John Calvin Complete Commentary - John 3:29 - 3:29

Online Resource Library

Return to PrayerRequest.com | Commentary Index | Bible Index | Search | Prayer Request | Download

John Calvin Complete Commentary - John 3:29 - 3:29


(Show All Books | Show All Chapters)

This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

29.He who hath the bride. By this comparison, he confirms more fully the statement, that it is Christ alone who is excluded from the ordinary rank of men. For as he who marries a wife does not call and invite his friends to the marriage, in order to prostitute the bride to them, or, by giving up his own rights, to allow them to partake with him of the nuptial bed, but rather that the marriage, being honored by them, may be rendered more sacred; so Christ does not call his ministers to the office of teaching, in order that, by conquering the Church, they may claim dominion over it, but that he may make use of their faithful labors for associating them with himself. It is a great and lofty distinction, that men are appointed over the Church, to represent the person of the Son of God. They are, therefore, like the friends whomthe bridegroom brings with him, that they may accompany him in celebrating the marriage; but we must attend to the distinction, that ministers, being mindful of their rank, may not appropriate to themselves what belongs exclusively to the bridegroom The whole amounts to this, that all the eminence which teachers may possess among themselves ought not to hinder Christ from ruling alone in his Church, or from governing it alone by his word.

This comparison frequently occurs in Scripture, when the Lord intends to express the sacred bond of adoption, by which he binds us to himself. For as he offers himself to be truly enjoyed by us, that he may be ours, so he justly claims from us that mutual fidelity and love which the wife owes to her husband. This marriage is entirely fulfilled in Christ, whose flesh and bones we are, as Paul informs us, (Eph_5:30.) The chastity demanded by him consists chiefly in the obedience of the Gospel, that we may not suffer ourselves to be led aside from its pure simplicity, as the same Apostle teaches us, (2Co_11:2.) We must, therefore, be subject to Christ alone, he must be our only Head, we must not turn aside a hair’ from the simple doctrine of the Gospel, he alone must have the highest glory, that he may retain the right and authority of being a bridegroom to us.

But what are ministers to do? Certainly, the Son of God calls them, that they may perform their duty to him in conducting the sacred marriage; and, therefore, their duty is, to take care, in every way, that the spouse — who is committed to their charge — may be presented by them as a chaste virgin to her husband; which Paul, in the passage already quoted, boasts of having done. But they who draw the Church to themselves rather than to Christ are guilty of basely violating the marriage which they ought to have honored. And the greater the honor which Christ confers on us, by making us the guardians of his spouse, so much the more heinous is our want of fidelity, if we do not endeavor to maintain and defend his right.

This my joy therefore is fulfilled. He means that he has obtained the fulfillment of all his desires, and that he has nothing further to wish, when he sees Christ reigning, and men listening to him as he deserves. Whoever shall have such affections that, laying aside all regard to himself, he shall extol Christ and be satisfied with seeing Christ honored, will be faithful and successful in ruling the Church; but, whoever shall swerve from that end in the slightest degree will be a base adulterer, and will do nothing else than corrupt the spouse of Christ.