There are a lot of things in my life that I am “sort of” or “almost.” I am sort of old. I kind of know how to grill a steak. I am almost five feet nine inches tall. In these things it is good to be careful, but it’s not generally disastrous if I get it wrong. But there are some things that need precision and detail, that require I be all in or not at all. I am married—and I need to act accordingly. There are consequences if I don’t. Some things don’t require we draw a line in the sand and some things do. Sometimes Jesus draws a line in the sand for us. Today’s passage is one of those times.
- Have you ever seen a situation where someone “sat on the fence” and it did not go well in the end? What happens when we straddle the fence in situations that require a committed choice?
READ THE WORD: JOHN 12:44-50 (ESV)
44 And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. 47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- What are all the things Jesus said or inferred about himself in this passage? Identify at least five.
- What is Jesus asking us to believe about him? What word is he asking us to accept?
- What was the behavior Jesus identified that will be judged negatively on the last day?
- Have you accepted or rejected Jesus? How do you know? What is the litmus test Jesus gives in this passage?
RESPOND TO GOD
I encounter a lot of people that live as if they can turn their belief in Jesus on and off like a light. They turn to Jesus when they need him and often believe in God, but they try to do so from a distance. They stand firmly in the middle, not really having chosen. But, Jesus makes it clear that our belief in him and our acceptance of his Word requires that we step decisively into the light. We cannot sort of believe. There is no option to add a little Jesus to our lives when it is convenient or feels necessary. To stand in the middle is to stand in the dark. Jesus requires a choice, and he invites us into something much better than our own side of the line. To believe in him and accept his Word is to step boldly into the warmth of the light of God’s love. There is no judgment there, just grace and mercy, and new life that lasts forever.
- Talk to God about the state of your belief and acceptance of his Word. Confess to God the ways you may not be keeping his Word (vs. 47).
- Thank Jesus for the gift of faith and the freedom from judgment he has made available to you.