John 8:27
They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.
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(27) They understood not that he spake (better, was speaking) to them of the Father.—We have seen in Note on John 8:21 that a new discourse commences there, and that the hearers are not necessarily the same as those who had asked the question and heard the answer of John 8:19. Still the speakers then, and those spoken of now, are “the Jews” (comp. John 8:13; John 8:22); and they are probably in part identical with those of whom our Lord tells us there, that they knew neither Him nor the Father. Of these men St. John tells us now that they did not know that the Sender and the Father are one. The statement of their want of perception, which strikes us as so marvellous, is made just because it was marvellous. St. John remembers it many years afterwards, and remembers that on account of it Jesus proceeded to declare more fully that every act He did was done in the Father, and that every word He spoke was taught by the Father, and that in every event of His life the Father was present.

8:21-29 Those that live in unbelief, are for ever undone, if they die in unbelief. The Jews belonged to this present evil world, but Jesus was of a heavenly and Divine nature, so that his doctrine, kingdom, and blessings, would not suit their taste. But the curse of the law is done away to all that submit to the grace of the gospel. Nothing but the doctrine of Christ's grace will be an argument powerful enough, and none but the Spirit of Christ's grace will be an agent powerful enough, to turn us from sin to God; and that Spirit is given, and that doctrine is given, to work upon those only who believe in Christ. Some say, Who is this Jesus? They allow him to have been a Prophet, an excellent Teacher, and even more than a creature; but cannot acknowledge him as over all, God blessed for evermore. Will not this suffice? Jesus here answers the question. Is this to honour him as the Father? Does this admit his being the Light of the world, and the Life of men, one with the Father? All shall know by their conversion, or in their condemnation, that he always spake and did what pleased the Father, even when he claimed the highest honours to himself.They understood not - They knew not, or they were unwilling to receive him as a messenger from God. They doubtless understood that he meant to speak of God, but they were unwilling to acknowledge that he really came from God. 26, 27. I have many things to say and to judge of you; but he that sent me is true, &c.—that is, I could, and at the fitting time, will say and judge many things of you (referring perhaps to the work of the Spirit which is for judgment as well as salvation, Joh 16:8), but what I do say is just the message My Father hath given Me to deliver. The Jews (as we are told) used to call God The Father, in a way of eminency: they understood that he spake to them of his Father; but they would not understand when he spake to them of his Father, or the Father, he meant God the Father of all; their minds were blinded, that they could not see, and their hearts hardened, that they could not understand.

They understood not that he spake to them of the Father. That sent him, and who was true and faithful to all he had said, whether in a way of promise, or threatening; such was their stupidity, that they did not know that he meant God the Father by him that sent him, so deriving his mission and doctrine from him; their hearts were made fat, and hardened, and their eyes were blinded. The Vulgate Latin version reads, "they did not know that he said, God was his Father"; and so Beza's most ancient copy, and another exemplar of his. {11} They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.

(11) Even the contempt of Christ results in his glory: and this thing his enemies will eventually feel to their great pain.

John 8:27. Ὢ τῆς ἀγνοίας! οὐ διέλιπεν αὐτοῖς περὶ αὐτοῦ διαλεγόμενος, καὶ οὐκ ἐγίνωσκον, Chrysostom and Euth. Zigabenus calls them φρενοβλαβεῖς. But the surprising, nay more, the very improbable element (De Wette) which has been found in this non-understanding, disappears when it is remembered that at John 8:21 a new section of the discourse commenced, and that we are not obliged to suppose that precisely the same hearers were present in both cases (John 8:16-17). The less, therefore, is it allowable to convert non-understanding into the idea of non-recognition (Lücke); or to regard it as equivalent to obduracy (Tholuck, Brückner); or to explain ὅτι as in which sense (Hofmann, l.c. p. 180); or with Luthardt, to press αὐτοῖς, and to give as the meaning of the simple words: “that in bearing witness to Himself He bears witness to them that the God who sends Him is the Father;” or with Ebrard, to find in ἔλεγεν: “that it is His vocation” to proclaim to them; or, with Hengstenberg, to understand ἔγνωσαν, etc., of the true knowledge, namely, of the deity of Christ. For such interpretations as these there is no foundation in the passage; it simply denotes: they knew not (comp. John 8:28) that in these words (ὁ πέμψας με, etc.) He spoke to them of the Father. On λέγειν, with the accus. in the sense of λαλ. περί, see Stallbaum, ad Plat. Apolog. p. 23 A; Phaed. p. 79 C. Comp. on John 1:15.

John 8:27. His hearers did not identify “Him that sent me” with “the Father”: Οὐκ ἔγνωσανἔλεγεν.

27. They understood not that he spake] Better, they perceived not that He was speaking. This statement of the Evangelist has seemed to some so unaccountable after John 8:18, that they have attempted to make his words mean something else. But the meaning of the words is quite unambiguous, and is not incredible. We have seen that there is an interval, possibly of days, between John 8:20 and John 8:21. The audience may have changed very considerably; but if not, experience shews that the ignorance and stupidity of unbelief are sometimes almost unbounded. Still we may admit that the dulness exhibited here is extraordinary; and it is precisely because it is so extraordinary that St John records it.

John 8:27. Οὐκ ἔγνωσαν, they understood not) By means of this epicrisis [explanatory addition] John intimates his astonishment at the unbelief and blindness of the Jews; as at ch. John 12:37, “But though He had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on Him.”—τὸν τατέρα, the Father) the Father had sent Him, John 8:26 : and had they known the Father, they would have known who Jesus was, John 8:25.

Verse 27. - They understood (perceived) not that he spake to them of the Father. This difficult parenthesis of the evangelist calls attention to the fact that, during the immediately preceding discourse and controversy, Jesus had dropped his references to the Father, and had used the periphrasis, "he that sent me," probably suggesting to this strangely excited populace, fed with weird fancies and wild expectations, that the mysterious Being with whom they were conversing was but the Delegate of One mightier than he, who was hidden in the secret place of God's providence until the hour of his own manifestation should appear to have struck. They might have remembered the utter deference which the great prophet John had displayed before a Messiah whom as yet they knew not. They may have heard that even John himself, at a later date, sent from the prison two of his disciples to propound the query, "Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?" in other words, "Art thou the final Manifestation of all that I have predicted and believed? or is another to make his appearance with fire and axe and available force to compel obedience and to secure universal homage?" It is more than probable that the evangelist, being personally alive to the cross currents of passion, enthusiasm, and hostility which were at work in the hearts of the populace, saw by the very blankness and confusion on their faces, and the "asides" of the multitude, that they had not perceived that Jesus was throughout in these references speaking of the Father of all - the supreme Source of all power, the Lord of hosts. Even when he had said, "Ye have not known me, nor my Father," they had not risen to such a conception of the Lord's meaning as to suppose that the supreme Father himself was being suggested to them and cited as the corroborative Witness, as the supernatural Aid and Divine Presence which was giving validity to all that Christ has said about himself. Their ignorance and lack of perception need not astonish us when we reflect upon the obscurity and non-receptivity of the apostles themselves, and the like obtuseness of theologians and cultivated men of the world in every age from that day to this. The remark is, moreover, added doubtless to interpret the following verses, in which the ideas of ver. 26 are repeated, with the difference that, whereas he had already spoken of him that sent him, and who had authorized his words and judgments, Jesus now gives to him the beloved name of "the Father." John 8:27They understood (ἔγνωσαν)

Perceived, as Rev.

He spake

Imperfect. Was speaking would be much better.

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