RPM, Volume 18, Number 1, December 27, 2015 to January 2, 2016

Barnes' New Testament Notes

Notes on the New Testament Explanatory and Practical
Part 35

By Albert Barnes


Verse 1. These things. The things spoken in the two previous chapters, promising them divine aid and directing them in the path of duty.

Be offended. For the meaning of the word offend, See Barnes "Mt 5:29".

It means here the same as to stumble or fall —that is to apostatize. He proceeds immediately to tell them, what he had often apprised them of, that they would be subject to great persecutions and trials. He was also himself about to be removed by death. They were to go into an unfriendly world. All these things were in themselves greatly fitted to shake their faith, and to expose them to the danger of apostasy. Comp. Lu 24:21. If they had not been apprise of this, if they had not known why Jesus was about to die, and if they had not been encouraged with the promised aid of the Holy Ghost, they would have sunk under these trials, and forsaken him and his cause. And we may learn hence,

1st. That if Christians were left to themselves they would fall away and perish.

2nd. That God affords means and helps beforehand to keep them in the path of duty.

3rd. That the instructions of the Bible and the help of the Holy Spirit are all granted to keep them from apostasy.

4th. That Jesus beforehand secured the fidelity and made certain the continuance in faith of his apostles, seeing all their danger and knowing all their enemies. And, in like manner, we should be persuaded that "he is able to keep that which we commit to him against that day," 2 Ti 1:2,12.


Verse 2. Out of the synagogues. See Barnes "Joh 9:22".

They would excommunicate them from their religious assemblies. This was often done. Comp. Ac 6:13,14; 9:23,24; 17:5; 21:27-31.

Whosoever killeth you. This refers principally to the Jews. It is also true of the Gentiles, that in their persecution of Christians they supposed they were rendering acceptable service to their gods.

God service. The Jews who persecuted the apostles regarded them as blasphemers, and as seeking to overthrow the temple service, and the system of religion which God had established. Thus they supposed they were rendering service to God in putting them to death, Ac 6:13,14; Ac 21:28-31. Sinners, especially hypocrites, often cloak enormous crimes under the pretence of great zeal for religion. Men often suppose, or profess to suppose, that they are rendering God service when they persecute others; and, under the pretence of great zeal for truth and purity, evince all possible bigotry, pride, malice, and uncharitableness. The people of God have suffered most from those who have been conscientious persecutors and some of the most malignant foes which true Christians have ever had have been in the church, and have been professed ministers of the gospel, persecuting them under pretence of great zeal for the cause of purity and religion. It is no evidence of piety that a man is full of zeal against those whom he supposes to be heretics; and it is one of the best proofs that a man knows nothing of the religion of Jesus when he is eminent for self-conceit in his own views of orthodoxy, and firmly fixed in the opinion that all who differ from him and his sect must of course be wrong.

{a} "whosoever killeth you" Ac 26:9-11.


Verse 3. See Joh 15:21

{b} "And these things" Joh 15:21

{c} "they have not known" 1 Co 2:8; 1 Ti 1:13


Verse 4. These things which are about to happen, Joh 16:1,2. He had foretold then that they would take place.

Ye may remember, &c. By calling to mind that he had foretold these things they would perceive that he was omniscient, and would remember, also, the consolations which he had afforded them and the instructions which he had given them. Had these calamities come upon them without their having been foretold, their faith might have failed; they might have been tempted to suppose that Jesus was not aware of them, and of course that he was not the Messiah. God does not suffer his people to fall into trials without giving them sufficient warning, and without giving all the grace that is needful to bear them.

At the beginning. In the early part of the ministry of Jesus. The expression these things here refers, probably, to all the topics contained in these chapters. He had, in the early part of his ministry, forewarned them of calamities and persecutions (Mt 10:16; 5:10-12; Mt 9:15), but he had not so fully acquainted them with the nature, and design, and sources of their trials; he had not so fully apprised them of the fact, the circumstances, and the object of his death and of his ascension to heaven; he had not revealed to them so clearly that the Holy Spirit would descend, and sanctify, and guide them; and especially he had not, in one continued discourse, grouped all these things together, and placed their sorrows and consolations so fully before their minds. All these are included, it is supposed, in the expression "these things."

Because I was with you. This is the reason which he gives why he had not at first made known to them clearly the certainty of their calamities and their joys; and it implies,

1st. That it was not needful to do it at once, as he was to be with them for more than three years, and could have abundant opportunity gradually to teach these things, and to prepare them for the more full announcement when he was about to leave them.

2nd. That while he was with them he would go before them, and the weight of calamities would fall on him, and consequently they did not so much then need the presence and aid of the Holy Spirit as they would when he was gone.

3rd. That his presence was to them what the presence of the Holy Spirit would be after his death, Joh 16:7.

He could teach them all needful truth. He could console and guide them. Now that he was to leave them, he fully apprised them of what was before them, and of the descent of the Holy Spirit to do for them what he had done when with them.


Verses 5,6. Now I go my way. Now I am about to die and leave you, and it is proper to announce all these things to you.

None of you asketh me, &c. They gave themselves up to grief instead of inquiring why he was about to leave them. Had they made the inquiry, he was ready to answer them and to comfort them. When we are afflicted we should not yield ourselves to excessive grief. We should inquire why it is that God thus tries us; and we should never doubt that if we come to him, and spread out our sorrows before him, he will give us consolation.


Verse 6. No Barnes text on this verse.

{d} "sorrow hath filled" Joh 16:21


Verse 7. It is expedient for you, &c. The reason why it was expedient for them that he should go away, he states to be, that in this way only would the Comforter be granted to them. Still, it may be asked why the presence of the Holy Spirit was more valuable to them than that of the Saviour himself? To this it may be answered,

1st. That by his departure, his death, and ascension—by having these great facts before their eyes—they would be led by the Holy Spirit to see more fully the design of his coming than they would by his presence. While he was with them, notwithstanding the plainest teaching, their minds were filled with prejudice and error. They still adhered to the expectation of a temporal kingdom, and were unwilling to believe that he was to die. When he should have actually left them they could no longer doubt on this subject, and would be prepared to understand why he came. And this was done. See the Acts of the Apostles everywhere. It is often needful that God should visit us with severe affliction before our pride will be humbled and we are willing to understand the plainest truths.

2nd. While on the earth the Lord Jesus could be bodily present but in one place at one time. Yet, in order to secure the great design of saving men, it was needful that there should be some agent who could be in all places, who could attend all ministers, and who could, at the same time, apply the work of Christ to men in all parts of the earth.

3rd. It was an evident arrangement in the great plan of redemption that each of the persons of the Trinity should perform a part. As it was not the work of the Spirit to make an atonement, so it was not the work of the Saviour to apply it. And until the Lord Jesus had performed this great work, the way was not open for the Holy Spirit to descend to perform his part of the great plan yet, when the Saviour had completed his portion of the work and had left the earth, the Spirit would carry forward the same plan and apply it to men.

4th. It was to be expected that far more signal success would attend the preaching of the gospel when the atonement was actually made than before. It was the office of the Spirit to carry forward the work only when the Saviour had died and ascended; and this was actually the case. See Acts chapter 2. Hence it was expedient that the Lord Jesus should go away, that the Spirit might descend and apply the work to sinners. The departure of the Lord Jesus was to the apostles a source of deep affliction, but had they seen the whole case they would not have been thus afflicted. So God often takes away from us one blessing that he may bestow a greater. All affliction, if received in a proper manner, is of this description; and could the afflicted people of God always see the whole case as God sees it, they would think and feel, as he does, that it was best for them to be thus afflicted.

It is expedient. It is better for you.

The Comforter. See Barnes "Joh 14:16".


Verse 8. He will reprove. The word translated reprove means commonly to demonstrate by argument, to prove, to persuade anyone to do a thing by presenting reasons, It hence means also to convince of anything, and particularly to convince of crime. This is its meaning here. He will convince or convict the world of sin. That is, he will so apply the truths of God to men's own minds as to convince them by fair and sufficient arguments that they are sinners, and cause them to feel this. This is the nature of conviction always.

The world. Sinners. The men of the world. All men are by nature sinners, and the term the world may be applied to them all, Joh 1:10; 12:31; 1 Jo 5:19.

{1} "reprove" or, "convince" Ac 2:37


Verse 9. Of sin. The first thing specified of which the world would be convinced is sin. Sin, in general, is any violation of a law of God, but the particular sin of which men are here said to be convinced is that of rejecting the Lord Jesus. This is placed first, and is deemed the sin of chief magnitude, as it is the principal one of which men are guilty. This was particularly true of the Jews who had rejected him and crucified him; and it was the great crime which, when brought home to their consciences by the preaching of the apostles, overwhelmed them with confusion, and filled their hearts with remorse. It was their rejection of the Son of God that was made the great truth that was instrumental of their conversion, Ac 2:22,23,37; 3:13-15; 4:10,26-28; comp. Joh 16:31-33. It is also true of other sinners. Sinners, when awakened, often feel that it has been the great crowning sin of their lives that they have rejected the tender mercy of God, and trampled on the blood of his Son; and that they have for months and years refused to submit to him, saying that they would not have him to reign over them. Thus is fulfilled what is spoken by Zechariah, Zec 3:10: "And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and mourn." Throughout the New Testament this is regarded as the sin that is pre-eminently offensive to God, and which, if unrepented of, will certainly lead to perdition, Mr 16:16; Joh 3:36. Hence it is placed first in those sins of which the Spirit will convince men; and hence, if we have not yet been brought to see our guilt in rejecting God's tender mercy through his Son, we are yet in the gall of bitterness and under the bond of iniquity.

{e} "of sin" Ro 3:20; 7:9

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 16 - Verse 10

Verse 10. Of righteousness. This seems clearly to refer to the righteousness or innocence of Jesus himself. He was now persecuted. He was soon to be arraigned on heavy charges, and condemned by the highest authority of the nation as guilty. Yet, though condemned, he says that the Holy Spirit would descend and convince the world that he was innocent.

Because I go to my Father. That is, the amazing miracle of his resurrection and ascension to God would be a demonstration of his innocence that would satisfy the Jews and Gentiles. God would not raise up an impostor. If he had been truly guilty, as the Jews who condemned him pretended, God would not have set his seal to the imposture by raising him from the dead; but when he did raise him up and exalt him to his own right hand, he gave his attestation to his innocence; he showed that he approved his work, and gave evidence conclusive that Jesus was sent from God. To this proof of the innocence of Jesus the apostles often refer, Ac 2:22-24; 17:31; Ro 1:4; 1 Co 15:14; 1 Ti 3:16.

This same proof of the innocence or righteousness of the Saviour is as satisfactory now as it was then. One of the deepest feelings which an awakened sinner has, is his conviction of the righteousness of Jesus Christ. He sees that he is holy; that his own opposition to him has been unprovoked, unjust, and base; and it is this which so often overwhelms his soul with the conviction of his own unworthiness, and with earnest desires to obtain a better righteousness than his own.

And ye see me no more. That is, he was to be taken away from them, and they would not see him till his return to judgment; yet this source of grief to them would be the means of establishing his religion and greatly blessing others.

{f} "righteousness" Isa 42:21; Re 1:17

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 16 - Verse 11

Verse 11. Of judgment. That God is just, and will execute judgment. This is proved by what he immediately states.

The prince of this world. Satan. See Barnes "Joh 12:31".

The death of Christ was a judgment or a condemnation of Satan. In this struggle Jesus gained the victory and subdued the great enemy of man. This proves that God will execute judgment or justice on all his foes. If he vanquished his great enemy who had so long triumphed in this world, he will subdue all others in due time. All sinners in like manner may expect to be condemned. Of this great truth Jesus says the Holy Spirit will convince men. God showed himself to be just in subduing his great enemy. He showed that he was resolved to vanquish his foes, and that all his enemies in like manner must be subdued. This is deeply felt by the convicted sinner. He knows that he is guilty. He learns that God is just. He fears that he will condemn him, and trembles in the apprehension of approaching condemnation. From this state of alarm there is no refuge but to flee to Him who subdued the great enemy of man, and who is able to deliver him from the vengeance due to his sins. Convinced, then, of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and of his ability and willingness to save him, he flees to his cross, and seeks in him a refuge from the coming storm of wrath.

