At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: These things I command you, that you love one another. If the world hate you, know ye that it hath hated Me before you. If you had been of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember My word that I said to you, The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you: If they have kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they know not Him that sent Me. If I had not come, and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. He that hateth Me, hateth My Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no other man hath done, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated both Me and My Father. But that the word may be fulfilled which is written in their law: They hated Me without cause.
Verse 18. If the world hate you. The wicked, unbelieving world, hate and persecute you, as they have done me; remember, that the servant must not desire to be treated better than his master. Wi.
Verse 20. Here Christ predicts, that many will be deaf to the words of his Church, as they have neglected to attend to his precepts.
Verse 22. They would not have sin, or would not be guilty of sin: that is, they might be excused, as to their not believing me to be their Messias: but after so many instructions, which I have given them, and so many, and such miracles done in their sight, which also were foretold of their Messias, they can have no excuse for their obstinate sin of unbelief. They have hated both me, and my Father: that is, by hating me, the true Son, who have one and the same nature with my Father, they have also hated him, though they pretend to honour him as God. See on this chap. S. Aug. (tract. 81.) and S. Chrys. (hom. lxxvi.) lat. edit. hom. lxxvii. in Joan. in the Greek.
Verse 24. How can this be true, that Christ wrought greater wonders than any one else had ever done? We find recounted in the Old Testament, the miracles of Elias and Eliseus, who raised the dead to life, healed the sick, and brought down fire from heaven; of Moses, who afflicted Egypt with plagues, divided the Red Sea, for the passage of the Israelites, and brought water from the rock; of Josue, who stopped the waters of the Jordan, for the passage of the children of Israel, and in the battle of Gabaon, made the sun and moon stand still; in all which miracles, there appeared a greater manifestation of power, than in any of the miracles wrought by our Saviour, during his ministry. But to this may be answered, that the miracles of our Saviour were much more numerous than those of any of the saints of the Old Testament, even of Moses himself; particularly when we compare the few years which he preached, and manifested the glory of his Father by his miracles, with the long life of Moses: Christ did not preach full four years, whereas Moses governed the people forty years. Again, if the miracles of Jesus were not of so astonishing a nature, at least they always had for their object, the healing of the sick, and the good of the people; which the prophets have given us, as the distinguishing characteristics of the miracles of the Messias. Add to this, the ease and authority with which he performs them, which are most sensible proofs of their superiority. But what chiefly distinguishes his miracles, from those of the other saints, is, that he performed them in proof of his divinity, and of his mission, as the deliverer of Israel: whereas the prophets only perform miracles, as the ministers of the Lord, and as so many voices, which foretold the Messias. Besides, if the ancient saints could work miracles, they never could confer that power upon others, as Christ did upon his disciples, of which the Jews themselves were witnesses, in all the places whither Christ sent his disciples. We omit mentioning his resurrection, which at this time he had not performed, but had already foretold, and which was the greatest miracle that has ever been performed. Calmet.
17. These things I command you, that ye love one another. 18. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxvii. 1) Our Lord had said, I have ordained that ye should walk, and bring forth fruit. Love is this fruit. Wherefore He proceeds: These things I command you, that ye love one another. (Gal. 5:22) Hence the Apostle saith: The fruit of the Spirit is love; and enumerates all other graces as springing from this source. Well then doth our Lord commend love, as if it were the only thing commanded: seeing that without it nothing can profit, with it nothing be wanting, whereby a man is made good.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvii. 2) Or thus: I have said that I lay down My life for you, and that I first chose you. I have said this not by way of reproach, but to induce you to love one another. Then as they were about to suffer persecution and reproach, He bids them not to grieve, but rejoice on that account: If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you: as if to say, I know it is a hard trial, but ye will endure it for My sake.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxvii. 2) For why should the members exalt themselves above the head? Thou refusest to be in the body, if thou art not willing, with the head, to endure the hatred of the world. For love’s sake let us be patient: the world must hate us, whom it sees hate whatever it loves; If ye were of the world, the world would love his own.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvii. 2) As if Christ’s suffering were not consolation enough, He consoles them still further by telling them, the hatred of the world would be an evidence of their goodness; so that they ought rather to grieve if they were loved by the world: as that would be evidence of their wickedness.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxvii. 2) He saith this to the whole Church, which is often called the world; as, God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself. (2 Cor. 5:19) The whole world then is the Church, and the whole world hateth the Church. The world hateth the world, the world in enmity, the world reconciled, the defiled world, the changed world. (Tract. lxxxviii. 