38.That the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled. John does not mean that the prediction laid a necessity on the Jews; for Isaiah (Isa_53:1; Rom_10:16) uttered nothing but what the Lord revealed to him from the secret treasures of his purpose. Indeed, it must have happened, though the prophet had not spoken of it; but as men would not have known what should take place, if God had not testified by the mouth of the prophet, the Evangelist places before our eyes in the prediction, as in a mirror, what would otherwise have appeared to men obscure and almost incredible.
Lord, who hath believed? This sentence contains two clauses. In the former, Isaiah, having begun to speak of Christ, fore-seeing that all that he proclaims concerning Christ, and all that shall afterwards be made known by the Apostles, will be generally rejected by the Jews, exclaims, as if in astonishment at something strange and monstrous, Lord, who shall believe our report, or, our speech ? (29)
To whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? In this second clause he assigns the reason why they are few; and that reason is, that men do not attain it by their own strength, and God does not illuminate all without distinction, but bestows the grace of his Holy Spirit on very few, (30) And if among the Jews the obstinate unbelief of many ought not to have been an obstacle to believers, though they were few in number, the same argument ought to persuade us, at the present day, not to be ashamed of the Gospel, though it has few disciples. But we ought first to observe the reason which is added, that what makes men believers is not their own sagacity, but the revelation of God. The word arm, it is well known, denotes power. The prophet declares that the arm of God, which is contained in the doctrine of the Gospel, lies hid until it is revealed, and at the same time testifies that all are not indiscriminately partakers of this revelation. Hence it follows, that many are left in their blindness destitute of inward light, because hearing they do not hear, (Mat_13:13.)
(29) “Qui eroira a nostre ouye, ou, a nostre parole ?”