For the past year and a half we have seen in our study of the gospel of John how Jesus has been rejected and how some have accepted Him. In tonight’s study we will get an even clearer picture of Jesus’ rejection and acceptance. Quite a long passage so let’s get started.
READ 37-41. What we have here are the unbelievers who act illogically. Their unbelief makes no sense, because God has done all He can to help man believe, yet man rejects and refuses to believe. Let’s break this unbelief down in smaller parts.
1. Unbelief rejects miracles.
a. Note the words in v. 37 “all these miraculous signs.” Jesus reached out and touched man with His compassion. He helped and ministered to everyone He could possibly reach. In fact, in Jn. 21:25 we are told that Jesus performed so many works and miracles that if they should be written, the whole world would not have room for the books.
And the signs performed were quality. They were signs from the heart of God. They were pure signs, strong signs—signs that God’s power alone could do.
b. Note, too, the words “in their presence.” Jesus didn’t do these miracles out in a desert or in some far off, remote place. He did them right before their eyes, where the people could easily see them.
c. Also note the words “they still would not believe in him.” Their hearts were shut, closed to the clear and undeniable evidence that Jesus was the Son of God. They were in a state of unbelief and their unbelief was illogical. It made no sense.
2. Not only does unbelief reject miracles but unbelief rejects revelation. The message was from God Himself. The message was both the words and deeds of Jesus. All that Jesus did through preaching and teaching revealed the truth. So God gave man more than just words, more than just ink and paper, more than just the sounds of a voice.
God gave man a Life to live out the words. He gave man a person.
• Not only to speak the truth, but to live the truth.
• Not only to speak the works, but to do the works.
• Not only to preach God’s will, but to demonstrate God’s will.
• Not only to teach men, but to show men how to live.
That person, of course, was Jesus. Yet despite the fact that God sent His own Son into the world to proclaim His message or His revelation, men still don’t believe. So, once again, they act illogically, making no sense whatsoever.
3. So unbelief rejects miracles, unbelief rejects revelation, and unbelief rejects the arm of the Lord. The arm of the Lord means the strength of God, his power to save and to deliver and to give life. The arm that saves and gives life is Jesus. Unbelief rejects the arm and salvation of the Lord. And that, yet again, is illogical.
Did you notice that all this unbelief was prophesied by Isaiah?
Now before we go any further with this passage, we need to note the critical matter of unbelief. Unbelief results in some serious consequences. A person cannot reject Jesus Christ and expect matters to stay as they are. No matter how mild a person’s rejection is, the matter is serious to God.
A person may only reject God in their thoughts, never saying a word or committing a public sin against him. But no matter how mild the rejection, God still cannot overlook the rejection of his Son. He loves His Son too much, and His Son has done too much for man. When a person has the chance to see and open his heart but chooses not to look and closes his heart, that person suffers the consequences.
In other words, when God has loved the world and done so much for man, man cannot deny God’s Son and expect to suffer no consequences. And the consequences and results of unbelief are spelled out. Here are some of them:
• God blinds the eyes of the unbeliever.
• God hardens the heart of the unbeliever.
• God condemns the unbeliever to be lost.
• God never reveals His glory to the unbeliever.
Does this mean that God causes the unbelief of a man before he is ever born? No. A man is lost apart from his will; against his will. A person is lost only because they choose to have nothing to do with God and to be lost.
What Scripture teaches is that God has set certain laws in the universe. If a person does something, certain things will happen. If a person does something else, then something else will happen. Scripture teaches that unbelief is governed by these laws.
• There is the law of sowing and reaping. If a person sows unbelief, he reaps unbelief.
• There is the law of seeking. If a person seeks, he finds. The harder he seeks, the more he finds.
• There’s the law of willful stubbornness. The more stubborn a person becomes, the more he refuses to repent, the more hardened he becomes. In fact, a person can become so stubborn and hardened that he never repents, never even thinks about repenting.
The Bible is saying that if a person hardens his mind and heart to the truth, he becomes conditioned more and more against the truth. Then his openness and sensitivity to Jesus dwindles more and more, and it can dwindle so much that it is gone forever.
God’s allows people to live under the same laws and to make the choice of life day by day. Believers have made the choice to follow God’s Son. Unbelievers have made the choice not to follow God’s Son.
As Jesus clearly says, the words of judgment are already spoken. They are set up as God’s laws and will within the universe. It is the law and will of God that Jesus proclaimed, and it will be His words that will judge men in the end time.
READ 42-43. Here we see the silent believers. These were the chief rulers and leaders among the people, and they were many. They believed in Jesus, realizing that He was who He claimed to be—the true Messiah; but they had one serious flaw. They were silent; so they failed in three critical areas.
1. They failed to confess Christ. They simply would not confess Him.
2. They failed because they feared loss. They feared they would be excommunicated, put out of the synagogue. Once again, as we have seen before, they fear they would lose their position, job, security, profession, livelihood, authority, recognition, esteem, and honor.
3. They failed because they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. They loved what men gave—all the honor and glory. They would rather be accepted and approved by men than to be accepted and approved by God.
READ 44-46. Here is the description of the true believer. The stress in these verses is Jesus Christ. Christ is the Mediator, the bridge between God and man. If a person wants to approach God, he can only do it by believing in Christ first.
What do you think about this statement? When a person claims to believe in God apart from Christ, he is believing in a god of imagination, a god of his own making.
A person sees God only through seeing Jesus Christ. Jesus says in Jn. 14:9, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”
A person is delivered from darkness only through Jesus Christ, the Light. Jesus came to be the Light of the world in order to bring light and salvation to man. His very purpose on earth was to save and to give light. He came as light so we wouldn’t have to walk around in darkness. He came as One who didn’t sin so that we could have a defense against sin.
READ 47-50. Here is the unbeliever and his judgment. Jesus said two significant things here.
1. The unbeliever is not judged by Christ. Christ came to save the world, not to judge it.
2. The unbeliever is judged by the words of salvation. The very words which man rejects will stand as a witness against him. So the unbeliever condemns himself. The full message of salvation is now available. No one is keeping man away from the words; no man is hiding the words from him. All man has to do is accept them and carry them to other men.
If man rejects the words of salvation, he condemns and judges himself. Why? Because in the last days, when the man stands before God, the words of salvation will not be found in him. The words will be outside the unbeliever, standing there to judge him.
There are three reasons why the words of Christ shall judge a man.
1. Because they are the very commands of God.
2. Because God’s commands are life.
3. Because the words of Christ are the truth, the very words which the Father told Christ to say.