4.). Here it may be asked, If the wicked can be said to persecute the wicked; e. g. if impious kings, and judges, who persecute the righteous, punish murderers and adulterers also; how are we to understand our Lord’s words, If ye were of the world, the world would love his own? In this way; The world is in them who punish these offences, and the world is in them who love them. The world then hates its own so far as it punishes the wicked, loves its own so far as it favours them. (Tract. lxxxvii. 4.). Again, if it be asked how the world loves itself, when it hates the means of its redemption, the answer is, that it loves itself with a false, not a true love, loves what hurts it; hates nature, loves vice. Wherefore we are forbidden to love what it loves in itself; commanded to love what it hates in itself. The vice in it we are forbidden, the nature in it we are commanded, to love. And to separate us from this lost world, we are chosen out of it, not by merit of our own, for we had no merits to begin with, not by nature which was radically corrupt, but by grace: But because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
GREGORY. (Hom. in Ezech. ix.) For the dispraise of the perverse, is our praise. There is nothing wrong in not pleasing those, who do not please God. For no one can by one and the same act please God, and the enemies of God. He proves himself no friend to God, who pleases His enemy; and he whose soul is in subjection to the Truth, will have to contend with the enemies of that Truth.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxviii. 1) Our Lord, in exhorting His servants to bear patiently the hatred of the world, proposes to them an example than which there can be no better and higher one, viz. Himself: Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also.
GLOSS. They observed1 it in order to calumniate it, as we read in the Psalms, The ungodly seeth2 the righteous.
THEOPHYLACT. Or thus: If, Me says, they have persecuted your Lord, much more will they persecute you; if they had persecuted Him, but kept His commandments, they would keep yours also.
CHRYSOSTOM. As if He said, Ye must not be disturbed at having to share My sufferings; for ye are not better than I.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxviii. 1) The servant is not greater than his Lord. Here the servant is the one who has the purified fear, which abideth for ever.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvii. 2) Then follows another consolation, viz. that the Father is despised and injured with them: But all these things will they do unto you for My name’s sake, because they know not Him that sent Me.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxviii. 2) All these things, viz. what He had mentioned, that the world would hate them, persecute them, despise their word. For My Name’s sake, i. e. in you they will hate Me, in you persecute Me, your word they will not keep, because it is mine. They who do these things for His name’s sake are as miserable, as they who suffer them are blessed: except when they do them to the wicked as well; for then both they who do, and they who suffer, are miserable. But how do they do all these things for His name’s sake, when they do nothing for Christ’s name’s sake, i. e. for justice sake? We shall do away with this difficulty, if we take the words as applying to the righteous; as if it were, All these things will ye suffer from them, for My name’s sake. If, for My name’s sake, mean this, i. e. My name which they hate in you, justice which they hate in you; of the good, when they persecute the wicked, it may be said in the same way, that they do so both for righteousness’ sake, which they love, which love is their motive in persecuting, and for unrighteousness’ sake, the unrighteousness of the wicked, which they hate. Because they know not Him that sent Me, i. e. know not according to that knowledge of which it is said, To know Thee is perfect righteousness. (Wisd. 15:3)
22. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. 23. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. 24. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. 25. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvii. 2) Then by way of another consolation, He declares the injustice of these persecutions both towards Him and them: If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxix. 1) Christ spoke to the Jews only, not to any other nation. In them then was that world which hated Christ and His disciples; and not only in them, but in us also. Were the Jews then without sin before Christ came in the flesh, because Christ had not spoken to them? By sin here He means not every sin, but a certain great sin, which includes all, and which alone hinders the remission of other sins, viz. unbelief. They did not believe in Christ, who came that they might believe on Him. This sin then they would not have had, had not Christ come; for Christ’s advent, as it was the salvation of the believing, so was the perdition of the unbelieving. But now they have no cloke for their sin. If those to whom Christ had not come or spoken, had not an excuse (πρόφασιν, excusationem Vulg. cloke E. T.) for their sin, why is it said here that these had no excuse, because Christ had come and spoken to them? If the first had excuse, did it do away with their punishment altogether, or only mitigate it? I answer, that this excuse covered, not all their sin, but only this one, viz. that they did not believe in Christ. But they are not of this number to whom Christ came by His disciples: they are not to be let off with a lighter punishment, who altogether refused to receive Christ’s love, and, as far as concerned them, wished its destruction. This excuse they may have who died before they heard of Christ’s Gospel; but this will not shield them from damnation. For whoever are not saved in the Saviour, who came to seek what was lost, shall without doubt go to perdition: though some will have lighter, others severer punishments. He perishes to God, who is punished with an exclusion from that happiness which is given to the saints. But there is as great a diversity of punishments, as there is of sins: though how this is settled is a matter known to the Divine Wisdom indeed, but too deep for human conjecture to examine or pronounce upon.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvii. 2) As the Jews persecuted Him out of professed regard for the Father, He takes away this excuse: He that hateth Me, hateth My Father also.
