In John chapter 12 the Lord spoke to a crowd about His impending death by crucifixion, saying that He will be lifted up, signifying to them His manner of death.
“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” John 12:32.
However John 12:37 goes on to reveal the following.
“But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him…” John 12:37.
Scripture later adds the following.
“Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” John 12:42-43.
So in verse 37 we were told that in spite of the many signs Christ did before the Jews, they still would not believe that He was their Messiah.
One of the most important lessons coming from the study of the book of Revelation is that no matter how many obviously miraculous things are done on earth, even proclamations by angels, cannot change the mind of a person who does not want to believe.
“Men willingly believe what they wish.” Julius Caesar, 100-44 B.C.
As a result millions will needlessly die in the battle of Armageddon rather than accept Christ as their Savior.
The error that many Christians and especially those in Charismatic and Pentecostal churches make is that they crave signs and wonders, thinking that this will convince the unsaved to accept Christ as their Savior.
This is not a criticism for they do hold up Christ; however.
“…faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17.
The problem is that signs and wonders are concentrated on rather than preaching the pure word of God which does bring results, by equipping the saints, and convicting the unsaved of their sinful state.
John 12:42b-43 quoted earlier go on to explain that while many believed, they did not confess Him for fear of being put out of the synagogue and because they loved the praise of men more than of God.
Being excommunicated was a very real thing, and in a small town in particular, it could cut one off from a social life and friends, even work.
The parents of a man born blind and healed by Jesus were asked by the Pharisees if he was the same man as their son. They confirmed that it was their son but would not say how he received his sight.
“His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, ‘He is of age; ask him.’” John 9:22-23.
Finally the man born blind and was healed by Jesus was cast out.
“They answered and said to him, ‘You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?’ and they cast him out.” John 9:34.
Being a Christian can have a price both in this country which is being taken over more and more by godless men like these Pharisees in John chapter 9.
Or in places like Nigeria where in March 2010 a Christian church was burned during a Muslim attack and 400 Christians were murdered, thousands more have been murdered since.
The desire for the praise of men more than the praise of God is an interesting phenomenon; most of us, including myself, have a difficult time speaking out and telling others that we are Christians.
We are trained from birth that it is not acceptable to tell others about Christ for fear of ridicule or being laughed at.
Yet if you tell others that you are a Buddhist an atheist, communist, vegan, or astrologer, everyone will love your honesty; but Christians are haters and weird.
One of the best Bible expositors, H. A. Ironside, whose writings are published by Loizeaux Brothers, Inc. wrote of the time when he was very young and his mother asked him if he would like to accept Christ as his Savior.
His reply was that he did not want to because his friends would laugh at him.
His mother then said to him, “Harry, your friends can laugh you into hell, but they cannot laugh you out of it.”
You alone will have to live with your choice as to where you will spend eternity, in heaven or hell, not your peers.
“How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?” John 5:44.
No words can be found to adequately express what this verse says. People will stand in the rain for hours to meet a famous rock star, actor, or royalty.
Imagine having a time machine and being able to visit anyone you wanted to; Washington, Lincoln, Moses, King David, whoever captures your imagination.
Would your cheeks burn as you shook their hand, and the questions, would you stammer as they flooded out of your mouth?
Imagine what it would be like to be in the company of someone who could answer your most profound questions about life and the universe.
God created everything; He could give you mathematical formulas which would explain how gravity or the atoms work. He could tell you what makes life; you would run out of questions before He ran out of answers.
In part God has already told us a great deal about the world we live in.
“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” Hebrews 11:3.
God does not tell us everything there is to know, but He does tell us everything that we need to know. By carefully searching the Scriptures you will find many scientific statements as well as a manual on how to live a successful life.
So why do we not crowd around this One who is greater than a rock star? For the Christian it is because he does not practice God’s presence, does not study the Scriptures, and does not spend much time in prayer to God.
As a result God is seen as a real someone who is out there, but distant and unavailable. It is indeed hard to have a relationship with someone you cannot see, nevertheless, God is pleased by those who come to Him in faith.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6.
For the unbeliever there is another reason why God is an uninteresting despot.
“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.
The god of this age tells us all, there is nothing to see here, move along, as he dangles some shiny bauble before our eyes, and the dull uninteresting God is never examined up close and personal.
