Sunday, 8 June 2014

Unbelief (John 12:37-50)

Hello All,
I am sure that we would have heard of at least one of the following expressions:
‘Have some faith in me. Believe me. Trust me. Have confidence in me. Count on me.’
But what does it mean to believe? To believe can be alternatively defined as having faith or confidence in something or someone.
So our next question would be: Who or what do you believe in?
Today’s poem is not taken from my own compositions but it was very kindly contributed by other fellow Christians who wish to remain anonymous.

Unbelief (John 12:37-50)
(Anonymous, Year 2012)

Before Jewish eyes, the Lord’s signs he does,
They’d not believe, as Isaiah records:
“Lord, who has believed what he heard from us,
to whom was revealed the arm of the Lord?”

Again Isaiah had long ago said;
“Their eyes he’s blinded, their hearts he’s hardened,
Lest their eyes might see, their hearts comprehend,
And they might turn, and I would heal them”

The Jews, in blindness, refuse what they heard,
Living in darkness, rejecting their king.
Rightly Isaiah had spoken these words,
For he’d seen Christ’s glory and spoke of him.

Yet many believed, yet would not confess,
Even authorities new belief took;
Dead silence they kept in great fear, lest,
Out of the synagogue they’d then be put,

Christ had convinced them the truth of his word,,
Still they turned from him, still fleeing their king;
The glory of man to him they preferred,
Sadly, the glory of God, disdaining.

Jesus cried out, "He who believes in me,"
"Believes in the Father, not me only,"
"When one beholds me, it's not just me he sees,"
"But the One who sent me, I say, truly."

"Into the darkness, I've come as a light,” 
 "That those who believe would receive their sight."

"I'm not the judge of the person who hears"
"Who hears my words but does not obey them,"
"I judge him not, for I've entered this world,
"Not to judge but to offer salvation."

"But there is a judge who on the last day,
Will condemn him who rejects me and the words I say."

"The how and what of my speech is not mine,"
"For I do not speak on my own accord,"
"But by the command of the Father divine,"
"From his command eternal life springs forth."

Hence, everything that I say is indeed,
What the heavenly Father has decreed. 

Points for Reflection:
Though he [Jesus] had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him.
(John 12:37)
·         The people of Jesus’ days had seen him perform many miraculous signs and witnessed Jesus fulfilling prophecies in Scriptures concerning the promised Messiah (known as the ‘Christ’ in Greek which means ‘The King’). He is the promised King that the Old Testament of the Bible has been pointing to.
·         But sadly, they still did not believe in him. Their unbelief was aptly spoken of by Isaiah, a prophet from the Old Testament many centuries ago:
So that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.”
(John 12:38-40)
Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
(Isaiah 53:1)
Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”
(Isaiah 6:10)
·         Like the people in Jesus’ days, are you still refusing to put your faith in Jesus Christ, the one true God? If so, what are things in your life that are hindering you? Why are those things preventing you from believing in Jesus? Take a moment to reflect and pray for God to open your eyes and soften your heart. If you are a Christian with loved ones and friends whose hearts remain unreceptive to God’s Word, do not give up praying for their salvation.

Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him [Jesus], but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.
(John 12:42-43)
·         We have looked at the first group of people who did not have a single ounce of belief in Jesus.
·         Now we come to the second group of people who believed in Jesus but did not dare to confess their belief for they were afraid of the consequences. They were afraid of being put out of the synagogue, of losing their reputation and place in society.
·         This is a solemn warning not only to non-Christians who ‘believe’ but this is also relevant to professing Christians who would not dare to stand up for Jesus when the going gets rough. Do you value your reputation and well-being above your faith in Jesus Christ? Would you stand up for Jesus even if it entails persecution from your family, friends and society?
So everyone who acknowledges me [Jesus] before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
(Matthew 10:32-33)
·         For those of us who are facing persecution or have forsaken earthly benefits for our Lord Jesus Christ, let us not lose heart or be discouraged. But let us continue to encourage each other to focus on the eternal and heavenly reward which awaits us in paradise. For the riches and glory of this world are temporal and will pass away but the Kingdom of God will endure forever.
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my [Jesus’] name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.
(Matthew 19:29)
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  

(Matthew 6:19-21)