The Arm of the Lord

John 12:37-41.

But though He had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on Him:

That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the Arm of the Lord been revealed?

Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,

He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

These things said Esaias, when he saw His glory, and spake of Him.

Who hath believed our report | Real Talk Broadcast Network LLC Spiritual  Content with a purpose

In this extremely sad passage, we are actually seeing prophecy fulfilled. In both Isaiah 53: 1 and 6:9-10, the prophet wrote that in spite of the clear work of the Arm of the Lord, many (Jews) would not believe in Him. They were looking for a conquering King, not a suffering Savior. Isaiah 6:9-10 says:

And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

What is happening, then, is the judgment of God was on the people who heard and saw His power, and yet refused to believe. There are always consequences for sin. There is a limit to what God will overlook, a limit to how long His Spirit will strive with man, before He allows judgment to come upon them for their unbelief.

I can’t help but think of how long God will strive with America before He allows judgment to fall on us for our unbelief, our turning away from Him for earthly pursuits of gain and pleasure, our murdering of unborn and newly-born infants, our profane and blasphemous treatment of the things of God.

I pray that there are still enough Americans left who DO trust and believe on Him to spare us from His judgment.

Walk in the Light

John 12:34-36.

The people answered Him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest Thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?

Then Jesus said unto them, 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 Light, believe in the Light, that ye may be the children of Light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide Himself from them.

John 12:35 Walk While Ye Have The Light (utmost)08:27

Earlier, Jesus had said, “I AM the Light of the world!” (John 8:12)

Backing up just a bit, we need to understand where the question that the people asked Jesus comes from. They had been taught about the victorious Messiah from the Law, and that He would live and reign forever. What they had not heard much about was the suffering Messiah from scriptures like Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53. Those passages did not support the hope and desire of the nation for the Messiah who would come to set them free from the rule of other nations. So they were confused. Who was this “Son of man” who was to be high and lifted up? It is no wonder they were confused, because they HAD been taught the scriptures that prophesied His eternal reign: Isa 9:7Eze 37:25Da 7:14. Now Jesus was saying that, even though He was the Son of God, He was going to be crucified. It just didn’t compute for the people.

In response, Jesus reminded them that He is the Light. He encouraged them to walk in (believe in, trust in, accept) Him as the Light while He was still with them, because His earthly ministry was shortly drawing to a close.

Genesis 6:3 tells us that the Spirit of God will not always strive with man. If a man, or a nation, hardens the heart and refuses to follow the Light, then eventually that Light will be removed.

America, we need to understand that the Spirit of God will not always strive with us! We have the blood of millions of unborn and newly-born babies on our hands, just for starters. We have excluded God, turned our backs on His Son in pursuit of material comfort, and forgotten the importance of God in the establishment of the country we say we love.

We are no different than those questioning Him before His death. In fact, we are worse because we have the entire inspired Word of God to explain it all to us, and yet we go about our trivial pursuits, ignorant of God and His Word and His will.

Once again, Jesus hid Himself from the crowds. The time, though near, had still not come.

If I Be Lifted Up

John 12:29-33.

The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to Him.

Jesus answered and said, This Voice came not because of Me, but for your sakes.

Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.

This He said, signifying what death He should die.

080824 A Grain Of Fallen Wheat John 12 20 36 Dale Wells

Yesterday we learned that God spoke audibly to His Son (John 12:28). This is the third time God spoke to Jesus during His earthly ministry. He spoke at Jesus’ baptism, and again at His transfiguration (Matt. 3:14-17; Matt. 17:1-8).

God promised that Jesus had already glorified the Father, and that He would do so again at His trial, death, and resurrection. One commentator put it this way:

“God the Father was glorified: 1st. By the prodigies which happened at His death. 2. In His resurrection. 3. In His ascension, and sitting at the right hand of God. 4. In the descent of the Holy Ghost on the apostles. and 5. In the astonishing success with which the Gospel was accompanied, and by which the kingdom of Christ has been established in the world.” (Clarke)

Blue Letter Bible, David Guzik on John 12.

The people who surrounded Jesus heard the voice. Some thought it was thunder. Others thought an angel had spoken.

Can you imagine the voice of God? It must have been astounding! I know that sometimes He used a “still, small voice” as He did with Elijah (I Kings 19: 11-13). That is a dramatic story, and well worth your time to go back and see what God did in that passage to get Elijah’s attention.

In this situation, God spoke in a way that got the attention of everyone who was present. How reassuring it must have been, as Jesus faced the most difficult, painful, horrendous trial of His life, to hear the voice of the Father telling Him that everything was going exactly according to His will; that Jesus would not fail, even as He faced incredible suffering, to glorify the Name of the Father.

Jesus promised the people that the Voice had spoken for their sake, to comfort them against the things that were coming. He told them that the prince of the world, Satan, was to be defeated. Then He said some of the most significant words I can imagine: “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me.”

He was talking, in part, about the manner of His death. He would be lifted up from the earth to hang in shame on a cross; it was an execution reserved for the worst crimes, the most depraved criminals.

He was also speaking to all who would believe in Him.

