John 12:34-50 Facets Of Unbelief

by | May 31, 2024 | John, New Testament

I. Selective Faith Leads To Unbelief

A. Believing Only Portions Of God’s Word V. 34

1. V. 34- The people understood what Jesus meant when He said that the Son of Man must be “lifted up”. This spoke of crucifixion. “We don’t know that Messiah”.
2. They had heard and believed the verses that spoke of the permanency of the Messiah.
3. They probably embraced verses such as…
Isaiah 9:6, 7a 6  For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7  Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end…
4. They probably embraced these verses, and couldn’t reconcile an endless government with a Messiah that was about to be crucified.
5. They probably overlooked other verses that pointed to the crucifixion of the Messiah.
Daniel 9:26a 26  “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself…” Psalm 22:14-18 14  I am poured out like water, And all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me. 15  My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws; You
have brought Me to the dust of death. 16  For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; 17  I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. 18  They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.
6. Modern Application- Many people like portions of how the Bible describes Jesus. Loving, and always doing good works for people, etc. They neglect or ignore the portions that describe Jesus as one who shall judge the nations and has a two edged sword which comes forth from His mouth. (Revelation 1:16; 19:11-16)

B. The Remedy For Selective Faith Vs. 35, 36, 44-50

1. Vs. 35, 36- Jesus referred to Himself as “the light”.
2. They asked Jesus a question: “Who is this Son of Man”? He doesn’t fit into our theology.
3. Jesus pointed to His temporary physical presence among them as light

a. “The light is with you right now. Walk in the light while you can”.
b. “If you don’t walk in the light, darkness will overtake you”. (They had a chance to have
their incorrect view of Jesus corrected, for he stood before them. If they maintained
their incorrect view, and he died, they would go into further darkness)

i. It is the nature of partial spiritual darkness to overtake a person.

c. If they would walk in the light instead of their own incorrect view of Jesus, then they
would come to the knowledge of truth and be saved. They would become sons of light
d. Then Jesus departed from them. He offered them spiritual light. He didn’t argue, plead, or beg. He spoke the truth and left them to get past their wrong assumptions.

4. They thought they were walking in light, but Jesus told them that they weren’t.
5. Many today want to become “enlightened”, but believe the source of light is within them
6. They had an opportunity to come to the light, and they let it slip by.
7. People who end up in darkness let a countless numbers of opportunities pass them by.
8. Vs. 44, 45– Jesus very clearly stated that to believe in Him is to believe in the Father. To see Jesus was to see the Father.
9. V. 46- Jesus came to save people from walking in darkness, and to guide them in life. To give awareness, understanding, wisdom about how to live, and the value of life with God
10. V. 47- Many mistakenly believe that Jesus came to judge. He came to save. (John 3:16-21)
11. V. 48- This is an incredibly important verse. Judgment comes because men refuse truth.

a. Ray Stedman- Sometimes people ask, “What about those who have never heard?”; But that is not the real issue. God does not condemn us for what we have not heard, but for ignoring what we have heard (and seen). The final judge is the word we have heard, the sayings of Jesus we already know. This means that those who are condemned on that day are self-condemned. They stand silent before the throne, rendered speechless by their guilty knowledge of truth they have not obeyed.

12. V. 49- Jesus pointed to the Father as the One who gave Him the authority to say these things. Jesus was an ambassador from the Father, speaking in His name and by His authority. This was particularly important because Jesus’ audience claimed to love the Father and to be in right relationship with the Father.
13. V. 50– The intention and purpose of Jesus’ words, and the words from the Father, was that people would have eternal life.
14. Application- This is perhaps a way that the Church has failed in some areas.

a. We can overly focus on behavior modification and rule keeping in other people’s lives.
b. We can focus on telling them what is or isn’t a sin.
c. We may inadvertently try to convert them to our cultural biases or spiritual convictions.
d. NOTE- Jesus’ focus was all about people coming to Him, to gain light, to gain eternal life.
e. It’s not that some of our efforts might not be correct, but they may be wrongly prioritized.
f. The best thing we can do for people is to explain God’s word to them and encourage and exhort them to respond in truth to the person of Jesus Christ.

II. Missing The Obvious Because Of Hard Heartedness

A. Spiritual Blindness

1. Vs. 37, 38-John comments that they had missed obvious proofs of who Jesus was.

a. One of the reasons for the miracles of Jesus was to prove who He was.
b. Their selective and preferred theology prevented them from see the truth about Jesus.

2. John quoted from Isaiah 53 and Isaiah 6 which prophesied of this spiritual blindness.

a. Isaiah 53:5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
b. Isaiah 53:1– Isaiah asks who has believed what God has said. Who believes that Isaiah 53 is about Jesus, the suffering Servant of Israel, the true Messiah?

3. Vs. 39-41 John quoted Isaiah 6:9, 10 and went on to comment that the people devolved to the place where it was impossible for them to believe. They had consistently refused to believe and God confirmed their unbelief. He established it permanently.

a. “There is a line by us unseen, that crosses every path, The hidden boundary between God’s patience and his wrath”. Anonymous
b. It is important to know that God’s desire is that all come to faith in Jesus.
c. 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
d. Some people might read V. 40 and believe only that about God. They might have some feeling that God isn’t fair, and they would use that verse to prove their point.
e. They commit the error of selective faith: believing only a part of the Bible.
f. They might overlook the last part of the verse about God wanting to heal these people

4. V. 41 tells us that Isaiah actually had a vision of Jesus: high and lifted up, and in glory.

III. Respecting People Instead Of God

A. Peer Pressure And Self Preservation Vs. 42, 43

1. Some people will have an intellectual agreement about Jesus, but they will not commit to Him because they would lose people in their lives; lost their position in life.
2. They feel that the acceptance of people is more important than following Jesus
3. Turn to Matthew 10:32-39