John 11:52
And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.
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(52) And not for that nation only.—Caiaphas had said “die for the people,” using the word which meant the people of the Jews. St. John said, “die for that nation,” using the wider word which meant the nation as one of the nations of the earth. He now passes to a wider meaning still. He has lived to see a partial fulfilment of the ingathering of the “other sheep” of John 10:16, and he thinks of that death as for God’s children in all nations, who shall be one flock under one shepherd.

11:47-53 There can hardly be a more clear discovery of the madness that is in man's heart, and of its desperate enmity against God, than what is here recorded. Words of prophecy in the mouth, are not clear evidence of a principle of grace in the heart. The calamity we seek to escape by sin, we take the most effectual course to bring upon our own heads; as those do who think by opposing Christ's kingdom, to advance their own worldly interest. The fear of the wicked shall come upon them. The conversion of souls is the gathering of them to Christ as their ruler and refuge; and he died to effect this. By dying he purchased them to himself, and the gift of the Holy Ghost for them: his love in dying for believers should unite them closely together.Should gather together in one - All his chosen among the Jews and Gentiles. See John 10:16.

The children of God - This is spoken not of those who were then Christians, but of all whom God should bring to him; all who would be, in the mercy of God, called, chosen, sanctified among all nations, John 10:16.

52. and not for that nation only, &c.—These are the Evangelist's words, not Caiaphas'. Not for that nation only; not for the Jews only. The words used in Caiaphas’s speech were laov and eynov, words not significant of the Jews only, but of other people also: for Christ was to gather into one body all the elect of God, who are here called

the children of God, because they were to be so after their being begotten by the immortal seed of the word, and born again of water and the Spirit), those that at present were

scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth: Christ was to gather together in one all things in heaven and earth, Ephesians 1:10. The evangelist extendeth the sense of Caiaphas’s prophecy to Gentiles as well as Jews, according to the extent of the death of Christ, declared 1Jo 2:2. And not for that nation only,.... For though Christ, as prophet, was sent to the Jews only, and was the minister of the circumcision, yet as a priest he did not die for them only, but for the Gentiles also; even for the whole mystical Israel of God all the world over, whether among Jews or Gentiles; see 1 John 2:2.

But that also he should gather together in one, the children of God that were scattered abroad; by which may be meant, not only the elect of God among the Jews, who were scattered amidst the nations of the world, for whom Christ died, and to whom the Gospel was in the first place sent, and who were gathered together into a Gospel church state; see John 7:35; but rather the elect of God among the Gentiles, called "the children of God", in opposition to a notion of the Jews, who took this character to themselves, on account of their national adoption, and denied it to the Gentiles, reckoning them no other than as dogs; and because they were the children of God by special adoption, in divine, predestination, and in the covenant of grace; and were so considered, when given to Christ, who looked upon them as in this relation, when he assumed their nature, and died in their room and stead; and not merely because they would hereafter appear to be the children of God in regeneration, and by faith in Christ Jesus, and have the witnessings of the Spirit that they were so; and much less because they had a fitness and disposition to be the children of God, since they were by nature as others, children of wrath: and these are said to be "scattered abroad", both from God, as they were by the fall, and by their own transgressions; which separated between God and them, and set them at a distance from him; for in their nature head, and nature state, they are afar off from him, and from one another; which may regard not only distance of place, being scattered about in the several parts of the world, but their disagreement in mind and judgment, in religion and manners; every one pursuing his own way, going astray like lost sheep: now Christ died for them, in order to bring them nigh to God, to the one true and living God; and to gather them together under one head, himself, their common head; by whom they were represented in his crucifixion, burial, and resurrection; and to make them one body, and bring them into one fold, into one church state here, and at last to one place, to heaven, there to be for ever with him; and so the Persic version renders it, "that he might gather them into one place": and in this, the red heifer was a type of Christ; whose blood was sprinkled directly before the tabernacle of the congregation, and without the camp; and which was done, as a Jewish writer says (q),

"to call to mind the design of the heifer, which was to bring "those that were afar off", from the camp of the Shekinah, to be near unto it.''

(q) Abarbinel in Leviticus 19.3, 4.

And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that {i} were scattered abroad.

(i) For they were not gathered together in one country, as the Jews were, but were to be gathered from all quarters, from the east to the west.

52. not for that nation only] S. John purposely uses the word which describes the Jews merely as one of the nations of the earth distinct from the Gentiles. Of course we are not to understand that Caiaphas had any thought of the gracious meaning contained in his infamous advice.

gather together in one] Comp. John 17:21 : for ‘in one’ read into one.John 11:52. Καἰ οὐχ, and not) John everywhere obviates the possibility of a wrong interpretation: so at ch. John 21:23 [where the false construction was put on Jesus’ words, as if the beloved disciple should not die, John counteracts the error by adding, “Yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?”] In this passage, his object in adding John 11:52 is, lest any should infer from the words of Caiaphas, that Jesus died for the Jews alone. In truth, the apostle of Christ takes a wider range of view than the Jewish high priest.—ἵνα καὶ τὰ τέκνα) Almost all the Latin MSS. omit the particle καὶ, also Augustine, and with them Luther. Let the reader weigh the evidence and decide.—[305] τὰ τέκνα τοῦ Θεοῦ, the children of God) He calls them the children of God in respect to the Divine foreknowledge; and because they were in very deed about to become the children of God, [even though not being the posterity of Abraham, according to the flesh—V. g.]—τὰ διεσκορπισμένα, that had been [were] scattered abroad) The Preterite denotes, not those who are in the dispersion, but those who have come into a state of dispersion. Genesis 10:32, “The nations were divided in the earth after the flood;” John 11:8, [at Babel] “The Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth.” The words in antithesis are, the people, John 11:50, and the scattered abroad [children of God], John 11:52. Otherwise the people and the children are synonyms: Romans 9:26, “In the place where it was said, Ye are not My people, there shall they be called the children of the living God.” So then Christ inflicted no detriment on the people [the Jews], in order that He might make a people of those also, who had not been a people [the Gentiles]. Comp. ch. John 12:20, etc. [Greeks, by their own desire, are brought to Jesus through Philip: whereupon Jesus saith] “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”

[305] ABD Rec. Text and Origen retain καί. abc omit it. Some MSS. of Vulg. have it, but others omit it.—E. and T.Nation (ἔθνους)

John does not used the word λαός, people, which Caiaphas had just employed. The Jews were no longer a people, only one of the nations of the world. He wishes to set the Gentiles over against the Jews, and this distinction was national. Moreover, John points out in this word the fact that the work of Christ was not to be for any people as specially chosen of God, but for all nations.

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