John 8:15
You judge after the flesh; I judge no man.
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(15) Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.—The pronouns are placed in emphatic contrast. “You on your part . . . I for My part.” We must beware of the common mistake of finding the origin of this thought of judgment in John 8:10-11, which as we have seen do not belong to this context. It arises rather from John 8:13. The statement of the Pharisees, “Thou art bearing witness concerning Thyself; Thy witness is not true,” was a condemnatory judgment based upon appearances. (Comp. Note on John 7:24.) They allowed these appearances to carry them away from a righteous judgment. They looked at the form of human flesh, and declared His witness false. Had they listened to the words He spoke, and judged according to their spiritual meaning, they would have heard the voice of the Messiah and have seen the Light of the world.

This thought of the Pharisees, in their ignorance judging that which they knew not, suggests by contrast the thought that He. in perfect knowledge judges no one. (Comp. John 3:17.)

John 8:15-19. Ye judge after the flesh — As the flesh, that is, corrupt nature, dictates. The same carnal prejudices still prevail in the minds of the Jews, and prevent their reception of Christ; they laying it down as a first principle, that he is to be a great temporal prince and deliverer. And the admission of false principles, which are constantly taken for granted, and never examined, will, it is to be feared, be attended with fatal consequences to thousands more. I judge no man — Not thus; not now; not at my first coming. Dr. Macknight paraphrases the verse thus: “Ye judge of me according to outward appearances, and condemn me for this, among other things, that I judge no man. You think that I cannot be the Messiah, because I do not destroy those who oppose me, as you imagine the Messiah will do; but in this you are altogether mistaken, for the design of the Messiah’s coming is not to destroy, but to save mankind.” And yet if I judge, my judgment is true — That is, just, equitable: for I am not alone, &c. — If I should condemn any person for disbelieving my divine mission and rejecting me, the condemnation of such a one would be just, because my mission is true, being confirmed, not by my own testimony only, but by the Father’s also; and because every sentence of that kind, which I should pass, would be pronounced by the authority, and agreeable to the will of my Father. The Son is not alone in judging, any more than in testifying; for the Father is in him, and he in the Father, John 14:10-11. It is written in your law — For which you profess to have so great and sacred a regard; that the testimony of two men is true — That is, to be admitted as true; and that matters of the greatest consequence are, without scruple, to be determined by it. See the margin. As if he said, You could not justly complain if I should punish you for your unbelief in such a case as this, since your own law directs you to believe every matter that is confirmed by the concurring testimony of two witnesses, as my mission evidently is. For I am one that bear witness of myself — Not by words only, but by all the actions of my life, which are agreeable to the character of a messenger from heaven; and the Father, that sent me, beareth witness of me — By the miracles which he enables me to perform, (see John 5:32; John 5:36,) so that you are altogether culpable in rejecting me. Then said they, Where is thy Father — The other witness to whom thou so frequently appealest? Mention him plainly, that we may know how far he is to be regarded, and produce him as a witness. Jesus answered — Showing the perverseness of their question; Ye neither know me nor my Father — As plainly appears by your conduct. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also — If ye had properly understood who I am, and had formed a right judgment of my person, character, and mission, and regarded me as you ought to have done, you would also, long before this time, have known who and what my Father is, in another manner than you now do; for I bear his complete resemblance, and it is my great business to reveal him to those who submit to my instructions. Our Lord here plainly intimates, that the Father and he were distinct persons, as they were two witnesses; and yet one in essence, as the knowledge of him includes the knowledge of the Father.8:12-16 Christ is the Light of the world. God is light, and Christ is the image of the invisible God. One sun enlightens the whole world; so does one Christ, and there needs no more. What a dark dungeon would the world be without the sun! So would it be without Jesus, by whom light came into the world. Those who follow Christ shall not walk in darkness. They shall not be left without the truths which are necessary to keep them from destroying error, and the directions in the way of duty, necessary to keep them from condemning sin.After the flesh - According to appearance; according to your carnal and corrupt mode; not according to the spiritual nature of the doctrines. By your preconceived opinions and prejudices you are determined not to believe that I am the Messiah.

I judge no man - Jesus came not to condemn the world, John 3:17. They were in the habit of judging rashly and harshly of all; but this was not the purpose or disposition of the Saviour. This expression is to be understood as meaning that he judged no one after their manner; he did not come to censure and condemn men after the appearance, or in a harsh, biased, and unkind manner.

