John 7:21
Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel.
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(21) I have done one worki.e., the one conspicuous work of healing the infirm man on the Sabbath day, which He did at His last visit to Jerusalem. We have already had a reference to other works in John 2:23, and He Himself refers to His many good works in John 10:32.

Ye all marvel.—This answer is addressed to the multitude who said “Thou hast a devil,” when He spoke of the intention to kill Him. This work on the Sabbath day, which provoked the deadly hostility of the hierarchy (John 5:16; John 5:18), was cause of wonder to them all. They, too, though not in the same degree, were led by it to take a hostile position.

John 7:21-24. Jesus answered, I have done one good work, and ye all marvel — I have done a miracle of an extraordinary kind on the sabbath day, an action which ye think inconsistent with the character of a good man, and therefore ye wonder that I should have performed it. But I can easily vindicate my character, by an argument which it is not in your power to gainsay. Moses therefore gave you circumcision — That is, the law of circumcision. Dr. Campbell joins the words δαι τουτο, here rendered therefore, to the end of the former verse, following Theophylact, and some whom he terms “our best authors,” observing, that “nothing can be more incongruously connected than the words are in the English, and most other modern translations; where our Lord’s performing a miracle is represented as the cause why Moses gave them circumcision.” Thus also Doddridge, Wesley, Wynne, and Worsley, who translate the last clause of the preceding verse, I have done one work, and ye all marvel at it, or, on account of it. If we retain the common pointing, as all the versions do, the interpretation of this verse (John 7:22) must be, Because that Moses gave you the precept concerning circumcision, ye even circumcise a man on the sabbath day. But the correction just now proposed makes the sense more clear and elegant, thus: Moses gave you the law of circumcision, (though indeed it was far more ancient than he, being a precept enjoined to and observed by, the patriarchs,) and on the sabbath day ye circumcise a man. If a man receive circumcision on the sabbath day, that the law of Moses may not be broken — The precept of circumcision required, that every male should be circumcised the eighth day from his birth. Though the eighth day happened on the sabbath, this ceremony was not deferred: and the law of circumcision vacated the law of the sabbath. Are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole — Or, have made a whole man sound; on the sabbath day? — Since you think yourselves bound to dispense with the strict observation of the sabbath for the sake of another precept, which is only of a ceremonial nature, how can ye be angry with me, because, in pursuance of the great end of all the divine laws, I have cured a man who was infirm in all his members, and that with far less bodily labour than that with which you perform the ceremony of circumcision, and cure the wound that is made by it? Judge not according to the appearance, &c. — Consider the nature of the things, and judge impartially, without regard to your own prejudices, or the superstition of your teachers. Dr. Campbell renders the clause, Judge not from personal regards, thinking that translation gives more exactly the sense of the original expression, μη κρινετε κατοψιν. “There can be no question,” says he, “that this precept is of the same import with those which enjoin strict impartiality between the parties, or to have no respect of persons in judgment. The application of it is obvious on this occasion. If the Jews had been strictly impartial and equitable, they would have seen that they could not vindicate Moses for enjoining such a violation of the sabbatical rest as was occasioned by circumcising, while they condemned Jesus for his miraculous cures, which required less labour, and were not less evidently calculated for promoting a good end. Nay, they could not excuse themselves for the one practice, if Jesus was blameable for the other.”

7:14-24 Every faithful minister may humbly adopt Christ's words. His doctrine is not his own finding out, but is from God's word, through the teaching of his Spirit. And amidst the disputes which disturb the world, if any man, of any nation, seeks to do the will of God, he shall know whether the doctrine is of God, or whether men speak of themselves. Only those who hate the truth shall be given up to errors which will be fatal. Surely it was as agreeable to the design of the sabbath to restore health to the afflicted, as to administer an outward rite. Jesus told them to decide on his conduct according to the spiritual import of the Divine law. We must not judge concerning any by their outward appearance, but by their worth, and by the gifts and graces of God's Spirit in them.One work - The healing of the man on the Sabbath, John 5.

Ye all marvel - You all wonder or are amazed, and particularly that it was done on the Sabbath. This was the particular ground of astonishment, that he should dare to do what they esteemed a violation of the Sabbath.

21-24. I have done one work, &c.—Taking no notice of the popular appeal, as there were those there who knew well enough what He meant, He recalls His cure of the impotent man, and the murderous rage it had kindled (Joh 5:9, 16, 18). It may seem strange that He should refer to an event a year and a half old, as if but newly done. But their present attempt "to kill Him" brought up the past scene vividly, not only to Him, but without doubt to them, too, if indeed they had ever forgotten it; and by this fearless reference to it, exposing their hypocrisy and dark designs, He gave His position great moral strength. By the one miracle it is plain, by what followeth, that he meaneth healing the man who lay at the pool of Bethesda; at this, he saith, they marvelled, by which is to be understood offended, for so it is expounded by colate, John 7:23; and to this sense is our Saviour’s subsequent discourse.

