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The Gospel of St. John


A valued friend, to whose judgment on a critical question I shall always defer, has sent me the following observations upon certain passages in the 11th and 16th Discourses of this volume. I have made no alterations in the text.

John v. 3, 4.

It is implied at page 143 that certain "honest and earnest men" are unwilling to believe that St. John wrote the verse relating to angelic interposition in the cures created by the pool of Bethesda, merely because they consider the doctrine unworthy of him. It may be so: but it is at least possible to assent fully to the doctrine, and yet reject the verse, along with the last clause of the preceding verse, on purely outward and critical grounds. Of the six most important Greek MSS. two (and those, perhaps, the best) omit the whole passage, ἐκδεχομένων — νοσήματι, two the clause, ἐκδεχομένων — κίνησιν, and two the verse, ἄγγελος — νοσηματι: not more than one or two tolerable Greek MSS. support the received reading. Of important early versions three omit the whole passage (including the recently discovered "Curetonian" Syriac, probably the earliest and most important of all), another (and two MSS. of a second) omits the verse, and two others omit or obelize part of the verse. Of early patristic evidence there is hardly any either way. Origen's commentary between iv. 54 and viii. 19 is unfortunately lost. Tertullian in one place shows an acquaintance with the belief about the angel, and probably with the whole passage. With this exception, the passage appears to be known in either form to no Father previous to St. Ambrose, no Greek Father previous to St. Chrysostom: they and their successors follow the common text. The only important early authority in its favour is the Old Latin version, (with which must be taken Tertullian;) and yet its MSS. differ surprisingly in the details of the verse, presenting it for the most part in a shorter form than the Greek MSS., which likewise differ considerably among themselves. In short, all the familiar phenomena of interpolation are present in the most flagrant shape. In all probability the passage was added by degrees in the second century in the Western Church, and passed over to the East in the fourth century.

John vii. 53-viii. 11.

At page 229 "some of the Fathers" are said to have "disliked the moral of" the story of the woman taken in adultery, and therefore to have been "glad to believe it not genuine." It is needless to go into the overwhelming critical evidence against its genuineness, — a matter quite distinct from its truth and authority. But surely the charge here made is founded on an oversight. The earlier Fathers (with the doubtful exception of Eusebius, who has been reasonably supposed to allude to the same incident, as recorded by Papias, and in the Gospel according to the Hebrews) nowhere refer to the narrative, apparently for the simple reason that it was entirely unknown to them. Origen's commentary on this part of the chapter is lost; but in a minute recapitulation, included in his remarks on verse 22, he passes at once without observation from vii. 52 to viii. 12. St. Chrysostom and St. Cyril ignore the passage in the same manner. There is really no reason whatever to suspect fraud here. St. Ambrose warns his readers of the danger of reading the story carelessly (otiosis auribus), but does not appear to doubt its genuineness. St. Augustine, arguing against an excessive rigour on the part of injured husbands, rebukes certain persons (modicæ fidei vel potius inimicis veræ fidei), who, as he fancied, banished it from their MSS. because it seemed to be more lenient to women than to their guilty selves. St. Jerome states that it was found in many Greek and Latin MSS., and proceeds to rest an argument upon it. Surely these three Fathers, if any, would have been "glad to believe it not genuine."

Both passages are pretty fully discussed by Dr. Tregelles (Account of the printed Text of the Greek New Testament, pp. 236-246), with the help of some evidence not before accessible.


I made many attempts to write a commentary on the Gospel of St. John. All of them proved abortive; though each of them made me more alive to the duty of endeavouring to impart to others some of the lessons which I had received from it. At length I was convinced that unless I studied the Gospel first of all with reference to my own congregation, and used it as a lesson-book for them, I never should be able to express what was in my mind to men whom I did not know. Critics, I doubt not, will know excellent reasons why a book of Scripture cannot be satisfactorily expounded in pulpit discourses. I certainly shall not dispute their opinion. No one is more aware than myself that I have not satisfactorily expounded this book of Scripture. I have not hoped to do that. But I believe I may have given my hearers and my readers some encouragement to seek a better Expositor of it than I or any much wiser teacher can be. If a few have been led by my words to hope for that guidance, and to place themselves under it, I trust they will ask for themselves and for me, that we may never desert it for any other, least of all for our own.



