John 12:37
But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:
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(37) But though he had done so many miracles before them.—The words “before them” mean “in their presence,” “before their eyes.” They refer to the multitude (John 12:34). St. John’s narrative implies, therefore, that the “signs” of the earlier Gospels were well known. He has himself recorded but six miracles, and all these, with the exception of the feeding the five thousand, belong to the Judæan ministry. (Comp. Note on John 2:11.)

Yet they believed not on him.—This is the writer’s comment on the general result of Christ’s work at the close of His public teaching. This too is said of the multitude, the people as a whole. There were, of course, not a few who were then walking according as they had light, but it was not so with the many. Rejection and not acceptance was the result of Christ’s personal work on earth; yet rejection accompanied, as on this day, by signs which pointed to a world-wide acceptance. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:11-12).

John 12:37-41. Though he had done so many miracles before them — So that they could not but see them; yet they believed not on him — That is, in general they did not; being hardened in their infidelity. That the saying of Esaias might — Or rather, So that the saying of Esaias was, fulfilled, as Dr. Doddridge renders the clause, observing, “It is apparent that the accomplishment of this prophecy could not be the end they proposed to themselves in their unbelief; and consequently that the expression, ινα πληρωθη, must be rendered as above.” Thus also Dr. Macknight, who observes, that ινα here, as well as in many other passages, ought to be translated so that, as denoting the event spoken of, and not the cause of that event. Which he spake — In the name of Christ and his servants, referring expressly to gospel times; Lord, who hath believed our report? — The tidings we bring, the testimony which we bear, especially concerning the great and wonderful humiliation and exaltation of the Messiah, predicted by that prophet in the passage referred to, namely, Isaiah 53:1, &c., where see the notes. And to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? — To whom has his power been manifested, so as to conquer those strong prejudices which men have entertained against the appointed method of salvation, or to save whom has it been exerted? Observe, reader, the power of God is only exerted to save those who believe the gospel report. Therefore, they could not believe — They were now in a manner utterly incapable of believing, because, by the just judgment of God for their obstinacy and wilful resistance of the truth, they were, at length, so left to the hardness of their hearts, that neither the miracles nor the doctrines of our Lord could make any impression upon them. Because Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, &c. — As God is said to harden the heart of Pharaoh in one place, while in another it is said, Pharaoh hardened his own heart; (see Exodus 8:15; Exodus 8:32; Exodus 9:12;) and as we ought to be very tender of ascribing to God any thing that looks like a necessitating influence to impel men to sin, “I apprehend,” says Dr. Doddridge, “that all we are here to understand, by God’s blinding and hardening these Jews, is, that he permitted them to grow more and more prejudiced against the gospel,” namely, by withdrawing from them his abused grace. Now these things said Esaias when he saw his glory — Namely, Christ’s glory. See notes on Isaiah 6:1, &c., where the glory which Isaiah saw is expressly said to be the glory of Jehovah, the supreme God. The meaning is, that Esaias uttered these remarkable words, when, in a vision, he saw the glory of the Son of God, and the manifestations which he was to make of the divine counsels, and described the effect which those manifestations would have upon his hearers, for which reason they are a prophetical description of the men of the age in which Jesus lived.12:37-43 Observe the method of conversion implied here. Sinners are brought to see the reality of Divine things, and to have some knowledge of them. To be converted, and truly turned from sin to Christ, as their Happiness and Portion. God will heal them, will justify and sanctify them; will pardon their sins, which are as bleeding wounds, and mortify their corruptions, which are as lurking diseases. See the power of the world in smothering convictions, from regard to the applause or censure of men. Love of the praise of men, as a by-end in that which is good, will make a man a hypocrite when religion is in fashion, and credit is to be got by it; and love of the praise of men, as a base principle in that which is evil, will make a man an apostate, when religion is in disgrace, and credit is to be lost for it.So many miracles - This does not refer to any miracles performed on this occasion, but to all his miracles performed in view of the nation, in healing the sick, opening the eyes of the blind, raising the dead, etc. John here gives the summary or the result of all his work undeniable proof of his being the Messiah, yet the nation did not believe on him.

Before them - Before the Jewish nation. Not in the presence of the people whom he was then addressing, but before the Jewish people.

They believed not - The Jewish nation did not believe as a nation, but rejected him.

37-41. It is the manner of this Evangelist alone to record his own reflections on the scenes he describes; but here, having arrived at what was virtually the close of our Lord's public ministry, he casts an affecting glance over the fruitlessness of His whole ministry on the bulk of the now doomed people.

though he had done so many miracles—The word used suggests their nature as well as number.