ALCUIN. For as he who loves the Son, loves the Father also, the love of the Father being one with that of the Son, even as their nature is one: so he who hateth the Son, hateth the Father also.
AUGUSTINE. (Tr. xc. 1) But He has just said, Because they know not Him that sent Me. How could they hate one whom they did not know? For if they hated God, believing Him to be something else, and not God, this was not hatred of God. In the case of men, it often happens that we hate or love persons whom we have never seen, simply in consequence of what we have heard of them. But if a man’s character is known to us, he cannot properly be said to be unknown. And a man’s character is not shewn by his face, but by his habits and way of life: else we should not be able to know ourselves, for we cannot see our own face. But history and fame sometimes lie; and our faith is imposed upon. We cannot penetrate into men’s hearts; we only know that such things are right, and others wrong; and if we escape error here, to be mistaken in men is a venial matter. A good man may hate a good man ignorantly, or rather love him ignorantly, for he loves the good man, though he hates the man whom he supposes him to be. A bad man may love a good man, supposing him to be a bad man like himself, and therefore not, properly speaking, loving him, but the person whom he takes him to be. And in the same way with respect to God. If the Jews were asked whether they loved God, they would reply that they did love Him, not intending to lie, but only being mistaken in so saying. For how could they who hated the Truth, love the Father of the Truth? They did not wish their actions to be judged, and this the Truth did. They hated the Truth then, because they hated the punishment which He would inflict upon such as they. But at the same time they did not know that He was the Truth, who came to condemn them. They did not know that the Truth was born of God the Father, and therefore they did not know God the Father Himself. Thus they both hated, and also knew not, the Father.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvii. 2) Thus then they have no excuse, He says; I gave them doctrine, I added miracles, which, according to Moses’ law, should convince all if the doctrine itself is good also: If I had not done among them the works that none other man did, they had not had sin.
AUGUSTINE. (Tr. xci. 1) The sin of not believing Him, notwithstanding His doctrine and His miracles. But why does He add, Which none other man did? Christ did no work greater than the raising of the dead, which we know the ancient Prophets did before Him. Is it that He did some things which no one else did? But others also did what neither He nor any one else did. True: yet none of the ancient prophets, that we read of, healed so many bodily defects, sicknesses, infirmities. For to say nothing of single cases, Mark says, that whithersoever He entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought Him that they might touch if it were but the border of His garment: and as many as touched Him were made whole. (Mark 6:56) Such works as these no one else had done in them. In them, meaning, not amongst them, or before them, but within them. But even where particular works, like some of these, had been done before, whoever worked such did not really do them; for He did them through them; whereas He performs these miracles by His own power. For even if the Father or the Holy Spirit did them, yet it was none other than He; for the Three Persons are of one substance. For these benefits then they ought to have returned Him not hatred, but love. And this He reproaches them with; But now they have both seen and hated both Me and My Father.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvii. 1) And that the disciples may not say, Why then hast Thou brought us into such difficulties? Couldest not thou foresee the resistance and hatred we should meet with, He quotes the prophecy: But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated Me without a cause.
AUGUSTINE. (xv. de Trin. c. xvii) Under the name of the Law, the whole of the Old Testament is included: and therefore our Lord says here, That is written in their law; the passage being in the Psalms.
AUGUSTINE. (Tr. xci. 4) Their law, He says, not as made by them, but as given to them. A man hates without a cause, who seeks no advantage from his hatred. Thus the ungodly hate God; the righteous love Him, i. e. looking for no other good but Him: He is their all in all.
GREGORY. (xxv. Moral.) It is one thing not to do good, another to hate the teacher of goodness; as there is a difference between sudden and deliberate sins. Our state generally is that we love what is good, but from infirmity cannot perform it. But to sin of set purpose, is neither to do nor to love what is good. As then it is sometimes a heavier offence to love than to do, so is it more wicked to hate justice than not to do it. There are some in the Church, who not only do not do what is good, but even persecute it, and hate in others what they neglect to do themselves. The sin of these men is not that of infirmity or ignorance, but deliberate wilful sin.