15. Ye judge after the flesh—with no spiritual apprehension.

I judge no man.

According to my outward appearance to you, so you judge of me; or, according to your own passions, and corrupt affections. I judge no man in that manner; or, I judge no man alone, as it followeth in the next verse. Ye judge after the flesh,.... According to their carnal affections and prejudices; taking the Messiah to be a temporal prince, and his kingdom to be of this world, they judged that Jesus could not be he; they looked upon him as a mere man, and seeing him in much outward meanness, in his human nature, they judged of him according to this outward appearance: or "ye" that are "after the flesh judge"; to which sense the Persic version agrees, "for ye are carnal"; and so judged as carnal men, who are very improper persons to judge of spiritual things:

I judge no man; in the same way, after the flesh, or in a carnal manner, nor according to outward appearances, according to the sight of the eyes, or the hearing of the ears: Christ did not take upon him to judge and determine in civil affairs, or in things pertaining to a court of judicature among men; this was not his province; an instance of this there is in the context, in not condemning the woman brought to him; nor did he judge the persons and states of men, or proceed to pass any sentence of condemnation on them; he came not to condemn, but save the world; this was not his business now; otherwise, all judgment is committed to him, and which he will exercise another day.

Ye judge after the flesh; I {c} judge no man.

(c) I am presently only teaching you, I condemn no man: but yet if I want to do it, I might lawfully do it, for I am not alone, but my Father is with me.

John 8:15-16. The course of thought repeated with some minuteness (Tholuck), but similarly to John 7:24. The rejection of His testimony by the Pharisees in John 8:13, was an act of judgment on their part which, inasmuch as they were unacquainted with His higher position as an ambassador of God, had been determined merely by His cutward sensuous appearance, by His servant’s form (εἰσορόωντες ἐμὴν βροτοειδέα μορφήν, Nonnus), as to which He seemed to them to be an ordinary man. This Jesus tells them, and adds, how very differently He proceeds in this respect.[10] Κρίνειν receives through the context the condemnatory sense, and κατὰ τὴν σάρκα is not to be understood of the subjective norm (Chrysostom: ἀπὸ ἀνθρωπίνης διανοίαςἀδίκως; De Wette: in a carnal, selfish manner; comp. B. Crusius), but of the objective norm (comp. κατʼ ὄψιν, John 7:24; Euth. Zigabenus: πρὸς μόνον τὸ φαινόμενον βλέποντες, καὶ μηδὲν ὑψηλότερον καὶ πνευματικὸν ἐννοοῦντες). Comp. 2 Corinthians 5:16.

ἐγὼ οὐ κρίνω οὐδένα] I condemn no one. There is no need, however, for supplying in thought κατὰ τ. σάρκα, as even Augustine proposed, and after Cyril’s example many modern writers (also Kuinoel, Paulus); to the same thing comes Lücke’s supplement: as you do. This is decidedly to be rejected, partly for the general reason that the proper point would have to be supplied in thought, and partly because, in John 8:16, καὶ ἐὰν κρίνω cannot be taken otherwise than absolutely, and without supplement. For these reasons every kind of supplement must be rejected, whether by the insertion of νῦν, which would point to the future judgment (Augustine, Chrysostom, Euth. Zigabenus, Erasmus, and several), or of μόνος (Storr, Godet), as though John had written αὐτὸς ἐγώ. Jesus rather gives utterance to His maxim in the consciousness of having come, not κρίνειν, but to save and bless (comp. on John 8:11), which is what He carried out principaliter; but this principle was, that He refrained from all condemnation of others, knowing as He did that κρίνειν was neither the end (Brückner) nor the sphere of His life (Hengstenberg). This principle, however, did not exclude necessary cases of an opposite kind; and of such cases John 8:16 supplies the necessary explanation. Luther aptly remarks: “He herewith clothes Himself with His office;” but an antithesis to teaching (Calvin, Beza) is foreign to the verse; and the interpretation: I have no pleasure in judging (De Wette), imports into the words what they do not contain.[11]

John 8:16. καὶ ἐὰν κρίνω δὲ ἐγώ] καὶ δέ here and in John 8:17, atque etiam, see on John 6:51. The thought is: and even if a κρίνειν on my part should take place, etc. Notwithstanding His maxim, not to judge, such cases bad actually occurred in the exercise of His vocation, and, indeed, just for the purpose of attaining its higher object—as was, moreover, inevitable with His antagonism to sin and the κόσμος. Comp. Luther: “If thou wilt not have our Lord God, then keep the devil; and the office which otherwise is not set for judgment, but for help and consolation, is compelled to assume the function of condemnation.” Luthardt: “But my witness becomes a judgment through unbelief.” This, however, is not in the passage; and Jesus was often enough forced into actual, direct κρίνειν, John 8:26.

