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Jesus, God, whose prerogative it is to judge his creatures, has invested me his Son, and this is another instance in which he enables me to act like himself.
23. That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father..
That is, honour him as well as the Father, but by no means in an equal degree. It would be strange indeed, as has been justly observed, if a son, a prophet, a per. son sent from God, a worshipper of God, obedient to the laws of God, who preached those laws, submitted his will to the will of God, owned his Father to be his and our only true God, died for his religion and in the cause of God, was raised from the dead by God, sits on God's right hand, intercedes with God, could possibly be conceived to expect that his disciples should honour him with the very same divine honours as they offered by his command and example to his God and their God *.
He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father, that is, dishonoureth the Father, which hath sent him.
To show disrespect to the messenger and representative of God, must arise either from being dissatisfied with the credentials of his mission, or from slighting the message which he brings; either of which is dishonourable to the Divine Being.
24. Verily, verily I say unto you, He that heareth my word and believeth on him, “ believeth him," that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, " into judgment,” but is passed, “ hath passed," from death unto life.
• Hopton Haynes on the person and offices of Christ, &c. p. 251. Unitarian Tracts, 1796, Vol. xi. p. 288.
That is, he that believes and obeys my gospel, or the promises of him from whom I have received it, is as sure of eternal life as if he was already possessed of it. Such a person has no occasion for a trial; for it is already determined that he shall pass from death to life.
25. Verily, verily I say unto you, the hour, “ the time,” is coming and · now is, when the dead shall hear the
yoice of the Son of God, and they that · hear shall live, 6 and when they have heard they shall live.”
In these words Jesus refers rather more explicitly than he had done before, in the twenty-first verse, to the power of raising the dead, which he had already exercised in some instances, and intended to exercise again. These instances were to be specimens and examples of his power to raise all the dead, at the day of general resurrection. There is an allusion here to the manner in which the miracle of raising the dead was performed; for on these occasions he used his voice in calling to the dead*.
26. For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
As the Father hath the power of giving life, so he has also communicated to the Son the same power of giving life.
27. And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the son of man, or, as some render it, “ a son of man,” that is, a man.
There is a peculiar propriety in investing a man with * Mr. Wakefield imagines that Christ here speaks of those only who are figuratively dead; dead in trespasses and sins. See his note on this verse.
the authority of a judge of the human race, since, have ing felt and having been tempted as a man, he will be ready to make all due allowance for human infirmities, and no one can reasonably object to his decision *.
28. Marvel not at this: for the time is coming in the which all that are in the graves, “in the tombs,” shall hear his voice,
: Christ here refers not to what he had said in the last verse, about his being invested with authority to judge mankind at the last day, but to what he had said in that preceding it, of his being endued by God with a present power of raising the dead. “ Be not surprised at my possessing this power; for I shall hereafter possess one much more extraordinary, not that of raising a few persons to life, laid on a bed, or a bier for burial, like Jairus's daughter, or the son of the widow of Nain, but all that lie in their sepulchres, and have lain there for ages before:" these shall hear his voice.
29. And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation, rather, " the resurrection of condemnation," or, " punishment.”
The one shall be raised to an immortal existence, the other shall be punished with unspeakable misery.
30. I can of mine own self do nothing; as I hear I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
* Because he is the Son of man, that is, is willing, though the Son of God, to be so seen and treated, Amner's Considerations, p. 63, and Note.
Christ is still vindicating himself from the charge of having wrought a miraculous cure on the sabbath-day, and this verse contains his arguments for that purpose. The first is, that he only followed the instructions he had received in the exercise of his miraculous powers. The second, that he could not be mistaken in interpreting these instructions; for he was not influenced by a desire of praise, or of gratifying his own inclination, but of fulfilling the will of God. Of his not performing miracles from a desire of applause, Christ had given a remarkable proof on the present occasion; for as soon as he had cured the infirm man, he withdrew from the multitude.
31. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.
of myself, yet my record is true,” it has been supposed that he cannot mean to assert the direct contrary in this verse, and that the words should be translated in the form of a question, which will render them perfectly consistent with the other passages. - If I bear witness of myself, is not my witness true?” strongly implying that it was not necessarily false on that account.
1. We are here taught of what nature the honoursclaimed by Christ are; not the honours of an independent being, assuming an equality with the Almighty, but those of a man and servant of the Most High, who, being determined to aim at nothing but the glory of the great Father of all men, and never to act but as he is directed by his instructions or example, is entrusted with a portion of his own power and authority, in working miracles and delivering instructions to mankind, at present, and in raising the dead and judging the world, hereafter. This is the honour which Christ claims to himself; and although far short of what some men have attributed to him, who have made him in every respect equal to his Father, yet it is not of a trivial nature, but the highest which a virtuous and benevolent being can wish for--the honour of being the representative of the Deity in the most engaging and illustrious part of his character, that of giving life to mankind, and bestowing upon them the most im. portant benefits. If any persons attribute honours of a superior nature to Christ, they do it without his authority, and in opposition to his wishes; they degrade his character, while they intend to honour it, and act the part of his bitterest enemies--the unbelieving
2. The honour which Christ claims let us be careful to pay him, both in our language and conduct: to withhold it is to deprive him not only of that which is justly his due, but of that also which God intended he should enjoy as his representative and messenger; an offence of no light nature against God, and which he will not fail to punish. Supreme honours he does not desire, and expressly disclaims; but such as are becoming his character we ought to be the more ready for that reason to give. Let us honour him as a favourite of the Most High, as deserving of his Father's love, and as faithfully discharging the duties of every trust reposed in him for the benefit of the children of men.
3. Let the two most important events to which Christ here directs our attention, a general resurrection from the dead and a future judgment, be kept continually in our minds, together with the connection which subsists between obeying the gospel of Christ and the happy issues of both. That after having been laid in the grave, and having mouldered into dust, we are to have life bestowed upon us a second time, and re-appear in the creation of God, to have our characters and actions examined and decided upon by an impartial judge, for the purpose of determining whether we are fit for