And these things will they do to you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Because they have not known the Father, nor me.—Comp. Note on John 15:21. He repeats that ignorance of God is the cause of the world’s hatred and persecution, and adds here that it is ignorance of God revealed in Himself. There is a special force in the mention of this ignorance in connection with the previous verse. Men think that in exclusion, and anathemas, and persecutions, and deaths of men made like themselves in the image of God, they are offering to God an acceptable sacrifice. They can know nothing of the true nature of the living Father who pitieth every child, and willeth not the death of a sinner, and gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. They know nothing of the long-suffering and compassion of the Son of Man, who pleaded even for His murderers, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”John 16:3. And these things will they do — These cruelties will they exercise upon you, not because ye have done them any harm; but because they have not known the Father nor me — Which, if they had done, instead of injuring me, and exercising such inhumanities toward you, my apostles, they would have received us with the greatest affection and gratitude. Here we have the true root of persecution in all its forms; it is ignorance of God and of Christ, and of the real nature of Christianity: it is a spirit that is hostile to all true piety and virtue; and our Lord here says in effect, Let this comfort you, that none will be your enemies but the worst of men. Observe, reader, 1st, Many that pretend to know God are wretchedly ignorant of him, for he that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 1 John 2:4. Israel of old transgressed the covenant, and yet cried, My God, we know thee. 2d, They that are ignorant of Christ cannot have any right knowledge of God. In vain do men pretend to know God and religion while they slight Christ and Christianity. 3d, Those are wretchedly ignorant of God indeed, who think it an acceptable piece of religion to persecute good people. For they that know Christ, know that he came not into the world to destroy men’s lives, but to save them; that he rules by the power of truth and love, not by fire and sword. 4th, It is possible for those that are real enemies to God’s service to pretend a mighty zeal for it. Satan’s work has often been done in God’s livery, and one of the most mischievous enemies Christianity ever had, sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God, 2 Thessalonians 2:4. Nay, 5th, It is common to patronise enmity to religion, with the colour of duty to God and service to his church. God’s people have suffered the greatest hardships from conscientious persecutors: Paul verily thought he ought to do what he did against the name of Jesus, Acts 26:9. This, however, does not lessen the sin of persecutors, for villanies cannot be consecrated by their being acted in God’s name; but it greatly increases the sufferings of the persecuted to cause them to suffer under the character of being enemies to God; but there will be a resurrection of names, as well as of bodies, at the great day.John 15:21.
the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service—The words mean religious service—"that he is offering a service to God." (So Saul of Tarsus, Ga 1:13, 14; Php 3:6).John 16:21 of the former chapter, (See Poole on "John 16:21"), and teacheth us, that all persecutions of good men speak in persecutors an ignorance both of God the Father and of Christ; and whoever they are that continue in such ignorance under the light of the gospel, though they be baptized, and make never so great a profession of religion, yet will be under daily temptations to turn persecutors; for ignorance is here made the cause of persecution. And it is some alleviation of trouble to God’s suffering people, to consider that the persons that are the cause of their sufferings neither know God the Father, nor Jesus Christ; and it is no wonder, if they know not God, that they will not know, love, nor approve of them.
because they have not known the Father nor me; though they boasted of their knowledge of God; yet they knew him not as the Father and sender of Christ, at least they would not own him as such: nor Jesus as the true Messiah, and sent of the Father, to redeem and save his people from their sins; and since they neither knew the Father, nor Christ, it is no wonder they did not know, own, and acknowledge, the disciples of Christ, but used them in the ill manner they did; their zeal was not according to knowledge, it was a blind and misguided one: and this is mentioned, not to extenuate or excuse their sin, though it shows they were not out of the reach of mercy, because they, as the apostle says of himself, "did it ignorantly in unbelief", 1 Timothy 1:13; but as an argument with the disciples to bear their ill usage with patience, and to pity them and pray for them.And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 16:3. This fanatical blindness is traced to its source, as in John 15:21, to their ignorance of God and of Christ: καὶ ταῦτα … ἐμέ. And He forewarns them that they might not be taken unawares.3. unto you] These words are of doubtful authority.
they have not known] Better, they did not recognise. The verb implies that they had the opportunity of knowing; but they had failed to see that God is Love, and that Jesus came not to shut out, but to bring in, not to destroy, but to save. The very names ‘Father’ (here used with special point) and ‘Jesus’ might have taught them better things.
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