In these verses we have a condensed and most striking view of the work of the Holy Spirit. These three things comprise the whole of his agency in the conversion of sinful men; and in the accomplishment of this work he still awakens, convinces, and renews. He attends the preaching of the gospel, and blesses the means of grace, and manifests his power in revivals of religion. He thus imparts to man the blessings purchased by the death of Jesus, carries forward and extends the same plan of mercy, and will yet apply it to all the kingdoms and tribes of men. Have we ever felt his power, and been brought by his influence to mourn over our sins, and seek the mercy of a dying Saviour?

{g} "judgment" Ac 17:31; Ro 2:2; Re 20:12,13

{h} "the prince of this world is judged" Joh 12:31

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 16 - Verse 12

Verse 12. I have yet many things to say, &c. There were many things pertaining to the work of the Spirit and the establishment of religion which might be said. Jesus had given them the outline; he had presented to them the great doctrines of the system, but he had not gone into details. These were things which they could not then bear. They were still full of Jewish prejudices, and were not prepared for a full development of his plans. Probably he refers here to the great changes which were to take place in the Jewish system—the abolition of sacrifices and the priest-hood, the change of the Sabbath, the rejection of the Jewish nation, &c. For these doctrines they were not prepared, but they would in due time be taught them by the Holy Spirit.

{i} "ye cannot bear them now" Heb 5:12

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 16 - Verse 13

Verse 13. The Spirit of truth. So called because he would teach them all needful truth.

Will guide you into all truth. That is, truth which pertained to the establishment of the Christian system, which they were not then prepared to hear. We may here remark that this is a full promise that they would be inspired and guided in founding the new church; and we may observe that the plan of the Saviour was replete with wisdom. Though they had been long with him, yet they were not prepared then to hear of the changes that were to occur; but his death would open their eyes, and the Holy Spirit, making use of the striking and impressive scenes of his death and ascension, would carry forward with vast rapidity their views of the nature of the Christian scheme. Perhaps in the few days that elapsed, of which we have a record in the first and second chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, they learned more of the true nature of the Christian plan than they would have done in months or years even under the teaching of Jesus himself. The more we study the plan of Christ, the more shall we admire the profound wisdom of the Christian scheme, and see that it was eminently fitted to the great design of its Founder —to introduce it in such a manner as to make on man the deepest impression of its wisdom and its truth.

Not speak of himself. Not as prompted by himself. He shall declare what is communicated to him. See Barnes "Joh 7:18".

Whatsoever he shall hear. What he shall receive of the Father and the Son; represented by hearing, because in this way instruction is commonly received. See Barnes "Joh 5:30".

Things to come. Probably this means the meaning of things which were to take place after the time when he was speaking to them —to wit, the design of his death, and the nature of the changes which were to take place in the Jewish nation. It is also true that the apostles were inspired by the Holy Spirit to predict future events which would take place in the church and the world. See Ac 11:28; Ac 20:29; 21:11; 1 Ti 4:1-3; 2 Ti 3:1; 2 Pe 1:14; and the whole book of Revelation.

{k} "guide you into all truth" Joh 14:26

{l} "he will show you things to come" Re 1:1,19

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 16 - Verse 14

Verse 14. Shall glorify me. Shall honour me. The nature of his influence shall be such as to exalt my character and work in view of the mind.

Shall receive of mine. Literally, "shall take of or from me." He shall receive his commission and instructions as an ambassador from me, to do my will and complete my work.

Shall show it. Shall announce or communicate it to you. This is always the work of the Spirit. All serious impressions produced by him lead to the Lord Jesus (1 Co 12:3), and by this we may easily test our feelings. If we have been truly convicted of sin and renewed by the Holy Ghost, the tendency of all his influences has been to lead us to the Saviour; to show us our need of him; to reveal to us the loveliness of his character, and the fitness of his work to our wants; and to incline us to cast our eternal interests on his almighty arm, and commit all to his hands.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 16 - Verse 15

Verse 15. All things, &c. See Mt 28:18; 11:27. No one could have said this who was not equal with the Father. The union was so intimate, though mysterious, that it might with propriety be said that whatever was done in relation to the Son, was also done in regard to the Father. See Joh 14:9.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 16 - Verse 16

Verse 16. A little while His death would occur in a short time. It took place the next day. See Joh 16:19.

Ye shall not see me. That is, he would be concealed from their view in the tomb.

And again a little while. After three days he would rise again and appear to their view.

Because I go, &c. Because it is a part of the plan that I should ascend to God, it is necessary that I should rise from the grave, and then you will see me, and have evidence that I am still your Friend. Comp. Joh 7:33. Here are three important events foretold for the consolation of the disciples, yet they were stated in such a manner that, in their circumstances and with their prejudices, it appeared difficult to understand him.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 16 - Verse 17

Verse 17. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 16 - Verse 18

Verse 18. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 16 - Verse 19

Verse 19. No Barnes text on this verse.

{m} "Now Jesus" Joh 2:24,25

{n} "A little while" Joh 16:16; 7:33; 13:33; 14:19

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 16 - Verse 20

Verse 20. Ye shall weep, &c. At my crucifixion, sufferings, and death. Comp. Lu 23:27.

The world. Wicked men. The term world is frequently used in this sense. See Joh 16:8. It refers particularly, here, to the Jews who sought his death, and who would rejoice that their object was obtained.

Shall be turned into joy. You will not only rejoice at my resurrection, but even my death, now the object of so much grief to you, will be to you a source of unspeakable joy. It will procure for you peace and pardon in this life, and eternal joy in the world to come. Thus their greatest apparent calamity would be to them, finally, the source of their highest comfort; and though then they could not see how it could be, yet if they had known the whole case they would have seen that they might rejoice. As it was, they were to be consoled by the assurance of the Saviour that it would be for their good. And thus, in our afflictions, if we could see the whole case, we should rejoice. As it is, when they appear dark and mysterious, we may trust in the promise of God that they will be for our welfare. We may also remark here that the apparent triumphs of the wicked, though they may produce grief at present in the minds of Christians, will be yet overruled for good. Their joy shall be turned into mourning, and the mourning of Christians into joy; and wicked men may be doing the very thing—as they were in the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus—that shall yet be made the means of promoting the glory of God and the good of his people, Ps 76:10.

{o} "ye shall weep and lament" Lu 24:17,21

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 16 - Verse 21

Verse 21. No Barnes text on this verse.

{p} "A woman when she has travail" Isa 26:17

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 16 - Verse 22

Verse 22. I will see you again. After my resurrection.

Your joy no man taketh from you. You shall be so firmly persuaded that I have risen and that I am the Messiah, that neither the threats nor persecutions of men shall ever be able to shake your faith and produce doubt or unbelief, and thus take away your joy. This prediction was remarkably fulfilled. It is evident that after his ascension not one of the apostles ever doubted for a moment that he had risen from the dead. No persecution or trial was able to shake their faith; and thus, amid all their afflictions, they had an unshaken source of joy.

{q} "you now therefore have sorrow" Joh 16:6

{r} "But I shall see you again" Lu 24:41,52; Joh 20:20

{s} "and your joy" 1 Pe 1:8

HE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 16 - Verse 23

Verse 23. In that day. After my resurrection and ascension.

Ye shall ask me nothing. The word rendered ask here may have two significations, one to ask by way of inquiry, the other to ask for assistance. Perhaps there is reference here to both these senses. While he was with them they had been accustomed to depend on him for the supply of their wants, and in a great degree to propose their trials to him, expecting his aid. See Mt 8:25; Joh 11:3. They were also dependent on his personal instructions to explain to them the mysteries of his religion, and to remove their perplexities on the subject of his doctrines. They had not sought to God through him as the Mediator, but they had directly applied to the Saviour himself. He now tells them that henceforward their requests were to be made to God in his name, and that he, by the influences of his Spirit, would make known to them what Jesus would himself do if bodily present. The emphasis in this verse is to be placed on the word "me." Their requests were not to be made to him, but to the Father.

Whatsoever ye shall ask, &c. See Joh 14:13.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 16 - Verse 24

Verse 24. Hitherto. During his ministry, and while he was with them.

Have ye asked, &c. From the evangelists, as well as from this declaration, it seems that they had presented their requests for instruction and aid to Jesus himself. If they had prayed to God, it is probable that they had not done it in his name. This great truth—that we must approach God in the name of the Mediator—was reserved for the last that the Saviour was to communicate to them. It was to be presented at the close of his ministry. Then they were prepared in some degree to understand it; and then, amid trials, and wants, and a sense of their weakness and unworthiness, they would see its preciousness, and rejoice in the privilege of being thus permitted to draw near to God. Though he would be bodily absent, yet their blessings would still be given through the same unchanging Friend.

Ask, &c. Now they had the assurance that they might approach God in his name; and, amid all their trials, they, as well as all Christians since, might draw near to God, knowing that he would hear and answer their prayers.

That your joy, See Joh 15:11.

{t} "ask, and you shall receive" Mt 7:7,8; Jas 4:2,3

{u} "that your joy may be full" Joh 15:11

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 16 - Verse 25

Verse 25. In proverbs. In a manner that appears obscure, enigmatical, and difficult to be understood. It is worthy of remark, that though his declarations in these chapters about his death and resurrection appear to us to be plain, yet to the apostles, filled with Jewish prejudices, and unwilling to believe that he was about to die, they would appear exceedingly obscure and perplexed. The plainest declarations to them on the subject would appear to be involved in mystery.

The time cometh. This refers, doubtless, to the time after his ascension to heaven, when he would send the Holy Spirit to teach them the great truths of religion. It does not appear that he himself, after his resurrection, gave them any more clear or full instruction than he had done before.

I shall show you plainly. As Jesus said that he would send the Holy Spirit (Joh 16:7) and as he came to carry forward the work of Christ, so it may be said that the teachings of the Holy Spirit were the teachings of Christ himself.

Of the Father. Concerning the will and plan of the Father; particularly his plan in the establishment and spread of the Christian religion, and in organizing the church. See Ac 10:26.

{2} "proverbs" or, parables

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 16 - Verse 26

Verse 26. I say not unto you that I will pray, &c. In Joh 14:16, Jesus says that he would pray the Father, and that he would send the Comforter. In chapter 17, he offered a memorable prayer for them. In Heb 7:25, it is said that Jesus ever liveth to make intercession for us; and it is constantly represented in the New Testament that it is by his intercession in heaven now that we obtain the blessings of pardon, peace, strength, and salvation. Comp. Heb 9:24. This declaration of Jesus, then, does not mean that he would not intercede for them, but that there was no need then of his mentioning it to them again. They knew that; and, in addition to that, he told them that God was ready and willing to confer on them all needful blessings.

{v} "At that day" Joh 16:23

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 16 - Verse 27

Verse 27. See Joh 14:21,23

{w} "For the Father himself loveth" Joh 14:21,23

{x} "I came out from God" Joh 16:30; 17:8

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 16 - Verse 28

Verse 28. I came forth from the Father. I came sent by the Father.

And am come into the world. See Joh 3:19; 6:14,62; 9:39.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 16 - Verse 29

Verse 29. Now speakest thou plainly. What he had said that perplexed them was that which is contained in Joh 16:16. Comp. Joh 16:17-19: "A little while and ye shall not see me," &c. This he had now explained by saying (Joh 16:28), "Again, I leave the world, and go to the Father." In this there was no ambiguity, and they expressed themselves satisfied with this explanation.

{3} "proverb" or, parable

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 16 - Verse 30

Verse 30. Now are we sure that thou knowest, &c. Their difficulty had been to understand what was the meaning of his declaration in Joh 16:16. About this they conversed among themselves, Joh 16:17-19. It is evident that they had not mentioned their difficulty to him, and that he had not even heard their conversation among themselves, Joh 16:19. When, therefore, by his answers to them (Joh 16:20-28), he showed that he clearly understood their doubts; and when he gave them an answer so satisfactory without their having inquired of him, it satisfied them that he knew the heart, and that he assuredly came from God. They were convinced that there was no need that any man should ask him, or propose his difficulties to him, since he knew them all and could answer them.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 16 - Verse 31

Verse 31. Do ye now believe? Do you truly and really believe? This question was evidently asked to put them on a full examination of their hearts. Though they supposed that they had unshaken faith—faith that would endure every trial, yet he told them that they were about to go through scenes that would test them, and where they would need all their confidence in God. When we feel strong in the faith we should examine ourselves. It may be that we are deceived; and it may be that God may even then be preparing trials for us that will shake our faith to its foundation. The Syriac and Arabic read this in the indicative as an affirmation—"Ye do now believe." The sense is not affected by this reading.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 16 - Verse 32

Verse 32. The hour cometh. To wit, on the next day, when he was crucified.

