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John 18:7-9

7. He therefore asked them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. 8. Jesus answered, I told you that it is I: if therefore you seek me, allow these to go away. 9. That the word which he had spoken might be fulfilled, Of those whom thou gavest to me I have lost none.

 

7. He therefore asked them again. Hence it appears what is the powerful effect of that blindness with which God strikes the minds of wicked men, and how dreadful is their stupidity, when, by a just judgment of God, they have been bewitched by Satan. Oxen and asses, if they fall, are touched with some kind of feeling; but those men, after having had an open display of the divine power of Christ, proceed as fearlessly as if they had not perceived in him even the shadow of a man; nay, Judas himself remains unmoved. Let us learn, therefore, to fear the judgment of God, by which the reprobate, delivered into the hands of Satan, become more stupid than brute beasts. Nor can it be doubted that Satan hurried them on, with wild fury, to such a desperate hardihood; for there is no insanity that drives a man with such viohnee as this kind of blindness; Wicked men, after having been given over to a reprobate mind, (Romans 1:28,) care no more about rushing against God than if they had only to do with a fly. They feel his power, indeed, but not so as to be disposed to obey; for sooner will they be broken a hundred times than they will yield. In short, their malice is a veil to hinder them from observing the light of God; their obstinacy renders them harder than stones, so that they never suffer themselves to be subdued.

8. I have told you that it is I. Here we see how the Son of God not only submits to death of his own accord, that by his obedience he may blot out our transgressions, but also how he discharges the office of a good Shepherd in protecting his flock. He sees the attack of the wolves, and does not wait till they come to the sheep which have been committed to his care, but immediately goes forward to guard them. Whenever, therefore, either wicked men or devils make an attack upon us, let us not doubt that this good Shepherd is ready 133133     “Que ce bon Pasteur ne soit prest.” to aid us in the same manner. Yet by his example Christ has laid down to shepherds a rule which they ought to follow, if they wish to discharge their office in a right manner.

9. I have lost none. This passage appears to be inappropriately quoted, as it relates to their souls rather than to their bodies; for Christ did not keep the apostles safe to the last, but this he accomplished, that, amidst incessant dangers, and even in the midst of death, still their eternal salvation was secured. I reply, the Evangelist does not speak merely of their bodily life, but rather means that Christ, sparing them for a time, made provision for their eternal salvation. Let us consider how great their weakness was; what do we think they would have done, if they had been brought to the test? While, therefore, Christ did not choose that they should be tried beyond the strength which he had given to them, he rescued them from eternal destruction. And hence we may draw a general doctrine, that, though he try our faith by many temptations, still he will never allow us to come into extreme danger without supplying us also with strength to overcome. And, indeed, we see how he continually bears with our weakness, when he puts himself forward to repel so many attacks of Satan and wicked men, because he sees that we are not yet able or prepared for them. In short, he never brings his people into the field of battle till they have been fully trained, so that even in perishing they do not perish, because there is gain provided for them both in death and in life.


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