Jesus answered and said unto them,.... Taking no notice of their passion, reproach, and blasphemy; but proceeding upon the thing he had in view, and which he was determined to reassume, and vindicate himself in;

I have done one work; that is, on the sabbath day; meaning, his cure of the man that had had a disorder eight and thirty years, who lay at Bethesda's pool; which single action, they charged with being a breach of the sabbath, he mentions with a view to their many, and daily violations of it:

and ye all marvel; at it, as a thing unheard of, as a most shocking piece of iniquity, as an intolerable evil; wondering that any man should have the front, to bid another take up his bed and walk, on the sabbath day: they did not marvel at the miracle that was wrought; but were amazed, offended, and disturbed, at its being done on the sabbath day.

{8} Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel.

(8) The sabbath day (which is here set before us as a standard of all ceremonies) was not appointed to hinder, but to further and practise God's works, amongst which the main one is the love of our neighbour.

John 7:21-22. Ἀπεκρίθη] The reply of Jesus, not to the Ἰουδαῖοι (Ebrard), but to the ὄχλος (for it is really addressed to them, not in appearance merely, and through an inaccurate account of the matter on John’s part, as Tholuck unnecessarily assumes), contains, indeed, no direct answer to the question put, but is intended to make the people feel that all had a guilty part in the murderous designs against Him, and that none of them are excepted, because that one work which He had done among them was unacceptable to them all, and had excited their unjustifiable wrath. Thus He deprives the people of that assurance of their own innocence which had prompted them to put the question to Him; “ostendit se profundius eos nôsse et hoc radio eos penetrat,” Bengel.

ἓν ἔργον] i.e. the healing on the Sabbath, John 5:2 ff., the only miraculous work which He had done in Jerusalem (against Weisse[262]) (not, indeed, the only work at all, see John 2:23, comp. also John 10:32, but the only one during the last visit), for the remembrance of which the fact of its being so striking an instance of Sabbath-breaking would suffice.

καὶ πάντες θαυμάζετε] πάντες is correlative with ἕν, “and ye all wonder” (Acts 3:12), i.e. how I could have done it as a Sabbath work (John 5:16); it is the object of your universal astonishment! An exclamation; taken as a question (Ewald), the expression of disapprobation which it contains would be less emphatic. To put into θαυμάζετε the idea of alarm (Chrysostom), of blame (Nonnus), of displeasure (Grotius), or the like, would be to anticipate; the bitterness of tone does not appear till John 7:23.

