, and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.” N. T.
20 i.e. to the Jews.
21 i.e. that they did not understand.
22 i.e. the body.
23 bavle [fevre, G. T.].
24 “flesh and bones,” N. T).
25 i.e. which heretics say it is.
26 al). “if He rose.”
28 al). “almighty.”
31 al). “and all.”
32 or, “unwind.”
33 or, “about.”
34 al). “To whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory now and for the endless ages of eternity.”
"And one of them, Caiaphas, being the High Priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not," &c.
[1.] “The heathen are stuck fast in the destruction which they made; in the trap which they hid is their foot taken.” (Ps 9,15 LXX). This hath been the case with the Jews. They said that they would kill Jesus, lest the Romans should come and take away their place and nation; and when they had killed Him, these things happened unto them, and when they had done that by doing which they thought to escape, they yet did not escape. He who was slain is in Heaven, and they who slew have for their portion hell. Yet they did not consider these things; but what? “They desired,” It saith, “from that day forth to kill Him” (Jn 11,53), for they said, “The Romans will come, and will take away our nation; and a certain one of them, Caiaphas, being High Priest that year, said,” (being more shameless than the rest,) “Ye know nothing.” What the others made matter of doubt, and put forth in the way of deliberation, this man cried aloud, shamelessly, openly, audaciously. For what saith he? “Ye know nothing, nor consider that it is expedient that one man should die, and that the whole nation perish not.”
Jn 11,51. “And this spake he not of himself, but being High Priest he prophesied.”1
Seest thou how great is the force of the High Priest’s authority? or, since he had in any wise been deemed worthy of the High Priesthood, although unworthy thereof, he prophesied, not knowing what he said; and the grace merely made use of his mouth, but touched not his accursed heart. Indeed many others have foretold things to come, although unworthy to do so, as Nebuchadnezzar, Pharaoh, Balaam; and the reason of all is evident. But what he saith is of this kind. “Ye still sit quiet, ye give heed but carelessly to this matter, and know not how to despise one man’s safety for the sake of the community.” See how great is the power of the Spirit; from an evil imagination It was able to bring forth words full of marvelous prophecy. The Evangelist calleth the Gentiles “children of God,” from what was about to be: as also Christ Himself saith, “Other sheep I have” (c. 10,16), so calling them from what should afterwards come to pass.
But what is, “being High Priest that year”? This matter as well as the rest lind become corrupt; for from the time that offices became matters of purchase, they were no longer priests for the whole period of their lives, but for a year. Notwithstanding, even in this state of things the Spirit was still present. But when they lifted up their hands against Christ, then It left them, and removed to the Apostles. This the rending of the veil declared, and the voice of Christ which said, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” (Mt 23,38). And Josephus, who lived a short time after, saith, that certain Angels who yet remained with them, (to see) if they would alter their ways, left them.2 While the vineyard stood, all things3 went on; but when they had slain the Heir, no longer so, but they perished. And God having taken it from the Jews, as a glorious garment from an unprofitable son, gave it to right-minded servants of the Gentiles, leaving the others desolate and naked. It was, moreover, no small thing that even an enemy should prophesy this. This might draw over others also. For in respect of his4 will, matters fell out contrariwise, since,5 when He died, the faithful were on this account delivered from the punishment to come. What meaneth, “That He might gather together those near and those afar off” (Jn 11,52)? He made them one Body. The dweller in Rome deemeth the Indians a member of himself. What is equal to this “gathering together”? And the Head of all is Christ.
Jn 11,53. “From that day forth the Jews6 took counsel to put Him to death.”
And, in truth, had sought to do so before; for the Evangelist saith, “Therefore the Jews sought to kill Him”(c. 5,18); and, “Why seek ye to kill Me?” (c. 7,19). But then they only sought, now they ratified their determination, and treated the action as their business.
Jn 11,54. “But Jesus walked no more openly in Jewry.”7
[2.] Again He saveth Himself in a human manner, and this He doth continually. But I have mentioned the reason for which He often departed and withdrew. And at this time He dwelt in Ephratah, near the wilderness, and there He tarried with His disciples. How thinkest thou that those disciples were confounded when they beheld Him saving Himself after the manner of a man? After this no man followed Him. For since the Feast was nigh, all were running to Jerusalem; but they,8 at a time when all others were rejoicing and holding solemn assembly, hide themselves, and are in danger. Yet still they tarried with Him. For they hid themselves in Galilee, at the time of the Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles; and after this again during the Feast, they only of all were with their Master in flight and concealment, manifesting their good will to Him. Hence Lc recordeth that He said, “I abode with you in temptations”;9 and this He said, showing that they were strengthened by His influence. 10
Jn 11,55. 11 “And many went up from the country to purify themselves.”
