Thursday, January 19, 2012

John 12 31 to 50

31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.
34 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?
35 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.
36 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.
37 But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:
38 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?
39 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,
40 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.
41 These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.
42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:
43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
44 Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.
45 And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.
46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.

Key observation:
He is the light for the world, that the world might be saved.

I see in verse 42 that there were many even among the chief rulers who believed. Maybe this is where Nicodemus comes in. What an awful dilemma! To believe and not commit out of fear of what would happen to me. Nicodemus helped with the burial of Jesus, and tried to dissuade the rulers from harming Jesus. This same Nicodemus came to Jesus by night, as it says in the third chapter. Perhaps that coming by night is why Jesus is observed to act fairly rudely to Nicodemus, belittling him because he is a ruler and “knows not these things.” I find that Jesus treats the woman of the well with more courtesy in the next chapter.

On the other hand, is it not wonderful that Jesus receives us as we are? Nicodemus was afraid of jeopardizing his position in the community, but I think Jesus takes him as he is. I still think of the grief of Nicodemus, for he might have done so much more had he made himself available to God. Contrast Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee, but one who gave his position up freely to be tremendously used of God, a privilege that Nicodemus never found.

Yet still he did find some ways of helping. Nicodemus is illustrative of those Christians who are so under the radar, and out of sight of the community, lest harm come to them or their families. I do rejoice that soon the need for such secrecy will pass. For the Scripture says that all shall know the Lord, from the least to the greatest.

Here again, as I encounter so many times in John, John uses “all” and the “world” to tell us who He came for. I was delighted recently to find Calvin’s commentary on John does not try to change interpretation here. Calvin genuinely stated the proper interpretation here: “he has employed the universal term whosoever, both to invite all indiscriminately to partake of life, and to cut off every excuse from unbelievers. Such is also the import of the term World, which he formerly used; for though nothing will be found in the world that is worthy of the favor of God, yet he shows himself to be reconciled to the whole world, when he invites all men without exception to the faith of Christ, which is nothing else than an entrance into life.”

I have heard so many people try to defend limited atonement by changing the scripture. Those people will look at “all” and “world” and tell me that that is not really what God meant. He really meant the elect or all the elect. And so they change the Scripture, not realizing that they are opposing the very words of God. How refreshing it was for me to see that Calvin took these words on their face, and did not try to twist them to fit arranged doctrine. I do wish that more people who profess such an unlikely doctrine would at least read Calvin’s remarks on John 3.

I especially like this quote from A.W. Tozer: "will not hold us responsible to understand the mysteries of election, predestination and the divine sovereignty. The best and safest way to deal with these truths is to raise our eyes to God and in deepest reverence say, "O Lord, Thou knowest." I do not comprehend why some people try so hard to go further than God has told us; it is simply enough for me to believe.

I have said it before, but at the risk of being redundant, will say it again. Believing the Word of God as given to us is the responsibility of every Christian. If the Bible student finds the Bible does not exactly fit his doctrine, then he should consider changing his doctrine, and not the Bible. There is nothing in our flesh that can please God; the one thing He does ask of us is that we believe. God says it; I believe it; that is all there is to it.
Abraham believed God and it was reckoned unto him as righteousness.

A.W. Tozer says this about the Word: "If you would follow on to know the Lord, come at once to the open Bible expecting it to speak to you. Do not come with the notion that it is a thing which you may push around at your convenience. It is more than a thing, it is a voice, a word, the very Word of the living God." To those who will find life, the Word itself will take you and carry you to places that you did not expect, and perhaps find yourself ill-prepared for. It will very likely turn your world, not upside down, but rather inside out, as you will begin to see yourself and God, not just in a new light, but as it were, in a brand new dimension. Very likely you will find yourself thinking that you are going crazy; in fact you are beginning to perceive reality for the first time. That is what happened to me. Try it out, and see where you may end up.

Calvin, John (2009-06-03). Commentary on John - Volume 1 - Enhanced Version (Calvin's Commentaries) (Kindle Locations 2156-2158). Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Kindle Edition.

Tozer, A.W.; Tozer, Aidan; Tozer, Aidan Wilson; Foundation Press, Christian Miracle (2011-01-31). The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer (Special Kindle Enabled Edition with Interactive Table of Contents and Built in Text to Speech Features) (Illustrated) ... | The Writings of Aiden Wilson Tozer of) (Kindle Locations 731-733). Christian Miracle Foundation Press. Kindle Edition.

Just As I Am

1. Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidd'st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

2. Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

3. Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Has broken ev'ry barrier down;
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

4. Just as I am, tho' tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

5. Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

6. Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

Lyrics: Charlotte Elliott

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