δέ] occupies the fourth place, because the preceding words are connected with each other, as in John 8:17; John 6:51; 1 John 1:3; Matthew 10:18, al.

According to the reading ἀληθινή (see the critical notes), the meaning of the second clause is: my condemnation is a genuine one, answering to the idea, as it ought to be—not equivalent to ἀληθής (B. Crusius). Comp. on John 7:28. Reason: For it is not (like an ordinary human personality, restricted to myself) I alone (who condemn), but I and the Father that hath sent me (are the κρίνοντες), which fellowship (ὅπερ ἐγὼ κρίνω, τοῦτο καὶ ὁ πατήρ, Euth. Zigabenus) naturally excludes everything that could prevent the κρίσις from being ἀληθινή. Comp. John 5:30.

[10] Hilgenfeld, Evang. p. 286, ought therefore not to have concluded that the words, “I judge no man,” presuppose the history of the woman taken in adultery.

[11] Among the meanings imported into the passage may be reckoned Lange’s fanciful notion (L. J. II. p. 958), that Jesus can never regard the real essence of man as worthy of rejection (but merely the caricature which man has made of his own nature by sin). Where is there anything in the passage about the real essence of man?15. Ye judge after the flesh] According to His outward form, the form of a servant: comp. John 7:24. From the context ‘judge’ here acquires an adverse sense, and virtually means ‘condemn:’ comp. John 3:17-18, John 7:51. Judging Him to be a mere man they had condemned His testimony respecting Himself as invalid. ‘Ye’ and ‘I’ are in emphatic opposition.

I judge no man] Neither ‘after the flesh,’ nor ‘as ye do,’ nor anything else is to be supplied. No such addition can be made in John 8:16, and therefore cannot be made here. The words are best taken quite simply and literally. ‘My mission is not to condemn, but to save and to bless.’ Comp. John 12:47.John 8:15. Κατὰ τὴν σάρκα, according to the flesh) and so, according to the appearance, ch. John 7:24, “Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” [In antithesis to “from above,” John 8:23, “Ye are from beneath, I am from above.”—V. g.]—οὐ κρίνω, I do not judge) Comp. John 8:11, “Neither do I condemn thee.”Verse 15. - You judge - i.e. you condemn me, you repudiate my claim to be the "Living Water" and the "Light of the world" - after the flesh (κατὰ τὴν σάρκα), according to the outward appearance; you look at my mere humanity. Our Lord did not accuse them of the fleshly, blinded, unjust judgments of unregenerate men. The article τὴν, and not the well known formula κατὰ σάρκα, prevents such an interpretation. He rather reasons and pleads with them. He suggests that they might, if they would, look below the surface of his flesh. Tim evangelist, who reports the substance of this discussion, has written. "The Word was made flesh." So if the incarnate Word had always been judged "after the flesh," we should never have seen his glory, nor recognized the nobler part of his Personality. I judge no man. Numerous efforts have been made to find the underlying modification of this assertion. Augustine, Chrysostom, Cyril, and many moderns add, "after the flesh," or "as you do" (the latter is the suggestion of Lucke, which, as Meyer says, comes to the same thing), or "now," pointing on to the actual assumption of his judiciary powers at the consummation of all things, and contrasting his earthly ministry of mercy with the ultimate majesty of his judgment throne (Westcott). Storr, Moulton, Godet. suggest "I by myself" - I alone, independently of the Father, judge no man. Meyer rejects all these attempts to add to the text, and maintains that our Lord is claiming the lofty position of Saviour rather than Judge. He came with that as his primary aim, purpose, intent; to heal, not to wound; to save, not to destroy; to give time for repentance, not to hurry sinners to their doom; to illumine, not to cover with darkness. Yet even Meyer admits a practical exception of great importance to be involved in the next clause, which does not differ from Westcott's interpretation.
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