Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the apostle John. More specifically today’s passage is found in verses twenty through fifty of the twelfth chapter. “And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telethon Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip telethon Jesus. And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of o wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 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. 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. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world: Now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me. 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? 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. 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” (John 12:20-36).
“But thou he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: that the saying of Esau’s 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? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, 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. These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him. Neverhtless 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: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:37-43). “Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me , believeth not on. Me, but on him that sent me. And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. 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. 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. 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. And I ,now that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak” (John 12:44-50). When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the continuation and conclusion of that which was found in the first portion of this chapter. I am absolutely convinced that in order to truly understand the words and language that is found in this passage of Scripture you must needs turn your attention to how the chapter begins. What’s more is that if you want to truly comprehend that which is found in the twelfth chapter and how it begins and opens you must turn and direct your attention back to the eleventh chapter. It is in the eleventh chapter where we find the account of the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead after he had not only been sick but died as a result of that sickness and was buried in the earth for four days. In the eleventh chapter we find Mary and Martha sending word unto Jesus concerning he whom He loved being sick. Undoubtedly Mary and Martha appealed to the love of Jesus as the means of calling Him unto themselves and more specifically unto their brother Lazarus who was sick. There is not a doubt in my mind that if they weren’t concerned about this sickness being unto death and if they didn’t think this sickness would potentially result in death they would not have called the Lord Jesus. What makes this all the more intriguing when you take the time to think about it is when you consider the fact that Mary and Martha had undoubtedly witnessed firsthand and/or perhaps even heard of the miracles which Jesus had wrought upon and in the lives of those who were diseased. Even within the eleventh chapter we find those who were present with Mary, Martha and Jesus observing their weeping and asking if this man who opened the eyes of the blind could not keep this man from dying. Eventually within the eleventh chapter we find and read of Lazarus dying—and not only dying but also being buried in a cave with a stone being rolled in front of the entrance. I sit here today thinking about and considering the tremendous truth surrounding the death, burial and resurrection of Lazarus and how absolutely incredible it truly is. What’s more is that the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead would be yet another miracle that would provoke the Jews and many who were present in Judaea during those days. Scripture is unclear whether or not news of the resurrection of Lazarus reached Galilee, however, we know that the report of this resurrection had indeed circulated throughout Judaea and perhaps even within the city of Jerusalem itself. The town of Bethany was not far from the city of Jerusalem and I would dare say that after Lazarus was raised from the dead the news and report of His being raised from the dead would indeed spread throughout Judaea like wildfire and would even touch the city of Jerusalem. What makes this truly astonishing when you take the time to think about it is how the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead would be yet another miracle that would provoke the Jews—and not only the Jews but also the chief priests, the scribes, the elders, the rulers, the Pharisees and much of the religious system. With this being said we must needs recognize that although a vast majority of the religious leaders and system took great offense to the person of the Lord Jesus there were indeed those who believed on Him. The apostle John clearly presented individuals who were prominent leaders in the Jewish culture and in the midst of Judaea and Jerusalem itself who believed on the Lord Jesus. From Nicodemus who came to Jesus by night as was mentioned in the third chapter, to the chief rulers whom the apostle John mentioned in this chapter, to Joseph of Arimathaea who was also a disciple and believed on the person of the Lord Jesus mentioned in the final chapters there were those who were indeed in prominent places of leadership in the midst of the culture of the Jewish people who believed upon the name of the Lord Jesus. What makes all of this even more intriguing when you take the time to think about it is when you consider the fact that within and throughout the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John there was and is a clear dividing line which was drawn in the proverbial sand. If you take the time to read the words which are found in this gospel you will find that at the very heart and center of