Ye shall be scattered. See Mt 26:31.

Every man to his own. That is, as in the margin, to his own home. You shall see me die, and suppose that my work is defeated, and return to your own dwellings. It is probable that the two disciples going to Emmaus were on their way to their dwellings, Luke, chapter 24. After his death all the disciples retired into Galilee, and were engaged in their common employment of fishing, Joh 21:1-14; Mt 28:7.

Leave me alone. Leave me to die without human sympathy or compassion. See Barnes "Mt 26:31, See Barnes "Mt 26:56".

Because the Father is with me. His Father was his friend. He had all along trusted in God. In the prospect of his sufferings he could still look to him for support. And though in his dying moments he suffered so much as to use the language, "Why hast thou forsaken me?" yet it was language addressed to him still as his God—"My God, my God." Even then he had confidence in God—confidence so strong and unwavering that he could say, "Into thy hands I commend my spirit," Lu 23:46. In all these sufferings he had the assurance that God was his friend, that he was doing his will, that he was promoting his glory, and that he looked on him with approbation. It matters little who else forsakes us if God be with us in the hour of pain and of death; and though poor, forsaken, or despised, yet, if we have the consciousness of his presence and his favour, then we may fear no evil. His rod and his staff, they will comfort us. Without his favour then, death will be full of horrors, though we be surrounded by weeping relatives, and by all the honour, and splendour, and wealth which the world can bestow. The Christian can die saying, I am not alone, because the Father is with me. The sinner dies without a friend that can alleviate his sufferings —without one source of real joy.

{a} "in me ye might have peace" Joh 14:27; Ro 5:1; Eph 2:14

{b} "In the world" Joh 15:19-21; 2 Ti 3:12

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 16 - Verse 33

Verse 33. In me. In my presence, and in the aid which I shall render you by the Holy Spirit.

In the world. Among the men to whom you are going. You must expect to be persecuted, afflicted, tormented.

I have overcome the world. He overcame the prince of this world by his death, Joh 12:31. He vanquished the great foe of man, and triumphed over all that would work our ruin. He brought down aid and strength from above by his death; and by procuring for us the friendship of God and the influence of the Spirit; by his own instructions and example; by revealing to us the glories of heaven, and opening our eyes to see the excellence of heavenly things, he has furnished us with the means of overcoming all our enemies, and of triumphing in all our temptations. See Barnes "Joh 14:19" See Barnes "Ro 8:34, also Ro 8:35-37, See Barnes "1 Jo 4:4, See Barnes "1 Jo 5:4, See Barnes "Re 12:11".

Luther said of this verse "that it was worthy to be carried from Rome to Jerusalem upon one's knees." The world is a vanquished enemy; Satan is a humbled foe; and all that believers have to do is to put their trust in the Captain of their salvation, putting on the whole armour of God, assured that the victory is theirs, and that the church shall yet shine forth fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners, So 6:10.

{a} "in me you might have peace" Joh 14:27; Ro 5:1; Eph 2:14

{b} "In the world" Joh 15:19-21; 2 Ti 3:12



Verse 1. These words. The words addressed to them in the preceding chapters. They were proceeding to the garden of Gethsemane. It adds much to the interest of this prayer that it was offered in the stillness of the night, in the open air, and in the peculiarly tender circumstances in which Jesus and his apostles were. It is the longest prayer recorded in the New Testament. It was offered on the most tender and solemn occasion that has ever occurred in our world, and it is perhaps the most sublime composition to be found anywhere. Jesus was about to die. Having expressed his love to his disciples, and made known to them his last desires, he now commends them to the protection and blessing of the God of grace. This prayer is moreover a specimen of the manner of his intercession, and evinces the interest which he felt in behalf of all who should become his followers in all ages of the world.

Lifted up his eyes. This was the common attitude of prayer. Comp. Lu 18:13.

The hour is come. That is, the appointed time for his sufferings and death. Comp. See Barnes "Lu 12:27".

Glorify thy Son. Honour thy Son. See Joh 11:4. Give to the world demonstration that I am thy Son. So sustain me, and so manifest thy power in my death, resurrection, and ascension, as to afford indubitable evidence that I am the Son of God.

That thy Son also may glorify thee. This refers clearly to the manifestation of the honour of God which would be made by the spread of the gospel among men, Joh 17:2. Jesus prayed that God would so honour him in his death that striking proof might be furnished that he was the Messiah, and men thus be brought to honour God. By his death the law, the truth, and the mercy of God were honoured. By the spread of his gospel and the conversion of sinners; by all that Christ will do, now that he is glorified, to spread his gospel, God will be honoured. The conversion of a single sinner honours God; a revival of religion is an eminent means of promoting his honour; and the spread of the gospel among all nations shall yet do more than all other things to promote the honour of God among men. Whatever honours the Saviour honours God. Just as he is exalted in view of the mind, so will God be honoured and obeyed.

{a} "the hour is come" Joh 12:28; 13:32


Verse 2. As thou hast given him power. It was on the ground of this power given to Christ that the apostles were commanded to go and teach all nations. See Barnes "Mt 28:18,19".

All flesh. All men, Mt 24:22; Lu 3:6.

That he should give eternal life. See Barnes "Joh 5:24".

To as many as thou hast given him. See Barnes "Joh 10:16; 6:37".

To all on whom the Father has purposed to bestow the blessings of redemption through his Son. God has a plan in all he does, extending to men as well as to other objects. One part of his plan was that the atonement of Christ should not be in vain. Hence he promised him that he should see of the travail of his soul and should be satisfied (Isa 53:11); and hence the Saviour had the assurance that the Father had given him a portion of the human family, and would apply this great work to them. It is to be observed here that the Saviour in this prayer makes an important distinction between "all flesh" and those who were "given him." He has power over all. He can control, direct, restrain them. Wicked men are so far under his universal dominion, and so far restrained by his power, that they will not be able to prevent his bestowing redemption on those were given him—that is, all who will believe on him. Long ago, if they had been able, they would have banished religion from the world; but they are under the power of Christ, and it is his purpose that there shall be "a seed to serve him," and that "the gates of hell shall not prevail" against his church. Men who oppose the gospel should therefore feel that they cannot prevent the salvation of Christians, and should be alarmed lest they be found "fighting against God."

{b} "that he should give" Joh 5:27; 16:24


Verse 3. This is life eternal. This is the source of eternal life; or it is in this manner that it is to be obtained. The knowledge of God and of his Son Jesus Christ is itself a source of unspeakable and eternal joy. Comp. Joh 11:25; 6:63; 12:50.

Might know thee. The word know here, as in other places, expresses more than a mere speculative acquaintance with the character and perfections of God. It includes all the impressions on the mind and life which a just view of God and of the Saviour is fitted to produce. It includes, of course, love, reverence, obedience, honour, gratitude, supreme affection. To know God as he is is to know and regard him as a lawgiver, a sovereign, a parent, a friend. It is to yield the whole soul to him, and strive to obey his law.

The only true God. The only God, in opposition to all false gods. What is said here is in opposition to idols, not to Jesus himself, who, in 1 Jo 5:20, is called "the true God and eternal life."

And Jesus Christ. To know Jesus Christ is to have a practical impression of him as he is that is, to suffer his character and work to make their due impression on the heart and life. Simply to have heard that there is a Saviour is not to know it. To have been taught in childhood and trained up in the belief of it is not to know it. To know him is to have a just, practical view of him in all his perfections—as God and man; as a mediator; as a prophet, a priest, and a king. It is to feel our need of such a Saviour, to see that we are sinners, and to yield the whole soul to him, knowing that he is a Saviour fitted to our wants, and that in his hands our souls are safe. Comp. Eph 3:19; Tit 1:16; Php 3:10; 1 Jo 5:20.

In this verse is contained the sum and essence of the Christian religion, as it is distinguished from all the schemes of idolatry and philosophy, and all the false plans on which men have sought to obtain eternal life. The Gentiles worshipped many gods; the Christian worships one —the living and the true God; the Jew, the Deist, the Mohammedan, the Socinian, profess to acknowledge one God, without any atoning sacrifice and Mediator; the true Christian approaches him through the great Mediator, equal with the Father, who for us became incarnate, and died that he might reconcile us to God.

{c} "this is life eternal" 1 Jo 5:11

{d} "know thee" Jer 9:23,24

{e} "the only true God" 1 Th 1:9


Verse 4. Have glorified thee. In my instructions and life. See his discourses everywhere, the whole tendency of which is to put honour on God.

I have finished the work. Comp. Joh 19:30. When he says "I have finished," he probably means to include also his death. All the preparations for that death were made. He had preached to the Jews; he had given them full proof that he was the Messiah; he had collected his disciples; he had taught them the nature of his religion; he had given them his parting counsel, and there was nothing remaining to be done but to return to God. We see here that Jesus was careful that his great and important work should be done before his dying hour. He did not postpone it to be performed just as he was leaving the world. So completely had he done his work, that even before his death he could say, "I have finished the work." How happy would it be if men would imitate his example, and not leave their great work of life to be done on a dying bed! Christians should have their work accomplished, and when that hour approaches, have nothing to do but to die, and return to their Father in heaven.

{g} "I have glorified" Joh 14:13

{h} "I have finished" Joh 19:30; 2 Ti 4:7


Verse 5. With thine own self. In heaven, granting me a participation of the same honour which the Father has. He had just said that he had glorified God on the earth; he now prays that God would glorify him in heaven.

With the glory. With the honour. This word also includes the notion of happiness, or everything which could render the condition blessed.

Before the world was. There could not be a more distinct and clear declaration of the pre-existence of Christ than this. It means before the creation of the world; before there was any world. Of course, the speaker here must have existed then, and this is equivalent to saying that he existed from eternity. See Joh 1:1,2; 6:62; 3:13

Joh 16:28. The glory which he had then was that which was proper to the Son of God, represented by the expression being in the bosom of the Father (Joh 1:18), denoting intimacy, friendship, united felicity. The Son of God, by becoming incarnate, is represented as humbling himself (Greek, he "emptied himself"), Php 2:8. He laid aside for a time the external aspect of honour, and consented to become despised, and to assume the form of a servant. He now prays that God would raise him up to the dignity and honour which he had before his incarnation. This is the state to which he is now exalted, with the additional honour of having made atonement for sin, and having opened the way to save a race of rebels from eternal death. The lowest condition on earth is frequently connected with the highest honours of heaven. Man looks on the outward appearance. God looks to him that is humble and of a contrite spirit.

{i} "with the glory" Joh 1:1,2; Php 2:6; He 1:3,10


Verse 6. Have manifested thy name. The word name here includes the attributes or character of God. Jesus had made known his character, his law, his will, his plan of mercy—or, in other words, he had revealed GOD to them. The word name is often used to designate the person, Joh 15:21; Mt 10:22; Ro 2:24; 1 Ti 6:1.

Which thou gavest me. God gave them to him in his purpose. He gave them by his providence. He so ordered affairs that they heard him preach and saw his miracles; and he gave them by disposing them to follow him when he called them.

Thine they were. All men are God's by creation and by preservation, and he has a right to do with them as seemeth good in his sight. These men he chose to designate to be the apostles of the Saviour; and he committed them to him to be taught, and then commissioned them to carry his gospel, though amid persecutions, to the ends of the world. God has a right to the services of all; and he has a right to appoint us to any labour, however humble, or hazardous, or wearisome, where we may promote his glory and honour his name.

{k} "manifested" Ps 22:22; Joh 17:26

{l} "the men which thou gavest" Ro 8:30; Joh 17:2,9,11

{m} "they have kept thy word" Heb 3:6


Verse 7. They have known. They have been taught that and have believed it.

Hast given me. This refers, doubtless, to the doctrine of Christ, Joh 17:8. They are assured that all my instructions are of God.


Verse 8. The words. The doctrines. Christ often represented himself as instructed and sent to teach certain great truths to men. Those he taught, and no others. See Barnes "Joh 5:30".

{n} "the words thou givest me" Joh 6:68; 14:10


Verses 9,10. I pray for them. In view of their dangers and trials, he sought the protection and blessing of God on them. His prayer was always answered.

