|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:40-53 The malice of Christ's enemies is always against reason, and sometimes the staying of it cannot be accounted for. Never any man spake with that wisdom, and power, and grace, that convincing clearness, and that sweetness, wherewith Christ spake. Alas, that many, who are for a time restrained, and who speak highly of the word of Jesus, speedily lose their convictions, and go on in their sins! People are foolishly swayed by outward motives in matters of eternal moment, are willing even to be damned for fashion's sake. As the wisdom of God often chooses things which men despise, so the folly of men commonly despises those whom God has chosen. The Lord brings forward his weak and timid disciples, and sometimes uses them to defeat the designs of his enemies.
Verse 48. - Hath any one of the rulers believed on him, or of the Pharisees? They soon find they have reckoned on the emphatic negative of the query (μή τις;) too soon. There is, however, a touch of weakness in the question. They seem to say, if one of the rulers, one of the Pharisees, had taken a different course, there might be some colour for the pusillanimity of the officers. The question which they put, thus expecting a negative answer, might be answered differently. There were Pharisees who had shown some sympathy with Jesus. Certain steps, moreover, taken by him were not so hopelessly hostile to their own views. In their momentary animosity, blinded by passion, they are ready to ignore this and other facts as well. Some of the higher classes in Galilee had already admitted his claims (see John 4:46; Luke 7:36, etc.). The language of the Pharisees has been a stock objection to every great spiritual movement in its beginning. The writer thus reveals a knowledge of proceedings to which he must have had some exceptional means of access. The obvious familiarity which he suggests with Nicodemus and with friends in the high priest's palace (ch. 18:15) is the simplest explanation.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Have any of the rulers,.... In the sanhedrim, or of the synagogues; or the civil magistrates, the noble, rich, and wealthy:
or of the Pharisees, believed on him; men famous for wisdom, learning, and holiness. It must be owned, there were but very few of this sort, and perhaps not an instance of this kind had as yet occurred to them; there was Nicodemus, who is mentioned in the context, who was both a ruler and a Pharisee; and Joseph of Arimathea, a rich counsellor; but they neither of them openly showed themselves to be the disciples of Christ till his death: and besides these, there were some women, as Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, Susanna, and some other women, who ministered to him of their substance; but the far greater part of his followers were poor and illiterate: and this has been the common case of those that have believed in Jesus, for the most part, ever since, and therefore should not be a stumbling to any. God is pleased to hide the great things of the Gospel from the wise and prudent, the rich and noble, and preach and reveal them to the poor and foolish: nor is a doctrine a whit the truer for being espoused by the rich, and wise men of this world, but rather to be suspected on that account.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
48. any of the rulers or … Pharisees believed—"Many of them" did, including Nicodemus and Joseph, but not one of these had openly "confessed Him" (Joh 12:42), and this appeal must have stung such of them as heard it to the quick.
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