Verse 49. "For I have not spoken of myself" - I have not spoken for my secular interest: I have not aimed at making any gain of you: I have not set up myself as your teachers in general do, to be supported by my disciples, and to be credited on my own testimony. I have taught you, not the things of men, but the deep, everlasting truths of God. As his envoy, I came to you; and his truth only I proclaim.
"Gave me a commandment" - Or, commission. So I understand the original word, entolh. Christ, as the Messiah, received his commission from God; what he should command-every thing that related to the formation and establishment of the Christian institution: and what he should speak-all his private conversations with his disciples or others, he, as man, commanded and spoke through the constant inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Verse 50. "I know that this commandment is life everlasting" - These words of our Lord are similar to that saying in St. John's first epistle, 1 John v. 11, 12. This is the record, that God hath given unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life. God's commandment or commission is, Preach salvation to a lost world, and give thyself a ransom for all; and whosoever believeth on thee shall not perish, but have everlasting life. Every word of Christ, properly credited, and carefully applied, leads to peace and happiness here, and to glory hereafter. What an amiable view of the Gospel of the grace of God does this give us? It is a system of eternal life, Divinely calculated to answer every important purpose to dying, miserable man. This sacred truth Jesus witnessed with his last breath. He began his public ministry proclaiming the kingdom of God; and he now finishes it by asserting that the whole commission is eternal life; and, having attested this, he went out of the temple, and retired to Bethany.
THE public work of our Lord was now done; and the remnant of his time, previously to his crucifixion, he spent in teaching his disciples-instructing them in the nature of his kingdom, his intercession, and the mission of the Holy Spirit; and in that heavenly life which all true believers live with the Father, through faith in the Son, by the operation of the Holy Ghost.
Many persons are liberal in their condemnation of the Jews, because they did not believe on the Son of God; and doubtless their unbelief has merited and received the most signal punishment. But those who condemn them do not reflect that they are probably committing the same sort of transgression, in circumstances which heighten the iniquity of their sin.
Will it avail any man, that he has believed that Christ has come in the flesh to destroy the works of the devil, who does not come unto him that he may have life, but continues to live under the power and guilt of sin? Paradoxical as it may seem, it is nevertheless possible, for a man to credit the four evangelists, and yet live and die an infidel, as far as his own salvation is concerned. Reader, it is possible to hold the truth in unrighteousness. Pray to God that this may not be thy condemnation. For a farther improvement of the principal subjects of this chapter, see the notes on verses 24, 32, and 39.