it all is the apostle John presenting the choice and the decision to believe in Jesus and receive Him as the Christ and the Son of the living God. It would be in the first and opening chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative we find and uncover the tremendous truth surrounding those who believed on and received Jesus as the Christ and as the Son of the living God and their being given power to become sons of God. What’s more is within the first and opening chapter you will read of Jesus coming into the world and the world knowing Him not—and not only this but coming unto His own and His own receiving Him not. As if this weren’t enough you will find within the first and opening chapter the tremendous truth surrounding Light coming into the darkness and the darkness not comprehending the Light. Not only this but it would be Jesus Himself who would declare unto Nicodemus that the Light came into the world and men loved darkness more than the light because their deeds were evil. Oh there is an incredible reality surrounding this particular truth and how absolutely astounding and remarkable it is for at the very heart and center of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John we find it written concerning the division which took place among the Jews between those who believed on and received the Lord Jesus and those who despised and rejected Him. The more you read the words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John the more you can and will encounter the reality that the words and works of Jesus the Christ were indeed incredibly provocative during those days. Within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John—beginning with the second chapter—you will find that Jesus’ words and works would provoke the Jews to offense, would provoke the Jews to jealousy and would even provoke the Jews to anger, to rage, to hostility and the like. It is absolutely impossible to read the words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John and not come face to face with the truth surrounding the provocative nature of the words and works of the Lord Jesus—and not only His words and works but also His actions. In the second chapter we read of the first encounter within this gospel where the actions of Jesus would provoke the Jews to offense—and not only to offense but would also call them to the place where they would believe on and receive Him. It would be in the second chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John you will find Jesus entering into the Jewish Temple which was present in the midst of the city of Jerusalem and after fashioning a cord of whips He would begin cleansing the Temple. It would be in the second chapter of this gospel where we read of the Lord Jesus Christ fashioning a cord of whips and overturning the tables of money, driving out the money changers, pouring out the money, and casting out that which was bought and sold from the Temple. Moreover the Lord Jesus would emphatically command them to cease making His Father’s house a marketplace and a place of merchandise. OH it would be these actions and words of the Lord Jesus which would provoke the Jews to offense for they would immediately question Jesus concerning what authority He had that would enable Him to engage in such behavior. Oh with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the second chapter of this gospel after Jesus had manifested His glory through the miracle of turning water into wine: “After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days. And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: and when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and sheep, and the oxen; and poured the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; and said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up” (John 2:12-17). “Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remember that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:18-25). The words which we find in the second chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative are absolutely incredible when you take the time to think about them for not only are they the beginning of the Jews believing on Him but it was also the beginning of Jesus’ words, works and actions provoking the Jews to offense. In the opening verses of the second chapter we read of Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding in Cana of Galilee and the apostle John would write how this was the beginning or miracles which h Jesus did in Cana of Galilee and manifested forth His glory—“and his disciples believed on him.” It would be this belief of the disciples that would indeed the beginning of those who would believe on the person of the Lord Jesus according to the words and language which is found in this New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for after the miracle of turning and transforming water into wine there would be the disciples of Jesus who would believe on Him. As you continue reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find Jesus coming up to Jerusalem at the time of the feast of the Passover and entering into the Temple. It would be when He entered into the Temple Jesus would witness and behold the commerce, the exchange, the buying and selling and the merchandise which was present in the midst of it and would bring cleansing to the Temple. The Lord Jesus would indeed fashion a scourge of cords which He would use to drive out all those who bought and sold in the temple, overturn the money tables, drive out the money changers and even drive out that which was bought and sold in the midst of the house of the living God. What’s more is Jesus would go on to command them to take these things out from the midst of the Temple and make not His father’s house a house of merchandise. It would be these actions and words which would provoke the Jews to offense and bring them to the place where they would ask him what sign He showed unto them seeing He engaged in such actions. There is a great need for us to recognize and understand the words and language which is found in this passage of Scripture for within the second chapter we not only see a picture of the Jews who took offense to the words and actions which the Lord Jesus wrought in the Temple but we also find many believing in Jesus when they witnessed and observed the miracles which the Lord Jesus performed. If you continue reading the words which are found in the second chapter of this gospel you will find this juxtaposition and contrast between those who would be offended with the person of the Lord Jesus because of the actions He committed in the Temple and those who believed on His name when they witnessed and observed the miracles which He wrought among them. