And you have not his word abiding in you: for whom he has sent, him you believe not.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Abiding in you.—This striking thought of the word taking up its abode in the mind, and forming the mind in which it dwells, meets us only in St. John. (Comp. John 15:7; 1John 2:14; 1John 2:24; 1John 3:9; 1John 3:17; and Note on John 6:36.) They had, indeed, the word of God, but they had it not as a power ever living in them. They locked it up with sacred care in ark and synagogue, but it found no home in their inmost life, and had no real power on their practice. They could take it up and put it down. It was something outside themselves. Had it been in them, it would have produced in them a moral consciousness, which would have accepted, as of the same nature with itself, every fuller revelation from God. Their own spirits, moulded by the word of God dwelling in them, would have received the Word of God now among them. (Comp. Excursus A: Doctrine of the Word.) The fact that they believed not Him whom God sent (not “hath sent”) was itself the proof that they had not the abiding word.
1. They had not obeyed the command of God.
2. They had not regarded his manifestations, either in the times of the old dispensation, or now through the Messiah.
3. They did not yield to what he had said in the revelation of the Old Testament.
For whom he hath sent - God had foretold that the Messiah would come. He had now given evidence that Jesus was he; but now they rejected him, and this was proof that they did not regard the word of God.John 8:37; it was unto them as a tale told; they received the sound of it, but it was not graven in their hearts. And this appeared, because as of themselves they had no intimacy of communion with God to know his mind; so, when the Son was sent out of the bosom of the Father to reveal God unto them, yet they would not receive him, so as to give any steady, fixed assent to what he revealed, and to yield him any just and true obedience.
for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not; meaning himself; for if they had had either a due regard to the sacred oracles, or to that voice from heaven at his baptism, they would have received and embraced him as the Messiah, and sent of God, and not have disbelieved and rejected him, as now they did.And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 5:38. At the end of John 5:37 we must place only a comma. John might have continued: οὔτε τὸν λόγον, κ.τ.λ.; instead of which he attaches the negation not to the particle, but to the verb (οὔτε … καὶ, see on John 4:11), and thus the new thought comes in more independently: And ye have not His word abiding in you; ye lack an inner and permanent appropriation of it; comp. 1 John 2:14. The λόγος θεοῦ is not “the inner revelation of God in the conscience” (Olshausen, Frommann), but, conformably with the context (John 5:37; John 5:39), what God has spoken in the O. T., and this according to its purport. Had they given ear to this as, what it is in truth, the word of God (but they had no ear for God’s voice, John 5:37), had they discerned therein God’s manifestation of Himself (but they had no eye for God’s form, John 5:37), what God had spoken would have penetrated through the spiritual ear and eye into the heart, and would have become the abiding power of their inner life.
ὅτι ὃν ἀπέστειλεν, κ.τ.λ.] demonstration of the fact. He who rejects the sent of God cannot have that word abiding in him, which witnesses to Him who is sent (John 5:37). “Quomodo mandata regis discet qui legatum excludit?” Grotius.
τούτῳ ὑμεῖς] observe the emphasis in the position of the words here.John 5:38. καὶ τὸν λόγον … you have not heard His voice—as you have heard mine (John 5:25)—and His word which you have heard, and which has been coming to you through all these centuries, you do not admit to an abiding and influential place within you.—τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ is God’s revelation, which the Jews were conscious they had received; but though the word of God had come to them, they did not have it “abiding in” them; cf. 1 John 3:15; a phrase which in John denotes permanent possession and abiding influence. God’s message does no good until it inwardly possesses those to whom it comes. The proof that the Jews had not thus received it is: ὅτι ὃν ἀπέστειλεν … “whom God hath sent, Him ye believe not”. Had the revelation or word of God in law and prophets possessed them, they would inevitably have recognised Jesus as from the same source, and as the consummation of the message, the fulfilment of the promise. Not that the Jews held their Scriptures in no esteem, no, (John 5:39), ἐρευνᾶτε τὰς γραφάς; the indicative is to be preferred, “Ye search the Scriptures”; the reason being ὅτι ὑμεῖς δοκεῖτε ἐν αὐταῖς ζωὴν αἰώνιον ἔχειν, “because you suppose that in them you have life eternal”—already it is hinted, by the emphatic ὑμεῖς implicitly opposed to a contrasted ἐγώ, and by the emphatic ἐν αὐταῖς suggesting another source, that eternal life was not to be had in the Scriptures, but in something else. But it is of me these Scriptures themselves into which you search testify. καὶ ἐκεῖναι … ἐμοῦ. “They testify that in me is life eternal; and yet you will not come to me that you may have life.”38. And ye have not his word] ‘And hence it is that ye have no inner appropriation of the word’—seeing that ye have never received it either by hearing or vision. ‘His word’ is not a fresh testimony different from the ‘voice’ and ‘shape:’ all refer to the same thing,—the testimony of Scripture to the Messiah.
for whom he hath sent] Better, because whom He sent. This is the proof of the previous negation: one who had the word abiding in his heart could not reject Him to whom that word bears witness. Comp. 1 John 2:14; 1 John 2:24.John 5:38. Ὅτι, because) Therefore, those who believe, in hearing the Son, hear the Father; ch. John 6:45, “Every man that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto Me;” and in seeing the Son they see the Father; ch. John 14:9, [Jesus to Philip] “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father” and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” although previously they had not heard nor seen Him: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him;” and they have abiding in them the Word of the Father, which is the same as the Word of the Son.Verse 38. - And further, you have not his Word (ΤΟΝ ΛΟΓΟΝ ΑΥΤΟΥ) abiding in you. The Word of the Father (for the αὐτου refers to the Father), i.e. the full expression of the Father's heart, was sounding through the voice of the Son of God, and might have entered into and become an abiding power in their inmost conscience and their spiritual life; but they had not received the "Word" of the Lord through the "Voice" of the Lord. The reason given is, Because him whom he (the Father) sent, him (this One) ye believe not. In other words, "Your lack of faith in me accounts for your perverse misconception, for your inability to see and hear all that there is of the Father's personal testimony to me." Some suspect a petitio principii in this argument, but the reasoning seems to be this; there is abundant evidence, corroboration, and cooperative glory, affirming the truth of all that Christ has said about himself as the Source of life and Judge of man; but the moral susceptibility of his hearers is paralyzed, and their faith in the most fundamental facts of their own experience is at fault. They seem impervious, not only to Christ's Word, but to the corroborative testimonies themselves.
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