Many people are truly wrapped up in themselves, their over exaggerated sense of self-worth, and drama not only in their own lives, but the lives of others. In my experience, these people are more times than not true followers of Christ. No, Christians are not perfect. I am not. We do mess up. But really think about it. Is God number one in the lives of the people I just described? If the Lord, God Almighty, Jesus Christ, were truly on the throne in their lives, would they truly be involved in thoughts and things that are not of God? Many times people who do not believe Jesus as the Christ do so because they are ultimately wrapped up in themselves. It is the “If I can’t see it, it does not exist,” train of thought. When the Lord walked the earth as a man, not everyone believed in Him. That is a shock right? Let us look at scripture. John 12:37:50 is where the Lord has lead us today.
John 12:37-38: Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38This 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?"
My Grandmother would vehemently disagree, as I am sure some of you may when I state this. So let me explain. There is nothing God is incapable of doing. However, I, through study, am convinced that God has not, did not, and will not force Himself on anyone. One problem my grandmother has with Billy Graham is that once, he, and I am probably misquoting him said, “‘God cannot change a hardened heart.’” I do not believe he meant to say God could not do something, as we know God is all-powerful, but rather God does not. Verse 37: Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. Even after people saw the work Jesus did in person they chose not to believe! They saw it, and could not, would not believe it! That stuff still happens today! Now you may say, “Hold on. Wait. I haven’t seen Jesus do,” Yeah you have. Stop for a minute, right now and think about the numerous blessings you have in your life. You could be reading this from death row, the front row or anywhere in between. God has blessed you. You have received miraculous blessings whether it is a family member’s health, a financial situation, or even a simple smile from someone. Do not kid yourself, Satan is running rampant in his world, but there is nothing he can do to you as a child of God that the Jesus Christ, the Alpha and the Omega, cannot handle or turn around.
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?"
There are over three hundred prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah contained in the Old Testament. Jesus, the events of his life, the things he said and did were not just things that occurred. Everything from the beginning was planned. Isaiah wrote a lot under God’s direction about the Messiah. Part of verse 38 lends itself to man’s own opinion on who is saved or not in the eyes of Christ. Many Christians believe in election, meaning only a certain number or people have access to Christ and Heaven. “To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Understand I do not hold a degree in theology. I am simply a man. Hebrews reveals that God reveals himself to all people. On the last day when it is too late for so many, we all will bow and confess Christ as Lord (Isaiah 45:22-24/ Philippians 2:9-11). If only a certain number of folks were granted access to Heaven, God in the flesh, Jesus Christ would not have died for the world or all. I Peter 3:18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.
I took a moment to share those verses so that we can understand better the next bit of scriptures. Many people believe only a certain number of folks going to Heaven. Others, who deny God, use these scriptures to further their own biased agenda.
39For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: 40"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." 41Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him.
What is not being said is God blinds people to the truth! But verse 40 says, "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." God turned his back on his chosen Israelites time after time because they first walked away from His commandments and instruction. Remember now, every time He turned away, He, God, would always turn to His people when they straightened up and followed His path. Essentially, Isaiah’s prophecy simply means that God allowed the people’s hearts to turn away from Him.
42Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.
We are told that we are a Christian nation, but I have my doubts. There are always surveys they say otherwise. For example, nearly thirty percent of born again believers in Christ in 2007 believe that Christ committed sins. Secular people, unchurched people, non-believing people are the ones to expect that kind of thing from, but Christians, really? How can a born again believer for a moment consider or even believe Christ sinned? Hebrews 4:15-16 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Anyone who claims to be Christian denies the deity of Christ by thinking that Christ was anything less than sinless. The Bible is God’s Word, His message to His people. If it says Jesus was/is sinless, He is just that. Case Closed! Back to the main point now. Verse 42 said that many even some leaders believed in Christ, but they would not confess it because of fear! The fear of stepping out of the comfort zone, the isle at church when the invitation is given, the fear as verse 42 concludes, the fear of being put out of the synagogue-/church!
Listen close now so that you may recognize some of these folks. “My family’s been going to so and so church for near 40 years.” I am sick of so many people going to church likes it a chore that must be done. I am sick of people standing during the worship part of service and not singing. It is the teenagers, the tweens, the nine year-olds, the ninety year olds, and anyone in between! It is called worship, not stand up, and lip sync like listless frogs in the desert. I digressed again, but so be it! The point is this: Many believed, but they did not confess Christ for fear. Verse 43 states; they loved praise from men more than praise from God. You can believe in Jesus all you want. That is good. But if all you do is say it, if your life does not reflect it, do you really think it is real? James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. So if you believe in God without confessing your belief before the world you and the demons are pretty much the same.
Romans 10:9-10 If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
People are defensive. If I have touched a nerve, and you say, “My relationship with God is personal. I do not have to show anybody! It’s nobody’s business!” I will insult you by arguing with you. My thoughts, opinions, and words will not matter to you. However, I will point you to the words of the Savior as recorded in Matthew 10:32-33 "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.”
Let us venture back to John 12:44-45:
Then Jesus cried out, "When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me.
Many people do not believe Jesus is God. I am not just talking about the Jew, the Muslim, the Hindu, and the other “religions” of the world. No, sadly, I am talking about some church folks and those who say they believe in God, but say Jesus is not God. Jesus said what He said in verse 44 because He is God.
John 1:1-2 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.
John 10:30 “I and the Father are one."
John 12:45 finishes by saying, “When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me.” For those who do not believe, it is so hard to understand how and why we Christians believe what we do. My answer is that as a Christian, I have placed total faith in God/Jesus Christ because I have a real, true, and ever-growing relationship with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Until a person gives their entire life to Christ, they will never understand it.
John 12:46 “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. 47As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.”
The judge Christ speaks of is the Father. If you do not take away anything from this today, please read and or hear these words: Judge, REJECTS ME, CONDEMN. Plain and simple, now. If you reject Christ The Son, God the Father is going to send you not to your room like a disobedient, unruly child, but to Hell. Keep in mind, God the Father is not sending you there out of hatred. God actually is not sending you there. You chose to go there because you did not believe in the One He sent to die for you, in your place, on that cross.
In closing, I want to go back and tie up a loose thought. Earlier I mentioned how some people thought Christ sinned as a man on earth. That kind of thinking corrals those people in the same pen with those who follow other religions. You ask how? Again, I am unworthy to answer, so please consider Jesus in John 12:49-50 For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say."
Jesus said it time after time, good people. He came to do His Father’s Will, not His own. We cannot be a people that say we believe Jesus and live a way that disregards His teachings. We cannot do that. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” God bless.