Published on
October 30, 2023

John 12

“This is why they were unable to believe, because Isaiah also said: He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so that they would not see with their eyes...”

Author Photo
Steve Wiggins
Author Photo
Steve Wiggins
Read Time
4 minutes
John 12
“This is why they were unable to believe, because Isaiah also said: He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so that they would not see with their eyes or understand with their hearts and be converted.  Isaiah said this because he saw His glory and spoke about Him.  Nevertheless, many did believe in Him, even among the rulers, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, so they would not be banned from the synagogue.  For they loved the praise from men more than praise from God.”  John 12:39-43 (HCSB)

Perhaps, the worst kind of blindness is when people refuse to see.  God offers everyone the ability to “believe” or “trust” in Him.  But if people continue to reject Him, belief may eventually become impossible for them.  

In today’s passage, John states that God blinded the eyes & hardened the hearts of those who resisted Jesus.  It is the same language we find in the book of Exodus, where it says God “hardened” Pharaoh’s heart.  But a closer inspection of the Exodus narrative reveals that, in actuality, Pharaoh hardened his own heart through a pattern of refusal to acknowledge the overwhelming evidence that the God of Israel is “the Lord.”

The same sun that softens the wax also hardens the clay.  After a series of Egyptian “signs/plagues,” not only was Israel convinced that their God was delivering them, but many in Pharaoh’s court tried to convince him to surrender to the Lord.  Eventually, God honored Pharaoh’s choice (not to believe) by refusing to reveal the truth to him any longer, except for the final “revelation,” which was the literal destruction of Pharaoh and his army!  God’s eternal judgment is the tragic end of all people who refuse to believe in Messiah.  But what about those who “believe” but refuse to go public?  

Contrary to the opinions of some in the Church at large, believers in Jesus are not called to hide their faith but to profess it openly.  The Bible NEVER calls for people to be “secret believers” who refuse to profess their faith (some even deny their faith when the social/political pressure heats up).  There is a vast difference between “intellectual ascent” (the mere recognition of the facts of Jesus’ life events and teachings) and receiving Him as your Lord (submitting to His leading even when you feel uncomfortable).  The former may enable you to pass a Bible knowledge exam, but the latter is evidence of true salvation!  

Instead of fearing God and professing Jesus openly, some Pharisees chose to stay silent.  Essentially, the “secret believer” chooses to fear “men” instead of trusting God.

“But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”  Matthew 10:33 (NKJV)

When we consistently refuse to acknowledge our faith, we must ask ourselves if we have true faith to share.  If loving God were against the law, would there be enough evidence in your life to convict you?

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