Jesus answered and said to them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know from where I came, and where I go…
Is this not in conflict with John 5:22, and with the whole tenor of the New Testament, viz., that Christ is the present and final Judge of all men? No. Christ was indeed Judge; but there were some manner of judgments which He never exercised, and had no commission to execute; for He did all His Father's will.
1. Christ usurps no man's jurisdiction; that were against justice.
2. Christ imputes no false things to any man; that were against charity.
3. Christ induces no man to desperation; that were against faith: and against justice, charity, and faith, Christ judges not. Christ, then, judgeth not —
I. IN SECULAR JUDGMENTS.
1. In civil matters (Luke 12:13).
2. In criminal matters (ver. 11). When Christ says this, may we not ask of His pretended vicar, "Who made you judge of kings that you should depose them? or proprietary of kingdoms that you should dispose of them?" If he says, Christ; did He it in His doctrine? If so, where? Did He do it by His example? Yes, when He whipped the traders out of the Temple and destroyed the herd of swine. But these were miracles; and though it might seem half a miracle that a bishop should exercise so much authority, yet when we see his means, massacres, assassinations, etc., we reply that miracles are without means.
II. BY CALUMNY, as did the Pharisees when they judged Him.
1. Calumny is —
(a) To lay a false imputation.
(b) To aggravate a just imputation with unnecessary circumstances.
(c) To reveal a secret fault when not bound by duty.
(a) To deny expressly some good in another.
(b) To smother it in silence when our testimony is due.
(c) To diminish his good parts.
2. These Pharisees calumniated Jesus with the bitterest of all calumny — scorn and derision.
3. Since Christ, then, judges no man as they did, judge not you.
(1) "Judge not, that ye be not judged" — i.e., when you see God's judgments fall upon a man, do not judge that he sinned more than others, or that his father sinned and not yours.
(2) Especially speak not evil of the deaf that hear not (Leviticus 19:14) — i.e., calumniate not him who is absent and cannot defend himself. It is the devil's office to be the accuser of the brethren.
(3) Always remember David's case, who judged more severely than the law admitted, which we do when in a passion. But Christ judges no man; for Christ is love, and love thinks no evil.
III. SO AS TO GIVE A FINAL CONDEMNATION HERE. There is a verdict against every man in the law, the consequence of which men might well despair; but before judgment, God would have every man saved by the application of the promises of the gospel (John 3:17). Do not, therefore, give malicious evidence against thyself; do not weaken the merit or lessen the value of the Saviour's blood, as though thy sin were greater than it. Can God desire thy blood now, when He hath abundantly satisfied His justice with the blood of His Son for thee?
(J. Donne, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.