|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:30-38 Our Lord returns to his declaration of the entire agreement between the Father and the Son, and declared himself the Son of God. He had higher testimony than that of John; his works bore witness to all he had said. But the Divine word had no abiding-place in their hearts, as they refused to believe in Him whom the Father had sent, according to his ancient promises. The voice of God, accompanied by the power of the Holy Ghost, thus made effectual to the conversion of sinners, still proclaims that this is the beloved Son, in whom the Father is well pleased. But when the hearts of men are full of pride, ambition, and the love of the world, there is no room for the word of God to abide in them.
Verses 33-35. -
(b) The temporary witness of John. Verse 33. - Ye have sent to John, and he hath borne witness to the truth. The sending to John was probably a reference to the official transaction described in John 1:19. This is not the "other" whom he referred to, for in the next clause he made solemn disclaimer of resting his claim upon John or upon any individual man. The witness of the forerunner was a true one. The function of the prophet is to bear witness to the Light, to strip off the veils which hide it, to call attention to its most solemn realities, to quicken vision, to stimulate conscience, to disturb apathy, to discern the coming and prepare the way of the Lord (see John 1:4, 5, notes), He was not the Light; but he did call attention to a testimony immeasurably more precious than any word proceeding merely from human lips. The testimonies of John, both before and after he came into contact with Christ, were very wonderful and were adapted to exert and did produce a deep impression upon the people for a time; but by themselves they would not have given sufficient ratification to the Lord's words. We may welcome still all Johannine, ministerial testamonies to the Lord. but the power of God himself must assert itself to the inner consciousness bet, re any man receives the gospel. No mere human testimony to such claims as these rises to the dignity of the occasion. Unless the Father's witness can be discerned, supreme, convincing, and final, John's witness would be insufficient. It may arrest attention, it may impress the apathetic, it may overawe the gainsayers; but it is not final, nor does it leave the hearers without excuse. All the rhetoric, all the threatening, all the irony, of Elijah would have failed if the fire of the Lord had not fallen to consume the sacrifice.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Ye sent unto John,.... The sanhedrim at Jerusalem made a deputation of priests and Levites to him, to know who he was, whether the Messiah, or Elias, or that prophet, John 1:19. Now had they not looked upon him, from what they knew of him, or from the character they had of him, as a faithful witness, they would never have shown him so much respect, and have been at so much pains, and charge, as to send such a body of men so far unto him, as from Jerusalem to beyond Jordan; which circumstance our Lord improves in favour of this evidence he produces:
and he bare witness unto the truth; to Christ, who is the truth itself; and to the truth of his person, and office; to his dignity, and eternity, as being before him, though coming after him; and to his divine sonship, the thing now in debate, declaring, that he was the Son of God; and to his office, as Mediator, pointing to him as the Lamb of God, who, by his blood, and sacrifice, takes away the sins of men. The Ethiopic version reads by way of interrogation, "did not you send unto John?" &c.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
33-35. Ye sent unto John—(See Joh 1:19, &c.).
receive not testimony … from man—that is, depend not on human testimony.
but … that ye might be saved—"I refer to him merely to aid your salvation."
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