The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary On John 10:27-30

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 20, 2010

Ver. 27.—My sheep hear my voice. He leaves the inference to them: but ye hear not my voice, and are therefore not My sheep. (See above, ver. 4.)

Ver. 28.—And I give unto them eternal life. The sheep of Christ are of two kinds: first, all Christians; and secondly, those alone who are predestinated to glory. The words of Christ relate to the second class. And S. Augustine shows why they do not perish. For they are of those sheep of whom it is said, “The Lord knoweth who are His.” They are specially the sheep of Christ, none of whom perish. And yet of the former class Christ also says, “I give unto them eternal life,” that is, as far as I may. I make them the promise. I give them all necessary helps. I wish for their salvation. If then any of them perish it is not My fault but theirs, for they will not co-operate with My grace. For neither the devil nor any one else is able to pluck them out of My hand, if they resolve to abide in it, and will not be torn away. For My grace, if they cooperate with it, has power to keep them from being taken from Me. But if they leave Me of their own will, it is not a tearing away, but their own voluntary act. So S. Cyril, Leontius, Theophylact, and Maldonatus. Christ means to say that no power can take them away, but they have full liberty to go away from Christ.

I give unto them eternal life, that is if they abide in faith and obedience to Me. I give it in this world through grace by hope, and I will hereafter give it in glory. He invites the Jews by this promise to become His sheep, and reproves them for refusing to do so. The faithful are in the “hand,” that is under the protection and guardianship of Christ. This is signified by the hand, which ministers to the whole body (see S. Isidore, Etym. xi. 1).

Ver. 29.—My Father which gave them Me is greater than all (the Vulgate and Latin fathers read “majus,” the Greek fathers μείξων), and no one is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand. Because the Divine Nature which the Father gave Me, and its almighty power, is greater than all created beings, even angels and devils, and as no one can pluck them out of My Father’s hand, so can they not pluck them out of My own, for the hand and the power of the Father and Myself are one and the same. (So S. Augustine, Bede, Maldonatus; and see S. Ambrose, de Spir. Sancto, iii. 18. S. Hilary, de Trin. lib. vii., and Tertullian, contra Praxeam). He says this against the Jews who regarded Him as a mere man, “Know then that the Eternal Father gave Me a Divine Nature and Personality far higher than any created nature, whether angels or men.” Others explain it, that the sheep committed to Me by the Father must be more highly valued by Me than anything else; and no one can pluck them either out of My Father’s hand, or out of My own hand. But the first explanation is both the most sublime, and most full of meaning.

S. Cyril explains it thus, “My Father has committed to Me, His Incarnate Son, the care of His sheep. As God I have equal power with Him, and as man My hand is strengthened by the Almighty Hand of the Father.” Whence the Interlinear Gloss explains the word “hand” by “Me, who am the Hand of the Father.” For as S. Augustine says, “men call their ‘hands’ those persons through whom they do what they wish.” The two explanations come to the same thing.

Ver. 30.—I and My Father are one, not only by agreement and consent of will, as the Arians hold, but also one in Essence and Godhead, the same in number,* not in species, for otherwise there would be more Gods than one. Christ speaks here as God and the Word of the Father. And from this the fathers prove His Godhead against the Arians. And the Jews understood the words in the same sense, and consequently sought to stone Him as a blasphemer. And Christ Himself explained them in the same sense, for He said, I am the Son of God. It is clear also from His line of argument, “being one with the Father I have the same Almighty power.” For where the essence is the same, the power is also the same. So says S. Hilary (de Trinit. lib. viii.), “The Father and the Son are One, not as He speaks of the faithful (in chap. xvii.), ‘That they may be one,’ but one in nature, honour, and power.” “He steers between Scylla and Charybdis,” says S. Augustine (in loc.) “between Arius and Sabellius; for by speaking of ‘One’ He signifies Oneness of nature. But by saying ‘we are’ He indicates a plurality of persons, which Sabellius denied, affirming that God was One in Person, as well as in Essence.” S. Augustine says the same (de Trinit. vi. 2). See Bellarmine (de Christo, i. 6).

One Response to “Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary On John 10:27-30”

  1. […] Posts Commentary On John 10:27-30 By Cornelius a Lapide For Sunday Mass (April 25)(Complete) My Notes On John 21:1-19 For April 18th (Complete) Resources For Sunday Mass (April 18th, […]

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