“Then Jesus cried out and said, ‘He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me.’” John 12:44-45.
Belief in Jesus is tied inextricably to belief in the Father; you cannot have one without the other.
“Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” 1 John 2:22-23.
“…that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” John 5:23.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses embrace a very subtle heresy here; they will tell you that they believe that Jesus is the Son of God. But the son they are talking about is not the preexistent Son from eternity past, but merely a created being like the angels.
Believing that Jesus is a god is demeaning and an insult to God the Father and certainly does not conform to the intent of the above verses.
After all if Jesus is a little god and the Father is the true God, how can you “honor the Son just as they honor the Father” John 5:23a, quoted here and earlier?
The first commandment says the following.
“You shall have no other gods before Me.” Exodus 20:3.
Jesus also made this statement.
“And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me” John 12:45.
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.” 1 Timothy 3:16.
And again in another place Jesus stated.
“He who has seen Me has seen the Father…” John 14:9b.
If you study the life and words of Christ you will begin to see Him. Once you see Jesus clearly, you will see God the Father.
When you really see the Father you will see One who is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, meek, lowly, infinitely holy, righteous, just, caring, a loving father, and sovereign, all in a perfectly balanced personality.
“I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.” John 12:46.
The world is indeed a dark place, we are seen as enlightened, yet the Nazi atrocities occurred just over seventy years ago.
Today children are enslaved, sold, molested and abused worldwide because they are considered nothing but animals, as the Jews were back then.
Women as well, particularly in Muslim countries where they are considered little more than chattel, they too are abused in the sex slave trade, slavery that exists even in America.
The occult, drug abuse, alcoholism, immorality, and perversion of every sort are pandemic in the world and in America.
“…knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” Romans 1:32.
Not only can Christ deliver men and women out of these things, but we are delivered from superstition, fear of demons and the so-called UFOs.
We have no fear of extraterrestrial invaders because we know that God is in control of His creation. No aliens have evolved to a higher intellectual plane, because evolution does not exist.
We do not have to be frightened of ghosts because they are nothing but demonic manifestations and Christians have God’s Holy Spirit within us.
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4.
The word “them” above refers to lying spirits, demons, “he who is in the world”, refers to Satan and can refer to demons.
Accepting Christ as your savior and reading your Bible will deliver from superstition, assorted old wives tales, and give you a clear knowledge of what sin is and what it is not.
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.’ These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.” John 12:35-36.
The above verses were spoken to the crowd mentioned in the opening paragraphs of this study.
They are related to John 12:46, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.”
In John 12:35-36, the meaning has a little different turn. Speaking to the Jews the Lord tells them to walk while they have the light lest darkness overtake them.
In other words Jesus has presented Himself to them as their Messiah and encourages them to accept Him as such while there is still time, since rejecting Him is to reject salvation.
There is a principle that takes effect here, every time a person says no to God the heart becomes a little harder toward Him, soon one completely turns their back on God.
Once this happens a person has stepped into the world’s darkness and can no longer find their way back to God, though it is unlikely that they would want to.
This principle is the same today as it was for the Jews two thousand years ago. If one is presented with the gospel and has a clear knowledge of salvation in Christ, then they are by all means encouraged to accept right away, for they may not have another opportunity.
None of us has a signed lifetime guarantee in our pocket with a termination date on it. Most of the time it will be a surprise, and without Christ it will be a double surprise.
If this is you my friend, give it some hard consideration, your place in eternity depends on it.
“And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him – the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.” John 12:47-48.
Though Scripture tells us that Christ will be the judge on the great white throne on judgment day (see John 5:22-27), this was not so during His first advent.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17.
His words however, and all Scripture, can either save or they can condemn. Once again speaking to the Jews the Lord said this to them.
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” John 5:39-40.
Further on Jesus said this.
“Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you – Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” John 5:45-47.
As can be seen here, whether someone lived during the Old Testament period or the New Testament period, which includes the present, all will be judged by the word of God.
“For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.” John 12:49-50.
God the Son has spoken the very words of God the Father.
“Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.” Psalm 119:89.
Speaking of Jesus God’s word tells us.
“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man who comes into the world.” John 1:4-9.
Light and Everlasting Life taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 11-15-15, updated on 10-13-19.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.