MPGC2-BLIND UNBELIEF THAT LEAD TO CHRIST'S DEATH
The movement towards Christ's death had many individual moments as we saw in the first study when Mary anoints the Lord with a pound of very expensive ointment. But the overall atmosphere in which he walked was changing fast. That atmosphere would allow for the breeding of discontent, blame, treachery and murder.
Jesus had walked for three years amongst God's chosen people the Jews. He was a Jew himself who had come to his own. He taught, he miraculously provided for thousands, he healed, he cast out demons and brought a few people back from the dead. With every miracle should have brought the growing conviction that truly this was the Son of God. Instead the opposite was happening -- especially amongst the Jewish leadership. They began to look upon Jesus as a threat to their tightly woven religion of do's and don'ts. Soon the people would be split in their loyalties. With every miracle was the increasing conviction that this man must go!
Now, with their minds and hearts closed against Jesus they were free to plot and plan his death. Did they feel guilty? No. They felt a certain righteousness that they would keep intact their sacred Jewish rituals, sanitized of all love and kindness and mercy.
In the verses of this study in John 12: 37-41 we'll look at:
Blind Unbelief That Led to Christ's Death
Day 1- Events were now moving fast for our Lord (unbeknown to the people surrounding him). What was it time for?
Day 2- There was an urgency in all that Jesus taught now. His time was short. What truth did Jesus impart in these two verses?
Day 3- Knowing what was to come didn't make it any easier for Jesus who was human. But the fact that He was also divine made Him cling to the purpose for which he came.
Day 4- These scriptures will remind us of Christ's mission in the world -- the purposes for which He came. As you read each purpose write them down to get a full picture.
A. Matthew 5:17
B. Matthew 20:28
C. Luke 4:43
D. Luke 19:10 / John 3:17 / John 12:47 / 1 Timothy 1:15
E. John 10:10
F. John 18:37
Day 5- Then, as if to encourage Jesus along his destined path, what happened so that all the people could hear?
While it must have encouraged Jesus who was this message really for?
Day 6- In day 1 of this study, we saw that it was time for the Son of Man to be glorified. But what else did Jesus say it was time for?
John 12: 31-32
Can you see from the crowd's reaction how little they understood?
Day 7- Just as clear as he could say it Jesus gives the crowd a last piece of advice. What did he say to them that will be true for us?
John 12: 35-36
Day 8- And now we come to the verses of our study. Jesus had walked through the land teaching and performing miracles. He had recently done an amazing miracle in raising his friend Lazarus from the dead and now in one of the last teaching times with the crowds they heard out loud God's own voice from Heaven! Time was up for Jesus and in a way time was up for the Jews. If they wouldn't come to believe that Jesus was the Messiah with all the evidence before them, then they would be a people choosing to continue their walk in the dark. Sadly, what choice did most of the Jews make?
Day 9- Jesus now quotes Isaiah the prophet who had faced the same public response.
Isaiah 53:1 / John 12:38
Isaiah was crying out, "Is there anyone who has believed my message?" Jesus now cries out the same. The end of his life is fast approaching and he has little to show in numbers for three years of full time ministry. But even man's unbelief did not set aside God's purposes. It was exactly as God had predicted through Isaiah. Read again:
Their unbelief actually fulfilled God's purposes.
Day 10- In John 12:39 it says, "For this reason they could not believe." What is that reason? For the answer we must look back at:
Notice the phrase, "they still would not believe." NIV
The fact that so many Jews would not believe meant finally that they could not believe.
Day 11- But is man's unbelief due to God's action? Is it God that shuts our ears, closes our mind and hardens our hearts? Has God actually ordained that certain people must not and will not believe? It certainly looks that way as once again Isaiah is quoted.
This verse comes from Isaiah 6:9-10. God is telling Isaiah what to say to the people. Read it carefully and then we'll step back to see the truth behind it for all of us.
Day 12- The short answer posed in Day 11 is NO. God does not make it impossible for his children to believe in him. He has "bent over backwards" to reveal Himself to us and done so most fully in sending his son Jesus to walk here on earth as "one of us". While some saw the light of Christ and welcomed it, many did not. Why?
