54.If I glorify myself. Before replying to that unjust comparison, he begins by saying that he does not seek his own glory, and thus meets their slander. If it be objected, that Christ also glorified himself, the answer is easy, that he did so, not as man, but by the direction and authority of God. For here, as in many other passages, he distinguishes between himself and God, by way of concession. In short, he declares that he desires no glory whatever but what has been given him by the Father. We are taught by these words that, when God glorifies his Son, he will not permit the world to hate or despise him (246) with impunity.
Meanwhile, those voices sounding from heaven, Kiss the Son, (Psa_2:12,) Let all the angels worship him, (Heb_1:6,) Let every knee bow to him, (Phi_2:10,) Hear ye him, (Mat_17:5,) Let the Gentiles seek him, (Rom_15:11,) and Let all flesh be humbled, ought greatly to encourage believers to render honor and reverence to Christ. We are also reminded by these words, that all the honor which men procure for themselves is trivial and worthless. How blind then is ambition, when we labor so earnestly about nothing! Let, us continually keep before our eyes that saying of Paul,
Not he who commendeth himself is approved, but whom God commendeth,
Besides, as we are destitute of the glory of God, let us learn to glory in Christ alone, so far as by his grace he makes us partakers of his glory.
Of whom you say that he is your God. He pulls off from them the false mask of the name of God which they were accustomed to employ. “ know,” he says, “ presumptuously you boast that you are the people of God; but it is a false title, for you know not God. ”Hence also we learn what is the true and lawful (247) profession of faith. It is that which proceeds from true knowledge. And whence comes that knowledge, but from the word? Consequently, all who boast of the name of God without the word of God are mere liars. Yet to their audacity Christ opposes the assurance of his conscience; and thus all the servants of God ought to be prepared in their hearts to be satisfied with this alone, that God is on their side, though the whole world should rise against him. Thus anciently the Prophets and Apostles had invincible courage and magnanimity, which stood firm against the dreadful attacks of the whole world, because they knew by whom they were sent. But when solid knowledge of God is wanting, there is nothing to support us.
And if I shall say that I know him. By this clause, Christ testifies that the necessity of his office constrains him to speak, because silence would be a treacherous denim of the truth. This is a remarkable statement, that God reveals himself to us for this purpose, that we may confess before men the faith which we have in our hearts, when it is needful. For it ought powerfully to strike terror into our minds, that they who act hypocritically to please men, and either deny the truth of God or disfigure it by wicked glosses, not only are gently reproved, but are sent back to the children of the devil.