John 18:7
Then asked he them again, Whom seek you? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth.
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(7) Then asked he them again.—Their fear has passed away, so that we are not to think, as men sometimes do, that they were struck to the ground helpless. His thought is still of saving those who are with Him. The question brings the same formal answer. They have no warrant to take any of those who are with Him. They seek only Jesus of Nazareth.

18:1-12 Sin began in the garden of Eden, there the curse was pronounced, there the Redeemer was promised; and in a garden that promised Seed entered into conflict with the old serpent. Christ was buried also in a garden. Let us, when we walk in our gardens, take occasion from thence to mediate on Christ's sufferings in a garden. Our Lord Jesus, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth and asked, Whom seek ye? When the people would have forced him to a crown, he withdrew, ch.They went backward ... - The cause of their retiring in this manner is not mentioned. Various things might have produced it. The frank, open, and fearless manner in which Jesus addressed them may have convinced them of his innocence, and deterred them from prosecuting their wicked attempt. His disclosure of himself was sudden and unexpected; and while they perhaps anticipated that he would make an effort to escape, they were amazed at his open and bold profession. Their consciences reproved them for their crimes, and probably the firm, decided, and yet mild manner in which Jesus addressed them, the expression of his unequalled power in knowing how to find the way to the consciences of men, made them feel that they were in the presence of more than mortal man. There is no proof that there was here any miraculous power, any mere physical force, and to suppose that there was greatly detracts from the moral sublimity of the scene. 7. Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye?—Giving them a door of escape from the guilt of a deed which now they were able in some measure to understand.

Jesus of Nazareth—The stunning effect of His first answer wearing off, they think only of the necessity of executing their orders.

Ver. 7,8. Our Saviour’s question, and their answer, are the same as before. They fell down, but they rose up again, and go on in their wicked purpose. This is the genius of all sinners; they may be under some convictions and terrors, but they get out of them, if God doth not concur by his Spirit, and sanctify them as means to make a thorough change in their hearts. Though those words,

let these go their way, might be interpreted of the armed men that came with the officers, of whom there seemed no such need to carry away an unarmed man; yet the next words make it evident that they are to be understood of his disciples, being persons against whom they had no warrant. Our Lord hath a care of his disciples, that they might not suffer with him. Then asked he them again, whom seek ye?.... This supposes them to be risen up again and on their feet; no hurt being done to them; for Christ always did good, and not hurt, to the bodies of men; he never disabled any, or took away life, or limb: he only did this to show his power, and not to do them any real damage; and the same divine person that struck them down, suffered them to rise, and gave them power and strength to get up; which showed his great clemency and goodness: but they, on the contrary, persisted in their wicked intentions, and were still seeking after him; a plain proof of that judicial hardness of heart, under which they were; and that even miracles wrought will not bring hardened sinners to repentance without powerful and efficacious grace. When Christ, as fearless of them, and to show that this action he had no design to make his escape them, though he could easily have done it, and that he was willing to be apprehended by them, puts the question a second time, and asks them who they were seeking for. Something like this Josephus (b) reports concerning Elisha the prophet, though not repeated as here, nor attended with the like effect: he relates that Elisha having requested of God that he would smite his enemies with blindness, and that being granted he went into the midst of them, and asked them, , "whom do ye come to seek?" they say Elisha the prophet: he promised them to deliver him to them, if they would follow him into the city, where he was; and so they being blinded by God, both in their sight and in their mind, followed the prophet.

They said Jesus of Nazareth; having recovered their spirits, and being hardened in desperate malice and wickedness, impudently make this reply to him; nor would they, notwithstanding this instance of his power, own him to be the Messiah; but still contemptuously style him Jesus of Nazareth.

(b) Antiqu. l. 9. c. 4. sect. 3.

Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth.
John 18:7. Declaring His identity a second time, Jesus explicitly reminds the officials that by their own acknowledgment they are instructed to arrest none but Himself, εἰ οὖν ἐμὲ ζητεῖτεοὐδένα. In thus protecting His companions, Jesus, according to John, fulfils John 17:12; although here the fulfilment is more superficial than that which was intended. (Cf. 2 Samuel 24:17.)7. Then asked he them again] Again therefore (John 18:3) He asked them. Their first onset had been baffled; He Himself therefore gives them another opening. They repeat the terms of their warrant; they have been sent to arrest Jesus the Nazarene.[7. Οἱ δὲ εἶπον, and [but] they said) The violence of their mad attack upon the Saviour robbed them of all consideration, or regard to so striking an omen.—V. g.]Verses 7, 8. - Again then (οϋν, regarding all the conditions, the cup, the cross, the blood-baptism, the supreme will, all are at stake) he asked them, Whom seek ye? Then, restored from their fright and spasm of conscience, produced by the presence of One whom no fetters, not even those of death itself, could bind, and reassured now by the same voice (cf. Daniel 10:10; Revelation 1:17), they reply, Jesus the Nazarene. He thus compels them to limit their design, and to single himself out for the malice and devilish plot of their masters. I told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, suffer these to depart. There is much in this that lies beneath the surface.

(1) There is an explanation of the miraculous blast which had a few moments before rolled them at his feet. They will not dare to disobey him. What may he not do, if they proceed to arrest the disciples?

(2) The disciples are discharged from the immediate function of suffering and death. They were in imminent danger, as is conspicuous from the fleeing youth, and from the language of the bystanders subsequently to Peter; but their hour was not yet come.

(3) He would tread the winepress alone. They were none who could go with him into this terrible conflict (cf. "Ye shall leave me alone; yet not alone").
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