|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:44-50 Our Lord publicly proclaimed, that every one who believed on him, as his true disciple, did not believe on him only, but on the Father who sent him. Beholding in Jesus the glory of the Father, we learn to obey, love, and trust in him. By daily looking to Him, who came a Light into the world, we are more and more freed from the darkness of ignorance, error, sin, and misery; we learn that the command of God our Saviour is everlasting life. But the same word will seal the condemnation of all who despise it, or neglect it.
Verse 47. - If any one shall have heard my sayings, and have (guarded) kept them not. Here our Lord passes from the effect of his earthly life, which is light, to that of the words (ῤημάτα) by which the whole future of mankind will be affected, and one is reminded of the close of the sermon on the mount, where the condition of that man is portrayed who hears the λόγους of Christ and doeth them net, whose destiny will be determined by the natural course of things (see Matthew 7:26, 27). Keep (guard) them not (see Matthew 19:20). The "hearing" is clearly not identical with spiritual acceptance, but is restricted to the awful charge of responsibility that comes upon every man who simply hears, knows what Christ's words are, and then "keeps" them not so as to fulfill their intention. Christ says, I judge him not. I am not now pronouncing a sentence upon him; I am his Savior; but this is his condemnation, that he believes not, etc. (John 3:17-19). Our Lord claimed, in the sermon on the mount, to be the Executor of a judgment, and in John 5:22-29 he declared that he would be as Son of man, the final Adjudicator of doom on the disobedient (cf. Matthew 25.), and in many places he made this thought even more solemn by speaking of himself on that occasion, not as the compassionate Savior, but the Administrator of an inviolable law, which cannot be swayed by immediate emotion, but will effectuate itself on eternal and unswerving principles. The Law accuses the old Law (John 5:45) - but I judge him not; for I came (η΅λθον) not to judge, but to save the world, referring to the Incarnation in its purport and supreme motive.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And if any man hear my words and believe not,.... Men may hear the Gospel of Christ, and not understand it; and they may understand it literally and grammatically, though not spiritually and experimentally, and not believe it; not so much as give credit or an assent to the truth of it, but reject and deny it; for though faith comes by hearing to some, it does not come to all: some receive no profit by hearing it, because it is not mixed with faith by them. The Alexandrian copy, and all the Oriental versions, and also Nonnus, read the last clause thus, "and keep them not"; or does not observe them, is negligent of them, and shows no regard, and yields not the obedience of faith to them; the sense is the same.
I judge him not; I do not accuse him to the Father, nor do I condemn him, nor shall I take vengeance on him for so doing; meaning, that he should do none of these things now, though hereafter he will be a swift witness against him, and will convict and condemn him, and pass sentence on him, and execute it:
for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. Christ, at his first coming, came not under the character of a judge, but a Saviour; wherefore suitable to his character, and the end of his coming, he would not accuse, condemn, or judge any man, even the greatest unbelievers in him, and despisers of him, but would leave them to another day, when righteous judgment shall take place.
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