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this when you take the time to truly consider it for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible reality concerning those who would be offended with Jesus and those who would believe on Him. As you read the words found in this passage of Scripture you will find the Lord Jesus performing many miracles within the city of Jerusalem at the time of the feast of the Passover and as a direct result of those miracles there would be many who would believe on Him. This is something which must be carefully considered when you think about it for it calls and draws our attention to the stark contrast between those who believed on and received the Lord Jesus during those days and those who rejected, despised, abhorred and even rejected Him. Oh there is something we must needs remember and consider when reading this New Testament gospel for it calls and draws our attention to a powerful picture of that which we find within our own culture and society. There is absolutely no denying the incredible truth found within this gospel and how there would indeed be a division which existed and took place among the Jews and their religious leaders concerning the person of the Lord Jesus. I have previously written how what we find in the fifth, sixth and seventh chapters of this New Testament gospel narrative are a tremendous picture of what is taking place and what has taken place within our culture and society. I firmly believe that the words and language we find in these chapters bring us face to face with that which is taking place and that which has been taking place within our own culture and society. In addition to the works and words of the Lord Jesus provoking the Jews to offense and to a place of decision there is also the great need to recognize that within these chapters we see a culture and society that not only seeks to persecute Jesus but also seeks to eradicate and remove Him from the midst of it. It is in the fifth chapter of this gospel we encounter and come face to face with the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding Jesus healing a man on the sabbath day who had an infirmity of thirty and eight years. It would be on the sabbath day Jesus would heal a man who had been living in a state of infirmity for thirty and eight years and who had perhaps even been in one of the five porches which were round about the pool of Bethesda. There in the midst of this community of the infirmed and the afflicted Jesus would show up and offer healing to this man after he had suffered from this infirmity for thirty and eight years. Jesus would show up in this place—in a place where each and every one who was present there was waiting for and expecting something. It would be in this place on the sabbath day Jesus would not heal this man of the infirmity which he suffered from for thirty and eight years but would also command him to take up his mat and walk. It would be this man taking up the mat and walking and doing so on the sabbath day that would provoke the Jews for they would witness the carrying of the mat as a clear and present violation of the sabbath. I am absolutely convinced that if you want to truly understand the words and language which is found in the twelfth chapter we must needs turn and direct our attention to the previous chapters for what we find in the previous chapters presents us with just how provocative the words and works of the Lord Jesus truly were. It would be in the second chapter of this gospel narrative we read of how Jesus’ actions in the Temple as He cleansed it would indeed provoke the Jews to offense for they could not understand how and why he would engage in such behavior in the midst of it. The Jews demanded a sign being shown and demonstrated by Him to prove that He did in fact have the authority to engage in such actions and behavior in the midst of the Temple. What makes this all the more intriguing when you take the time to think about it is when you read how Jesus declared unto them that if they destroyed this Temple He would rebuild it in three days. Not only could the Jews not understand that which Jesus was referencing and speaking of but they would also speak of the Temple and how it took forty and six years to build and asked Him if He would raise it up again in three days. Of course the Jews and the disciples did not realize nor did they recognize that the temple Jesus was speaking of was that of His body and they struggled with the words which He spoke. This is something we must needs understand when coming to the fifth chapter of this gospel as the words presented in the fifth chapter not only show us a picture of Jesus healing on the sabbath but the Jews being angered and offended with Jesus—first because He had healed on the sabbath and second because he had made the claim that God was His Father thus making Himself equal with God. Oh consider if you will the following words which are found in the fifth chapter for what we find within it is a powerful picture of a culture and society that sought to eradicate and destroy Jesus from the midst of it—not only because of what He had done among them in their midst but also because of the claims He makes concerning God being His Father which not only makes Him