November 30, 2020 – Monday
John 12:37-43 NIV
37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in Him.
38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:
“Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere (53:1):
40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes,
nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them.”
41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about Him.
42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in Him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue;
43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.
Last Tuesday, before three days of Thanksgiving posts, we looked at verses 35 and 36. Today we will end chapter twelve. In the verses above we have the word believe or believed four times. Verse 37 tells why they should have been able to believe in Jesus as the Messiah. Verse 38 tells us those who believed knew Jesus as the arm of the Lord. Then verses 39 and 40 tell us why they could not believe and it appears God has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts to the truth about Jesus. However, verses 42 and 43 tell us how their eyes were blinded and their hearts hardened, they loved human praise more than praise from God. This was true even for those among the leaders who believed in Him. Why? Because, they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue.
What does this have to do with us today? Plenty. How many of us have denied Jesus by not speaking up when the truth needed to be told? How many of us have avoided mentioning our faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior because of our fear of being put out of some group or clique large or small? Maybe we are afraid of losing friends, a relationship with family, professional standing, or even being called a hater. It can be any one of a great number of reasons. The question for each of us is, “Will we stand firm in our faith and belief?” Or will we be cowed into silence because of our desire to belong while rejecting Jesus?
We need to consider what Jesus said after those who loved human praise more than praise from God were described. He said (v44-46), Whoever believes in Me does not believe in Me only, but in the One who sent Me. The one who looks at Me is seeing the One who sent Me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness. He is clearly identifying as being One with God the Father. If you believe in Him you believe in the Father as well. If you reject Him, you reject the Father as well. Additionally, believing in Him provides a light so one does not have to (cannot stay) in the darkness of sin.
Jesus goes on to say (v47-48), If anyone hears My words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects Me and does not accept My words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. He was here and is here not to judge, but to provide salvation if only we will accept it. Still, judgment will come and the words He has spoken will condemn those who did not chose to accept His free gift of salvation.
He concludes by making the points His words come from the Father and His words offer eternal life, once again affirming He and the Father are one (v49-50), For I did not speak on My own, but the Father who sent Me commanded Me to say all that I have spoken. I know that His command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told Me to say. With great clarity Jesus is telling us what our choices are just as He told the Pharisees and anyone else listening.
Prayer: Heavenly Father – Let us not be timid, but bold in our acceptance of the wonderful gift of Salvation through Your Son Jesus. – Amen.