St. John I. 1.In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The Ages of the Church — St. John the Theologian — Accounts of him in the first Three Evangelists — His Jewish feelings — The opening Sentence of the Gospel — What Psalmists and Prophets mean when they speak of the Word of God — How Alexandrian Jews spoke of the Living Word — Confused opinions at the end of the First Century — How the opening of this Gospel meets them    1


St. John I. 14.And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

The same subject continued — How the Living Word was implied in all the teaching of the Old Testament — The Word, the Creator of the World — The Word enlightening human beings — The testimony of John to Him in this character 15


St. John I. 29.The next day John sees Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.

John the Baptist an Old Testament teacher — How St. John the Evangelist learnt his wisdom from him — His dialogue with the Pharisees — Wherein the Jews were wrong in their apprehension of the Christ — How John's message concerning Him that was before him met these confusions — His testimony to his own disciples concerning the Lamb of God  28


St. John I. 46.And Nathanael said to him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip said to him, Come and see.

The same subject continued — The Scape-Goat and the Lamb — Why the last is a more satisfactory image than the first — The Lamb identified with the Man — The Spirit and the Dove — John's Disciples following Jesus — Nathanael confessing the Man of Nazareth to be the Son of God — What was promised him hereafter  43


St. John II. 11.-This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His glory; and His disciples believed on Him.

Miracles and Signs — The change from the desert to the feast — The dialogue between Mary and her Son — Effects of the Sign upon those who had not, and those who had, believed Jesus to be the Christ — Christ giving His blessing to Marriage — Christ the spring of Life and Joy — The beginning of Signs — Object of St. John in recording them — Their message to us  57


St. John II. 16.-Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.

Difference between St. John and the other Evangelists in reference to Galilee and Jerusalem — The Two Purifications of the Temple — Jewish feelings respecting the Temple, easily understood by Englishmen — The Temple-Market — The impression of our Lord's Zeal on the minds of the Disciples — The Words 'My Father's House' — The Temple raised in three days — Double senses  72


St. John III. 3.Jesus answered and said to him, Verily, verily, I say to you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Effects of the signs at the Passover on the crowd — Their impression on Nicodemus the Pharisee — Seeing the Kingdom of God — The New Birth — The perplexity of the Pharisee — The Spirit and the Wind — Earthly Things and Heavenly Things — The Son of Man from Heaven and in Heaven — The Brazen Serpent — Consciousness not the basis of God's Kingdom — The Will of God  85


St. John III. 30.He must increase; I must decrease.

Return to John the Baptist — What John's Disciples say of the new Teacher — John's answer — The Gift from above — The Royal Bridegroom — The friend of the Bridegroom — The joy of John in his insignificance — The Earthly and the Heavenly Speech — How the Divine Testimony is received — The Difficulty of believing in God — The new Revelation of the Father and the Son — The Wrath of God 101


St. John IV. 10.Jesus answered and said to her, If you knewest the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, Give me to drink; you wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given you living water.

Water a Sign of Purification and a Sign of Life — Jesus in Samaria — The Gift of God — The Well of Life within — The woman revealed to herself — The Place of Worship and the Object of Worship — Spiritual and superstitious tendencies of the Samaritans — Christ declaring Himself to the woman 115


St. John IV. 48.Then said Jesus to him, Except you see signs and wonders, you will not believe.

The woman's Message to her countrymen — 'Is not this the Christ?' — Wonder of the disciples — The Reapers and the Harvest — What rewards Christ promises — The Samaritan Faith — The Galilæan Faith — How the Nobleman's Faith was affected by the Cure of his Son 128


St. John V. 16-18.And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, because He had done these things on the sabbath-day. But Jesus answered them, My Father works until the point in time, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He had not only broken the sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.

