But now you seek to kill me, a man that has told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)But now ye seek to kill me—i.e., As a matter of fact, in opposition to the conduct which would characterise the true children of Abraham, ye are seeking to kill Me. (Comp. Note on John 8:37.)
A man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard (better, which I heard) from God.—The term “a man,” expresses His revelation, by means of human form, of the divine truth which He heard in the pre-human state (John 8:38). The crime of seeking to kill Him is aggravated by the fact that He was One who came to tell them truth, and that from God. They seek to destroy the human life which for the sake of humanity He has assumed.
This did not Abraham.—It is usual to explain these words by a reference to Abraham’s receptivity of the divine truth and messengers (see Genesis 12; Genesis 14; Genesis 18; Genesis 22); but they probably point to the whole course of the patriarchal life as directly opposed to the spirit of those who claim to be his children.John 8:37.
This did not Abraham - Or such things Abraham did not do. There are two things noted here in which they differed from Abraham:
1. In seeking to kill him, or in possessing a murderous and bloody purpose.
2. In rejecting the truth as God revealed it. Abraham was distinguished for love to man as well as God. He liberated the captives Genesis 14:14-16; was distinguished for hospitality to strangers Genesis 18:1-8; and received the revelations of God to him, however mysterious, or however trying their observance, Genesis 12:1-4; Genesis 15:4-6; 22. It was for these things that he is so much commended in the New Testament Romans 4:9; Romans 9:9; Galatians 3:6; and, as the Jews sought to kill Jesus instead of treating him hospitably and kindly, they showed that they had none of the spirit of Abraham.
a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God; to seek to kill a man is a very great crime, and punishable with death; to kill an innocent one, that had done no sin, who was pure, holy, harmless, and inoffensive to God and man, was an aggravation of the iniquity; and to kill a prophet, and one more than a prophet, who brought a revelation from God himself, and declared the whole truth of the Gospel, and particularly that of his divine, eternal sonship, which incensed them against him, and put them upon seeking to take away his life, still increased the sin.
This did not Abraham: the sense is not, that Abraham did not tell the truth he had heard of God; for he did instruct, and command his children after him, to walk in the ways of the Lord, which he had learned from him; but that Abraham did not reject any truth that was revealed unto him, and much less seek to take away the life of any person that brought it to him; and indeed not the life of any man that deserved not to die: and our Lord suggests, that if he had been on the spot now, he would not have done as these his posterity did, since he saw his day by faith, and rejoiced in the foresight of it, John 8:56. The Jew (o) makes an objection from these words against the deity of Christ;
"you see (says he) that Jesus declares concerning himself that he is not God, but man; and so says Paul concerning him, Romans 5:15; and so Jesus, in many places, calls himself the son of man: for do we find in any place that he calls himself God, as the Nazarenes believe.''
To which may be replied, that Jesus does not declare in these words, nor in any other place, that he is not God; he says no such thing; he only observes, that he was a man, as he really was: nor is his being man any contradiction to his being God; for he is both God and man; and so those that believe in him affirm: and though Christ does not in express terms call himself God, yet he owned himself to be the Son of God, Mark 14:61, and said such things of himself, as manifestly declared him to be God; and upon account of which the Jews concluded, that he not only made himself equal with God, but that he made himself God, John 5:17. Besides, he suffered himself to be called God by a disciple of his, which he would never have done, had he not been really and truly God, John 20:28; yea, he seems to call himself so, when being tempted by Satan, he observed to him what is written, "thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God", Matthew 4:7. The reason why he so often calls himself the son of man is, because it was more suitable to him in his state of humiliation; and indeed, there was no need for him to assert his deity in express words, since his works and miracles most clearly proved that he was God: and as for the Apostle Paul, though he sometimes speaks of him as a man, he also says of him, that he is God over all, blessed for ever; and calls him the great God, and our Saviour, and God manifest in the flesh, Romans 9:5.But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)40. ‘On the contrary, ye seek to commit murder, and a murder of the most heinous kind. Ye would kill One who hath spoken unto you the truth, truth which He learnt from God.’
a man that hath told you] This pointed insertion of ‘man’ possibly looks forward to John 8:44, where they are called the children of the great man-slayer, lusting like him for blood. The Lord nowhere else uses this term of Himself.
this did not Abraham] A litotes or understatement of the truth. Abraham’s life was utterly unlike the whole tenour of theirs. What could there be in common between ‘the Friend of God’ (James 2:23) and the enemies of God’s Son?John 8:40. Ἀποκτεῖναι, ἄνθρωπον, to kill, a man) Jesus is wont to entitle Himself the Son of Man; but in this passage, He calls Himself a man: for to this passage corresponds the fact, that at John 8:44 He calls the devil a man-slayer [ἀνθρωποκτόνος, a murderer of man]. Therefore the word who seems best to be referred to the me, rather than to a man.—τὴν ἀλήθειαν, the truth) which is precious, as well as otherwise unknown to men, and hated by you. Often the truth and the life are joined, as also a lie and death. The former are peculiar to Christ and believers; the latter, to the devil and the ungodly; John 8:44, “Ye are of your father the devil,” etc. “He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own.”—οὐκ, not this) but what was altogether different, and worthy of a lover of the Christ. See below, John 8:56, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day,” etc.Verse 40. - But now, as things are, ye are seeking - plotting, contriving, in subtle ways and by false charges - to kill me. The entire discourse is made more obvious by our Lord's discovery of the plot of the last few days, and by his allowing his friends and opponents to know that he had penetrated the thin, subtle disguise under which this murderous plan was veiled. The excitement produced by this bold charge among his own true disciples, and those who now for the first time heard of it, by our Lord's then and there lifting the veil from many a specious question; the look of guilt on the countenances of some, of truculent admission of the charge in the gesture of others; the loud murmurs and confused cries of the crowd, - must all be realized to apprehend the tremendous crisis which had now arrived. He aggravated the charge by describing himself as a man who hath declared to you the truth which I heard from God. This is the only place where the Lord speaks of himself as "a man" (cf. Acts 17:31; 1 Timothy 2:5). He here describes himself as One who is subject and liable to their murderous passion - a man, seeing that his eternal Personality has been presented to his antagonists in the form of man. His manhood was the link of relation between the God who sent him, taught him, surrounded and enveloped him, and the consciousness of his hearers. This is the highest representation of the very conception of a Divine commission and a Divine message. They were seeking to stamp out a Divine fire, to drown a heavenly voice, to refuse and trample upon a sacred Messenger. This did not Abraham. The father of the faithful was susceptible to the heavenly voice, he heard and obeyed the voice of Jehovah with childlike docility (Genesis 12, 14, 18, 22.). The visions, the commands, the messengers, the manifestations, of God to Abraham were so readily accepted that his faith is a proverb, and his greatest name is "friend of God." The wilful, hurried, malicious treatment of both the Divine Messenger and the sacred message, both of which Jesus declared to have come directly from God, proves the lack of relation with the Life of Abraham. They might be Abraham's "seed" (σπέρμα) but not his (τέκνα) children, and he in this sense could not be their "father."
Used only here by the Lord of Himself. To this corresponds His calling the Devil a manslayer at John 8:44. Perhaps, too, as Westcott remarks, it may suggest the idea of the human sympathy which, as a man, He was entitled to claim from them.
This did not Abraham
In the oriental traditions Abraham is spoken of as "full of loving-kindness."
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