διὰ τοῦτο] connected with θαυμάζετε by Theophylact, and most moderns (even Lücke, Tholuck, Olshausen, De Wette, B. Crusius, Maier, Lange, Lachmann, Hengstenberg, Ewald, Baeumlein, Ebrard, Godet; among earlier expositors, Beza, Casaubon, Homberg, Maldonatus, Wolf, Mill, Kypke, etc.; see on Mark 6:6); but Syr. Goth. Codd. It., Cyril, Chrysostom, Nonnus, Euthymius Zigabenus, Luther, Castalio, Erasmus, Aretius, Grotius, Cornelius a Lapide, Jansen, Bengel, Wetstein, and several others, also Luthardt, and already most of the Codices, with true perception, place the words at the beginning of John 7:22 (so also Elzevir); for, joined with θαυμάζετε, they are cumbrous and superfluous,[263] and contrary to John’s method elsewhere of beginning, not ending, with διὰ τοῦτο (John 5:16; John 5:18, John 6:65, John 8:47, John 10:17, al.; see Schulz on Griesbach, p. 543). Only we must not take them either as superfluous (Euthymius Zigabenus) or as elliptical: “therefore hear,” or “know” (Grotius, Jansen, even Winer, p. 58 [E. T. p. 68]); the former is inadmissible, the latter is neither Johannean nor in keeping with what follows, which does not contain a declaration, but a deduction of a logical kind. We ought rather, with Bengel (“propterea, hoc mox declaratur per ΟὐΧ ὍΤΙ, nempe non quia”) and Luthardt, following Cyril, to regard them as standing in connection with the following οὐχ ὅτι. With this anticipatory διὰ τοῦτο, Jesus begins to diminish the astonishment which His healing on the Sabbath had awakened, showing it to be unreasonable, and this by the analogy of circumcision, which is performed also on the Sabbath. Instead of simply saying, “because it comes from the fathers,” He puts the main statement, already introduced by ΔΙᾺ ΤΟῦΤΟ, and so important in the argument, both negatively and positively, and says, “Therefore Moses gave you circumcision, not because it originated with Moses, but (because it originated) with the fathers, and so ye circumcise” (ΚΑῚ consecutive), etc.; that is, this ΟὐΧ ὍΤΙ, on to ΠΑΤΈΡΩΝ, serves to show that circumcision, though divinely commanded by Moses in the law, and thus given to the Jews as a ritualistic observance, was not Mosaic in its origin, but was an old patriarchal institution dating back even from Abraham. The basis of its historic claim to validity lies in the fact that the law of circumcision precedes the law of the Sabbath, and consequently the enjoined rest of the Sabbath must give way to circumcision.[264] Even the Rabbins had this axiom: “Circumcisio pellit sabbatum,” and based it upon the fact that it was “traditio partum.” See Wetstein on John 7:23. The anger of the people on account of the healing on the Sabbath rested on a false estimate of the Sabbath; comp. Matthew 12:5. From this explanation it is at the same time clear that οὐχ ὅτιπατέρων is not of the nature of a parenthesis (so usually, even Lachmann). Of those who so regard it, some rightly recognise in the words the authority of circumcision as outweighing that of the Sabbath; while others, against the context, infer from them its lesser sanctity as being a traditional institution (Paulus, B. Crusius, Ewald, Godet). Others, again, take them as an (objectless) correction (De Wette, Baeumlein), or as an historical observation (equally superfluous) of Jesus (Tholuck, Hengstenberg, and earlier expositors) or of John (Lücke, cf. Ebrard). Above all, it would have been very strange and paltry to suppose (with Hengstenberg) that Jesus by this remark was endeavouring, with reference to John 7:15, to do away with the appearance of ignorance.

Μωϋσῆς] Leviticus 12:3.

οὐχ ὅτι] not as in John 6:46, but as in John 12:6.

ἐκ τοῦ Μωϋσέως] Instead of saying ἐξ αὐτοῦ, Jesus repeats the name, thus giving more emphasis to the thought. See Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. i. 6. 1, ad Anab. i. 6. 11.

ἐκ τῶν πατέρων] Genesis 17:10; Genesis 21:4; Acts 7:8; Romans 4:11.

ἐν Σαββ.] if it be the eighth day. Comp. the Rabbinical quotations in Lightfoot. Being emphatic, it takes the lead.

[262] How does he make out the ἓν ἔργον? It is the one miracle which Christ came to accomplish (Matthew 12:38; Matthew 16:1 sqq.; Luke 11:29 ff.), described by Him metaphorically as a Sabbath healing; this the evangelist has taken for a single miraculous act. See Evangelienfr. p. 249.

[263] This accounts for the omission of διὰ τοῦτο in א Tisch. deletes it, and with א* reads ὁ Μωϋσ. (with the article).

[264] The patriarchal period wag indeed that of promise, but this is not made prominent here, and we cannot therefore say with Luthardt: “Jesus puts the law and the promise over-against one another, like Paul in Galatians 3:17.” There is no hint of this in the text. Judging from the text, there rather lies in οὐχ ὅτι, κ.τ.λ., the proof that, in the case of a collision between the two laws, that of circumcision and that of the Sabbath, the former must have the precedence, because, though enjoined by Moses, it already had a patriarchal origin, and on account of this older sanctity it must suffer no infringement through the law of the Sabbath. Nonnus well describes the argumentation by the words ἀρχεγόνῳ τινὶ θεσμῷ.

