When I was thirteen, the Holy Spirit began the process of pulling back the veil and revealing God to me. I heard soft whispers of God while on a trip through the mist and shadows of the Shenandoah Mountains, in the unbridled joy and testimony of Young Life leaders, and in the lavish love my Christian friends poured on me. But I was stubborn. Hardhearted. Rebellious. I wanted to be my own god. I am so thankful that God did not allow me to continue in my destructive ways, and by grace upon grace, when I was 21, he ripped the veil fully off and called me to himself.
- In what ways has Jesus revealed himself to you?
READ THE WORD: JOHN 12:37-43 (ESV)
37 Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, 38 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?”
39 Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,
40 “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.”
41 Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. 42 Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- From verse 37, what can you surmise was the purpose of the signs (miracles) that Jesus did?
- John quoted the prophet Isaiah and applied the prophetic words to the Israelites of his time—the people would not believe, so God made them unable to believe. Why did Isaiah say these things (vs. 41)?
- Contrast verse 37b with 42a. What did those who believed fear the Pharisees would do to them?
- Is there a friend or circle of friends that you hold back from telling about Jesus for fear of loss of love or relationship or status?
RESPOND TO GOD
These words of John are difficult. They tell of a people who, despite seeing the miracles Jesus performed, willfully refused to believe he was the promised Messiah, and as a result, God hardened their hearts (Acts 28:26-27). The interesting thing is that many did believe, yet they loved the approval of men more than the approval of God. How often in our lives do we do the same thing, valuing the approval of God less than we value the approval of our friends and neighbors?
- Thank God that he gave you eyes to see and a heart to understand who Jesus is.
- Ask God to help you to share Jesus with people in your life, even if they reject you for it.