Day 13- If we step back a minute we find that in Jewish thought the Holy Spirit did two things. First of all he brought truth to men and was God's instrument of revelation.
1 Corinthians 2:10 / 2 Peter 1:21
Day 14- Secondly, the Holy Spirit enabled men to be able to recognize truth and understand it.
Ezekiel 36:27 / Nehemiah 9:20a / 1 John 2:27
There is in every man and woman a spirit given faculty that enables us to recognize goodness and truth. But like everything else, if we refuse to use it we lose it.
HOW DO WE LOSE THE ABILITY TO RECOGNIZE GOODNESS AND TRUTH WHEN WE SEE IT?
Day 15 - We do so if .... we choose to shut our eyes and our ears to God's way and therefore don't see or hear. We become blind and dumb to the truth.
Jeremiah 6:10 / Zechariah 7:11-12 / Luke 16:31
Day 16- We do so if.... we hear God but refuse to listen to Him when He gives us guidance. Therefore in the refusing we disobey.
Ezekiel 12:2 / Matthew 7:26 / 2 Timothy 4:3-4
Day 17- We do so if.... we choose our own way, our own human ideas over God's.
1 Samuel 8:19-20 / 2 Kings 17:15-17 / 1 Corinthians 2:14
Day 18- We do so when .... evil seems to us as good.
Isaiah 5:20 / John 3:19
Day 19- And so in the willful rejection of truth, a person becomes dull -- like a man without understanding and conscience.
2 Corinthians 3:14a / 2 Corinthians 4:4 / Ephesians 4:18
Day 20- Like a person going blind their dullness turns to darkness until they ARE totally blind.
Proverbs 4:19 / Isaiah 59:10 / Matthew 6:23
Day 21- This is what the scribes and pharisees had come to. They had insisted on their own way for so long that they had become blind and deaf to the guidance of God. And therefore they couldn't recognize God's truth and goodness in Christ when he came.
John 1:5 / John 3:19
Day 22- When a person reaches this stage, as many Jews had, repentance becomes impossible. He does not recognize evil as evil. In turning (repentance) and rest (in God) we find our salvation. In quietness and trust (in God) we find our strength. But notice the last phrase in this often quoted verse.
It is willful rejection.
Day 23- Time and again God had disciplined his people so that they would turn from their sin and come back into fellowship with Him. But they had become almost senseless to the things of God.
It is what we will become if we refuse the Lord's light in our own lives.
It's a proven fact that if you don't use your physical muscles they begin to atrophy and finally grow weak and useless. In time what you choose not to use becomes something that you cannot use.
It's the same with your spiritual muscles. Every time you exercise your faith to believe and act on something God has said, that faith grows. It then gives you the confidence to believe and act on more light. But if you choose not to act on the light you have from God then you'll receive no new light until finally the light you had will flicker out like a candle.
Day 24- Jesus Christ now walked towards his death in a culture that heard him, saw him and refused to believe. This is the atmosphere that would carry him to his death. But, in the midst of this unbelief what was also true?
All throughout history you'll find the thread of the "remnant" -- those few who believed even when all others didn't. We see it again here.
Day 25- While this small group of Jewish believers had their eyes opened to see Jesus as the Messiah what was also true?
ONE LAST MESSAGE
Day 26- In John 12:44a it now says that Jesus cried out to the crowd. It is a final summary that will wind up his whole testimony. It has some weighty proclamations. As you read these next few verses make a list of the Lord's final claims so they are clear in your own mind.
John 12: 44-50
"God does not willfully harden men because his will is for their salvation........It is the judicial will of God (originally ordained for man's salvation) that results after all in judgment in the case of any man upon whom grace has ceased to work. All its ways and means have been completely exhausted. The loving will of God changes to the wrathful will of God when his will is obstinately resisted." Keil Delitzsch - Old Testament Commentator
Even this atmosphere of unbelief fell within God's control and purpose. We'll see God use it to further his own eternal purpose. "God is so great that He can even use man's sin for good (His purposes)." William Barclay - New Testament Commentator
The apostle Paul saw that God had used the unbelief of the Jews for the conversion of the Gentiles. The world gained what the Jews gave away. That means that you and I today can know the love and grace of our Heavenly Father.
Next Study: MPGC#3