Scripture: John 12:37-50
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?”[a]
39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:
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.”[b]
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.
44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
47 “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. 48 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. 49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
How many times have you heard, “If I can just see it, I’ll believe it.” It’s not true, there is more to it. We read here that some people saw and believed, yet others saw the same thing and did not believe. The Scriptures even say that God hardened their hearts! As human beings we like to have clear, definitive conclusions, so generally, we are very confident of our own abilities to discern and form our opinions, even when we are wrong! What was it about the hearts that made them hard? What the hard-hearted saw did not fit with what they knew. Their inability and unwillingness to let go of what they knew created a flint-like heart.
We can see and still not believe, especially when it comes to faith. Remember the story Jesus told of Abraham, Lazarus and the rich man after they had died? The rich man told Abraham to have Lazarus tell his brothers he was tormented in Hades and that they should believe God so they wouldn’t have to come to his place of torment. Abraham’s response was if they didn’t believe Moses and the prophets, they wouldn’t believe someone coming back from the dead. Seeing someone rise from the dead did not result in belief. Unbelief in Jesus’ resurrection continues to this day.
Jesus had just raised Lazarus from the dead and done other miraculous signs in the Pharisees’ presence and still they would not believe. Many others did believe. Apparently, a major factor in the unbelievers was, “What will my friends think?” The believing leaders were unwilling to openly express their faith. How many times have you and I kept our mouths shut in regard to the various social issues of this day because of what others would think or speaking the truth about abortion, gender, or biblical marriage would have made for an awkward moment? May our hearts never become hardened.
Music: “Ah, Holy Jesus” –Johann Heermann, early 17th century
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4MKOP-vhQ0 traditional tune
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXzKXBz9mgw Fernando Ortega
Prayer: O Lord Jesus Christ, you have said that you are the way, the truth, and the life. Suffer us not to stray from you, who are the way, nor to distrust you, who are the truth, nor to rest in anything other than you, who are the life. –Erasmus, 1469-1536