Not for the world. The term world here, as elsewhere, refers to wicked, rebellious, vicious men. The meaning of this expression here seems to be this: Jesus is praying for his disciples. As a reason why God should bless them, he says that they were not of the world; that they had been taken out of the world; that they belonged unto God. The petition was not offered for wicked, perverse, rebellious men, but for those who were the friends of God and were disposed to receive his favours. This passage, then, settles nothing about the question whether Christ prayed for sinners. He then prayed for his disciples, who were not those who hated him and disregarded his favours. He afterward extended the prayer for all who should become Christians, Joh 17:20. When on the cross he prayed for his crucifiers and murderers, Lu 23:34.

For they are thine. This is urged as a reason why God should protect and guide them. His honour was concerned in keeping them; and we may always fill our mouths with such arguments when we come before God, and plead that his honour will be advanced by keeping us from evil, and granting us all needful grace.

I am glorified in them. I am honoured by their preaching and lives. The sense of this passage is, "Those who are my disciples are thine. That which promotes my honour will also promote thine. I pray, therefore, that they may have needful grace to honour my gospel, and to proclaim it among men."

{o} "I pray not for the world" 1 Jo 5:19

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 17 - Verse 10

Verse 10. No Barnes text on this verse.

{p} "all mine are thine" Joh 16:15

{q} "I am glorified in them" Ga 1:24; 1 Pe 2:9

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 17 - Verse 11

Verse 11. I am no more in the world. I have finished my work among men, and am about to leave the world. See Joh 17:4.

These are in the world. They will be among wicked men and malignant foes. They will be subject to trials and persecutions. They will need the same protection which I could give them if I were with them.

Keep. Preserve, defend, sustain them in trials, and save them from apostasy.

Through thine own name. Our translators seem to have understood this expression as meaning "keep by thy power," but this probably is not its meaning. It is literally "keep in thy name." And if the term name be taken to denote God himself and his perfections (See Barnes "Joh 17:6") , it means "keep in the knowledge of thyself. Preserve them in obedience to thee and to thy cause. Suffer them not to fall away from thee and to become apostates."

That they may be one. That they may be united.

As we are. This refers not to a union of nature, but of feeling, plan, purpose. Any other union between Christians is impossible; but a union of affection is what the Saviour sought, and this he desired might be so strong as to be an illustration of the unchanging love between the Father and the Son. See Joh 17:21-23.

{r} "keep through" 1 Pe 1:5; Jude 1:24

{s} "thine own name" Pr 18:10

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 17 - Verse 12

Verse 12. While I was with them in the world. While I was engaged with them among other men—surrounded by the people and the temptations of the world. Jesus had now finished his work among the men of the world, and was performing his last offices with his disciples.

I kept them. By my example, instructions, and miracles. I preserved them from apostasy.

In thy name. In the knowledge and worship of thee. Joh 17:6-11.

Those that thou gavest me, &c. The word "gavest" is evidently used by the Saviour to denote not only to give to him to be his real followers, but also as apostles, It is here used, probably, in the sense of giving as apostles. God had so ordered it by his providence that they had been given to him to be his apostles and followers; but the terms "thou gavest me" do not of necessity prove that they were true believers. Of Judas Jesus knew that he was a deceiver and a devil, Joh 6:70: "Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" Judas is there represented as having been chosen by the Saviour to the apostleship, and this is equivalent to saying that he was given to him for this work; yet at the same time he knew his character, and understood that he had never been renewed. None of them. None of those chosen to the apostolic office.

But the son of perdition. See Barnes "Mt 1:1".

The term son was given by the Hebrews to those who possessed the character described by the word or name following. Thus, sons of Belial-those who possessed his character; children of wisdom -those who were wise, Mt 11:19. Thus Judas is called a son of perdition because he had the character of a destroyer. He was a traitor and a murderer. And this shows that he who knew the heart regarded his character as that of a wicked man—one whose appropriate name was that of a son of perdition.

That the scripture, &c. See Barnes "Joh 13:18".

Comp. Ps 41:9.

{t} "that the scripture might be fulfilled" Ps 109:8; Ac 1:20

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 17 - Verse 13

Verse 13. My joy fulfilled, &c. See Barnes "Joh 15:11".

The expression "my joy" here probably refers to the joy of the apostles respecting the Saviour—the joy which would result from his resurrection, ascension, and intercession in heaven.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 17 - Verse 14

Verse 14. I have given them &c. See Joh 17:18.

The world hath hated them. Joh 15:18-21.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 17 - Verse 15

Verse 15. That thou shouldest take them out of the world. Though they were going into trials and persecutions, yet Jesus did not pray that they might be removed soon from them. It was better that they should endure them, and thus spread abroad the knowledge of his name. It would be easy for God to remove his people at once to heaven, but it is better for them to remain, and show the power of religion in supporting the soul in the midst of trial, and to spread his gospel among men.

Shouldest keep them, from the evil. This may mean either from the evil one—that is, the devil, or from evil in general—that is, from apostasy, from sinking in temptation. Preserve them from that evil, or give them such grace that they may endure all trials and be sustained amid them. See Barnes "Mt 16:13".

It matters little how long we are in this world if we are kept in this manner.

{v} "that thou shouldest" Ga 1:4

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 17 - Verse 16

Verse 16. See Joh 15:19

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 17 - Verse 17

Verse 17. Sanctify them. This word means to render pure, or to cleanse from sins, 1 Th 5:20; 1 Co 6:11. Sanctification in the heart of a Christian is progressive. It consists in his becoming more like God and less attached to the world; in his getting the ascendancy over evil thoughts, and passions, and impure desires; and in his becoming more and more weaned from earthly objects, and attached to those things which are unseen and eternal. The word also means to consecrate, to set apart to a holy office or purpose. See Joh 17:19; also See Barnes "Joh 10:36".

When Jesus prayed here that God would sanctify them, he probably included both these ideas, that they might be made personally more holy, and might be truly consecrated to God as the ministers of his religion. Ministers of the gospel will be really devoted to the service of God just in proportion as they are personally pure.

Through thy truth. Truth is a representation of things as they are. The Saviour prayed that through those just views of God and of themselves they might be made holy. To see things as they are is to see God to be infinitely lovely and pure; his commands to be reasonable and just; heaven to be holy and desirable; his service to be easy, and religion pleasant, and sin odious; to see that life is short, that death is near; that the pride, pomp, pleasures, wealth, and honours of this world are of little value, and that it is of infinite importance to be prepared to enter on the eternal state of being. He that sees all this, or that looks on things as they are, will desire to be holy. He will make it his great object to live near to God and to glorify his name. In the sanctification of the soul God makes use of all truth, or of everything fitted to make a representation of things as they are to the mind. His Word states that and no more; his Spirit and his providence do it. The earth and the heavens, the seasons, the sunshine and the rain, are all fitted to teach us his goodness and power, and lead us to him. His daily mercies tend to the same end, and afflictions have the same design. Our own sickness teaches us that we are soon to die. The death of a friend teaches us the instability of all earthly comforts, and the necessity of seeking better joys. All these things are fitted to make just representations to the mind, and thus to sanctify the soul. As the Christian is constantly amid these objects, so he should be constantly growing in grace, and daily and hourly gaining new and deeper impressions of the great truths of religion.

Thy word is truth. All that thou hast spoken—that is, all that is contained in the Bible. All the commands and promises of God; his representations of his own character and that of man; his account of the mission and death of his Son; of the grave, the resurrection, judgment, and eternity, all tend to represent things as they are, and are thus fitted to sanctify the soul. We have here also the testimony of the Saviour that the revelation which God has given is true. All that God has spoken is true, and the Christian should rejoice and the sinner should tremble. See Ps 19:7-14.

{w} "Sanctify" Ac 15:9; Eph 5:26; 2 Th 2:13

{x} "thy word is truth" Ps 119:151

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 17 - Verse 18

Verse 18. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 17 - Verse 19

Verse 19. I sanctify myself. I consecrate myself exclusively to the service of God. The word sanctify does not refer here to personal sanctification, for he had no sin, but to setting himself apart entirely to the work of redemption.

That they also, &c.

1st. That they might have an example of the proper manner of labouring in the ministry, and might learn of me how to discharge its duties. Ministers will understand their work best when they most faithfully study the example of their great model, the Son of God.

2nd. That they might be made pure by the effect of my sanctifying myself—that is, that they might be made pure by the shedding of that blood which cleanses from all sin. By this only can men be made holy; and it was because the Saviour so sanctified himself, or set himself to this work so unreservedly as to shed his own blood, that any soul can be made pure and fit for the kingdom of God.

{y} "And for their sakes" 1 Co 1:2,30

{1} "sanctified", or "truly sanctified"

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 17 - Verse 20

Verses 20,21. Neither pray I for these alone, &c. Not for the apostles only, but for all who shall be converted under the preaching of the gospel. They will all need similar grace and be exposed to similar trials. It is a matter of unspeakable joy that each Christian, however humble or unknown to men—however poor, unlearned, or despised, can reflect that he was remembered in prayer by him whom God heareth always. We value the prayers of pious friends. How much more should we value this petition of the Son of God! To that single prayer we who are Christians owe infinitely more real benefits than the world can ever bestow; and in the midst of any trials we may remember that the Son of God prayed for us, and that the prayer was assuredly heard, and will be answered in reference to all who truly believe.

All may be one. May be united as brethren. Christians are all redeemed by the same blood, and are going to the same heaven. They have the same wants, the same enemies, the same joys. Though they are divided into different denominations, yet they will meet at last in the same abodes of glory. Hence they should feel that they belong to the same family, and are children of the same God and Father. There are no ties so tender as those which bind us in the gospel. There is no friendship so pure and enduring as that which results from having the same attachment to the Lord Jesus. Hence Christians, in the New Testament, are represented as being indissolubly united—parts of the same body, and members of the same family, Ac 4:32-35. 1 Co 12:4-31; Eph 2:20-22; Ro 12:5.

On the ground of this union they are exhorted to love one another, to bear one another's burdens, and to study the things that make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another, Eph 4:3; Ro 12:5-16.

As thou, Father, art in me. See Joh 14:10 This does not affirm that the union between Christians should be in all respects like that between the Father and the Son, but only in the points in which they are capable of being compared. It is not the union of nature which is referred to, but the union of plan, of counsel, of purpose—seeking the same objects, and manifesting attachment to the same things, and a desire to promote the same ends.

That they also may be one in us. To be in God and in Christ is to be united to God and Christ. The expression is common in the New Testament. The phrase here used denotes a union among all Christians founded on and resulting from a union to the same God and Saviour.

That the world may believe, &c. That the world, so full of animosities and fightings, may see the power of Christian principle in overcoming the sources of contention and producing love, and may thus see that a religion that could produce this must be from heaven. See Barnes "Joh 13:34".

This was done. Such was the attachment of the early Christians to each other, that a heathen was constrained to say, "See how these Christians love one another!"

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 17 - Verse 21

Verse 21. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

{z} "That they all may be one" Ro 12:5

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 17 - Verse 22

Verse 22. And the glory, &c. The honour which thou hast conferred on me by admitting me to union with thee, the same honour I have conferred on them by admitting them to like union with me.

May be one, even as we are one. Not in nature, or in the mode of existence-for this was not the subject of discourse, and would be impossible—but in feeling, in principle, in purpose. Evincing, as the Father and the Son had always done, the same great aim and plan; not pursuing different interests, or counteracting each other's purposes, or forming parties, but seeking the same ends by the same means. This is the union between the Father and the Son. Always, in the creation, preservation, and redemption of the world, the Father and the Son have sought the same object, and this is to be the model on which Christians should act.