How are we doing at lifting up Jesus these days? Are we glorifying Him? Are we bringing honor and respect to Him? Do our lives, as professed believers, draw others to Him? Is what they see in us so appealing that it brings others to Him?

We need to be careful, in these tumultuous and often ugly political times, that we do not join those whose behavior is less than Christ-like. In word and deed, in what we write on Facebook and other social media, we must, must take care to maintain a testimony of strength and faith without losing our grace and self-control.

Lift up Jesus.

For This Cause I Came

John 12:27-28.

Now is My soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.

Father, glorify Thy Name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.

John 12:27-28 - Wellspring Christian Ministries

These two verses give us a small glimpse into Jesus’ state of mind as He faced what was coming.

It would, perhaps, be more clear what Jesus was saying to the Father if we punctuate it this way: “My soul is troubled, Father. What shall I say? ‘Save Me from this hour?’ But this hour is why I came. Father, glorify Your Name!”

Remember, Jesus was fully God, and fully man. It is in the nature of man to avoid death. We go to all sorts of extremes to prolong life. Fully God, Jesus Knew what His death would be. He understood exactly what He would suffer, and his “fully Man” reaction is completely understandable.

What is harder for us, as merely human, to understand is that Jesus was NOT asking to be relieved of the work He came to do. He was admitting that His soul was troubled over what He faced, but He made no effort to remove Himself from it.

He was rewarded by the Father’s voice from heaven, reassuring Him that His Name had been glorified before, and would be glorified again.

We’ll look more closely at this amazing message from the Father to the Son tomorrow.

Red Hot Compared to Medium

John 12:25-26.

He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be: if any man serve Me, him will My Father honour.

John 12:25 He that loves his life shall lose it; and he that hates his life  in this world shall keep it to life eternal.

Years ago, my dad used this example to illustrate the main idea of these verses:

If you turn on an electric burner on your stovetop and set it at its highest heat, it will burn bright red. Now turn the other burners on to, say, medium. They will be warm to the touch, but not bright red.

When Jesus says we should “hate” our families, it is a comparative usage of the word. Compared to the love we have for God, which is bright red, the love for our dear ones here on earth is like the burners that are hot, but not the highest possible heat. To believe that God wants us to literally hate our parents would be in direct contradiction to His command that we love and respect them.

My dad was a practical guy. I’ve never forgotten that illustration, and think of it often when I’m using my stove.

The truth of this passage is clear. We are to love God so much that our lives here on earth become unimportant except to use them for Him, to honor and glorify Him and bring others to Him.

When we love and serve Him, He is always where we are. The Father honors those who honor His Son.

If we love our lives more than anything, we will lose those lives because we have not accepted Jesus Christ as Lord. If we love God more than life, we will have eternal life in heaven with Him–and we will experience the blessing of His Presence in our lives here on earth.

Life from Death

John 12:24. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”

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Just one verse today, because it is so profound. Not complicated, especially if you are a gardener or a farmer; just profound.

If you keep a seed in your hand, or a jar, or your pocket, it never becomes anything but a seed. It does not reproduce. Eventually, you will lose it, or its potential will dry up. It is worthless until. . . .

Until it dies. When you put a seed in the ground and cover it with dirt, it dies in order to reproduce itself many times over.

One good example would be a potato. We used to cut the eyes out of older potatoes, until we had a bunch of little pieces all with sprouts connected. Each little piece, left to itself, would soon shrivel and become useless. But when we planted two or three of these eyes, hilled them up, watered them, and picked off the potato bugs, they would soon yield many, many potatoes—new, healthy, delicious little spuds that would continue to grow until we dug them up in the fall.

Planting the eyes resulted in their dying in order to reproduce themselves.

Jesus knew that He was the Seed that would die, and that from His death would come a bountiful harvest to the glory of God.

Do you remember planting something, probably the seed of a bean, in water, when you were very young? Remember the excitement of being able to watch that seed crack, and a tiny sprout break through the seed? Roots would begin to form, and before long leaves would reach and stretch for the light, and voila! You had a new plant that, if you planted it outdoors in the ground, would deliver many, many beans.

It’s not surprising that Jesus often used examples of farming to teach His followers about Himself. They were farmers, shepherds, agrarian in their outlook. They understood the process of of planting and harvesting, preserving seed for the next planting season.

Jesus’ death would result in abundance of life for all who would believe in Him, because He would conquer sin and death on the behalf of all mankind.

We Would See Jesus

John 12:20-23.

And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:

The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.

Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.

And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.

Sir, We Would Like To See Jesus - Mystery of AscensionMystery of Ascension

We are not given any information about these Greeks who were interested in seeing Jesus. They could have heard of His miracles; they could have been studying the Hebrew scriptures. Perhaps they were traders and often had business in Israel, and were aware of the teachings of Jesus.

The only thing we know for sure is that they were Greek. They approached the only disciple (Phillip) who had a Greek name, and asked where they could see Him.

Phillip told Andrew about the Greeks, and they both went to tell Jesus that some Greek men were asking to see Him.