Jn 11,57. “And the High Priests and Pharisees had commanded that they should lay hands on Him.”
A marvelous purification, with a murderous will, with homicidal intentions, and bloodstained hands!
Jn 11,56. “And they said, Think ye that he will not come to the feast?”
By means of the Passover they plotted against Him, and made the time of feasting a time of murder, that is, He there would fall into their hands, because the season summoned Him. What impiety! When they needed greater carefulness, and to forgive those who had been taken for the worst offenses, then they attempted to ensnare One who had done no wrong. Yet by acting thus they had already not only profited nothing, but become ridiculous. For this end coming among them continually He escapeth, and restraineth them when they take counsel 12 to kill Him, and maketh them to be in perplexity, desiring to prick them by the display of His power; that when they took Him, they might know that what had been done was done, not by their power, but by His permission. For not even at that time could they take Him, and this though Bethany was near; and when they did take Him, He cast them backwards.
Jn 12,1-2. “Then six days before the Passover He came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, and feasted with them; and Martha served, but Lazarus sat at meat.” 13
This was a proof of the genuineness of his resurrection, that after many days he both lived and ate. “And Martha ministered”; whence it is clear that the meal was in her house, for they received Jesus as loving and beloved. Some, however, say, that it took place in the house of another. Mary did not minister, for she was a disciple. Here again she acted in the more spiritual manner. For she did not minister as being invited, nor did she afford her services to all alike. But she directeth 14 the honor to Him alone, and approacheth Him not as a man, but as a God. On this account she poured out the ointment, 15 and wiped (His feet) with the hairs of her head, which was the action of one who did not entertain the same opinion concerning Him as did others; yet Judas rebuked her, under the pretense forsooth of carefulness. What then saith Christ? “She hath done a good work for My burying.” 16 But why did He not expose the disciple in the case of the woman, nor say to him what the Evangelist hath declared, that on account of his own thieving he rebuked her? In His abundant longsuffering He wished to bring him to a better mind. 17 For because He knew that he was a traitor, He from the beginning often rebuked him, saying, “Not all believe,” and, “One of you is a devil.” (c. 6,64). He showed them that He knew him to be a traitor, vet He did not openly rebuke him, but bare with him, desiring to recall him. How then saith another Evangelist, that all the disciples used these words? (Mt 26,70). All used them, and so did he, but the others not with like purpose. And if any one ask why He put the bag of the poor in the hands of a thief, and made him steward who was a lover of money, we would reply, that God knoweth the secret reason; but that, if we may say something by conjecture, it was that He might cut off from him all excuse. For he could not say that he did this thing 18 from love of money, (for he had in the bag sufficient to allay his desire,) but from excessive wickedness which Christ wished to restrain, using much condescension towards him. Wherefore He did not even rebuke him as stealing, although aware of it, stopping the way to his wicked desire, and taking from him all excuse. “Let her alone,” He saith, “for against the day of My burying hath she done 19 this.” Again, He maketh mention of the traitor in speaking of His burial. But him the reproof reacheth not, nor doth the expression soften 20 him, though sufficient to inspire him with pity: as if He had said, “I amburdensome and troublesome, but wait a little while, and I shall depart.” This too he intended in saying,
Jn 12,8. “But Me ye have not always.” 21
But none of these things turned back 22 that savage madman; yet in truth Jesus said and did far more than this, He washed his feet that night, made him a sharer in the table and the salt, a thing which is wont to restrain even the souls of robbers, and spake other words, enough to melt a stone, and this, not long before, but on the very day, in order that not even time might cause it to be forgotten. But he stood out against all.
[3.] For a dreadful, a dreadful thing is the love of money, it disables both eyes and ears, and makes men worse to deal with than a wild beast, allowing a man to consider neither conscience, nor friendship, nor fellowship, nor the salvation of his own soul, but having withdrawn them at once from all these things, like some harsh mistress, 23 it makes those captured by it its slaves. And the dreadful part of so hitter a slavery is, that it persuades them even to be grateful for it; and the more they become enslaved, the more doth their pleasure increase; and in this way especially the malady becomes incurable, in this way the monster becomes hard to conquer. This made Gehazi a leper instead of a disciple and a prophet; this destroyed Ananias and her with him; 24 this made Judas a traitor; this corrupted the rulers of the Jews, who received gifts, and became the partners of thieves. This hath brought in ten thousand wars, filling the ways with blood, the cities with wailings and lamentations. This hath made meals to become impure, and tables accursed, and hath filled food with transgression; therefore hath Paul called it “idolatry”: (Col 3,5), and not even so hath he deterred men from it. And why calleth he it “idolatry”? Many possess wealth, and dare not use it, but consecrate it, handing it down untouched, not daring to touch it, as though it were some dedicated thing. And if at any time they are forced to do so, they feel as though they had done something unlawful. Besides, as the Greek carefully tends his graven image, 25 so thou entrusteth thy gold to doors and bars; providing a chest instead of a shrine, and laying it up in silver vessels. But thou dost not bow down to it as he to the image? Yet thou showest all kind of attention to it.