equal with God but also makes Himself to be the Son of God: “…And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath. The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed. He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole” (John 5:9-15). It is with these words we find the offense of the Jews—first with this man for carrying his mat on the sabbath day which they perceived as being unlawful on the sabbath day and later on with Jesus who had healed him. Within the opening verses of the fifth chapter we find the Jews being offended with this man for violating the sabbath for they viewed him as breaking the sabbath by carrying his mat on the sabbath day. What would initially begin with offense with this man for carrying his mat on the sabbath day and thus violating the sabbath according to their traditions would eventually culminate in their being offended with the person of the Lord Jesus—first for healing on the sabbath and second for making the claim that God was His Father. Consider if you will the rest of the words and language found in this passage of Scripture and how the Jews would not only persecute and seek to slay Jesus because He had healed on the sabbath but would also seek all the more to kill Him because He said that God was His Father thus making Himself equal with God. What a truly tragic picture is presented within this passage of Scripture for what we find here is the offense of the Jews with the healed because he carried his mat on the sabbath day as well as their offense with the Healer because He healed on the sabbath. The Jews not only viewed this man carrying the mat which he had perhaps lied upon for thirty and eight years on the sabbath as a violation of the sabbath and also viewed Jesus’ healing of the man on the sabbath as a violation of the sabbath. What we find in this passage of Scripture is a powerful picture of a culture and society that not only takes offense with those whom the Lord Jesus has personally touched, healed, transformed and made whole because it goes against their traditions, their rules and the like but also takes offense with the Healer and the One who made them whole. What’s more is this chapter presents us with a powerful picture of a culture and society that seeks to destroy and eradicate Jesus from the midst of it because He both healed and made whole as well as professed God as His Father thus making Himself equal with God. Consider now the following words which are found in this passage beginning with the sixteenth verse: “And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation. I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. I receive not honour from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5:16-47). We must needs pay attention to the words which are found in the fifth chapter of this gospel for within it we find the beginning of the rejection of the Jews toward the person of the Lord Jesus. What would indeed begin with their offense with that one who was healed for breaking the sabbath by carrying his mat would ultimately shift and transition to the one who had healed him. It would be the Jews themselves who would persecute and seek to slay Jesus because He had healed on the sabbath day. What’s more is that this persecution and seeking to slay Jesus would continue all the more to their seeking to kill Him when He spoke of God being His Father thus making Himself equal with God. It’s in the fifth chapter of this New Testament gospel we find and encounter the incredible truth surrounding the Jews seeking to eradicate and destroy Jesus from among them because He had not only broken the sabbath according to their traditions but also made the claim that God was his Father thus making Himself equal with God. This is something that warrants strong consideration for it brings us face to face with just how incredibly provocative the words and works of the Lord Jesus truly are. It would be the work of healing this man on the sabbath day that would provoke the Jews to offense and cause them to seek to persecute and slay Him while it would be His words of professing God as His Father that would further provoke them to anger and seeking all the more to slay and kill Him. Oh there is a great need for us to recognize and understand this for when we look at our own culture and society we must needs understand that there are many who are angered and offended with the person and presence of the Lord Jesus because of the works which He does among us in our midst as well as the words which He speaks. Oh there are many who cannot and will not believe that Jesus came in the flesh and that HeHe was indeed the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God. There are those among us who seek to completely eradicate and remove Jesus from among us because of what He asks, demands and requires of us—something which we will see in the twelfth chapter of this gospel. If you continue reading the words which are found in this gospel you will find that after the Jews persecuted and sought to kill the Lord Jesus there would be those of His own disciples who would turn back and walk no more with Him. Within the fifth chapter we find and read the account of the Jews persecuting and seeking to destroy Jesus from their midst because He had broken the sabbath and because He had made the claim that God was His Father. When you come to the sixth chapter you will once more find the Jews offended with the words which the Lord Jesus spoke and murmuring among themselves because of that which He had spoken unto them and that which He asked and demanded of them. What makes this all the more intriguing when you take the time to think about it is when you consider the fact that the sixth chapter begins with a great multitude of people following Jesus because they saw the miracles which he did on them that were diseased. As a direct result of this great multitude and crowd coming unto Jesus He would go up into a mountain and there He sat with His disciples. OH it’s important to recognize