Hard Life for the Hard Heart- John 12

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!!!

Where is Jesus? – John 9

God is at work in our world.  People are touched by Him in more ways than they can really understand.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell just how a thing came about.  Other times there is no question.  But knowing “who did what” isn’t the focus, rather its a signpost telling us where to go.  It is the thing that directs us while we are lost.  But we remain lost if we do not venture beyond the signpost.

The focus is coming to the Worker of all good things.  Our destination IS Him.

For the man born blind, whom John tells us about in his ninth chapter, there was no question Who worked the miracle.  It was the Man they call Jesus who opened his eyes.  The signpost was like writing in the sky, everyone knew who was responsible.

But one could not say that the man had truly found Jesus.  They could only that say that he was touched by Jesus. 

That healing touch of love did mighty things for the man’s soul.  He gave the man an opportunity to see, and I’m not talking about with his eyes.

When the Pharisees harassed him about the healing, the man told them it was Jesus who did it.  They continued to press the matter, twisting the truth into all sorts of distortions.   But in response to their lies the healed man said “One thing I do know, I was blind but now I see!”

He may not have realized it, but the work of Christ in his life made him able to see the wickedness of the Pharisees.  He did not receive a miraculous gift of discernment, but he did have a clearer vision because of the one miracle worked upon his natural eyes.  The more he talked with the Pharisees on the matter, the clearer it became to him.  Theses guys had an agenda, and the truth would not sway them from their goal.

He didn’t know who Jesus was, but he saw that Jesus was from God.  Unfortunately today many of those who find themselves in a similar situation remain as they are.  They don’t seek the One to whom the signposts point.  They stand at the signposts and called it being saved, but they are still lost. 

And they are not able to truly show people who Jesus is.  Even if the right words come out of their mouths, they are only able to give lip service to Him…

Having been thrown out by the Pharisees, the healed man went on his way.  Then Jesus found the man and made it clear to him who He really was… the Son of Man, Lord, the Giver and Taker of sight, the Judge, the Gate, the Good Shepherd.

It is a great thing when God works in the lives of men.  But that work may only be the signpost, directing people towards Him.  If a person doesn’t follow that signpost and come to God on God’s terms, they may find themselves in the position of the Pharisees who were with Jesus when He healed the blind man.  They asked Him “What?  Are we blind too?”

Jesus responded “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.”