Jesus at Jerusalem — The Pool — The Angel — Whether the story interferes with Science — Records of Angels in the Old Testament — How the cure of the Man concerned the doctrine respecting Angels — The Sabbath-day — How the Pharisee regarded all the commandments — Reasons of their conflict with Jesus respecting this commandment — 'My Father works until the point in time, and I work' 141


St. John V. 43.I am come in my Father's name, and you receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him you will receive.

The charge against Jesus of making Himself equal with God — How Jesus refuses to exalt Himself — How He discovers the true Idea of Godhead — The Son quickening the dead — All judgment committed to the Son — The Light which that Language throws upon our Experiences — The Son ruling and judging in the unseen World — The Testimony of John — The Testimony of the Father — The Scriptures and the Word 156


St. John VI. 35.And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst.

Jesus feeding the multitude — The Prophet and the King — Jesus walking on the Sea — Use of that Sign — The crowd seeking Jesus — The Bread of Life — The Son of Man and the Father — The Manna falling from Heaven — 'My Father gives you the Bread' — The Will of the Father — Christ promised to the Race and to each Man 172


St. John VI. 62.What and if you shall see the Son of man ascend up where He was before?

How to give thanks for a Peace — How the Nation of Israel was taught that it did not live by Bread alone — How Jesus interpreted that Language — The Teaching of the Father — 'The Bread that I will give is my Flesh' — Whether St. John was speaking of the Lord's Supper — Spiritual Eating not metaphorical Eating — How the History of the Church explains the Words, 'Except you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His Blood, you have no Life in you' — How the Ascension is connected with these words — The Faith of Peter — The Unbelief of Judas — How connected with this subject — Its relation to modern events — Christianity and Mahometanism 186


St. John VII. 37-39.In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink. He that believes on me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spoke He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

Meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles — Why the brethren of our Lord wished Him to go to Jerusalem — The Jewish World — Christ teaching in the Temple — Doing God's Will and knowing His Doctrine — The Sabbath-day and Circumcision — In what Sense Christ's Life was mysterious, in what Sense open — 'You shall seek me, and not find me' — The Gift of the Holy Ghost 209


St. John VIII. 29.And He that sent me is with me: the Father has not left me alone; for I do always those things that please Him.

Bethlehem and Nazareth — The division in the Sanhedrim — The Story of the Woman taken in Adultery — Jesus declaring Himself the Light of the World — The Two Witnesses — The Descent and the Ascent — The Answer to the Question, 'Who art You?' — The Son of Man lifted up — How St. John preaches the Trinity 226


St. John VIII. 43.Why do you not understand my speech? even because you cannot hear my word.

The repelling and attracting Power of Christ's Words concerning His Father — The Promise of Truth — The Promise of Freedom — The Servant in the House and the Son — Abraham's Seed — The Desire to murder the Prince of Life — The claim of God as a Father — The charge of being children of the Devil — The Speech and the Word — The Temporal and the Eternal — 'Before Abraham was, I am' 240


St. John IX. 39.And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

How the story of the Blind Man is connected with the previous discourse — Final causes of bodily disease — The obligation upon Jesus to work — Process of the cure — The debates in the Synagogue — The Doctors and the Beggar — His arguments and their answer — What his blindness had done for him — The Revelation of the Son of God 259


St. John X. 27-29.My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give to them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

The Mount of Olives — The sight of the Sheepfold — The Wicket-Gate — Why the Pharisees could not understand the symbol — St. John's Parables — The robbers and murderers who claimed to be Christs in the Old Time — Application to Modern Times — How is it true that the Sheep did not hear them — The Good Shepherd and the Hirelings — Communion between the Shepherd and the Sheep — Communion between Christ and His Father — The other Sheep — Why Jesus did not say, 'I am the Christ' — 'My Father is greater than all' — 'I and my Father are one' — 'I have said, You are gods' 274


St. John XI. 25.Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.