{a} "And the glory which thou gavest" 2 Co 3:15

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 17 - Verse 23

Verse 23. May be made perfect in one. That their union may be complete. That there may be no jars, discords, or contentions. A machine is perfect or complete when it has all its parts and is in good order—when there is no portion of it wanting. So the union of Christians, for which the Saviour prayed, would be complete or perfect if there were no controversies, no envyings, no contentions, and no heart-burnings and jealousies. It is worthy of remark here how entirely the union of his people occupied the mind of Jesus as he drew near to death. He saw the danger of strifes and contentions in the church. He knew the imperfections of even the best of men. He saw how prone they would be to passion and ambition; how ready to mistake love of sect or party for zeal for pure religion; how selfish and worldly men in the church might divide his followers, and produce unholy feeling and contention; and he saw, also, how much this would do to dishonour religion. Hence he took occasion, when he was about to die, to impress the importance of union on his disciples. By solemn admonition, and by most tender and affecting appeals to God in supplication, he showed his sense of the value of this union. He used the most sublime and impressive illustration; he adverted to the eternal union between the Father and himself; he reminded them of his love, and of the effect that their union would have on the world, to fix it more deeply in their hearts. The effect has shown the infinite wisdom of the Saviour. The contentions and strifes of Christians have shown his knowledge in foreseeing it. The effect of all this on religion has shown that he understood the value of union. Christians have contended long enough. It is time that they should hear the parting admonitions of their Redeemer, and go unitedly against their common foe. The world still lies in wickedness; and the friends of Jesus, bound by the cords of eternal love, should advance together against the common enemy, and spread the triumphs of the gospel around the globe. All that is needful now, under the blessing of God, to convince the world that God sent the Lord Jesus, is that very union among all Christians for which he prayed; and when that union of feeling, and purpose, and action shall take place, the task of sending the gospel to all nations will be soon accomplished, and the morning of the millennial glory will dawn upon the world.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 17 - Verse 24

Verse 24. I will. This expression, though it commonly denotes command, is here only expressive of desire. It is used in prayer, and it was not the custom of the Saviour to use language of command when addressing God. It is often used to express strong and earnest desire, or a pressing and importunate wish, such as we are exceedingly anxious should not be denied, Mr 6:25; 10:35; Mt 12:38; 15:28.

Where I am. In heaven. The Son of God was still in the bosom of the Father, Joh 1:18. See Barnes "Joh 7:34".

Probably the expression here means where I shall be.

My glory. My honour and dignity when exalted to the right hand of God. The word "behold" implies more than simply seeing; it means also to participate, to enjoy. See Barnes "Joh 3:3, See Barnes "Mt 5:8".

Thou lovedst me, &c. This is another of the numerous passages which prove that the Lord Jesus existed before the creation of the world. It is not possible to explain it on any other supposition.

{b} "be with me where I am" 1 Th 4:17

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 17 - Verse 25

Verse 25. Hath not known thee. See Barnes "Joh 17:3".

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 17 - Verse 26

Verse 26. Thy name. See Barnes "Joh 17:6".

And will declare it. After my resurrection, and by the influence of the Holy Spirit, Lu 24:45; Ac 1:3.

I in them. By my doctrines and the influences of my Spirit. That my religion may show its power, and produce its proper fruits in their minds, Ga 4:19. The discourse in the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth chapters is the most tender and sublime that was ever pronounced in our world. No composition can be found anywhere so fitted to sustain the soul in trial or to support it in death. This sublime and beautiful discourse is appropriately closed by a solemn and most affecting prayer—a prayer at once expressive of the profoundest reverence for God and the tenderest love for men—simple, grave, tender, sublime, and full of consolation. It is the model for our prayers, and with like reverence, faith, and love we should come before God. This prayer for the church will yet be fully answered; and he who loves the church and the world cannot but cast his eyes onward to that time when all believers shall be one; when contentions, bigotry, strife, and anger shall cease; and when, in perpetual union and love, Christians shall show forth the power and purity of that holy gospel with which the Saviour came to bless mankind. Soon may that happy day arise!



Verse 1. The brook Cedron. This was a small stream that flowed to the east of Jerusalem, through the valley of Jehoshaphat, and divided the city from the Mount of Olives. It was also called Kidron and Kedron. In summer it is almost dry. The word used here by the evangelist—ceimarrou denotes properly a water-stream (from ceima shower or water, and rew, rodv, to flow, flowing), and the idea is that of a stream that was swollen by rain or by the melting of the snow (Passow, Lex.). This small rivulet runs along on the east of Jerusalem till it is joined by the water of the pool of Siloam, and the water that flows down on the west side of the city through the valley of Jehoshaphat, and then goes off in a south-east direction to the Dead Sea. (See the Map of the Environs of Jerusalem in vol. i.) Over this brook David passed when he fled from Absalom, 2 Sa 15:23. It is often mentioned in the Old Testament, 1 Ki 15:13; 2 Ch 15:16; 2 Ch 30:14; 2 Ki 23:6,12.

Where was a garden. On the west side of the Mount of Olives. This was called Gethsemane. See Barnes "Mt 26:36".

It is probable that this was the property of some wealthy man in Jerusalem—perhaps some friend of the Saviour. It was customary for the rich in great cities to have country-seats in the vicinity. This, it seems, was so accessible that Jesus was accustomed to visit it, and yet so retired as to be a suitable place for devotion.

{a} "Cedron" 2 Sa 15:23


Verse 2. Jesus ofttimes resorted thither. For what purpose he went there is not declared, but it is probable that it was for retirement and prayer. He had no home in the city, and he sought this place, away from the bustle and confusion of the capital, for private communion with God. Every Christian should have some place—be it a grove, a room, or a garden—where he may be alone and offer his devotions to God. We are not told much of the private habits of Jesus, but we are permitted to know so much of him as to be assured that he was accustomed to seek for a place of retirement, and during the great feasts of the Jews the Mount of Olives was the place which he chose, Lu 21:37; Mt 21:17; Joh 8:1.


Verse 3. A band. See Barnes "Mt 26:47"

See Barnes "Mt 27:27" John passes over the agony of Jesus in the garden, probably because it was so fully described by the other evangelists.

Lanterns, &c. This was the time of the full moon, but it might have been cloudy, and their taking lights with them shows their determination to find him.

{b} "Judas, then" Mt 26:47; Mr 14:43; Lu 22:47


Verse 4. No Barnes text on this verse.

{c} "knowing all things that should" Joh 10:17,18; Ac 2:28


Verse 5. No Barnes text on this verse.

{d} "Jesus of Nazareth" Mt 2:23; Joh 19:19


Verse 6. They went backward, &c. The cause of their retiring in this manner is not mentioned. Various things might have produced it. The frank, open, and fearless manner in which Jesus addressed them may have convinced them of his innocence, and deterred them from prosecuting their wicked attempt. His disclosure of himself was sudden and unexpected; and while they perhaps anticipated that he would make an effort to escape, they were amazed at his open and bold profession. Their consciences reproved them for their crimes, and probably the firm, decided, and yet mild manner in which Jesus addressed them, the expression of his unequalled power in knowing how to find the way to the consciences of men, made them feel that they were in the presence of more than mortal man. There is no proof that there was here any miraculous power, any mere physical force, and to suppose that there was greatly detracts from the moral sublimity of the scene.

{e} "they went backward"


Verse 7. No Barnes text on this verse.


Verse 8. Let these go their way. These apostles. This shows his care and love even in the hour of danger. He expected to die. They were to carry the news of his death to the ends of the earth. Hence he, the faithful Captain of salvation, went foremost into trials; he, the Good Shepherd, secured the safety of the flock, and went before them into danger. By the question which he asked those who came out against him, he had secured the safety of his apostles. He was answered that they sought for him. He demanded that, agreeably to their declaration, they should take him only, and leave his followers at liberty. The wisdom, caution, and prudence of Jesus forsook him in no peril, however sudden, and in no circumstances, however difficult or trying.

{f} "I am he" Isa 53:6; Eph 5:25


Verse 9. The saying. Joh 17:12. As he had kept them for more than three years, so he still sought their welfare, even when his death was near.

{g} "Of them which thou gavest" Joh 17:12

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 10

Verses 10,11. See Barnes "Mt 26:51, See Barnes "Mt 26:52".

The servant's name was Malchus. His name is mentioned by neither of the other evangelists, nor is it said by the other evangelists who was the disciple that gave the blow. It is probable that both Peter and the servant were alive when the other gospels were written.

{h} "Then Simon Peter" Mt 26:51; Mr 14:47; Lu 22:49,50

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 11

Verse 11. No Barnes text on this verse.

{i} "the cup which my Father" Mt 20:22; 26:39,42

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 12

Verse 12. See Mt 26:50.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 13

Verse 13. To Annas first. Probably his house was nearest to them, and he had great authority and influence in the Jewish nation. He had been himself a long time high-priest; he had had five sons who had successively enjoyed the office of high-priest, and that office was now filled by his son-in-law. It was of importance, therefore, to obtain his sanction and counsel in their work of evil.

That same year. Joh 11:14.

{k} "Annas" Lu 3:2

{1} "that same year" "And Annas send Christ bound unto Caiphas, the high priest," Joh 18:24

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 14

Verse 14. Which gave counsel, &c. Joh 11:49,50. This is referred to her, probably, to show how little prospect there was that Jesus would have justice done him in the hands of a man who had already pronounced on the case.

{l} "gave counsel to the Jews. Joh 11:49,50

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 15

Verses 15-18. See Barnes "Mt 26:57, See Barnes "Mt 26:58".

Another disciple. Not improbably John. Some critics, however, have supposed that this disciple was one who dwelt at Jerusalem, and who, not being a Galilean, could enter the palace without suspicion. John, however, mentions the circumstance of his being known to them, to show why it was that he was not questioned as Peter was. It is not probable that any danger resulted from its being known that he was a follower of Jesus, or that any harm was meditated on them for this. The questions asked Peter were not asked by those in authority, and his apprehensions which led to his denial were groundless.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 16

Verse 16. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 17

Verse 17. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 18

Verse 18. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 19

Verse 19. The high-priest then asked Jesus of his disciples. To ascertain their number and power. The charge on which they wished to arraign him was that of sedition, or of rebellion against Caesar. To make that plausible, it was necessary to show that he had made so many disciples as to form a strong and dangerous faction; but, as they had no direct proof of that, the high-priest insidiously and improperly attempted to draw the Saviour into a confession. Of this he was aware, and referred him to the proper source of evidence—his open, undisguised conduct before the world.

His doctrine. His teaching. The sentiments that he inculcated. The object was doubtless to convict him of teaching sentiments that tended to subvert the Mosaic institutions, or that were treasonable against the Roman government. Either would have answered the design of the Jews, and they doubtless expected that he—an unarmed and despised Galilean, now completely in their power—would easily be drawn into confessions which art and malice could use to procure his condemnation.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 20

Verse 20. Openly to the world. If his doctrine had tended to excite sedition and tumult, if he had aimed to overthrow the government, he would have trained his friends in secret; he would have retired from public view, and would have laid his plans in private. This is the case with all who attempt to subvert existing establishments. Instead of that, he had proclaimed his views to all. He had done it in every place of public concourse—in the synagogue and in the temple. He here speaks the language of one conscious of innocence and determined to insist on his rights.

Always resort. Constantly assemble. They were required to assemble there three times in a year, and great multitudes were there constantly.

In secret, &c. He had taught no private or concealed doctrine. He had taught nothing to his disciples which he had not himself taught in public and commanded them to do, Mt 10:27; Lu 12:3.

{n} "I spoke openly to the world" Lu 4:15; Joh 7:14,26,28; 8:2

{o} "in secret have I said nothing" Ac 26:26

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 21

Verse 21. Why askest thou me? Ask them, &c. Jesus here insisted on his rights, and reproves the high-priest for his unjust and illegal manner of extorting a confession from him. If he had done wrong, or taught erroneous and seditious doctrines, it was easy to prove it, and the course which he had a right to demand was that they should establish the charge by fair and incontrovertible evidence. We may here learn,

1st. That, though Jesus was willing to be reviled and persecuted, yet he also insisted that justice should be done him.

2nd. He was conscious of innocence, and he had been so open in his conduct that he could appeal to the vast multitudes which had heard him as witnesses in his favour.

3rd. It is proper for us, when persecuted and reviled, meekly but firmly to insist on our rights, and to demand that justice shall be done us. Laws are made to protect the innocent as well as to condemn the guilty.

4th. Christians, like their Saviour, should so live that they may confidently appeal to all who have known them as witnesses of the sincerity, purity, and rectitude of their lives, 1 Pe 4:13-16.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 22

Verse 22. One of the officers. One of the inferior officers, or those who attended on the court.

With the palm of his hand. This may mean, wave him a blow either with the open hand or with a rod"—the Greek does not determine which. In whatever way it was done, it was a violation of all law and justice. Jesus had showed no disrespect for the office of the high-priest, and if he had, this was not the proper way to punish it. The Syriac reads thus: "Smote the cheek of Jesus." The Vulgate and Arabic: "Gave him a blow."

{2} "with the palm of his hand" or, "with a rod"

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 23

Verse 23. Spoken evil. In my answer to the high-priest. If there was any disrespect to the office, and want of regard for the law which appointed him, then testify to the fact, and let punishment be inflicted according to the law; comp. Ex 22:28.