and understand that Jesus didn’t merely sit upon this mountain with His disciples and teach the multitude who came unto Him but He would also heal the diseased which were among them. The other gospels reveal how Jesus taught this multitude which came unto Him and how He healed the diseased which were among them. In addition to this the Lord Jesus would proceed to feed this great multitude which was before Him which totaled five thousand men not including any women or children. As you read the words found in this passage you will find that despite the fact that many in Galilee followed Jesus when they saw the miracles which He had wrought at the feast and despite the fact that He had fed them from five loaves of bread and two fish they would be offended with Him because of the words which He spoke unto them. The apostle John writes how the Jews present on this day would murmur and complain among themselves after they had partaken of the bread which they had eaten and had heard the words which the Lord Jesus had spoken unto them. What we find in this passage of Scripture is truly incredible when you take the time to think about it for it calls our attention to the fact that not only were the Jews offended with the person of the Lord Jesus but many of His disciples would turn back and walk no more with Him. In the fifth chapter of this gospel we find the Jews persecuting and seeking to slay Jesus because He healed on the sabbath and seeking all the more to kill Him because He had spoken of God as His Father thus making Himself equal with God. In the sixth chapter we find yet another picture of just how provocative Jesus can truly be for even after feeding men to the full and satisfying their hunger there would still be many of His disciples who would turn back and walk no more with Him. Oh I would love to know just how many turned back and walked no more with Him on this particular day after the words which Jesus had spoken. Scripture reveals how after many turned back and walked no more with Jesus He would turn to the twelve and ask them if they too would walk away. We don’t know for sure whether or not it was just the twelve disciples who were left on this particular occasion, however, it would be incredibly astonishing to think about five thousand men turning back and walking no more with Jesus after witnessing the miracles He had wrought among men and even being fed and satisfied with bread. What a truly powerful picture of what is taking place and what has taken place within our culture and society—even within many churches—as there are those who walked with Jesus who turned back and chose to walk no more with Him because of the words which He had spoken. Oh with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the sixth chapter concerning the Jews who were offended with Jesus, murmured at His words and the disciples which turned back and walked no more with Him: “The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereunto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into he boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone; (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberius night unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks) When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed” (John 6:22-27). “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? What dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I say unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up against at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. NO man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him uip at the last day. It is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned fo the Father, cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum” (John 6:28-59). “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father” (John 6:60-65). “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve” (John 6:66-71).
Please pay attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for not only will you find the Jews murmuring and being offended with the words which the Lord Jesus had spoken but you will also find many of His disciples who walked with Him turning back and walking no more with Him. Within this passage of Scripture we find the strong and powerful contrast which existed between the Jews who murmured against and were offended by the Lord Jesus and the disciples who themselves turned back and walked no more with Him. There is something truly astonishing and powerful about the words which are found within this passage of Scripture for within it we find a second picture of what has taken place and what can and will continue to take place within our generation during these last days. In this chapter we find many of the disciples which walked with Jesus turning back and walking no more with Him and His turning to the twelve and asking them if they too would turn back and walk no more with Him. This is something we must needs acknowledge for it brings us face to face with the incredible truth surrounding the question which Jesus would ask His disciples which remain in this generation—namely whether or not they too would turn back and walk no more with Him. It would be Jesus Himself who would declare that in the last days there would be many who would be offended and the love of many would grow cold. Jesus described how in the last days there would be many who would be deceived and who would depart from the faith—words which the apostle Paul echoed and presented in the epistles written unto the Thessalonians as well as unto Timothy. That which we find in this passage of Scripture must be carefully considered for it calls our attention to the reality of many of the disciples of Jesus—those who have seen His miracles and those who have been fed and satisfied by Him turning back and walking no more with Him. Oh if there isn’t a better picture of what has taken place within many of our churches in recent years I truthfully don’t know what else would present such a reality any clearer.
