|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:37-40 Our Lord opposed the proud and vain confidence of these Jews, showing that their descent from Abraham could not profit those of a contrary spirit to him. Where the word of God has no place, no good is to be expected; room is left there for all wickedness. A sick person who turns from his physician, and will take neither remedies nor food, is past hope of recovery. The truth both heals and nourishes the hearts of those who receive it. The truth taught by philosophers has not this power and effect, but only the truth of God. Those who claim the privileges of Abraham, must do Abraham's works; must be strangers and sojourners in this world; keep up the worship of God in their families, and always walk before God.
Verse 38. - I speak the things which I have seen with the (my) Father: and do you therefore the things which ye heard from the (your) father; or, and you therefore do the things which ye heard from your father. We need not, with Meyer, limit the Lord's vision of the Divine things which he saw with the Father to his premundane Personality. He describes himself in constant communion with the Father. The Father is with him. He knows the mind and will and good pleasure of the Father. His is the perfectly pure heart, which is as an eye forevermore beholding the Father. That the Only Begotten sees and knows what no other sees, is constantly taught in this Gospel (see John 3:32; John 6:46). In Christ, moreover, the disciple may verily see the Father (John 14:7, 9; 1 John 2:23). The probable textual reading given above would draw a species of contrast between Christ's "seeing" (παρὰ τῷ) with the Father, and the Jews' "hearing" (παρὰ τοῦ) from the Father, as though such communication were less intimate than "seeing." This must not be pressed (see ver. 40). If the ποιεῖτε be imperative, the language would be an appeal to the Jews to act out that which, from prophets and teachers and interpreters of the Divine will, they had heard. Moulton treats the clause as one more, one last, exhortation. The word of Christ had not advanced within them - it remained as a barren formula; let them give it free course now. Their opposition had not as yet been malignant or hopeless; one more chance is given them. The more ordinary interpretation is to make the ποιεῖτε indicative. If it be so, and still more if the ὑμῶν (omitted by B, L, P) be genuine, "the father" to whom reference is made as theirs, is in contrast with the Father of Christ, and, without pointedly saying so, Jesus implies that it is another father altogether. In ver. 44 Christ does indeed declare that the father with whom they are in ethical relation and sympathy is not God, but the devil - the very opposite of the God of Abraham, the very antithesis of the Father of infinite love. At this point he simply suggests, "Therefore the things which ye heard from your father ye do," ye habitually do, ye are now doing in your hatred and murderous sentiments towards myself. Surely this implies a severity which is hardly compatible with an address to Jews who believed him. The interpretation of the following verse is governed by that of this.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I speak that which I have seen with my Father,.... This is an aggravation of the sin of the Jews, in seeking to kill Christ, on account of his doctrine, since it was not his own, but his Father's; was not merely human, but divine; was what he the only begotten Son, that lay in the bosom of his Father, had seen in his heart, in his purposes, and decrees, in his council, and covenant, and so was clear, complete, certain, and to be depended on:
and ye do that which ye have seen with your father; meaning the devil, whom, though they had not scan with their eyes, nor any of his personal actions; yet acted so much under his influence, and according to his will, as if they had close and intimate consultation with him, and took their plan of operation from him, and had him continually before them, as their example and pattern, to copy after. The Ethiopic version reads, "what ye have heard"; and so it is read in three of Beza's copies, and in three of Stephens's.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
38. my Father … your father—(See on Joh 8:23).
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