on John 12 :34
We have heard out of the law - That is, out of the sacred writings. The words here are quoted from Psalm 110:4; but the Jews called every part of the sacred writings by the name, The Law, in opposition to the words or sayings of the scribes. See on John 10:34 (note).
That Christ abideth for ever - There was no part of the law nor of the Scripture that said the Messiah should not die; but there are several passages that say as expressly as they can that Christ must die, and die for the sin of the world too. See especially Isaiah 53:1, etc.; Daniel 9:24, Daniel 9:27. But as there were several passages that spoke of the perpetuity of his reign, as Isaiah 9:7; Ezekiel 37:25; Daniel 7:14, they probably confounded the one with the other, and thus drew the conclusion, The Messiah cannot die; for the Scripture hath said, his throne, kingdom, and reign shall be eternal. The prophets, as well as the evangelists and apostles, speak sometimes of the Divine, sometimes of the human nature of Christ: when they speak of the former, they show forth its glory, excellence, omnipotence, omniscience, and eternity; when they speak of the latter, they show forth its humiliations, afflictions, sufferings, and death. And those who do not make the proper distinction between the two natures of Christ, the human and the Divine, will ever make blunders as well as the Jews. It is only on the ground of two natures in Christ that the Scriptures which speak of him, either in the Old or New Testament, can be possibly understood. No position in the Gospel is plainer than this, God was manifest in the flesh.
on John 12 :34
We have heard out of the law - Out of the Old Testament; or rather we have been so taught by those who have interpreted the law to us.
That Christ - That the Messiah.
Abideth for ever - Will remain forever, or will live forever. The doctrine of many of them certainly was that the Messiah would not die; that he would reign as a prince forever over the people. This opinion was founded on such passages of Scripture as these: Psalm 110:4, "Thou art a priest forever;" Daniel 2:44; Daniel 8:13-14. In the interpretation of these passages they had overlooked such places as Isaiah 53:1-12; nor did they understand how the fact that he would reign for ever could be reconciled with the idea of his death. To us, who understand that his reign does not refer to a temporal, an earthly kingdom, it is easy.
How sayest thou ... - We have understood by the title "the Son of man" the same as the Messiah, and that he is to reign forever. How can he be put to death?
Who is this Son of man? - "The Son of man we understand to be the Messiah spoken of by Daniel, who is to reign forever. To him, therefore, you cannot refer when you say that he must be lifted up, or must die. Who is it - what other Son of man is referred to but the Messiah?" Either ignorantly or willfully, they supposed he referred to some one else than the Messiah.
on John 12 :34
12:34 How sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? - How can these things be reconciled? Very easily. He first dies, and then abideth for ever. Who is this Son of man? - Is he the Christ? Psa 110:4.