Which of you proves me guilty of sin? And if I say the truth,
why do ye not believe me?
John 8 : 46.
This gospel teaches how persons become more hardened and
furious, the more one teaches them, and lovingly urges them to
do their duty. Christ asks them here in a very loving way for
a reason why they still disbelieve, since they can find fault neither
with his life, nor with his teaching. His life is blameless; for
he challenges them with the words, "Which of you proves me guilty of sin?"
His teaching is also blameless; for he adds, "If I say the truth, why
do ye not believe me?" Thus Christ lives
as he teaches.
Every preacher should prove that he possesses, first, a blameless
life, by which he can defy his enemies and no one may have
occasion to slander his teachings; secondly, that he possesses the
pure doctrine, so that he may not mislead those who follow him.
Thus he will be right and firm on both sides; with his good
life against his enemies, who look much more at his life than
at his doctrine, and despise the doctrine for the sake of the
life ; with his doctrine among his friends, who have much more
respect for his doctrine than for the kind of life he leads, and
will bear with his life for the sake of his teaching.
It is indeed true that no one lives so perfect a life as to be
without sin before God. Therefore it is sufficient that we be
blameless in the eyes of the people. But his doctrine must be
so good and pure as to stand, not only before man, but also
before God. Therefore every pious pastor may well ask, Who
among you can find fault with my life? Among you, I say,
who are men, but before God I am a sinner. Thus Moses
boasts that he took nothing from the people and did them no
injustice. Thus Samuel, Jeremiah, and Hezekiah rightly boasted
of their blameless life before the people to stop the mouths of
blasphemers. But Christ does not thus speak of his doctrine,
but says, "If I tell you the truth." For one must be assured
that his doctrine is right before God and that it is the truth,
and accordingly care not how it is judged by the people. The
Jews have no ground for their unbelief; therefore Christ pronounces
judgment upon them.