The miracles of Christ did not work faith in any, yet they had a tendency both to prepare souls for an assent to the proposition of the gospel, and also for receiving Christ as the true Messiah and Saviour of the world, as they evidenced a Divine power in him by which he wrought those mighty works; but yet they had not this effect upon the generality of the Jews. But though he had done so many miracles before them,.... Openly, and in the presence of them; meaning those miracles which were done at Jerusalem, as those which brought Nicodemus to him, and to an acknowledgment of him as a teacher sent from God; and particularly the cure of the lame man at Bethesda's pool, the giving sight to the man that was born blind, by anointing his eyes with clay, and sending him to wash in the Pool of Siloam, and the raising Lazarus from the dead at Bethany, which was within two miles of Jerusalem, in the presence of many of them who were come there to comfort Martha and Mary. Yet

they believed not on him; the miracles done by Christ before their eyes, which they could not deny, nor disprove, and were so many, and so great, were aggravations of their unbelief; and such indeed is the nature of that sin, and so deeply rooted is it, that the most powerful means, and mighty works, will not bring a person to believe in Christ, without the powerful and efficacious grace of God.

{9} But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:

(9) Faith is not of nature, but of grace.

John 12:37. At the close of the public ministry of Jesus there now follows a general observation on its results in respect to faith in Him, as far as John 12:50.

τοσαῦτα] not so great (Lücke, De Wette, and several others), but so many,[118] John 6:9, John 14:9, John 21:11. Comp. the admissions of the Jews themselves, John 7:31, John 11:47. The multitude of the miracles, i.e. the so-often-repeated miraculous demonstration of His Messianic δόξα, must have convinced them (comp. John 20:30), had they not been blinded and hardened by a divine destiny. The reference, however, of τοσαῦτα is not: so many as have hitherto been related, for our Gospel contains the fewest miraculous narratives,—but it lies in the notoriety of the great multitude in general. Comp. John 14:9; 1 Corinthians 14:10; Hebrews 4:7.

ἔμπροσθ. αὐτ.] before their eyes.

οὐκ ἐπίστ. εἰς αὐτ.] summary statement.

[118] Comp. on the distinction between the two notions, the phrase current in the classics, τοσαῦτά τε καὶ τοιαῦτα, Heindorf, ad Plat. Gorg. p. 456 C.John 12:37-43. In the verses which follow, John 12:37-43, John accounts for the unbelief of the Jews. This fact that the very people who had been appointed to accept the Messiah had rejected Jesus needed explanation. This explanation is suitably given at the close of that part of the Gospel which has described His manifestation.37. so many miracles] The Jews admitted His miracles, John 7:31; John 11:47. They are assumed by S. John as notorious, although he himself records only seven of them. Comp. John 2:23, John 4:45, John 7:31, John 11:47.

before them] i.e. before their very eyes.

37–43. The Judgment of the Evangelist

S. John here sums up the results of the ministry which has just come to a close. Their comparative poverty is such that he can explain it in no other way than as an illustration of that judicial blindness which had been foretold and denounced by Isaiah. The tragic tone returns again: see on John 1:5.John 12:37. Τοσαῦτα, so great) So many. A general Epicrisis [See Append. A statement added to a speech or sentence to make the subject in hand more intelligible].—ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν, before them) so that they perceived them with their eyes.—οὐκ ἐπίστευον, they did not believe) There follows something further, they could not believe, John 12:39.Verses 37-43. -

6. The reflections of the evangelist. Verse 37. - Though he had done so many signs in their presence, yet they believed not on him, (Τοσαῦτα is discriminated from τοιαῦτα, Plat., 'Gorgias,' p. 456, c. The passages John 6:9; John 14:9; John 21:11, are generally held to establish the meaning of "so many," rather "so great;" the proof is not conclusive.) If "so many" be the correct reading, John is simply implying what he elsewhere expresses, that a widespread knowledge was possessed by him of groups of miraculous signs, of which he recorded only seven crucial symbolic specimens;

(1) wine;

(2) bread;

(3) walking on the sea;

(4) healing nobleman's son;

(5) healing impotent man;

(6) resurrection of Lazarus; to he followed by

(7) the healing of the ear of Malchns, and the resurrection of the Lord himself.

(a) Signs in heaven, earth and sea;

(b) startling miracles on human nature, and

(c) on dead men, did not compel belief. The inaccessibility of the people reveals their mental condition, but no reproach is thrown upon the method which the Lord took to reveal his Divine mission. The tragic refrain still echoes on, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not?
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