Friday, May 11, 2012

John 12:44-50

This has been a long chapter, but before we finish it, I want to remind you that it started with Jesus’ triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem riding on a donkey. The crowds hailed Him as their King, laying palm branches in front of Him and shouting “Hosanna!” This was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy in Zechariah 9. My dear friend, Carrol Velarde sent me an email about this which I want to share with you:

William Barclay pointed out that as you have talked about Jesus fulfilled prophecy in Zechariah 9, He also  gave them other signs as well. Traditionally in Biblical times, a king comes riding on a horse when He is bent on war:  In the East, an ass is considered a noble creature and many Biblical figures rode on asses' colts during peaceful times. Jair, the Judge had 30 sons who rode on them. Ahithophel and  Mephibosheth, son of Saul rode to King David upon an ass. This action of Jesus riding on an ass was another sign to the Jews that He was coming not as the warrior figure they dreamed of, but He was coming as the Prince of Peace. The Jews wanted a mighty conqueror, ironically they didn't understand that Jesus was exactly that!  Jesus wanted conquest, too. In fact, ( excuse my language here) He was Hell bent on seeing God's plan of salvation through to completion!  Jesus knew that as the Prince of Peace on the cross, He would conquer sin and death forever and if He be lifted up, He would draw all men to Him. Hallelujah!  One day we will behold this mighty conqueror, Jesus on a white horse.  What a glorious day that will be! 

Amen, Carrol! :)

Turning back to the final verses in this chapter, we read that Jesus shouted his last public message:

Then Jesus cried out, “When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me.  When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me.  I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. (John 12:44-46)

When we believe in Jesus, we are believing in the Father; when we see Him, we see the Father. Jesus came to reveal the Father to us and to be the only Way to the Father. When we follow Him we come out of darkness into His glorious light.

“As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.  There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.  For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.  I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.” (vs.45-50)

This repeats the idea in John 3:17: For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 

Jesus came to save us, but if we reject that gift, it isn’t Jesus who will condemn us, but His very Word. To this Jewish crowd, the words they heard every Sabbath from the Old Testament - the words they claimed to believe - and the words which Jesus spoke to them - the words which He said were not His own, but straight from the Father - these words would condemn them. They would be without excuse - and so will we.

From this point on, as Jesus was just days from the Cross, Jesus turned away from the unbelieving crowd and focused on preparing His disciples. It’s time to listen closely!  

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