|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:21-29 Those that live in unbelief, are for ever undone, if they die in unbelief. The Jews belonged to this present evil world, but Jesus was of a heavenly and Divine nature, so that his doctrine, kingdom, and blessings, would not suit their taste. But the curse of the law is done away to all that submit to the grace of the gospel. Nothing but the doctrine of Christ's grace will be an argument powerful enough, and none but the Spirit of Christ's grace will be an agent powerful enough, to turn us from sin to God; and that Spirit is given, and that doctrine is given, to work upon those only who believe in Christ. Some say, Who is this Jesus? They allow him to have been a Prophet, an excellent Teacher, and even more than a creature; but cannot acknowledge him as over all, God blessed for evermore. Will not this suffice? Jesus here answers the question. Is this to honour him as the Father? Does this admit his being the Light of the world, and the Life of men, one with the Father? All shall know by their conversion, or in their condemnation, that he always spake and did what pleased the Father, even when he claimed the highest honours to himself.
Verse 27. - They understood (perceived) not that he spake to them of the Father. This difficult parenthesis of the evangelist calls attention to the fact that, during the immediately preceding discourse and controversy, Jesus had dropped his references to the Father, and had used the periphrasis, "he that sent me," probably suggesting to this strangely excited populace, fed with weird fancies and wild expectations, that the mysterious Being with whom they were conversing was but the Delegate of One mightier than he, who was hidden in the secret place of God's providence until the hour of his own manifestation should appear to have struck. They might have remembered the utter deference which the great prophet John had displayed before a Messiah whom as yet they knew not. They may have heard that even John himself, at a later date, sent from the prison two of his disciples to propound the query, "Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?" in other words, "Art thou the final Manifestation of all that I have predicted and believed? or is another to make his appearance with fire and axe and available force to compel obedience and to secure universal homage?" It is more than probable that the evangelist, being personally alive to the cross currents of passion, enthusiasm, and hostility which were at work in the hearts of the populace, saw by the very blankness and confusion on their faces, and the "asides" of the multitude, that they had not perceived that Jesus was throughout in these references speaking of the Father of all - the supreme Source of all power, the Lord of hosts. Even when he had said, "Ye have not known me, nor my Father," they had not risen to such a conception of the Lord's meaning as to suppose that the supreme Father himself was being suggested to them and cited as the corroborative Witness, as the supernatural Aid and Divine Presence which was giving validity to all that Christ has said about himself. Their ignorance and lack of perception need not astonish us when we reflect upon the obscurity and non-receptivity of the apostles themselves, and the like obtuseness of theologians and cultivated men of the world in every age from that day to this. The remark is, moreover, added doubtless to interpret the following verses, in which the ideas of ver. 26 are repeated, with the difference that, whereas he had already spoken of him that sent him, and who had authorized his words and judgments, Jesus now gives to him the beloved name of "the Father."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
They understood not that he spake to them of the Father. That sent him, and who was true and faithful to all he had said, whether in a way of promise, or threatening; such was their stupidity, that they did not know that he meant God the Father by him that sent him, so deriving his mission and doctrine from him; their hearts were made fat, and hardened, and their eyes were blinded. The Vulgate Latin version reads, "they did not know that he said, God was his Father"; and so Beza's most ancient copy, and another exemplar of his.
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