And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And this he said to prove him.—This gives us a glimpse into the educational method of the great Teacher. There is for Him no difficulty. He of Himself knows what He is about to do. But Philip had, we may think, been present at Cana of Galilee, and had seen the wine multiplied to supply the needs of all. Other signs had spoken to the eye, and a fuller teaching had spoken to the ear. How far had either spoken to the spirit? He had felt the Divine Presence in separate instances. Had he realised it as a law of life, holding for every need that could arise? The student has learnt individual facts, but has he laid hold of the principle which underlies them? The one is from without, and depends upon the teacher; the other is from within, and is the true education of the man himself. He has been taught; he is now to be examined.
for he himself knew what he would do; Christ had determined to work a miracle, and feed the large number of people that were with him, with that small provision they had among them; and being God omniscient, he knew that he was able to do it, and that he was determined to do it, and it would be done; but he was willing first to try the faith of his apostles.And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)6. to prove him] This need not mean more than to try whether he could suggest any way out of the difficulty; but the more probable meaning is to test his faith, to try what impression Christ’s words and works have made upon him.
he himself] without suggestions from others.
would do] Or, was about to do.Verse 6. - This he said to test him; but it is doubtful whether more is involved than an endeavour to entice from Philip the answer of faith, such e.g., as "Lord, all things are possible to thee." Philip of Bethsaida was, moreover, in all probability, present at the wedding feast at Cans, and might have anticipated some such sign of the resources of his Lord. The other hints of Philip's character are severally consistent with this. Philip had said in the first instance to Nathanael, "Come and see." "Seeing is believing;" and Philip, on the night of the Passion, after much hearing and seeing of Jesus, said, "Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us;" for he had even then not risen to the loftiness of the perception that the Father had been and was being revealed in Christ's own life (ch. 14.). Philip's personal acquaintance with the immediate vicinity is more likely to be the reason of his being put to this proof; while the tact of the inquiry as addressed to him is an undesigned note of the identity of the Johannine Christ with that portrayed by the synoptists. Bengel's suggestion, that Philip was entrusted with the commissariat of the twelve, is hardly consistent with the fact that Judas kept the common purse. We are expressly told that Jesus did not put the question in consequence of any deficiency of knowledge or resources on his own part, but to test the character and tone of Philip's mind. He himself knew what he was about to do. Thus, by a slight touch, we see the blending of the distinctly human with the consciously Divine elements of that unique personality of his. There were to his Divine consciousness no gaps of reality, but he so threw himself into human conditions that he could ask the question and pass through the experience of a man. The whole kenotic controversy is, of course, involved in the solution of the problem offered by this verse. Perhaps no greater difficulty is involved in imagining the union of the Divine and human in one personality, in which at times the Ego is the Son of God and at other times purely the Son of man, than there is in the blending of the flesh and spirit in the Divine life of our own experience. John saw this, felt this, when the question was addressed to Philip. He saw by intuitive glance, as on so many other occasions, what Christ "knew" absolutely (ἤδει) or came to know by experience and observation (John 4:1; John 16:19). The "trial," not the "temptation," of Philip was obvious in the form and tone of the question. The use of the word πειράζων shows that it frequently means "test," "prove," as well as "tempt." If God tempts, it is with the beneficent intention of encouraging the tempted one to succeed, to resist the allurement, to show and prove his power to bear a more serious assault. If the devil tempts (πειράζει), it is with the hope of inducing the sufferer to yield and fail.
Literally, proving. See on Matthew 6:13. Wyc., tempting.
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