Summary: We often refer to the offer of salvation as an invitation and it is but it’s also a command.
A summary of the Lord’s ministry John 12: 44-50
Someone in a seminary class once asked the professor, “How many points should a message have?” And he wisely said, “At least one.” And I hope to fulfill the dreams of all my professors this morning because there’s nothing worse than a pointless message.
A couple of weeks ago I said that Jesus had just finished speaking to all the unsaved people in John chapter 12 and the final point of His message was in verses 35 and 36 where He said, “Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.
While ye have the light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.” And here Jesus was letting these people know that the time had come for them to make a decision. And they had to decide, were they going to identify Him and be treated as He would be but in the end reap all the rewards that awaited the faithful or were they going to line up on the other side and be participants in the crucifixion.
And then last week we looked the prophecy from Isaiah and saw a couple of different theological viewpoints and these were the Calvinists and Armenian concepts and we saw that there are some believers who actually think that these Jews had no choice. Personally, I think that’s absurd because if they had no choice in whether or not they would sin then God would have to assume some of the blame for their actions. And we all know how absurd that is because they sinned and they knew they were sinning. What they didn’t know was the end result of their actions and I’m not talking about Jesus death but their own eternal punishment.
Now, when He was talking about this crowd Jesus used a unique phrase when He said, ‘He that walks in darkness doesn’t know where he’s going.’ It’s like He’s saying that these people are headed in the wrong direction and they don’t even know where they’re going. And we see that today because non-Christians talk about the afterlife like it’s going to be something that’s organized around their wants and desires.
I’ve heard unsaved people describing heaven like it’s going to be one big party they’re all looking forward to, where all their friends and family will be gathered together enjoying themselves for all of eternity. And there are others who have portrayed heaven like it’s going to be a big rock festival with all the great musicians of the ages jamming together. You know people like Mick Jagger, Jimmy Hendricks, Beethoven and all the rest. And there are others who see heaven as a field of flowers with classical music playing in the background and a few have even pictured heaven as a place of total immorality. And their heaven doesn’t have Jesus, angels, the holy city or anything else the Bible describes. You see, their concept of heaven is simply a reflection of their sinful desires.
And that’s why Jesus says, “He that walks in darkness doesn’t know where he’s going.” So, the question is, where is he going? Simply put, he’s going to hell. And Mark 9 describes hell as a place, “Where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched.” And this is a picture of a stinking, smoldering garbage dump and then Luke 16 also tells us it’s a place of eternal suffering where we see the story of the rich man crying out for a drop of water to be placed on his tongue and then burdened for his family because they’re all headed for the same place.
And then we’re going to see Jesus spend the next four chapters with His disciples both teaching them and preparing them for what was about to happen and by this I mean His arrest, torture, crucifixion, death and resurrection as well as their subsequent ministries. And yet, here we find Jesus speaking one more time and we wonder, what’s going on? I thought He was finished with this crowd.
And to understand this passage you have to go right back to the purpose John has in writing. Remember, he’s writing this book somewhere around the close of the first century and most if not all of the other disciples are dead. And no doubt John has copies of the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke and he wants to share not only what they left out but he wants to do so in such a way that his message would be acceptable and understandable to both the Jews and gentiles alike.
And so we say Matthew was a Jew writing to the Jews, Mark was writing to the Romans, Luke wrote to all the gentiles in general and John was written to everyone. So, remember this book wasn’t written to a specific group and neither was it meant to give an entire account of Jesus life and ministry but John is using just eight different miracles and interspersing specific teachings and claims that Jesus made to show his audience that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God.