Jesus did so much to prove who He was.
Many people today say that if they could meet Him face to face then surely they’d believe. I doubt most people who say that, that is those who continue to say such a thing, have been honest with themselves. Even people of His time, who saw (in person) real and undeniable MIRACLES, did not to believe in Him.
Verse 39 says “for this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: “He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn- and I would heal them.””
This is not the easiest passage to understand. It seems to have a lot in common with Pharaoh’sheart being hardened. Some people try to explain it by saying that God pointed fingers at random and decided who would and would not be capable of believing. We know that’s a fallacy however, for many reasons. One reason being that God Himself said through Paul that He “wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
The quote in verse 40 of our text is from Isaiah 6:10. Let’s go there. God is sending Isaiah unto Israel with a message. There’s more to it than that, but you’ll have to go back and read it carefully (noting in vs. 9-10 what Isaiah is told to “say” and what he’s told to “do”). I’m still working on that one myself. But in response Isaiah asks how long. God says (to sum it up) until Israel’s cities are destroyed and the Israelites are sent far away. All of this is because of Israel’s unfaithfulness.
Also quoted in our John text is another passage in Isaiah. John says it’s a prophecy fulfilled by the people not believing in Jesus. This quote is from Isaiah 53:1, and again you really should go to it and consider it in relation to our John 12 text.
While I have some ideas about what the entire meaning of this passage in John is, I won’t lay out my speculation here. I’d hate to lead someone astray. But what I can say is this…
Every person presented with Christ has a choice to make. Choose Him and you will live. You can ask your questions, but do not do so proudly. You’ve been shown clearly enough that God exists and you have been shown that you have indeed sinned. God does not expect you to say you believe in Him if you really don’t… He expects you to really believe in Him. So leave no stone in your heart unturned and throw your all at His feet. Consider everything with eyes wide open… He will answer you. And the humble in heart will love His answer.
But a person could also choose to be proud and arrogant. They could choose to close their ears, and turn their eyes, and harden their hearts. This is not a correct answer to a math problem that they’re making, it’s a decision of what the answer is regardless of the equation. It is not a whole hearted honest response, it’s a choice to reject the evidence before them because they want to believe something else. Such a response may have results you didn’t plan on though.
A warning to any such person is found in John 12:37-50. Go down this path, just as Pharaoh foolishly did, and you run the danger of having your heart hardened. This hardening may last until you come to your last breath, in which case you will have ruled out for yourself any possibilityof hearing the truth with your heart. Or the hardening may last until the false kingdom in your heart is destroyed, and you experience a pain and suffering for which you only have yourself to blame.
Lamentations 3:31-33 says “For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. For He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.” It is not God’s desire to make you suffer. But He will do it to open your eyes and ears, to soften your heart. The pain is your own doing, for it would not hurt to tear a thing from you unless you yourself stitched it into your own flesh.
Tear it off He will though, if you dare to let it go. Better still, believe on Him when He comes to you, and save yourself the heartache of seeing your lie destroyed. Believe on Him, that He might save you from the wrath to come.
Verse 41 brings up some more interesting thoughts, and again I can’t tell you I have it all figured out. Likely it’s simply referring to the event described in the beginning of Isaiah 6. Whether it is speaking of that event or something else, it’s clear that seeing the glory of Christ will change a person. For better or worse, believe that you will be changed. And know that you will have to answer for your response to Him. Don’t chance eternal suffering for the sake of keeping your heart calloused.
Praise God!!! Believe in Christ, the Son of God and Saviour of man!!!