But if well, an accused person is on trial he is under the protection of the court, and has a right to demand that all legal measures shall be taken to secure his rights. On this right Jesus insisted, and thus showed that, though he had no disposition to take revenge, yet he claimed that, when arraigned, strict justice should be done. This shows that his precept that when we are smitten on one cheek we should turn the other (Mt 5:39), is consistent with a firm demand that justice should be done us. That precept refers, besides, rather to private matters than to judicial proceedings. It does not demand that, when we are unjustly arraigned or assaulted, and when the law is in our favour, we should sacrifice our rights to the malignant accuser. Such a surrender would be injustice to the law and to the community, and be giving legal triumph to the wicked, and destroying the very end of all law. In private matters this effect would not follow, and we should there bear injuries without reviling or seeking for vengeance.

{q} "but if well" 1 Pe 2:19-23

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 24

Verse 24. Comp. Joh 18:13 with Mt 26:57.

{3} "Now Annas" Joh 18:13

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 25

Verses 25,26. See Barnes "Mt 27:1,2".

See Barnes "Mt 26:72, also Mt 26:73-74.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 26

Verse 26. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 27

Verse 27. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 28

Verse 28. See Mt 27:1,2.

Hall of judgment. The praetorium—the same word that in Mt 27:27, is translated common hall. See Barnes "Mt 27:27".

It was the place where the Roman praetor, or governor, heard and decided cases brought before him. Jesus had been condemned by the Sanhedrim, and pronounced guilty of death (Mt 26:66); but they had not power to carry their sentence into execution (Joh 18:31), and they therefore sought that he might be condemned and executed by Pilate.

Lest they should be defiled. They considered the touch of a Gentile to be a defilement, and on this occasion, at least, seemed to regard it as a pollution to enter the house of a Gentile. They took care, therefore, to guard themselves against what they considered ceremonial pollution, while they were wholly unconcerned at the enormous crime of putting the innocent Saviour to death, and imbruing their hands in their Messiah's blood. Probably there is not anywhere to be found among men another such instance of petty regard to the mere ceremonies of the law and attempting to keep from pollution, at the same time that their hearts were filled with malice, and they were meditating the most enormous of all crimes. But it shows us how much more concerned men will be at the violation of the mere forms and ceremonies of religion than at real crime, and how they endeavour to keep their consciences at ease amid their deeds of wickedness by the observance of some of the outward ceremonies of religion—by mere sanctimoniousness.

That they might eat the passover. See Barnes "Mt 26:2, See Barnes "Mt 26:17".

This defilement, produced by contact with a Gentile, they considered as equivalent to that of the contact of a dead body (Le 22:4-6; Nu 5:2), and as disqualifying them to partake of the passover in a proper manner. The word translated passover means properly the paschal lamb which was slain and eaten on the observance of this feast. This rite Jesus had observed with his disciples the day before this. It has been supposed by many that he anticipated the usual time of observing it one day, and was crucified on the day on which the Jews observed it; but this opinion is improbable. The very day of keeping the ordinance was specified in the law of Moses, and it is not probable that the Saviour departed from the commandment. All the circumstances, also, lead us to suppose that he observed it at the usual time and manner, Mt 26:17,19. The only passage which has led to a contrary opinion is this in John; but here the word passover does not, of necessity, mean the paschal lamb. It probably refers to the feast which followed the sacrifice of the lamb, and which continued seven days. Comp. Nu 28:16,17. The whole feast was called the Passover, and they were unwilling to defile themselves, even though the paschal lamb had been killed, because it would disqualify them for participating in the remainder of the ceremonies (Lightfoot).

{s} "Then led they Jesus" Mt 27:2; Mr 15:1; Lu 23:1

{4} "the hall of judgment" or, "Pilate's house"

{t} "lest they should be defiled" Ac 10:28

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 29

Verse 29. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 30

Verse 30. If he were not a malefactor. A violator of the law. If we had not determined that he was such, and was worthy of death, Mt 26:66. From this it appears that they did not deliver him up to be tried, but hoped that Pilate would at once give sentence that he should be executed according to their request. It is probable that in ordinary cases the Roman governor was not accustomed to make very strict inquiry into the justice of the sentence. The Jewish Sanhedrim tried causes and pronounced sentence, and the sentence was usually approved by the governor; but in this case Pilate, evidently contrary to their expectations, proceeded himself to rehear and retry the cause. He had doubtless heard of the miracles of Jesus. He seems to have been strongly prepossessed with the belief of his innocence. He knew that they had delivered him from mere envy (Mt 27:18), and hence he inquired of them the nature of the case, and the kind of charge which they expected to substantiate against him.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 31

Verse 31. Judge him, &c. The Jews had not directly informed him that they had judged him and pronounced him worthy of death. Pilate therefore tells them to inquire into the case; to ascertain the proof of his guilt, and to decide on what the law of Moses pronounced. It has been doubted whether this gave them the power of putting him to death, or whether it was not rather a direction to them to inquire into the case, and inflict on him, if they judged him guilty, the mild punishment which they were yet at liberty to inflict on criminals. Probably the former is intended. As they had already determined that in their view this case demanded the punishment of death, so in their answer to Pilate they implied that they had pronounced on it, and that he ought to die. They still, therefore, pressed it on his attention, and refused to obey his injunction to judge him.

It is not lawful, &c. The Jews were accustomed to put persons to death still in a popular tumult (Ac 7:59,60), but they had not the power to do it in any case in a regular way of justice. When they first laid the plan of arresting the Saviour, they did it to kill him (Mt 26:4); but whether they intended to do this secretly, or in a tumult, or by the concurrence of the Roman governor, is uncertain. The Jews themselves say that the power of inflicting capital punishment was taken away about forty years before the destruction of the temple; but still it is probable that in the time of Christ they had the power of determining on capital cases in instances that pertained to religion (Josephus, Antiq., b. xiv. ch. 10, 2; comp. Jewish Wars, b. vt. ch. 2, § 4). In this case, however, it is supposed that their sentence was to be confirmed by the Roman governor. But it is admitted on all hands that they had not this power in the case of seditions, tumults, or treason against the Roman government. If they had this power in the case of blasphemy and irreligion, they did not dare to exert it here, because they were afraid of tumult among the people (Mt 26:5); hence they sought to bring in the authority of Pilate. To do this, they endeavoured to make it appear that it was a case of sedition and treason, and one which therefore demanded the interference of the Roman governor. Hence it was on this charge that they arraigned him, Lu 23:2. Thus a tumult might be avoided, and the odium of putting him to death they expected would fall, not on themselves, but on Pilate.

{u} "It is not lawful" Ge 49:10; Eze 21:27

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 32

Verse 32. That the saying of Jesus, &c. To wit, that he would be delivered into the hands of the Gentiles and be crucified, Mt 20:19. Neither of these things would have happened if he had been put to death in the way that the Jews first contemplated, Mt 26:4. Though it should be admitted that they had the power, in religious cases, to do this, yet in such a case it would not have been done, as Jesus predicted, by the Gentiles; and even if it should be admitted that they had the right to take life, yet they had not the right to do it by crucifixion. This was particularly a Roman punishment. And thus it was ordered, in the providence of God, that the prediction of Jesus in both these respects was fulfilled.

{v} "That the saying of Jesus" Mt 20:19; Lu 18:32,33

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 33

Verse 33. Art thou the King of the Jews? This was after they had accused him of perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, Lu 23:2,3.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 34

Verse 34. Of thyself. From any conviction of your own mind, or any apprehension of danger. During all the time in which you have been praetor, have you seen anything in me that has led you to apprehend sedition or danger to the Roman power? This evidently was intended to remind Pilate that nothing was proved against him, and to caution him against being influenced by the malicious accusations of others. Jesus demanded a just trial, and claimed that Pilate should not be influenced by any reports that he might have heard of him.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 35

Verse 35. Am I a Jew? Am l likely to be influenced by Jewish prejudices and partialities? Am not I, being a Roman, likely to judge impartially, and to decide on the accusations without being biassed by the malignant charges of the accusers?

Thine own nation &c. In this Pilate denies that it was from anything thing that he had observed that Jesus was arraigned. He admits that it was from the accusation of others; but then he tells the Saviour that the charge was one of moment, and worthy of the deepest attention. It had come from the very nation of Jesus, from his own countrymen, and from the highest authority among the people. As such it demanded consideration, and Pilate besought him to tell him what he had done—that is, what there had been in his conduct that had given occasion for this charge.

{w} "own nation" Joh 19:11; Ac 3:13

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 36

Verse 36. My kingdom, &c. The charge on which Jesus was arraigned was that of laying claim to the office of a king. He here substantially admits that he did claim to be a king, but not in the sense in which the Jews understood it. They charged him with attempting to set up an earthly kingdom, and of exciting sedition against Caesar. In reply to this, Jesus says that his kingdom is not of this world—that is, it is not of the same nature as earthly kingdoms. It was not originated for the same purpose, or conducted on the same plan. He immediately adds a circumstance in which they differ. The kingdoms of the world are defended by arms; they maintain armies and engage in wars. If the kingdom of Jesus had been of this kind, he would have excited the multitudes that followed him to prepare for battle. He would have armed the hosts that attended him to Jerusalem. He would not have been alone and unarmed in the garden of Gethsemane. But though he was a king, yet his dominion was over the heart, subduing evil passions and corrupt desires, and bringing the soul to the love of peace and unity.

Not from hence. That is, not from this world.

{x} "answered" 1 Ti 6:13

{y} "My kingdom" Ps 45:3,6; Isa 9:6,7; Da 2:44; 7:14; Zec 9:9; Lu 12:14; Joh 6:15; Ro 14:17; Col 1:13

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 37

Verse 37. Art thou a king then? Dost thou admit the charge in any sense, or dost thou lay claim to a kingdom of any kind?

Thou sayest, &c. This is a form of expression denoting affirmation. It is equivalent to yes.

That I am a king. This does not mean simply that Pilate affirmed that he was a king; it does not appear that he had done this; but it means, "Thou affirmest the truth; thou declarest what is correct, for I am, a king." I am a king in a certain sense, and do not deny it.

To this end, &c. Comp. Joh 3:11,12, &c. Jesus does not here affirm that he was born to reign, or that this was the design of his coming; but it was to bear witness to and to exhibit the truth. By this he showed what was the nature of his kingdom. It was not to assert power; not to collect armies; not to subdue nations in battle. It was simply to present truth to men, and to exercise dominion only by the truth. Hence the only power put forth in restraining the wicked, in convincing the sinner, in converting the heart, in guiding and leading his people, and in sanctifying them, is that which is produced by applying truth to the mind. Men are not forced or compelled to be Christians. They are made to see that they are sinners, that God is merciful, that they need a Redeemer, and that the Lord Jesus is fitted to their case, and yield themselves then wholly to his reign. This is all the power ever used in the kingdom of Christ, and no men in his church have a right to use any other. Alas! how little have persecutors remembered this! And how often, under the pretence of great regard for the kingdom of Jesus, have bigots attempted by force and flames to make all men think as they do! We see here the importance which Jesus attached to truth. It was his sole business in coming into the world, He had no other end than to establish it. We therefore should value it, and seek for it as for hid treasures, Pr 23:23.

Every one, &c. See Joh 8:47


{z} "I should bear witness" Isa 55:4; Re 1:5; 3:14

{a} "Every one that is of the truth" Joh 8:47; 1 Jo 4:6

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 38

Verse 38. What is truth? This question was probably asked in contempt, and hence Jesus did not answer it. Had the question been sincere, and had Pilate really sought it as Nicodemus had done (Joh 3:1), Jesus would not have hesitated to explain to him the nature of his kingdom. They were now alone in the judgment-hall (Joh 18:33), and as soon as Pilate had asked the question, without waiting for an answer, he went out. It is evident that he was satisfied, from the answer of Jesus (Joh 18:36,37), that he was not a king in the sense in which the Jews accused him; that he would not endanger the Roman government, and consequently that he was innocent of the charge alleged against him. He regarded him, clearly, as a fanatic—poor, ignorant, and deluded, but innocent and not dangerous. Hence he sought to release him; and hence, in contempt, he asked him this question, and immediately went out, not expecting an answer. This question had long agitated the world. It was the great subject of inquiry in all the schools of the Greeks. Different sects of philosophers had held different opinions, and Pilate now, in derision, asked him, whom he esteemed an ignorant fanatic, whether he could solve this long-agitated question. He might have had an answer. Had he patiently waited in sincerity, Jesus would have told him what it was. Thousands ask the question in the same way. They have a fixed contempt for the Bible; they deride the instructions of religion; they are unwilling to investigate and to wait at the gates of wisdom; and hence, like Pilate, they remain ignorant of the great Source of truth, and die in darkness and in error. All might find truth if they would seek it; none ever will find it if they do not apply for it to the great source of light—the God of truth, and seek it patiently in the way in which he has chosen to communicate it to mankind. How highly should we prize the Bible! And how patiently and prayerfully should we search the Scriptures, that we may not err and die for ever! See Barnes "Joh 14:6".