With all of that being said there is a great need to continue reading within this gospel for when you come to the seventh chapter you will find a great division in public opinion concerning the person of the Lord Jesus. It is in the seventh chapter where you will once more read of one of the Jewish feasts which was celebrated in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. Initially Jesus would choose not to depart from Galilee and go up unto Jerusalem and unto the feast for the Jews sought to kill Him. Ultimately, however, Jesus would indeed go up unto the feast but secretly and not publicly or openly. What makes this even more intriguing when you take the time to think about it is when you consider the tremendous truth surrounding the inquiry among the Jews whether or not Jesus had come unto the feast. The apostle John writes how there was a great stirring and murmuring among the people within the midst of the city of Jerusalem concerning the presence of Jesus and whether or not He would come unto and had in fact come unto the feast. The apostle John goes on to write that Jesus didn’t come up at the beginning and outset of the feast but would come up in the midst of the feast and would go unto the Temple and would teach. It would be there in the midst of the Temple as Jesus taught the jews marveled saying among themselves, “How knoweth this man letters having never learned?” This is something we must needs recognize and pay attention to for not only do we find much murmuring. About Jesus at the time of the feast but we also find there being a great division concerning Jesus—despite the fact that there were many who believed. What’s more is that within the seventh chapter of this gospel your ill find the beginning of the silencing and cancellation of those who would speak openly and publicly about the person of the Lord Jesus. It is in the seventh chapter where you encounter a truly profound and powerful picture of what has been known as “cancel culture” in our modern generation.
The more I read the words found in the seventh chapter of this gospel narrative the more I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth of the silencing and cancelling of anyone who professed belief in the person of the Lord Jesus. Despite the fact there were those who believed on the person of the Lord Jesus there were many who would not speak openly or publicly concerning Him for fear of the jews and their being put out of the synagogue and/or publicly scorned, ridiculed and mocked. It is within this passage of Scripture where we find the beginning of the cancelling and silencing of anyone who would dare speak publicly and openly concerning the Lord Jesus—that which I firmly believe is coming to this nation in the coming days ahead. We have already witnessed the silencing and cancelling of those who would dare speak out against the previous Presidential election, those who would speak out against the vaccine and those who would dare speak out against the origins of COVID-19. Right now cancel culture and the silencing and cancelling of men and women would be relegated to that of the political realm and even the health and safety realm in terms of COVID-19 and the vaccine. I am convinced the days are coming when this silencing and cancelling can and will target and come after those who would dare speak the name of the Lord Jesus. I am absolutely convinced that what we find and witness within the seventh chapter—that which we would also see in the ninth, eleventh and twelfth chapters—is a powerful picture of that which we can in fact expect in the coming days within this nation and within our culture and society.
I sit here today thinking about and reading the words which are found in these chapters presented in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John and I am brought face to face with a glimpse of what we can in fact expect in the coming days within our culture, within our society, within our nation and even within our churches. Over the past two plus years there has been much talk about “cancel culture” and how individuals are being systematically targeted and silenced because of their beliefs. Right now these beliefs and the silencing and cancelling of them are relegated to the political sphere and even in relation to that realm of gender and race. Within our nation you dare not speak out against there being only two genders and you dare not speak about race for one wrong word or one “slip” of the tongue could cause cancel culture to come gunning for you. All it takes is showing support for the previous President of the United States and/or even speaking out against the election two years ago and you are immediately targeted and have a bullseye on your back. This is something we must needs recognize Ana’s understand for when you read these chapters found within the gospel narrative written by the apostle John you can and will find the silencing and cancelling of those who dared speak out concerning the person of the Lord Jesus. Those who would dare profess that Jesus was indeed the Christ and the Son of the living God risked being put out of the synagogue and being ostracized in the midst of culture and society. What’s more is there would indeed be a division among the Jews for there would be those who believed that Jesus was the Prophet while there were others who believed that Jesus was the Christ. Oh this is something we must needs acknowledge and understand when reading the following words presented within this gospel for there would be the systematic silencing and cancelling of those who would profess belief and faith in the person of the Lord Jesus. In fact it is in the ninth chapter where we find the putting out of the synagogue—the cancelling and silencing of the man who had been given sight after being born blind—while it is in the eleventh and twelfth chapters we find a plot to not only destroy Jesus but also destroy Lazarus whom He raised from death to life because many believed on Jesus. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words found in the seventh chapter beginning with the tenth verse:
“But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he? And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, he is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people. Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews” (John 7:10-13).
“Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marveled, saying, how knoweth this man letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? The peopl,e answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee? Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel. Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every white whole on the sabbath day? Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill? But lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ? Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is. Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me. Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come. And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done? The Pharisees heard the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him. Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me. Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come. Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find hiM? Will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles? What manner of saying is that that he said, Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come?” (John 7:14-36).
“IN the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. Others said, This is the Christ. But some, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of Da id, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? So there was a division among the people because of him. And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him” (John 7:37-44).
“Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? The officers answered, Never man spake like this man. Then answered the Pharisees? Are ye also deceive? Have any of the rulers of the Pharisees believed on him? But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed. Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus but night, being one of them,) Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee raiseth no prophet. And every man went unto his own house” (John 7:45-53).
There is a great need for us to recognize that which is found in the seventh chapter for within the seventh chapter we find the beginning of the silencing and cancelling of those who would dare speak of Jesus as being the Christ. Moreover within this chapter we find the beginning of the cancelling and silencing of those who would believe on and receive Jesus for the Jews had threatened to put out of the synagogue any who spoke out in favor of the person of the Lord Jesus. It is here in the seventh chapter where we read of this cancelling and silencing of those who would dare speak out in favor of the person of the Lord Jesus for there would indeed be those who believed that He was the Christ. Oh it was indeed true there were those who would believe that Jesus was the Prophet while there were others who believed that Jesus had a devil, however, there were others who believed that the Lord Jesus was indeed the very Christ which the Law and the Prophets had spoken about. It would be this particular reality of believing—and not only believing but professing—Jesus as the Christ which would bring a great threat against those who dared speak out in favor of and belief in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is this reality which continues in the ninth chapter as we find the cancelling and silencing of one who was not only given sight after being born in blindness and walking his entire life in blindness but also one who would dare speak out concerning the one who had given him his sight. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the ninth chapter as I prepare to bring this to a close and present you with that which is found in the eleventh and twelfth chapters:
“They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see. Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, how can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet. But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight. And they asked them, saying, is this your son, who ye say was born blind? How then doth he now see? His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak of himself. These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him. Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? How opened he thine eyes? He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: Wherefore would ye hear it again? Will ye also be his disciples? Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began, was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do o thing. They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and doth thou teach us? And they cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, He said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him” (John 9:13-38).
As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call your attention to the words in this passage of Scripture for it brings us face to face with the Jews threatening to silence and cancel anyone who believed on the Lord Jesus and who dared speak about Him openly. This man’s parents who knew that he had been born blind and yet now was able to see were afraid to speak about what might have truly happened to their son because they feared the Jews. The jews themselves had declared and made it known that anyone who spoke out openly and publicly about Jesus of Nazareth would indeed be put out of the synagogue and the parents therefore feared the Jews. When asked about what had happened to their son they deliberately and intentionally chose to defer and deflect to their son who had received his sight for they feared the Jews. With this being said we must needs understand that their son—this one who was born into blindness, this one who had walked in blindness his entire life and this one whom Jesus had given sight to—would ultimately be himself cast out of the synagogue because he not only spoke openly of his being blind but also having received his sight. Moreover he dared challenge and even resist the Jews and the leaders who questioned and interrogated him during those days concerning who it was that healed him and gave unto him his sight. This man would speak unto the Jews—perhaps from a newfound place of confidence and boldness having received his sight—and would speak in favor of the one who had given him sight. It would be as a direct result of this they would not only revile him but would ultimately put him out of the synagogue.
