|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:37-43 Observe the method of conversion implied here. Sinners are brought to see the reality of Divine things, and to have some knowledge of them. To be converted, and truly turned from sin to Christ, as their Happiness and Portion. God will heal them, will justify and sanctify them; will pardon their sins, which are as bleeding wounds, and mortify their corruptions, which are as lurking diseases. See the power of the world in smothering convictions, from regard to the applause or censure of men. Love of the praise of men, as a by-end in that which is good, will make a man a hypocrite when religion is in fashion, and credit is to be got by it; and love of the praise of men, as a base principle in that which is evil, will make a man an apostate, when religion is in disgrace, and credit is to be lost for it.
Verse 43. - The generalization is given as a reason, For they loved the glory (δόξα, very nearly in the original Greek use of the word," opinion," "good reputation") of men, very much more (ἤπερ, another New Testament, ἅπαξ λεγόμενον, occurring in the narrative portion of John, and a mode in which the negative force of the ἤ is heightened; see Meyer, Jelf, p. 779, and English edition of Wirier, p. 549) than the glory of God. The form of the expressions, "of God' and "of men," is different from the παρὰ τοῦ μόνου Θεοῦ and παρὰ ἀλλήλων of John 5:44, and the statement is apparently inconsistent with the declaration that those in such a state of mind "could not believe." Moulton suggests that the glory here thought of by the apostle was the "glory" of ver. 41 - the glory of the union of the Redeemer with his people, the glory of suffering and death. The reference to Isaiah 6. appears to be the true solution. The glory of God himself in his awful holiness was of less interest than the glory of the Sanhedrin and the approval of the world. Alas! this glory is nearer, more obvious and has more to do with tangible, sensuous, advantages, than the Divine approval.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For they loved the praise of men,.... To be in the esteem of men, to have their applause, and receive honour from them:
more than the praise of God; than either to receive honour from him, and be praised by him, or to praise and glorify him. By confessing Christ they knew they should run the risk of losing their places of honour and profit, and of falling under the disgrace and contempt of men; and therefore they chose rather not to confess Christ, than by so doing to glorify God, and please him, and be praised by him, as all the faithful professors of Christ will be at the last day; for then every such an one will have praise of God, and it will be said, well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of thy Lord.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
43. they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God—"a severe remark, considering that several at least of these persons afterwards boldly confessed Christ. It indicates the displeasure with which God regarded their conduct at this time, and with which He continues to regard similar conduct" [Webster and Wilkinson].
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