Then said Jesus to them, When you have lifted up the Son of man, then shall you know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father has taught me, I speak these things.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Then said Jesus unto them.—Better, There-fore . . . The teaching arises immediately out of the want of understanding just mentioned.
When ye have lifted up the Son of man.—Better, When ye shall have lifted up . . . (Comp. Notes on John 3:14; John 6:62; John 12:32; John 12:34.) Both the Crucifixion and Ascension are implied here. Now. for the first time, they are marked out as the instruments of the Crucifixion (comp. Acts 3:15), and therefore the means by which He will return to His Father’s throne.
Then shall ye know . . .—These words confirm the view that the teaching of these verses arises immediately out of their present ignorance. Then the veil will be removed. Then the death of Christ will be followed by His glory. As we read these words they impress us with that calm of assured certainty with which they are uttered (comp. John 8:12) before the events, and reminds us of the signal way in which they were fulfilled. (Comp., e.g., Notes on Matthew 23:39 and Acts 2:37.)
That I am he.—Comp. Note on John 8:24.
And that I do nothing of myself.—This is dependent on “know that” in the previous clause; as is the remainder of the verse, and probably the first clause of the following verse also. They will then know that He is divine, and that the acts and words which they cannot now understand are part of the divine life in union with the Father. Now they marvel and ask, “How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?” (John 7:15): then they shall know that according as the Father taught Him, He spake these things. Now they cannot understand the witness of the Father (John 8:19): then they shall know that He that sent Him was with Him.John 8:28-29. Then said Jesus, When ye have lifted up the Son of man — From the earth on the cross; and have proceeded so far as to put him to a violent death, then, instead of seeing his cause and interest overborne by that outrageous attempt, shall ye know — By some new and convincing tokens; that I am he — This, doubtless, refers to the prodigies attending his death, his resurrection, and ascension, the effusion of the Holy Spirit upon his disciples, the amazing miracles wrought by the apostles in his name, and the wonderful success which he should give to the gospel through their ministry; and that I do nothing of myself — Nothing by my own authority, separate from that of my Father; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak — I teach such doctrines only as he has commissioned me to declare; and he that sent me is with me — Besides, my Father is always with me to bear his testimony to the truth of what I say, and to support and vindicate me. The Father hath not left me alone — Never from the moment I came into the world, nor will he ever leave me; for I do always those things that please him — I always act agreeably to his will, and faithfully and constantly pursue the important work which he has committed to my trust.John 3:14 note; also John 12:32 note.
The Son of man - See the notes at Matthew 8:19-20.
Then shall ye know - Then shall you have evidence or proof.
That I am he - Am the Messiah, which I have professed to be.
And that I do nothing of myself - That is, you shall have proof that God has sent me; that I am the Messiah; and that God concurs with me and approves my doctrine. This proof was furnished by the miracles that attended the death of Jesus - the earthquake and darkness; but chiefly by his resurrection from the dead, which proved, beyond a doubt, that he was what he affirmed he was - the Messiah.
then shall ye know that I am he, &c.—that is, find out, or have sufficient evidence, how true was all He said, though they would be far from owning it.John 3:14 12:32), and when that time cometh, you shall know that I am the light of the world, as John 8:12; for after that, the gospel began to be preached to all nations: or, that I am the true Messiah, he whom the Father hath sent into the world. Some of you shall then know it by those signs and wonders that shall attend my death and resurrection, and to your shame and confusion: others of you shall know it to your eternal joy and salvation; believing on me then, whom you will not now acknowledge; and that what I have done, I have only done by commission from my Father, not of myself; and that what I have taught, I have had in commission from my Father to teach.
when ye have lift up the son of man; meaning himself, who was to be lifted up upon the cross, as the serpent was upon the pole, in the wilderness; and which signified the manner of death he should die, the death of the cross; and suggested, that what the Jews designed for his reproach, shame, and abasement, would be the way and means of his rise and exaltation; and this lifting him up, or crucifying him, he ascribes to them, because they would deliver him to Pontius Pilate to be condemned, and stir up the people to ask, and be importunate themselves for his crucifixion:
then shall ye know that I am he; the Son of God, and true Messiah, as the centurion, and those that were with him, did, when they observed the earthquake; and the things that were done at his death; and after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, and the pouring forth of his Spirit, many of the Jews had not only a notional, but a true and spiritual knowledge of Jesus, as the Messiah; and upon the destruction of their temple, city, and nation, and their disappointment by false Christs, they doubtless many of them must, and did know, that the true Messiah was come, and that Jesus of Nazareth was he:
and that I do nothing of myself; See Gill on John 5:19;
but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things; this he says not as lessening himself, or making himself inferior to the Father, but to show the excellency of his doctrine, and to assert the original, authority, and divinity of it; suggesting that it was not an human doctrine, or a device of man's, or his own, as man, but was divine, and from God; see John 7:16.Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 8:28-29. Οὖν] not merely “a continuation of the narration” (De Wette), but: therefore, in reference to this non-understanding, as is also confirmed by the words τότε γνώσεσθε, which refer to οὐκ ἔγνωσαν in John 8:27, and, indeed, considered as to its matter, logically correct, seeing that if the Jews had recognised the Messiahship of Jesus, they would also have understood what He said to them of the Father.
