|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:12-16 Christ is the Light of the world. God is light, and Christ is the image of the invisible God. One sun enlightens the whole world; so does one Christ, and there needs no more. What a dark dungeon would the world be without the sun! So would it be without Jesus, by whom light came into the world. Those who follow Christ shall not walk in darkness. They shall not be left without the truths which are necessary to keep them from destroying error, and the directions in the way of duty, necessary to keep them from condemning sin.
Verse 15. - You judge - i.e. you condemn me, you repudiate my claim to be the "Living Water" and the "Light of the world" - after the flesh (κατὰ τὴν σάρκα), according to the outward appearance; you look at my mere humanity. Our Lord did not accuse them of the fleshly, blinded, unjust judgments of unregenerate men. The article τὴν, and not the well known formula κατὰ σάρκα, prevents such an interpretation. He rather reasons and pleads with them. He suggests that they might, if they would, look below the surface of his flesh. Tim evangelist, who reports the substance of this discussion, has written. "The Word was made flesh." So if the incarnate Word had always been judged "after the flesh," we should never have seen his glory, nor recognized the nobler part of his Personality. I judge no man. Numerous efforts have been made to find the underlying modification of this assertion. Augustine, Chrysostom, Cyril, and many moderns add, "after the flesh," or "as you do" (the latter is the suggestion of Lucke, which, as Meyer says, comes to the same thing), or "now," pointing on to the actual assumption of his judiciary powers at the consummation of all things, and contrasting his earthly ministry of mercy with the ultimate majesty of his judgment throne (Westcott). Storr, Moulton, Godet. suggest "I by myself" - I alone, independently of the Father, judge no man. Meyer rejects all these attempts to add to the text, and maintains that our Lord is claiming the lofty position of Saviour rather than Judge. He came with that as his primary aim, purpose, intent; to heal, not to wound; to save, not to destroy; to give time for repentance, not to hurry sinners to their doom; to illumine, not to cover with darkness. Yet even Meyer admits a practical exception of great importance to be involved in the next clause, which does not differ from Westcott's interpretation.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Ye judge after the flesh,.... According to their carnal affections and prejudices; taking the Messiah to be a temporal prince, and his kingdom to be of this world, they judged that Jesus could not be he; they looked upon him as a mere man, and seeing him in much outward meanness, in his human nature, they judged of him according to this outward appearance: or "ye" that are "after the flesh judge"; to which sense the Persic version agrees, "for ye are carnal"; and so judged as carnal men, who are very improper persons to judge of spiritual things:
I judge no man; in the same way, after the flesh, or in a carnal manner, nor according to outward appearances, according to the sight of the eyes, or the hearing of the ears: Christ did not take upon him to judge and determine in civil affairs, or in things pertaining to a court of judicature among men; this was not his province; an instance of this there is in the context, in not condemning the woman brought to him; nor did he judge the persons and states of men, or proceed to pass any sentence of condemnation on them; he came not to condemn, but save the world; this was not his business now; otherwise, all judgment is committed to him, and which he will exercise another day.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15. Ye judge after the flesh—with no spiritual apprehension.
I judge no man.
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