Wednesday, January 18, 2012

John 12 19 to 31

19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.
20 And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:
21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.
22 Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.
23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.
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.
25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
26 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.
27 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.
28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.
29 The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.
30 Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.
31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

Key Observation:
The voice of God speaks and some hear an angel, but many hear but thunder.

I am thinking of Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, particularly where the Lion speaks creation into place, and in the middle of the beautiful creation is a man incapable of hearing the animals speak. He only hears incomprehensible sounds, and can make nothing of it. So it is with those who do not have faith; they hear but they do not, and they see but all the while are blind. So it is with this passage.

I find it surprising that God’s voice does not carry through to everyone. Could it? Of course, because if God wanted that He of course would bring it about. Why then does He not? There are some who teach that God makes Himself irresistible to those whom He elects, but what does that mean? Here in this passage we find men who quite easily resist the very voice of God. In Acts 7:51, I find these very people being talked about by Stephen as he preaches, “You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit.” I find it rather convoluted that if grace be irresistible, why did God simply not rescue all men? I think theses instances of resisting, plus the multitude of warnings that we are given not to resist, show that faith is a part of our response to God. Of course God foreknows those who believe, and all of that foreknowledge, as well as any predestination, take into account the fact that people believe God.

In all of Christendom, there has never been an elect person who has not believed God. Belief and grace are intrinsically connected, and beyond the ken of this fellow to figure out. Somehow they are wrapped in a single package, and I do think many mistakes are made when we attempt to unwrap that package to try to figure out how God does it all. It should be sufficient for me to give glory to God, and to trust Him to work things out with perfect justness and perfect love.

I find myself wondering about the voice though. John, at least, heard clearly the voice of God, for he has faithfully transcribed it. Others heard something akin to an angel, while others only heard thunder. I wonder if there was a progressive state here. Had some began earnestly to consider the claims of Christ, and thus they heard an angel? Were those with the coldest hearts only able to hear thunder? Well I might say that thunder is appropriate for them—for if the heart stays cold, thunder becomes a symbol of the judgment to come.

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” Hebrews goes on to tell us: “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” “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.” Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto Him as righteousness. Our righteousness is contained in believing what Jesus did for us. He died that I might live. What a wonder of all of creation—that my Creator should die for me!

Down at the Cross

1. Down at the cross where my Savior died,
Down where for cleansing from sin I cried,
There to my heart was the blood applied;
Glory to His name.

2. I am so wondrously saved from sin,
Jesus so sweetly abides within;
There at the cross where He took me in;
Glory to His name.

3. O, precious fountain that saves from sin,
I am so glad I have entered in;
There Jesus saves me and keeps me clean;
Glory to His name.

4. Come to this fountain so rich and sweet;
Cast your poor soul at the Savior's feet;
Plunge in today, and be made complete;
Glory to His name.

Glory to His name, Glory to His name!
There to my heart was the blood applied;
Glory to His name.

Lyrics: Elisha Albright Hoffman

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