ὅταν ὑψώσητε, etc.] when ye shall have lifted up, namely, on to the cross. Comp. on John 3:14, John 6:62. The crucifixion is treated as an act of the Jews, who brought it about, as also in Acts 3:14 f.
τότε-g0- γνώσ-g0-.] Comp. John 12:32, John 6:62. Then will the result follow, which till then you reject, that you will know, etc. Reason: because the death of Jesus is the condition of His δόξα, and of the mighty manifestations thereof (the outpouring of the Spirit; miraculous works of the apostles; building up of the Church; punishment of the Jews; second coming to judgment). Then shall your eyes be opened, which will take place partly with your own will, and still in time (as in Acts 2:36 ff; Acts 4:4; Acts 6:7; Romans 11:11 ff.); partly against your will, and too late (comp. on Matthew 23:39; Luke 13:34 f.). Bengel aptly remarks: “cognoscetis ex re, quod nunc ex verbo non creditis.”
καὶ ἀπʼ ἐμαυτοῦ, etc.] still dependent on ὅτι, and, indeed, as far as μετʼ ἐμοῦ ἐστιν; so that to the universal ποιῶ, the special λαλῶ and the general μετʼ ἐμοῦ ἐστιν (is my helper and support) together correspond. Hence there is no brevity of discourse requiring to be completed by supplying in thought λαλῶ to ποιῶ, and ποιῶ along with λαλῶ (De Wette, after Bengel). Nonnus already took the correct view (he begins John 8:29 with ὅττι καὶ, etc.); and the objection (Lücke, De Wette, and several others) that οὐκ ἀφῆκε, etc. would then stand too disconnected, has no force, since it is just in John that the asyndetic continuation of a discourse is very common, and, in fact, would also be the case here if καὶ ὁ πέμψ. etc. were no longer dependent on ὅτι.
ταῦτα] is arbitrarily and without precedent (Matthew 9:33 cannot be adduced as one) explained as equivalent to οὕτως, from a commingling of two notions. By the demonstrative ταῦτα Jesus means His doctrine generally (comp. John 8:26), with whose presentation He was now occupied. But of this He discoursed in harmony with the instructions received from the Father, i.e. in harmony with the instructions derived from His direct intuition of divine truth with the Father prior to His incarnation. Comp. John 8:38; John 1:18; John 3:13; John 6:46; John 7:16 f.
οὑκ ἀφῆκε, etc.] Independent corroboration of the last thought, negatively expressed on account of His apparent forsakenness in the face of many and powerful enemies. The Praet. refers to the experience felt in every case, during the course of His entire activity, until now (comp. afterwards πάντοτε), not to the point of time when He was sent; the reason afterwards assigned would not be appropriate to this latter reference. Comp. also John 16:32.
ὅτι ἐγὼ, etc.] because I, etc. Reason assigned for the οὐκ ἀφῆκε, etc. How could He ever leave me alone, as I am He who, etc.? (ἐγώ with emphasis). Comp. John 15:10. Olshausen regards οὐκ ἀφῆκε, etc. as the expression of equality of essence, and ὅτι as assigning the ground of His knowledge. The former idea is erroneous, as the meaning of οὐκ ἀφῆκε, etc. is identical with that of μετʼ ἐμοῦ ἐστιν; and the latter would be an inadequate reason, because it relates merely to moral agreement.John 8:28. Therefore (οὖν) Jesus said to them, Ὅταν … εἰμι, “when ye have lifted up the Son of Man, them shall ye know that I am He”. ὑψώσητε has the double reference of elevation on the cross and elevation to the Messianic throne, cf. John 3:14. The people were thus to elevate Him and then they would recognise Him, Acts 2:37, etc.—ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι “that I am He,” i.e., “the Son of Man”. What follows is not dependent on ὅτι (against Meyer, Holtzmann, Westcott); the καὶ ἀπʼ ἐμαυτοῦ begins a new statement, as the present, ποιῶ, shows. The sequence of thought is: ye shall know that I am Messiah: and indeed I now act as such, for of myself I do nothing, but as my Father has taught me, so I speak. This is the present proof that He was Messiah.28. Then said Jesus unto them] Better, as so often (see on John 8:21), Therefore said Jesus, i.e. in consequence of their gross want of perception. ‘Unto them’ is of doubtful authority.
