In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink.…
I. GENERALLY SERVES TO ELICIT THE MOST IMPORTANT TESTIMONY IN ITS BEHALF. The officers could have no possible interest in Christ, but were, if anything, prejudiced against Him. Hence their testimony was disinterested. It was —
1. To the justice of His claims as a Divine messenger. Unless aided by Divine influence, there was the difficulty the Jews themselves started (ver. 15).
2. To the earnest persuasiveness of His manner. He spoke the truth, but in love. He concealed nothing to soften prejudice, but clothed warnings, etc., so as to win conviction (ver. 46).
3. To the force of His reasoning on conscience. What but this could have induced the officers to risk disapproval?
II. GENERALLY IGNORES MAN'S RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIS BELIEF (ver. 48). We are told that we are not competent to judge for ourselves, and therefore should believe what our superiors bid. Some submit from indolence; others for the sake of a good appearance, "willing to be damned for fashion's sake, and to go to hell out of compliment to the scribes and Pharisees"; others from policy. How is it that so many of the great ones are arrayed against the truth? Because —
1. It is independent of their patronage.
2. It is indifferent to their prejudices.
3. It promises no worldly rewards. Hold to your personal responsibility.
III. Is ESPECIALLY CAREFUL TO CONSERVE ADVENTITIOUS DISTINCTION (vers. 48, 49). Truth is levelling in its influence. It debases the great and exalts the humble. It destroys caste. Error, on the other hand, preserves it, for it is essential to its continuance.
IV. FREQUENTLY CALLS OUT THE SYMPATHIES OF ITS SECRET DISCIPLES (ver. 50). If we resolve never to do less for Christ than Nicodemus did, we shall be of service. Whatever we are not able to do, we can prevent a vote of censure on Christ unanimously.
V. IS GENERALLY MARKED BY RIDICULE INSTEAD OF ARGUMENT (ver. 52). This method is often successful, or it would not be employed. Truth revolts from levity.
VI. IS GENERALLY CONDUCTED IN VIOLATION OF EVEN ITS SELF-CONSTITUTED STANDARDS. These men, who professed to go by the law and sneered at the people as ignorant of it, were themselves convicted of violating it (Deuteronomy 19:15-18).
VII. WILL FINALLY BE SILENCED AND OVERCOME. The assembly, unable to answer Nicodemus, broke up with every mark of haste and confusion.
(J. W. L. M.)
Parallel VersesKJV: In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.