Jesus and the Disciples again in the Wilderness — The common feeling respecting the Resurrection of Lazarus, the true one — The Sisters and the Brother — The Message concerning Lazarus — The hours of Night and Day — Our Friend sleeps — How the Two Sisters endure their Comforters — The Resurrection in the Last Day — 'I am the Resurrection, and the Life' — The Groaning of Jesus — The Glory of God — Lazarus returning to his Home — Resurrection not a Break in a Man's History — The Renewal of Family Bonds — Deliverance from Unbelief 300


St. John XI. 49, 50.And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said to them, You know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.

Why the Sadducees did not wish to stone Jesus — The Prophecy of Caiaphas — The Romans and the Cross — The Feast at Bethany — The Box of Ointment — Its Effect on Judas — Jerusalem during the Passover — When the Disciples learnt the meaning of Christ's Entry into the City — The Greeks at the Feast — The Seed falling into the Ground and dying — The Moment of Agony — The Son of Man drawing all Men to Him — 'Who is this Son of Man?' — How that Question is asked and answered in our day 321


St. John XII. 44-50, and XIII. 1. — Jesus cried and said, He that believes on me, believes not on me, but on Him that sent me. And he that sees me, sees Him that sent me. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believes on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not; for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, He gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that His commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said to me, so I speak. Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them to the end.

The last Signs to the Jewish people — How Isaiah had explained their inefficacy — The Glory of Men and the Glory of God — The Words which closed Christ's public Ministry — The Last Supper — The Washing of the Feet — What had to be washed away — Why the feet only had to be washed — Christ's Example — How one Man can purify another — The Disciple not above his Master — 'He that receives you receives Me' — The trouble of Spirit — The Disciple whom Jesus loved — 'That you do, do quickly' — The Son of Man glorified — The New Commandment — The prophecy of denial 341


St. John XIV. 25, 26.These things have I spoken to you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said to you.

The two causes of Trouble — The double support under them — Why Jesus did not speak of dying — The message concerning a Father's House — Jesus the Way — To what the Way leads — 'Have I been so long time with you, and have you not known me?' — The greater Works — Praying in the Name of Jesus — The promise of the Comforter — Loving and obeying — How the Disciples learnt their need of a Spirit — The gift of the Spirit the gift of Peace — The Prince of this World — The love of the Father to the World 365


St. John XV. 1.I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

Allusions to vines in the old Scripture — The interpretation of them here — 'Abide in me' — Ground of the union of the Disciples to Christ — The gift of Joy — Servants and friends — The command to love — The world's hatred a hatred of God 383


St. John XVI. 1.These things have I spoken to you, that you should not be offended.

Effect of Christ's words upon His Disciples when they met with persecutions — Method of His education — The conviction of the world by the Spirit — The Spirit not speaking of Himself, but of the Son and the Father — 'A little while and you shall not see me' — The birth of the Man into the world — The Apostles' belief — The world overcome 396


St. John XVII. 1.These words spoke Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify your Son, that your Son also may glorify you.

Words, their power and their weakness — How to connect Christ's prayer with other prayers — 'Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you' — The gift of eternal life — The order of the prayer — The part of it which refers to the Disciples — 'I pray not for the world' — The son of perdition — Truth and sanctity — 'That they all may be one' — The world which has not known the Father 411


St. John XIX. 37.And again another scripture said, They shall look on Him whom they have pierced.

Arrangement of our services in Passion Week — Agreement of St. John with the other Evangelists — Why all dwell upon the arraignment of Jesus — Peculiarities of St. John — The night-scene with the officers — Jesus before the High Priest — The dread of defilement — Jesus before Pilate — 'Are you a king?' — 'Behold the man!' — 'Where are you?' — 'We have no king but Cæsar' — The title on the cross — Rending the garment — The Son and the Mother — 'A bone shall not be broken' — 'They shall look on Him whom they have pierced' — Nicodemus at the sepulchre 424


St. John XX. 30, 31.And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through His name.