When ye have lifted up] On the Cross: comp. John 3:14 and John 12:32. The Crucifixion was the act of the Jews, as Peter tells them in Solomon’s Porch (Acts 3:13-15).
then shall ye know] Better, then shall ye perceive. It is the same verb as is used in John 8:27, and evidently refers back to that (comp. John 8:43). Had they known the Messiah they would have known His Father also (John 14:9). But when by crucifying Him they have brought about His glory, then and not till then will their eyes be opened. Then will facts force upon them what no words could teach them. Comp. John 12:32.
that I am he] See on John 8:24.
but as my Father hath taught me] Better, but that as My Father taught Me, i.e. before the Incarnation; aorist, not perfect, like ‘heard’ in John 8:26. The construction depending on ‘then shall ye understand’ continues to the end of this verse, and possibly down to ‘is with Me.’John 8:28. Ὑψώσητε, ye shall lift up) on the cross.—τότε) then, not before: 1 Corinthians 2:8, “Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”—γνώσεσθε) ye shall know from the fact, what now ye believe not on the credit of My word; John 8:24, “I said, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.’ We read the event recorded, Matthew 27:54, “When the centurion, and they that were with him, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly and said, Truly this was the Son of God;” Luke 23:47, etc., “All the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts;” Acts 2:41, “Three thousand souls—added” [to the church on Pentecost]; John 21:20, “Thou seest how many thousands of Jews there are, which believe.”—καὶ, and) The connection of the words is this; I am (that which at some time to come ye shall know) and I do nothing of Myself, etc. From this to the end of John 8:29 there are four sentences: The first begins with, and I of Myself; the second with, and He who; the third with, hath not left me; the fourth with, because [for]. Of these the second and third are parallel; and also the first and fourth.—ποιῶ, I do) Understand, and I speak.—καθὼς—ταῦτα, as—these things) A similar mode of expression occurs, Numbers 32:31, ὅσα—οὕτω, whatsoever things [the Lord hath said]—so [will we do].—See Comen. in Didact.—λαλῶ) these things, which I speak, I speak. Understand, and I do. The one is to be supplied from the other.Verse 28. - But when Jesus turns to them again he calls special attention to the main source of their continuous misconception and rejection. Not only is he "the Son," and "the Son of God," but indubitably he is also "the Son of man." He has come down from heaven and is before them as a Man among men - "one Jesus." He has taken upon himself the form of a slave, the fashion of man. That the manifestation of the Divine should be perfectly realized in the human, though a fundamental truth lying at the heart of all revelation, is nevertheless not the alphabet of Divine teaching; nay, it is the very highest and most recondite of all truths. This humbled humanity of the incarnate Logos led on to other issues of enormous significance. The eternal Son in the form of God would become, as "Son of man," obedient unto death. The highest revelation of the Son of God, and therefore of the Father, would be effected by the surrender of that mysterious life of his for the world's behoof. The previous announcements of this truth, which we now see to be the very crown and culmination of the gospel, had greatly offended his hearers of all kinds, and on distinct grounds. In the words that follow a touch of deeper meaning than any which had preceded is supplied when he proceeds to associate this death of the Son of man with the wilful act of the ecclesiastical authorities in Jerusalem. Jesus therefore said (unto them), When ye shall have lifted up the Son of man (compare here notes on John 3:14; 6:62; 12:32). The word ὑψόω is used with the twofold sense of exaltation on the cross" signifying by what death he should glorify God" - and also of the issues of that lifting up by means of the tree of ignoble torment and mortal agony to the throne of glory. The twofold meaning of the word cannot be excluded here. Then ye shall come to know - then the process of proof will be completed - that I am (he) - that I am that which fundamentally I am declaring to you, that my testimonies have unique but trenchant confirmation - and that I am doing nothing from myself, but that even as the Father taught me, (so) these things I speak. The "he that sent me" (ver. 26), is here replaced by "the Father." "The things which I heard from (παρὰ) him" is replaced by "even as the Father taught me," and the ταῦτα λαλῶ are repeated. "The cross and the crown" will be the proof to the most obtuse and bigoted "that I am that which I say I am." The forecast is here given of the conversion of his murderers, the overwhelming effects produced by the resurrection and the ascension of Jesus, and the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:36; Acts 4:4; Acts 6:7; Romans 11:11). Bengel: "Cognoscetis ex re, quod nunc ex verbo non creditis."
See on John 3:14.
Ye shall know (γνώσεσθε)
Render, perceive, here as in John 8:27.
I am He
As in John 8:24, on which see note.
Of myself (ἀπ' ἐμαυτοῦ)
Hath taught (ἐδίδαξεν)
Rev., more correctly, taught. The aorist tense, regarding the teaching as a single act. Compare ἤκουσα, I heard, John 3:32.
I speak these things (παῦτα λαλῶ)
Not equivalent to so I speak (i.e., as the Father taught me), but an absolute declaration with reference to these present revelations.
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