I find in him no fault. See Lu 23:4.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 39

Verses 39-40. See Barnes "Mt 27:15" also Mt 27:16-21.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 18 - Verse 40

Verse 40. No Barnes text on this verse.



Verses 1-3.

See Barnes "Mt 27:26, also Mt 27:27-30.

{a} "Then Pilate" Mt 27:26; Mr 15:15

{b} "scourged him" Isa 53:5


Verse 2. No Barnes text on this verse.


Verse 3. No Barnes text on this verse.


Verse 4. Behold, I bring him forth, &c. Pilate, after examining Jesus, had gone forth and declared to the Jews that he found no fault in him, Joh 18:38. At that time Jesus remained in the judgment-hall. The Jews were not satisfied with that, but demanded still that he should be put to death, Joh 18:39,40. Pilate, disposed to gratify the Jews, returned to Jesus and ordered him to be scourged, as if preparatory to death, Joh 19:1. The patience and meekness with which Jesus bore this seem to have convinced him still more that he was innocent, and he again went forth to declare his conviction of this; and, to do it more effectually, he said, "Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know," &c.—that they might themselves see, and be satisfied, as he had been, of his innocence. All this shows his anxiety to release him, and also shows that the meekness, purity, and sincerity of Jesus had power to convince a Roman governor that he was not guilty. Thus the highest evidence was given that the charges were false, even when he was condemned to die.


Verse 5. Behold the man. It is probable that Pilate pointed to the Saviour, and his object evidently was to move them to compassion, and to convince them, by a sight of the Saviour himself, that he was innocent. Hence he brought him forth with the crown of thorns, and the purple robe, and with the marks of scourging. Amid all this Jesus was meek, patient, and calm, giving evident proofs of innocence. The conduct of Pilate was as if he had said, -

See! The man whom you accuse is arrayed in a gorgeous robe, as if a king. He has been scourged and mocked. All this he has borne with patience. See! How calm and peaceful! Behold his countenance! How mild ! His body scourged, his heard pierced with thorns! Yet in all this he is meek and patient. This is the man that you accuse; and he is now brought forth, that you may see that he is not guilty.


Verse 6. They cried out, saying, Crucify him, &c. The view of the Saviour's meekness only exasperated them the more. They had resolved on his death; and as they saw Pilate disposed to acquit him, they redoubled their cries, and endeavoured to gain by tumult, and clamour, and terror, what they saw they could not obtain by justice. When men are determined on evil, they cannot be reasoned with. Every argument tends to defeat their plans, and they press on in iniquity with the more earnestness in proportion as sound reasons are urged to stay their course. Thus sinners go in the way of wickedness down to death. They make up in firmness of purpose what they lack in reason. They are more fixed in their plans in proportion as God faithfully warns them and their friends admonish them.

Take ye him, &c. These are evidently the words of a man weary with their importunity and with the subject, and yet resolved not to sanction their conduct. It was not the act of a judge delivering him up according to the forms of the law, for they did not understand it so. It was equivalent to this:

I am satisfied of his innocence, and shall not pronounce the sentence of death. If you are bent on his ruin—if you are determined to put to death an innocent man—if my judgment does not satisfy you—take him and put him to death on your own responsibility, and take the consequences. It cannot be done with my consent, nor in the due form of law; and if done, it must be by you, without authority, and in the face of justice.

See Mt 27:24.


Verse 7. We have a law. The law respecting blasphemy, Le 24:16; De 13:1-5. They had arraigned Jesus on that charge before the Sanhedrim, and condemned him for it, Mt 26:63-65. But this was not the charge on which they had arraigned him before Pilate. They had accused him of sedition, Lu 23:2. On this charge they were now convinced that they could not get Pilate to condemn him. He declared him innocent. Still bent on his ruin, and resolved to gain their purpose, they now, contrary to their first intention, adduced the original accusation on which they had already pronounced him guilty. If they could not obtain his condemnation as a rebel, they now sought it as a blasphemer, and they appealed to Pilate to sanction what they believed was required in their law. Thus to Pilate himself it became more manifest that he was innocent, that they had attempted to deceive HIM, and that the charge on which they had arraigned him was a mere pretence to obtain his sanction to their wicked design.

Made himself. Declared himself, or claimed to be.

The Son of God. The law did not forbid this, but it forbade blasphemy, and they considered the assumption of this title as the same as blasphemy (Joh 10:30,33,36), and therefore condemned him.

{d} "We have a law" Le 24:16

{e} "because he made himself" Joh 5:18; 10:33


Verse 8. When Pilate therefore heard that saying. That they had accused him of blasphemy. As this was not the charge on which they had arraigned him before his bar, he had not before heard it, and it now convinced him more of their malignity and wickedness.

He was the more afraid. What was the ground of his fear is not declared by the evangelist. It was probably, however, the alarm of his conscience, and the fear of vengeance if he suffered such an act of injustice to be done as to put an innocent man to death. He was convinced of his innocence. He saw more and more clearly the design of the Jews; and it is not improbable that a heathen, who believed that the gods often manifested themselves to men, dreaded their vengeance if he suffered one who claimed to be divine, and who might be, to be put to death. It is clear that Pilate was convinced that Jesus was innocent; and in this state of agitation between the convictions of his own conscience, and the clamours of the Jews, and the fear of vengeance, and the certainty that he would do wrong if he gave him up, he was thrown into this state of alarm, and resolved again to question Jesus, that he might obtain satisfaction on the subjects that agitated his mind.


Verse 9. Whence art thou? See Barnes "Joh 7:27".

Pilate knew that he was a Galilean, but this question was asked to ascertain whether he claimed to be the Son of God—whether a mere man, or whether divine.

Jesus gave him no answer. Probably for the following reasons:

1st. He had already told him his design, and the nature of his kingdom, Joh 18:36,37.

2nd. He had said enough to satisfy him of his innocence. Of that Pilate was convinced. His duty was clear, and if he had had firmness to do it, he would not have asked this. Jesus, by his silence, there- fore rebuked him for his want of firmness, and his unwillingness to do what his conscience told him was right.

3rd. It is not probable that Pilate would have understood him if he had declared to him the truth about his origin, and about his being the Son of God.

4th. After what had been done —after he had satisfied Pilate of his innocence, and then had been beaten and mocked by his permission—he had no reason to expect justice at his hands, and therefore properly declined to make any farther defence. By this the prophecy Isa 53:7 was remarkably fulfilled.

{f} "Jesus gave him no" Ps 33:13; Isa 53:7; Mt 27:12,14; Php 1:28

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 10

Verse 10. Speakest thou not, &c. This is the expression of a man of pride. He was not accustomed to be met with silence like this. He endeavoured, therefore, to address the fears of Jesus, and to appall him with the declaration that his life was at his disposal, and that his safety depended on his favour. This arrogance called forth the reply of the Saviour, and he told him that he had no power except what was given him from above. Jesus was not, therefore, to be intimidated by any claim of power in Pilate. His life was not in his hands, and he could not stoop to ask the favour of a man.

{g} "I have power to crucify" Da 3:14,15

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 11

Verse 11. No power. No such power as you claim. You have not originated the power which you have. You have just as much as is given, and your ability ex tends no farther.

Except it were given thee. It has been conceded or granted to you. God has ordered your life, your circumstances, and the extent of your dominion. This was a reproof of a proud man in office, who was forgetful of the great Source of his authority, and who supposed that by his own talents or fortune he had risen to his present place. Alas! how many men in office forget that God gives them their rank, and vainly think that it is owing to their own talents or merits that they have risen to such an elevation. Men of office and talent, as well as others, should remember that God gives them what they have, and that they have no influence except as it is conceded to them from on high.

From above. From God, or by his direction, and by the arrangements of his providence. Ro 13:1: "There is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God." The words "from above" often refer to God or to heaven, Jas 1:17; Jas 3:15,17; Joh 3:3

(in the Greek). The providence of God was remarkable in so ordering affairs that a man, flexible and yielding like Pilate, should be intrusted with power in Judea. Had it been a man firm and unyielding in his duty—one who could not be terrified or awed by the multitude— Jesus would not have been delivered to be crucified, Ac 2:23. God thus brings about his wise ends; and while Pilate was free, and acted out his nature without compulsion, yet the purposes of God, long before predicted, were fulfilled, and Jesus made an atonement for the sins of the world. Thus God overrules the wickedness and folly of men. He so orders affairs that the true character of men shall be brought out, and makes use of that character to advance his own great purposes.

Therefore. On this account.

You are a magistrate. Your power, as such, is given you by God. You are not, indeed, guilty for accusing me, or malignantly arraigning me; but you have power intrusted to you over my life; and the Jews, who knew this, and who knew that the power of a magistrate was given to him by God, have the greater sin for seeking my condemnation before a tribunal appointed by God, and for endeavouring to obtain so solemn a sanction to their own malignant and wicked purposes. They have endeavoured to avail themselves of the civil power, the sacred appointment of God, and on this account their sin is greater.

This does not mean that their sin was greater than that of Pilate, though that was true; but their sin was greater on account of the fact that they perseveringly and malignantly endeavoured to obtain the sanction of the magistrate to their wicked proceedings. Nor does it mean, because God had purposed his death (Ac 2:23), and given power to Pilate, that therefore their sin was greater, for God's purpose in the case made it neither more nor less. It did not change the nature of their free acts. This passage teaches no such doctrine, but that their sin was aggravated by malignantly endeavouring to obtain the sanction of a magistrate who was invested with authority by God, and who wielded the power that God gave him. By this Pilate ought to have been convinced, and was convinced, of their wickedness, and hence he sought more and more to release him.

He that delivered me. The singular here is put for the plural, including Judas, the high-priests, and the Sanhedrim.

{h} "thou couldest have no power" Lu 22:53; Joh 7:30

{i} "except" Ps 39:9

{k} "he that delivered me" Mr 14:44; Joh 18:3

{l} "the greater sin" He 6:4-8; Jas 4:17

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 12

Verse 12. Sought to release him. He was more and more convinced of his innocence, and more unwilling to yield him to mere malice and envy in the face of justice.

But the Jews cried out, &c. This moved Pilate to deliver Jesus into their hands. He feared that he would be accused of unfaithfulness to the interests of the Roman emperor if he did not condemn a man whom his own nation had accused of sedition. The Roman emperor then on the throne was exceedingly jealous and tyrannical, and the fear of losing his favour induced Pilate to deliver Jesus into their hands.

Caesar's friend. The friend of the Roman emperor. The name of the reigning emperor was Tiberius. After the time of Julius Caesar all the emperors were called Caesar, as all the kings of Egypt were called Pharaoh. This emperor was, during the latter part of his reign, the most cruel, jealous, and wicked that ever sat on the Roman throne.

{m} "whosoever maketh himself" Lu 23:2; Ac 17:7

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 13

Verse 13. Judgment-seat. The tribunal or place of pronouncing sentence. He came here to deliver him, in due form of law, into the hands of the Jews.

Pavement. This was an area or room of the judgment-hall whose floor was made of small square stones of various colours. This was common in palaces and houses of wealth and splendour. See Barnes "Mt 9:2".

Gabbatha. This word is not elsewhere used. It comes from a word signifying to be elevated. The name given to the place by the Hebrews was conferred from its being the place of the tribunal, as an elevated place.

{n} "When Pilate therefore heard" Pr 29:25; Ac 4:19

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 14

Verse 14. The preparation of the passover. See Barnes "Mr 15:42".

The sixth hour. Twelve o'clock. Mark says (Mr 15:25) that it was the third hour. See the difficulty explained in the Notes on that place. See Barnes "Mr 15:42".

{o} "it was the preparation" Mt 27:62

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 15

Verse 15. No Barnes text on this verse.