Again, he would rather give up his eyes or his life than his graven image. So also would those who love gold. “But,” saith one, “I worship not the gold.” Neither doth he, he saith, worship the image, but the devil that dwelleth in it; and in like manner thou, though thou worship not the gold, yet thou worshipest that devil who springeth on thy soul, from the sight of the gold and thy lust for it. For more grievous than an evil spirit is the lust of money-loving, and many obey it more than others do idols. For these last in many things disobey, but in this case they yield everything, and whatever it telleth them to do, they obey. What saith it? “Be at war with all,” it saith, “at enmity with all, know not nature, despise God, sacrifice to me thyself,” and in all they obey. To the graven images they sacrifice oxen and sheep, but avarice saith, Sacrifice to me thine own soul, and the man obeyeth. Seest thou what kind of altars it hath, what kind of sacrifices it receiveth? The covetous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God, but not even so do they fear. (1Co 6,10). Yet this desire is 26 weaker than all the others, it is not inborn, nor natural, (for then it would have been placed in us at the beginning;) but there was no gold at the beginning, and no man desired gold. But if you will, I will tell you whence the mischief entered. By each man’s envying the one before him, men have increased the disease, and he who has gotten in advance provokes him who had no desire. For when men see splendid houses, and extensive lands, and troops of slaves, and silver vessels, and great heaps of apparel, they use every means to outdo them; so that the first set of men are causes of the second, and these of those who come after. Now if they would be sober-minded, they would not be teachers (of evil) to others; yet neither have these any excuse. For others there are also who despise riches. “And who,” saith one, “despises them?” For the terrible thing is, that, because wickedness is so general, this seems to have become impossible, and it is not even believed that one can act aright. Shall I then mention many both in cities and in the mountains? And what would it avail? Ye will not from their example become better. Besides, our discourse hath not now this purpose, that you should empty yourselves of your substance: I would that ye could do so; however, since the burden is too heavy for you, I constrain you not; only I adviseyou that you desire not what belongs to others, that you impart somewhat of your own. Many such we shall find, contented with what belongs to them, taking care of their own, and living on honest labor. Why do we not rival and imitate these? Let us think of those who have gone before us. Do not their possessions stand, preserving nothing but their name; such an one’s bath, such an one’s suburban seat and lodging?Do we not, when we behold them, straightway groan, when we consider what toil he endured, what rapine committed? and now he is nowhere seen, but others luxuriate in his possessions, men whom he never expected would do so, perhaps even his enemies, while he is suffering extremest punishment. These things await us also; for we shall certainly die, and shall certainly have to submit to the same end. How much wrath, tell me, how much expense, how many enmities these men incurred; and what the gain? Deathless punishment, and the having no consolation; and the being not only while alive, but when gone, accused by all? What? when we see the images of the many laid up in their houses, shall we not weep the more? Of a truth well said the Prophet, “Verily, every man living disquieteth himself in vain” (Ps 39,11 LXX).; for anxiety about such things is indeed disquiet, disquiet and superfluous trouble. But it is not so in the everlasting mansions, not so in those tabernacles. Here one hath labored, and another enjoys; but there each shall possess his own labors, and shall receive a manifold reward. Let us press forward to get that possession, there let us prepare for ourselves houses, that we may rest in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
1 “shall be,” N. T.
2 al). “looking down,” or, “disdainful.”
3 lit). “in battle array.”
4 “shall be,” N. T.
5 “honor,” N. T.
6 to; gnhvsion).
7 al). “is no longer.”
8 ajgwniw`n aujto;n.
9 i.e). “Save Me,” &c.
10 Ben. omits “and by saying.”
11 Ver. 29 omitted). “The people therefore that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered; others said, An Angel spake to Him.”
12 Ben. omits “only.”
13 “cast out,” N. T.
14 i.e. the prince of this world.
15 i. e. Satan).
16 “how can,” &c., N. T).
Chrysostom on John 64