Reasons why St. John should record the history of the Resurrection carefully — How far he or the other Evangelists cared to produce evidences — Peter and John at the sepulchre — How John could find in the Scripture that Jesus should rise again — Appearance of the angels — Differences of the Evangelists — Jesus speaking to Mary — 'I am not yet ascended' — 'Peace be to you' — The commission to bind and loose — Thomas the Doubter — The conclusion of the narrative — The resumption of it — The Apostles returning to their nets — Jesus on the shore — The fish and the bread — 'Simon, lovest you me?' — The two Apostles — John tarrying till Christ came — The things which Jesus did, and is doing, and will do 443


Note I. — On Barn's theory of the Gospels469
Note II. — On the construing of the 3d, 4th, and 9th verses of the 1st chapter475
Note III. — On Origen's notion of St. John's Gospel in connection with the knowledge attributed to John the Baptist477
Note IV. — On the relation of the words, 'The Lamb of God,' to the Passover, and to the passage in the 53d chapter of Isaiah479
Note V. — On the objections to a revision of the Scriptures481
Note VI. — Extract from Gregory of Nyssa484
Note VII. — On the resurrection of the body and the judgment-day484
Note VIII. — Comparison of the teaching in the Sermon on the Mount with that in the 8th chapter of St. John488
Note IX. — On the doctrine of Atonement — Scotch and English divinity492
Note X. — On corporate holiness498
Note XI. — A translation of John viii. 2501

From the Gospel of St. John by FREDERICK DENISON MAURICE, M.A, Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Combridge. Published by MACMILLAN AND CO in 1882; Produced by Charlene Taylor, Julia Neufeld and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net. Lightly updated to the language of the 21st century by D. N. Pham. (c) 2012.

Insights of the past for the present

Gospel of St. John - F.D. Maurice

The Gospel of St. John

I. The Jewish Fisherman

II. The Word the Light of Men

III. The Teaching of John the Baptist

IV. The Lamb of God

V. The Marriage Feast

VI. The Cleansing of the Temple

VII. The New Birth

VIII. The Bridegroom's Friend

IX. The Water of Life

X. The Rewards of Labour

XI. The Pool of Bethesda

XII. Doing the Father's Work

XIII. The Bread From Heaven

XIV. The True Life of Nations

XV. The Feast of Tabernacles

XVI. The True Witness of Christ

XVII. The Two Fathers

XVIII. The Light of the Eye

XIX. The Shepherd and the Sheep

XX. The Raising of Lazarus

XXI. The Death For All Nations

XXII. The World and the Disciples

XXIII. The Father's House

XXIV. The Vine and the Branches

XXV. The Comforter's Testimony

XXVI. The Prayer of the High Priest

XXVII. The Passion

XXVIII. The Resurrection



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Plumber of Lisburn - A.W. Tozer

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Root of the Righteous - A.W. Tozer

Essays - A.W. Tozer

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Mark Gospel 1/4 - A MacLaren

Mark Gospel 2/4 - A MacLaren

Mark Gospel 3/4 - A MacLaren

Mark Gospel 4/4 - A MacLaren

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To the Corinthians - J.S. Riggs

To the Philippians - R. Rainy

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To the Hebrews - H.C.G. Moule

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Wisdom of James - A.T. Robertson

Epistles of John 1/2 - W. Alexander

Epistles of John 2/2 - W. Alexander

Kingdom of Heaven - E. Burbidge

Deuteronomy - C.H. Mackintosh

Religion and Theology - J. Tulloch

The Being of God - St Anselm

The Existence of God - St Anselm

God Became Man - St Anselm

The Other Wise Man - H. Van Dyke

First Christmas Tree - H. Van Dyke

A Christmas Carol - C Dickens

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