The reproach in the words of the Lord is the reproach of men who ought to have had an experience they had not had. Let us look a little closer at his words. “Ye have not heard his voice at any time,” might mean, Ye have never listened, or obeyed, his voice; but the following phrase, “nor seen his shape,” keeps us rather to the primary sense of the word hear: Plainly he implies, You ought to know his voice; you ought to know what he is like. “You have not his word abiding in you”: The word that is in you from the beginning, the word of God in your conscience, is not dwelling in you; the scripture in which you think you have eternal life does not abide with you. You do not dwell with it, brood upon it, and obey it. You are not of those to whom the word of God comes. Their ears are ready to hear; they hunger after the word of the Father. On what does the Lord found his accusation of them? “For whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.” “How so?” the Pharisees might answer. “Have we not asked from thee a sign from heaven, and hast thou not point-blank refused it?”
The argument of the Lord was indeed of small weight with those to whom it most applied, for the more it applied, the more incapable were they of seeing that it did apply; but it would be of great force upon some that stood listening, their minds open to the truth, and their hearts drawn to the man before them.