John 7:21. Jesus prefers to expose the unjustifiable character of the hostility which pursued Him (John 7:16). Referring to the miracle wrought at Bethesda, and which gave occasion to this hostility, He says ἕν ἔργονσαββάτω. One single work I did and ye all marvel [are horrified or scandalised]; for this same object, of imparting health, Moses gave you circumcision, an ordinance that continues through all the generations and regularly sets aside the Sabbath law. If circumcision is performed, lest the law of Moses be broken, are ye angry at me for making a man every whit whole [or rather, for making an entire or whole man healthy] on the Sabbath day? The argument is obvious; and its force is brought out by the antithetical form of the sentence: the ἕν ἔργον of the healing of the impotent man is contrasted with the continuous ordinance of circumcision, and so the aorist is used of the one, the perfect of the other. In John 7:23 περιτομὴν λαμβάνει is contrasted with ὅλον ἄνθρωπον ὑγιῆ, the partial and symbolic with the complete and actual soundness. The argument is all the more telling because a “vis medicatrix,” as well as a ceremonial purity (but vide Meyer), was ascribed to circumcision [“praeputium est vitium in corpore”]. Wetstein quotes from a Rabbi a singularly analogous argument: “Si circumcisio, quae fit in uno membrorum 248 hominis, pellit Sabbatum, quanto magis verum est, conservationem vitae Sabbatum pellere?” The parenthesis in John 7:22, οὐχ ὅτιπατέρων, is apparently thrown in for accuracy’s sake, lest some captious persons should divert attention from the argument by objecting to the statement that Moses had “given” them circumcision. The reference of διὰ τοῦτο in the same verse is obscure. Some editors join these words with θαυμάζετε; but although in Mark 6:6 διά follows θαυμάζειν, this construction does not occur in John. Besides, John frequently begins his sentences with διὰ τοῦτο; and if John 7:22 begins with Μωσῆς, such a commencement is certainly abrupt. Retaining διὰ τοῦτο as part of John 7:22, the words might be understood thus: “I have done one work and ye all marvel: therefore (be it known unto you) Moses has given you,” etc., i.e., “I will remove your astonishment: you yourselves perform circumcision,” etc. See Winer, p. 68. So Holtzmann, and Weizsäcker, who renders: “Darum: Moses hat euch,” etc. This gives a good sense, but surely the ellipsis is too severe. Holtzmann’s reference to John 6:65 tells rather against it, for there εἴρηκα is added. May διὰ τοῦτο not mean, “on this account,” i.e., for the same reason as I had in healing the impotent man, did Moses give you circumcision? I did one work of healing and ye marvel. But with a similar object Moses gave you circumcision. This seems best to suit the words and the context. He adds to His argument the comprehensive advice of John 7:24. μὴ κρίνετε κατʼ ὄψινκρίνατε. “Judge not according to appearance:” κατʼ ὄψιν, according to what presents itself to the eye; the Pharisaic vice. In appearance the healing of the impotent man was a breach of the Sabbath-law. No righteous judgment can be come to if appearances decide. For κρίσιν κρίνειν, cf. Plato Rep., 360 E; and cf. οἰκίαν οἰκεῖν, βαδίζειν ὁδόν, πεσεῖν πτώματα, etc.

21. I have done] Better, I did. Comp. John 7:23.

one work] The healing of the impotent man at Bethesda: it excited the astonishment of all as being wrought on the Sabbath. Christ reminds them that on that occasion all, and not the rulers only, were offended.

Most modern editors add to this verse the words translated ‘therefore’ in John 7:22 [it is not S. John’s favourite particle (see on John 7:15), but a preposition with a pronoun = for this cause, on account of this]; ‘and ye all marvel on account of this.’ But this is cumbrous, and unlike S. John, who begins sentences with this phrase (John 6:16; John 6:18, John 8:47, John 10:17, John 12:39; mistranslated ‘therefore’ in all cases) rather than ends them with it. The old arrangement is best.

John 7:21. Ἕν, one) out of countless works, which ye know not [viz. the miracle in the case of the man at the pool of Bethesda.—V. g.]—ἐποίησα, I have done) on the Sabbath, John 7:23.—καὶ, and) Involves a relative force; I have done one work, which ye all wonder at. Since in the case of none other work of Mine ye perceive anything to censure; ye ought to have formed a favourable opinion of this one work also.—θαυμάζετε, ye marvel) accompanied with doubt. Such a marvelling, as in Acts 2:7; Acts 2:12, “They were all amazed and marvelled, saying—Behold, are not all these which speak Galilæans? And—they were in doubt.”

Verse 21. - Jesus answered and said to them; i.e. to the multitude wire had so coarsely treated him, and to the "Jews" who were present, who were all marvelling together at the line he was taking. The very interruption was a proof both of the extent and consequence of their wonderment. One work I did, and ye are all marvelling. This one work was a very small fraction of his mighty signs, but it was one which, from its manner of operation, and from the fact that it was immediately brought before the religious authorities as an unlawful act (ch. 5.), and which, moreover, became the occasion for one of the greatest of his discourses, and for his solemn claim to be the Son of God and the Arbiter of life and death, of resurrection and judgment, made the profoundest impression on the Sanhedrin, compelled them to think that he was a Man who must be sooner or later arrested, and who deserved condign punishment. He must be either submitted to, confined as a madman, or killed as a blasphemer. John 7:21One work (ἓν ἔργον)

The healing on the Sabbath (John 5:1-8).

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