61.But Jesus knowing. Christ knew indeed, that the offense which the reprobate had taken up could not be removed; for, to tell the truth, (171) the doctrine does not so much wound them as it exposes the putrid ulcer which they inwardly nourished in their hearts. But he wished by all methods to try if there were not one of those who were offended that was not yet beyond the reach of cure, and to stop the mouths of the rest. By putting the question, he means that they have no reason to be offended, (172) or, at least, that the ground of offense does not lie in the doctrine itself. Thus we ought to repress the wickedness of those who, urged on by nothing but the rage of mastiff dogs, slander the word of God; and thus too we ought to chastise the folly of those who inconsiderately attack the truth.
Knowing in himself. He says that Jesus knew in himself, because they had not yet declared openly what gave them uneasiness, but secretly murmured and groaned within themselves, and, therefore, he anticipates their open complaints. If it be objected, that the nature of those complaints was not difficult to understand, because in express terms they rejected the doctrine of Christ, I acknowledge that the words which John has formerly related are plain enough; but still I say that, like persons who are disgusted at any thing, they whispered those words to each other in low murmurs. For if they had spoken to Christ, there would have been better ground of hope, because the way would have been opened up for teaching them; but now, when they indulge in secret murmurings, they shut up against themselves the way to gain instruction. So then, when we do not immediately perceive the Lord’ meaning, there is nothing better than to go straight to him, that he may solve all our difficulties.
Doth this offend you? Christ appears here to increase the offense instead of removing it; but if any person examine very closely the ground of offense, there was in the following statement what ought to have pacified their minds.