John 7:46
The officers answered, Never man spoke like this man.
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(46) Never man spake like this man.—Some of the oldest MSS., including the Vatican, have a shorter text, “Never man spake thus”; but the longer reading is to be preferred. The very officers acknowledged His power, and tell the professed teachers, whose opinions and words were the rule of all Jewish life, that never man spake as He whom they sought to take! It is probable that in the section immediately preceding (John 7:32-34), St. John gives us only a résumé of what Jesus had said, and that words which have not come down to us were among those which produced so profound an impression on the officers.

7:40-53 The malice of Christ's enemies is always against reason, and sometimes the staying of it cannot be accounted for. Never any man spake with that wisdom, and power, and grace, that convincing clearness, and that sweetness, wherewith Christ spake. Alas, that many, who are for a time restrained, and who speak highly of the word of Jesus, speedily lose their convictions, and go on in their sins! People are foolishly swayed by outward motives in matters of eternal moment, are willing even to be damned for fashion's sake. As the wisdom of God often chooses things which men despise, so the folly of men commonly despises those whom God has chosen. The Lord brings forward his weak and timid disciples, and sometimes uses them to defeat the designs of his enemies.The officers - Those who had been appointed John 7:32 to take him. It seems that Jesus was in the midst of the people addressing them, and that they happened to come at the very time when he was speaking. They were so impressed and awed with what he said that they dared not take him. There have been few instances of eloquence like this. His speaking had so much evidence of truth, so much proof that he was from God, and was so impressive and persuasive, that they were convinced of his innocence, and they dared not touch him to execute their commission. We have here:

1. A remarkable testimony to the commanding eloquence of Jesus.

2. Wicked men may be awed and restrained by the presence of a good man, and by the evidence that he speaks that which is true.

3. God can preserve his friends. Here were men sent for a particular purpose. They were armed with power. They were commissioned by the highest authority of the nation. On the other hand, Jesus was without arms or armies, and without external protection. Yet, in a manner which the officers and the high priests would have little expected, he was preserved. So, in ways which we little expect, God will defend and deliver us when in the midst of danger.

4. No prophet, apostle, or minister has ever spoken the truth with as much power, grace, and beauty as Jesus. It should be ours, therefore, to listen to his words, and to sit at his feet and learn heavenly wisdom.

46. Never man spake like this man—Noble testimony of unsophisticated men! Doubtless they were strangers to the profound intent of Christ's teaching, but there was that in it which by its mysterious grandeur and transparent purity and grace, held them spellbound. No doubt it was of God that they should so feel, that their arm might be paralyzed, as Christ's hour was not yet come; but even in human teaching there has sometimes been felt such a divine power, that men who came to kill them (for example, Rowland Hiss) have confessed to all that they were unmanned. With so much authority, evidence of truth, &c. Yet they did not cordially believe in Christ; being under the power of carnal and worldly affection, which only supernatural special grace could subdue. These were some of those, in whom the prophecy of Christ, Isaiah 11:4, was to be fulfilled—He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. The word of the Lord doth often restrain, astonish, and amaze those on whom it hath no powerful effect to eternal life and salvation. So it was with these poor officers. The officers answered,.... Very honestly and uprightly, making use of no shifts and excuses; as that they could not find him, or could not come at him, because of the multitude about him, or that they were afraid of the people, lest they should rise upon them, and stone them, and rescue Jesus; which would have carried a show of probability, and have brought them off; but they tell the naked truth,

never man spake like this man; not Moses, the spokesman of the people of Israel; nor David, the anointed of the God of Jacob, the sweet Psalmist of Israel; nor Solomon, the wisest of men; nor that sublime and evangelical prophet Isaiah; nor any of the other prophets; nor John Baptist his forerunner, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: never man spoke words for matter like him; such gracious words, or words, and doctrines of grace, which so fully express the grace of God, and are so grateful to men; such as free justification by his righteousness, full pardon by his blood, peace and reconciliation by his sacrifice, the liberty captives from the bondage of sin, Satan, and the law, and spiritual and eternal salvation by him: never man spoke such words of truth, as he who is full of truth, and truth itself did: or such words of wisdom, who is the wisdom of God, on whom the spirit of wisdom rested, and in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; nor such wholesome and salutary words, which nourish up unto eternal life. Nor did ever any speak words for form and manner, as he did; words so apt and pertinent, with such propriety, beauty, and gracefulness, with such majesty and authority, and with such power and efficacy; which at once charmed the ear, affected the heart; carried evidence and conviction with them, enlightened the understanding, and fastened attention to them; which was the case with these men, so that they had not power to execute their commission. He delivered such excellent things, and in such a charming manner, they could not find in their hearts to use any violence towards him; or be the means of bringing him into any trouble or danger. The Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions read, "never man spake as this man speaks".

The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.
John 7:46. The servants frankly reply: οὐδέποτεἄνθρωπος. The testimony is notable, because the officers of a court are apt to be entirely mechanical and leave all responsibility for their actions with their superiors. Also it is remarkable that the same result should have found place with them all; for in view of the divided state of public feeling, probably five or six at least would be sent.46. Never man spake like this man] The reading is doubtful; some of the best MSS. have Never man so spake. Possibly Christ said a good deal more than is recorded by S. John.John 7:46. Ὡς, as) A characteristic of truth, convincing even ordinary unlearned men, rather than their masters. [Not seldom the more untutored come to feel the effectual power of Christ’s word more readily than the most sagacious.—V. g.]Like this man

Some of the best texts omit.

Deceived (πεπλάνησθε)

Rev., led astray. See on John 7:12.

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