|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:28-33 Here is a plain declaration of Christ's coming from the Father, and his return to him. The Redeemer, in his entrance, was God manifest in the flesh, and in his departure was received up into glory. By this saying the disciples improved in knowledge. Also in faith; Now are we sure. Alas! they knew not their own weakness. The Divine nature did not desert the human nature, but supported it, and put comfort and value into Christ's sufferings. And while we have God's favourable presence, we are happy, and ought to be easy, though all the world forsake us. Peace in Christ is the only true peace, in him alone believers have it. Through him we have peace with God, and so in him we have peace in our own minds. We ought to be encouraged, because Christ has overcome the world before us. But while we think we stand, let us take heed lest we fall. We know not how we should act if brought into temptation; let us watch and pray without ceasing, that we may not be left to ourselves.
Verse 31. - Jesus answered them, Now, at this stage in my self-revelation, do ye believe? It seems as though the whole of Christ's ministry turns on their acceptance of his claims. If he should pass from the world and return to the Father, and leave behind him none who had discovered and become intensely convinced of his Divine nature, the whole work he had done would be, humanly speaking, a failure. An almost womanlike passion of desire breathes through the inquiry, "Do ye now believe?" or, as some commentators (Gorier and Meyer) translate it indicatively, "Now ye believe." There is truly no essential difference whether it be taken interrogatively or indicatively. Both forms mean, "I have at length brought you to the point of faith. The kingdom of God is now established, and the prince of this world cast out. But a terrible trial awaits the new-born faith." Christ had warned them of the treachery of the absent one, of the approaching denial of the foremost of their number, and he now gives them another warning of the severity of the trial which awaited them all. The power and permanence of their faith may be open to doubt, but not its essential quality. Their faith may not stand firm on that awful night, but it will ultimately prevail, and Christ rejoices in the fact that his words have at last evoked this genuine response. In the prayer which follows (John 17:8) he thanks God "that they have known verily that I came forth from thee, and have believed that thou hast sent me."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Jesus answered them, do ye now believe? Not as calling their faith in question; or as denying they had any; or as despising it for the smallness of it; but as reproving them for their security, vain confidence and boasting, as if their faith was so very strong that it would never be moved; and perhaps for the lateness of it too: the words may be read affirmatively, without an interrogation, "ye do believe now"; they are in the Syriac and Arabic versions read imperatively, "believe ye now". Though the "now" is left out by the former, which is not to be spared, for the emphasis lies on it; and a regard seems to be had both to time past and to come. The words carry in them a tacit reproof, that they believed no sooner, or were not before this time more established in their faith, when he had been so long with them, and they had heard so many discourses from him, and had seen so many miracles wrought by him: however, it was not too late, and they would do well to go on believing; but it is suggested to them they would meet with something that would try their faith: and it is as if Christ had said, ye believe in me now, while I am with you, and all things go according to your mind; but what will you do anon, when I shall be taken from you, be apprehended by mine enemies, be delivered into the hands of the Gentiles, be crucified, die, and be laid in the grave? will ye believe then? one of you will betray me, another deny me, and all will forsake me, and some express their doubts about me.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
31-33. Jesus answered … Do ye now believe?—that is, "It is well ye do, for it is soon to be tested, and in a way ye little expect."
the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone; and yet I am not alone—A deep and awful sense of wrong experienced is certainly expressed here, but how lovingly! That He was not to be utterly deserted, that there was One who would not forsake Him, was to Him matter of ineffable support and consolation; but that He should be without all human countenance and cheer, who as Man was exquisitely sensitive to the law of sympathy, would fill themselves with as much shame, when they afterwards recurred to it, as the Redeemer's heart in His hour of need with pungent sorrow. "I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none" (Ps 69:20).
because the Father is with me—how near, and with what sustaining power, who can express?
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