Seeing in the Dark
Lord, please do a miracle in my life.
Read John 12:37–50
37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:
“Lord, who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:
40 “He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts,
so they can neither see with their eyes,
nor understand with their hearts,
nor turn—and I would heal them.”
41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.
42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.
44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“The blind receive sight, the lame walk… the deaf hear, the dead are raised” (Luke 7:22). Praise God that he has opened your eyes and ears and brought new life.
The puzzle throughout this Gospel of John is expressed in the first verse of today’s reading. Jesus has done so many signs that validate his divinity—and yet many do not believe in him. How is it that, when we have explained our faith to our friends, when our church seems to be doing all the right things, people remain indifferent?
John provides two quite different answers. The first comes from a quotation
in Isaiah 53, that series of Servant songs which portrays the suffering servant of God. The challenge is that God’s ways of making himself known
do not meet our expectations. Actually, each gospel writer expresses this in his own way: John, for example, presents Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross as the moment of his “glory” (43). The people did not expect God’s
anointed King to come in humility, giving himself for us—and we can so often miss the ways God is present in our world.
The other answer relates to us: as the saying goes, “There are none so blind
as those who will not see.” John and Isaiah see God as sovereign, so they attribute all things to God in a way we might find difficult to process—but it is also clear that God desires all people to respond. John portrays Jesus in the same way that the writer of Proverbs portrays wisdom, as crying out in the streets (Prov. 1:20,21; 8:1). Yet the writer of Proverbs still appeals to his readers to respond, to take notice, to fashion their lives in response. Jesus does the same here. Although his voice can be heard clearly, we need to make a response if we are to “walk while we have the light” (John 12:35, NLT).
What are the things in my life and the life of my church which obscure the message of Jesus? How can I and we communicate more clearly?
Lord, keep me from loving the praise of those around me more than the praise of God, and help me to see the difference.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.