And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatever I speak therefore, even as the Father said to me, so I speak.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And I know that his commandment is life everlasting.—i.e., the commission of the Messianic work. It is better to read here, as before, eternal life. (Comp. John 3:15, et al.) The Son speaks not of Himself, but He speaks as executing this commission, which brings spiritual and eternal life to the world. It could not be otherwise. This commandment being eternal life, the whole teaching of the Messiah must simply be an utterance of it.
As the Father said unto me, so I speak.—This clause answers to “what I should say and what I should speak” in the last verse. The external revelation is regarded as the work of the Son. That which the Father says is the truth revealed, and the matter and form are here identified.1 John 3:22. We see here the reason of the earnestness and fidelity of the Lord Jesus. It was because he saw that eternal life depended on the faithful preaching of the message of God. He therefore proclaimed it in the face of all opposition, contempt, and persecution. And we see also:
1. That every minister of religion should have a deep and abiding conviction that he delivers a message that is to be connected with the eternal welfare of his hearers. And,
2. Under the influence of this belief, he should fearlessly deliver his message in the face of bonds, poverty, contempt, persecution, and death.
It may not be improper to remark here that this is the close of the public preaching of Christ. The rest of his ministry was employed in the private instruction of his apostles, and in preparing them for his approaching death. It is such a close as all his ministers should desire to make a solemn, deliberate, firm exhibition of the truth of God, under a belief that on it was depending the eternal salvation of his hearers, and uttering without fear the solemn message of the Most High to a lost world.
and said, He that believeth on me, &c.—This seems to be a supplementary record of some weighty proclamations, for which there had been found no natural place before, and introduced here as a sort of summary and winding up of His whole testimony.
as the Father said unto me, so I speak. Therefore look you to it, in rejecting me, you reject my Father, whom you own and acknowledge for your God; and in disobeying me, you disobey my Father, and him whom you own as your Father also. Deuteronomy 30:15, but not everlasting life: it only promised a continuation of natural life to man, on condition of obedience to it; more than this it did not promise to Adam, in innocence; and what it promised to the obedient Israelites, was only a prolongation of natural life in the land which God gave unto them: but it neither promises, nor gives spiritual life to the fallen sons of Adam; it leaves men as it finds them, dead in trespasses and sins; and cannot communicate either a life of sanctification, or of justification to them; nor does it so much as give them any hopes of life, or show where it is to be had; nor is everlasting life to be obtained by the works of it: justification is not by the works of the law; nor salvation by works of righteousness done by men; and consequently eternal life is never to be attained unto by obedience to the commands of the law: it is so far from being in this sense life everlasting, that it is the ministration of condemnation and death. But the Gospel is here meant, and is called a commandment; not that it has the nature of a law, or consists of precepts, as the law does; but because it is by the commandment of the everlasting God published by Christ, and his apostles. Christ, as appears from the preceding verse, had a commandment from his Father, what he should say and speak; now, not the doctrine he delivered was the commandment itself, but it was a commandment of the Father that he should deliver that doctrine; besides, the word "commandment" sometimes signifies no other than a doctrine, as in Psalm 19:8; and the sense is, that the doctrine of the Gospel, which Christ had in commission from the Father to preach, is life everlasting; and is so called, because it is a means of quickening sinners with a spiritual life, which issues in an eternal one; it is the savour of life unto life, and the Spirit which giveth life, and is the ministration of it; and it is a means of implanting the graces of the Spirit of God in the heart, which sprung up unto everlasting life; and of bringing souls to the knowledge of Christ, which is the beginning, pledge, and earnest of eternal life: and besides all this, it gives an account of the nature of eternal life; it directs the way unto it, which is by Christ, and describes the persons who shall enjoy it; showing, that their title to it is the righteousness of Christ, and their meetness for it the regenerating grace of the Spirit; and that all that believe in Christ shall have it:
whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me so I speak; and no otherwise, and therefore ought to be received, and not rejected. This is to be understood not of what Christ spoke in common conversation, but in the ministry of the word, even of the doctrines of the Gospel, which were given him by his Father, and which he knew were agreeable to his mind and will, and to his council and covenant, and to everything done and agreed therein, to which he was privy: these he delivered as he received them, and both as to matter and manner, as it was his Father's will and pleasure he should: he preached the righteousness of God, and hid it not; he declared his faithfulness, and his salvation, and concealed not his lovingkindness and truth, Psalm 40:9. Now, though it is a sufficient ground of faith to receive and believe the doctrines of the Gospel, because Christ has spoken them, who is truth itself; yet it is a further confirmation of them, that they are what his Father, the God of truth, said unto him: and his delivering them as he had them from him, is an instance of his faithfulness to him that sent him; and should be imitated by his ministers, who ought to declare the whole counsel of God, and keep back nothing they have received from Christ, and which may be profitable to the souls of men.And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 12:50. καὶ οἷδα … ἐστιν. “And I know that His commandment is life eternal,” that is, the commandment which Jesus had received (John 12:49) was to proclaim life eternal. This was His commission; this was what He was to speak. He was to announce to men that the Father offered through Him life eternal. “Therefore whatever I speak, as the Father hath said to me, so I speak.”50. And I know] The Son’s testimony to the Father. ‘The commission which He hath given Me is eternal life.’ (See on John 3:16.) His commission is to save the world.
as the Father said] The same distinction as in the previous verse: the matter of the revelation comes from the Father, the external expression of it from the Son.
With this the first main division of the Gospel ends. Christ’s revelation of Himself to the world in His ministry is concluded. The Evangelist has set before us the Testimony to the Christ, the Work of the Christ, and the Judgment respecting the work, which has ended in a conflict, and the conflict has reached a climax. We have reached the beginning of the end.John 12:50. Ζωὴ αἰώνιος, life everlasting) Wherefore he who despises the words of Christ, despises life everlasting. For life everlasting rests upon the experimental knowledge of the Father and the Son: ch. John 17:3, “This is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.”
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