Jesus’ answer seems not to address the Greeks. He says that “the hour is come.” In the Greek verb tense, the translation could be “the time is come, and will continue to come. There is no going back.” Twice before in this gospel, Jesus had escaped harm because “the hour is not yet come” (John 2:4 and 7:6). Now, He knew, His time on earth was coming to an end and there could be no escape.

Could we assume that the interest of these Gentiles was a signal that salvation was going to be offered to all mankind, not just the Jews? Perhaps. But I think we need to be careful not to assign more weight to this inquiry than is intended. After all, the magi from the east had come to worship Him when they heard of His birth. There had, all down through the record of the Bible, been Gentiles who had believed God and even became a part of His lineage.

Whether the Gentiles had inquired after Him or not, Jesus knew the time had come. And even as He spoke of His death, He spoke of being glorified.

The World is Gone after Him!

John 12:17-19.

The people therefore that was with Him when He called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record.

For this cause the people also met Him, for that they heard that He had done this miracle.

The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after Him.

John 12 - Holy Bible English - BibleWordings.com

This passage reminds me of the way the British army felt when they realized they had lost to the upstart colonists in America. The song their musicians played was The World Turned Upside Down. That song goes way back in British history, which I looked up and found too long to relate here. But I did find this quote, which seems appropriate for today:

TOP 25 WORLD UPSIDE DOWN QUOTES | A-Z Quotes

Anyway, The Pharisees were upset. So many people who saw and heard Jesus raise Lazarus from the tomb had testified to others about what they saw. So many people were thronging Jerusalem, hoping to get a glimpse of Jesus. So many Jews were, for all practical purposes, ignoring their religious leaders and trying to follow Jesus.

“Look!” the Pharisees said to each other. “Look at how ineffective our efforts are to disparage this Jesus. The whole WORLD is following after Him!”

They really couldn’t understand the fascination the people had with Jesus. They certainly, as a body, didn’t share it. There were a few–a very few–who silently pondered these things and wondered. The evidence of His power was hard to deny. The power of His teaching was drawing crowds wherever He went, crowds that never gathered to hear the pompous religious leaders bloviate about their own superiority.

It never occurred to them that Jesus truly was sent from God. They were dealing with Jehovah, Himself. What would seem like a win in just a few more days would end in turning their world upside down.

They Didn’t Get It

John 12:16. These things understood not His disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things unto Him.

John 12:16 | The Name of the LORD is a Strong Tower

Sometimes it seemed the disciples were a bit slow, doesn’t it? After all, they had walked with Jesus for nearly three years. They had the benefit of His teaching, both public and private, as He explained the scripture to them and told of His coming death and resurrection. Still, they just couldn’t wrap their minds around all of it.

How could anyone slay the Master? How could it be possible? He was the Son of God!

We need to consider, though, that today we have the entire Word of God, and still we tend not to believe what is right in front of us. We prefer to just pretend that everything is going to be fine. Nothing bad can happen! This is America, after all, where we believe in law and order!

The disciples knew Who Jesus was. What they hadn’t quite grasped yet was the reason He came to earth. They simply couldn’t wrap their minds around His dying. They couldn’t imagine being without Him. Their world was crumbling under their feet, and they just didn’t get it.

It wasn’t until after the awful events of His arrest, trials, crucifixion, resurrection and return to heaven that the penny finally dropped.

Prophecy Fulfilled

John 12: 14-15.

And Jesus, when He had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written,

Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt.

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Many prophecies were fulfilled during the week before and including the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. This was one of them.

In these two verses, Jesus fulfills Zech 9:9  –  “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”

Why would Jesus choose to ride on such a lowly animal? It was because He came not in war, but in peace. The donkey was an animal used perhaps by a priest or a merchant, someone who came for peaceable reasons. He did not enter Jerusalem on a war horse, but on a donkey. His kingdom was spiritual, not military.

“Daughter of Zion” is a personification of Jerusalem, used often in the Old Testament. And as I mentioned yesterday, the people’s cry of “Hosanna!” or “save now!” indicated their hope that Jesus would rescue them from the grip of Roman domination.

There is some controversy over how many animals Jesus used. The passage in Zechariah mentions a donkey and its colt. The only gospel rendition that mentions both the dam and the foal is Matthew 21:1-11. Always keep in mind that the human writers of the gospels were writing, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, from their own perspectives. Failure to mention both animals is not a contradiction. It simply didn’t figure in to their narratives and was not the major issue.

But the fulfillment of Zech. 9:9 was of special importance to the Jews, and Matthew’s gospel was written to the Jews to present Jesus as Messiah.

It was common practice to not separate a dam from her newborn colt. It would have been cruel to both animals to do so. I believe they were brought together to Jesus, just as He had asked. I believe he rode on the colt, with the mother close by, either behind or beside.

I also believe that there’s been a lot of fuss and feathers over this issue in attempts to prove contradictions in the Bible. There is no contradiction. Again, it is simply a matter of perspective, and always under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Matthew’s gospel is the one that mentions both animals because it fulfills Zech. 9:9, important to the Jews, who were the main target of Matthew’s gospel.