It’s actually quite astonishing to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for not only would Jesus’ giving of sight unto this man provoke the Jews to offense and hostility but so also would the words and testimony of this man himself provoke the Jews. This man would speak unto the Jews and their rulers and the Pharisees concerning what had been done within his physical body and how he was now able to see. With this being said it’s important for us to recognize and understand that which is found in this passage of Scripture for it helps us to understand another whom Jesus would work and perform a miracle within their life. In the fifth chapter we find Jesus healing and making a whole a man who had an infirmity for almost four decades and doing so on the sabbath day. It would be this man’s healing and being healed on the sabbath that would provoke the Jews and would ultimately cause them to be offended with him for carrying his mat on the sabbath as well as with Jesus for healing Him on the sabbath. In the ninth chapter of this same gospel we find the giving of sight unto this man who had been born blind provoking the Jews and their religious rulers and leaders once more for Jesus would perform this work on the sabbath. The Pharisees and those who were present on this particular occasion would not only be provoked to offense because Jesus had once more healed on the sabbath but they would also be provoked because of the words and testimony of this man. Not only this but they would put this man out of the synagogue because he dared speak out in favor of the person of Jesus who had healed him and had given unto him his sight. This is all the more crucial for us to recognize and understand for it calls and draws our attention to the fear which many had during those days—fear of the Jews and being reviled, persecuted and cast out.
As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the words and language in the eleventh and twelfth chapters for within it we find another miracle—perhaps Jesus’ greatest miracle before His suffering, death and resurrection from the grave—which would provoke the Jews and their religious leaders. The raising of Lazarus from the dead would indeed be Jesus’ greatest miracle outside of and other than His own resurrection from the grave after He had been crucified and buried in the earth. It would be as a direct result of this miracle that many would believe on Jesus because they would and could not ignore Lazarus whom many knew was dead—and not only dead but also buried in the grave—and yet was now alive. It would be very difficult to ignore this particular miracle for there were those who knew that Lazarus was sick, those who knew that Lazarus had died, those who know that he was buried in a cave with a stone rolled in front of the entrance of it and those who were present at the grave of Lazarus when Jesus would command the stone to be rolled away before calling he who was and had been dead forth from the grave and from death to life. It would be incredibly difficult to dispute the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead for many knew that he was indeed sick and had in fact been buried in the grave where his body remained for four days. It would be on the fourth day Jesus would not only show up but would also command the stone to be rolled away before calling he who was dead forth from the grave and back to land of the living. What makes this all the more intriguing when you think about and consider it is when you read how the Pharisees, the chief priests and many during those days sought to destroy Lazarus because on account of him and his being raised from death to life many would believe on the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. What we find in the eleventh and twelfth chapters must be considered for there is a great need for us to acknowledge and recognize the need for boldness, for courage and for a true commitment to the person and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. I leave you with the following words which are found in the eleventh and twelfth chapters as an appeal to courage, commitment, boldness and authority within our hearts and lives as the disciples of Jesus who not only walk with and follow Him but also who are in afraid and unashamed to profess and confess that He is both Christ and Lord and the Son of the living God:
“Then many of the Jews which came to mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? For this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take way both our place and nation. And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient fo runs, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being the high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; and not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death. Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples. And the Jews’ passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves, Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the Temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast? Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him” (John 11:45-57).
“Much of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus” (John 12:9-11).
“The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record. For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle. The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? Behold, the world is gone out after him” (John 12:17-19).
“But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: 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? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, 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. These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him. 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: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:37-43).