{p} "We have no king" Ge 49:10

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 16

Verses 16-22. See Barnes "Mt 27:32" also Mt 27:33-37.

{q} "delivered him" Mt 27:26; Mr 15:15; Lu 23:24

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 17

Verse 17. No Barnes text on this verse.

{r} "went forth" Nu 15:36; He 13:12

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 18

Verse 18. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 19

Verse 19. No Barnes text on this verse.

{s} "Pilate wrote a title" Mt 27:37; Mr 15:26; Lu 23:38

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 20

Verse 20. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 21

Verse 21. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 22

Verse 22. What I have written, &c. This declaration implied that he would make no change. He was impatient, and weary of their solicitations. He had yielded to them contrary to the convictions of his own conscience, and he now declared his purpose to yield no farther.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 23

Verse 23. His garments. The plural here is used to denote the outer garment. It was made, commonly, so as to be easily thrown on or off, and when they laboured or walked it was girded about the loins. See Barnes "Mt 5:40".

Four parts. It seems, from this, that there were four soldiers employed as his executioners.

His coat. His under garment, called the tunic.

Was without seam. Josephus (Antiq., b. iii. ch. 8, 4) says of the garment or coat of the high-priest that

"this vesture was not composed of two pieces, nor was it sewed together upon the shoulders and the sides; but it was one long vestment, so woven as to have an aperture for the neck. It was also parted where the hands were to come out."

It seems that the Lord Jesus, the great High-priest of his people, had also a coat made in a similar manner. Comp. Ex 39:22.

{1} "woven" or, "wrought"

{t} "from the top throughout" Ex 39:22

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 24

Verse 24. Let us not rend it. It would then have been useless. The outer garment, being composed of several parts—fringes, borders. &c. De 12:12 could be easily divided.

That the scripture Ps 22:18.

{u} "They parted my raiment" Ps 22:18

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 25

Verse 25. No Barnes text on this verse.

{2} "Cleophas" or, "Clopas"

{v} "and Mary Magdalene" Lu 24:18

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 26

Verse 26. The disciple—whom he loved. See Joh 13:23.

Woman. This appellation certainly implied no disrespect. See Barnes "Joh 2:4".

Behold thy son! This refers to John, not to Jesus himself. Behold, my beloved disciple shall be to you a son, and provide for you, and discharge toward you the duties of an affectionate child. Mary was poor. It would even seem that now she had no home. Jesus, in his dying moments, filled with tender regard for his mother, secured for her an adopted son, obtained for her a home, and consoled her grief by the prospect of attention from him who was the most beloved of all the apostles. What an example of filial attention! What a model to all children! And how lovely appears the dying Saviour, thus remembering his afflicted mother, and making her welfare one of his last cares on the cross, and even when making atonement for the sins of the world!

{x} "Woman" Joh 13:23

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 27

Verse 27. Behold thy mother! One who is to be to thee as a mother. The fact that she was the mother of Jesus would secure the kindness of John, and the fact that she was now intrusted to him demanded of him affectionate regard and tender care.

From that hour, &c. John seems to have been in better circumstances than the other apostles. See Joh 18:16. Tradition says that she continued to live with him in Judea till the time of her death, which occurred about fifteen years after the death of Christ.

{y} "thy mother" 1 Ti 5:2

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 28

Verses 28-30. See Barnes "Mt 27:46, also Mt 27:47-50.

That the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. See Ps 69:21. Thirst was one of the most distressing circumstances attending the crucifixion. The wounds were highly inflamed, and a raging fever was caused, usually, by the sufferings on the cross, and this was accompanied by insupportable thirst. See Barnes "Mt 27:35".

A Mameluke, or Turkish officer, was crucified, it is said in an Arabic manuscript recently translated, on the banks of the river Barads, under the castle of Damascus. He was nailed to the cross on Friday, and remained till Sunday noon, when he died. After giving an account of the crucifixion, the narrator proceeds:

I have heard this from one who witnessed it; and he thus remained till he died, patient and silent, without wailing, but looking around him to the right and the left, upon the people. But he begged for water, and none was given him; and the hearts of the people were melted with compassion for him, and with pity on one of God's creatures, who, yet a boy, was suffering under so grievous a trial. In the meantime the water was flowing around him, and he gazed upon it, and longed for one drop of it; and he complained of thirst all the first day, after which he was silent, for God gave him strength. —Wiseman's Lectures, p. 164, 165, ed. Andover.

{a} "scripture might be fulfilled" Ps 69:21

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 29

Verse 29. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 30

Verse 30. It is finished. The sufferings and agonies in redeeming man are over. The work long contemplated, long promised, long expected by prophets and saints, is done. The toils in the ministry, the persecutions and mockeries, and the pangs of the garden and the cross, are ended, and man is redeemed. What a wonderful declaration was this! How full of consolation to man! And how should this dying declaration of the Saviour reach every heart and affect every soul!

{b} "It is finished" Joh 17:4

{c} "gave up the ghost" Isa 53:10,12; Heb 2:14,15

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 31

Verse 31. The preparation. See Joh 19:4. The law required that the bodies of those who were hung should not remain suspended during the night. See De 21:22,23. That law was made when the punishment by crucifixion was unknown, and when those who were suspended would almost immediately expire. In the punishment by crucifixion, life was lengthened out for four, five, or eight days. The Jews therefore requested that their death might be hastened, and that the land might not be polluted by their bodies remaining suspended on the Sabbath-day.

Was an high day. It was,

1st. The Sabbath.

2nd. It was the day on which the paschal feast properly commenced. It was called a high day because that year the feast of the Passover commenced on the Sabbath. Greek, "Great day."

Their legs might be broken. To hasten their death. The effect of this, while they were suspended on the cross, would be to increase their pain by the act of breaking them, and to deprive their body of the support which it received from the feet, and to throw the whole weight on the hands. By this increased torment their lives were soon ended. Lactantius says that this was commonly done by the Romans to persons who were crucified. The common period to which persons crucified would live was several days. To compensate for those lingering agonies, so that the full amount of suffering might be endure, they increased their sufferings by breaking their limbs, and thus hastening their death.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 32

Verse 32. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 33

Verse 33. Saw that he was dead. Saw by the indications of death on his person, and perhaps by the testimony of the centurion, Mt 27:54. The death of Jesus was doubtless hastened by the intense agony of the garden, and the peculiar sufferings endured as an atonement for sin on the cross. Comp. Mt 27:46.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 34

Verse 34. One of the soldiers. One of those appointed to watch the bodies till they were dead. This man appears to have doubted whether he was dead, and, in order to see whether he was not yet sensible, he pierced him with his spear. The Jews designed that his legs should be broken, but this was prevented by the providence of God; yet in another way more satisfactory proof was obtained of his death than would have been by the breaking of his legs. This was so ordered, no doubt, that there might be the fullest proof that he was truly dead; that it could not be pretended that he had swooned away and revived, and so, therefore, that there could not be the least doubt of his resurrection to life.

With a spear. The common spear which soldiers used in war. There can be no doubt that such a stroke from the strong arm of a Roman soldier would have caused death, if he had not been already dead; and it was, doubtless, to furnish this conclusive proof that he was actually dead, and that an atonement had thus been made for mankind, that John mentions so particularly this fact. Let the following circumstances be remembered, showing that death must have ensued from such a wound:

1st. The Saviour was elevated but a little from the ground, so as to be easily reached by the spear of a soldier.

2nd. The wound must have been transversely upward, so as to have penetrated into the body, as he could not have stood directly under him.

3rd. It was probably made with a strong arm and with violence.

4th. The spear of the Roman soldier was a lance which tapered very gently to a point, and would penetrate easily.

5th. The wound was comparatively a large wound. It was so large as to admit the hand (Joh 20:27); but for a lance thus tapering to have made a wound so wide as to admit the hand, it must have been at least four or five inches in depth, and must have been such as to have made death certain. If it be remembered that this blow was probably in the left side, the conclusion is inevitable that death would have been the consequence of such a blow. To make out this fact was of special importance, probably, in the time of John, as the reality of the death of Jesus was denied by the Gnostics, many of whom maintained that he died in appearance only.

Pierced his side. Which side is not mentioned, nor can it be certainly known. The common opinion is that it was the left side. Car. Frid. Gruner (Commentatio Anti-guavia Medica de Jesu Christi Morte, p. 30-36) has attempted to show that it must have been the left side. See Wise-man's Lectures, p. 161,162, and Kuinoel on Joh 19:34, where the arguments of Gruner are fully stated. It is clear that the spear pierced to the region of the heart.

And forthwith came, &c. This was evidently a natural effect of thus piercing the side. Such a flowing of blood and water makes it probable that the spear reached the heart, and if Jesus had not before been dead, this would have closed his life. The heart is surrounded by a membrane called the pericardium. This membrane contains a serous matter or liquor resembling water, which prevents the surface of the heart from becoming dry by its continual motion (Webster). It was this which was pierced and from which the water flowed. The point of the spear also reached one of the ventricles of the heart, and the blood, yet warm, rushed forth, either mingled with or followed by the water of the pericardium, so as to appear to John to be blood and water flowing together. This was a natural effect, and would follow in any other case. Commentators have almost uniformly supposed that this was significant; as, for example, that the blood was an emblem of the eucharist, and the water of baptism, or that the blood denoted justification, and the water sanctification; but that this was the design there is not the slightest evidence. It was strictly a natural result, adduced by John to establish one fact on which the whole of Christianity turns —that he was truly dead. On this depends the doctrine of the atonement, of his resurrection, and all the prominent doctrines of religion. This fact it was of importance to prove, that it might not be pretended that he had only suffered a syncope, or had fainted. This John establishes. He shows that those who were sent to hasten his death believed that he had expired; that then a soldier inflicted a wound which would have terminated life if he had not been already dead; and that the infliction of this wound was followed by the fullest proof that he had truly expired. On this fact he dwells with the interest which became a subject of so much importance to the world, and thus laid the foundation for undoubted assurance that the Lord Jesus died for the sins of men.

{g} "blood" Heb 9:22,23; 1 Jo 5:6,8

{h} "water" 1 Pe 3:21.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 35

Verse 35. He that saw it. John himself. He is accustomed to speak of himself in the third person.

His record is true. His testimony is true. Such was the known character of this writer, such his sacred regard for truth, that he could appeal to that with full assurance that all would put confidence in him. He often appeals thus to the fact that his testimony was known to be true. It would be well if all Christians had such a character that their word would be assuredly believed.

{i} "And he that saw" Joh 1:1-3

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 36

Verse 36. That the scripture should be fulfilled. See Ex 12:46. John here regards the paschal lamb as an emblem of Christ; and as in the law it was commanded that a bone of that lamb should not be broken, so, in the providence of God, it was ordered that a bone of the Saviour should not be broken. The Scripture thus received a complete fulfillment respecting both the type and the antitype. Some have supposed, however, that John referred to Ps 34:20.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 37

Verse 37. Another scripture, Zec 12:10. We must here be struck with the wonderful providence of God, that so many scriptures were fulfilled in his death. All these things happened without any such design on the part of the men engaged in these scenes; but whatever was done by Jew or Gentile tended to the fulfillment of prophecies long on record, and with which the Jews themselves ought to have been familiar. Little did they suppose, when delivering him to Pilate—when he was mocked—when they parted his garments—when they pierced him—that they were fulfilling ancient predictions, But in this way God had so ordered it that the firmest foundation should be laid for the belief that he was the true Messiah, and that the designs of wicked men should all be overruled to the fulfillment of the great plans which God had in sending his Son.

{l} "another scripture" Ps 22:16; Zec 12:10; Re 1:7

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 38

Verses 38-42. See Barnes "Mt 27:57, also Mt 27:58-61.

{m} "for fear of the Jews" Joh 9:22

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 39

Verse 39. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

{n} "Nicodemus" Joh 3:1,2; 7:50

{o} "brought a mixture" 2 Ch 16:14

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 40

Verse 40. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

{p} "wound it in linen" Ac 5:6

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 41

Verse 41. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 19 - Verse 42

Verse 42. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

{q} "laid they Jesus" Isa 53:9; 1 Co 15:4

{r} "because of the Jew's" Joh 19:31

Subscribe to RPM
RPM subscribers receive an email notification each time a new issue is published. Notifications include the title, author, and description of each article in the issue, as well as links directly to the articles. Like RPM itself, subscriptions are free. Click here to subscribe.