What Jesus Did! 'Couldn't Believe' — John 12:37-41

Sunday, August 31, 2014

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Jesus did all these many miracles. The people saw these things, but they still did not believe in him. This was to make clear the full meaning of what Isaiah the prophet said: "Lord, who believed the things we told them? Who has seen the Lord's power?" This is why the people could not believe. Because Isaiah also said, "God made the people blind. God closed their minds. God did this so that they will not see with their eyes and understand with their minds. God did this so that they would not turn and be healed." Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory. So Isaiah spoke about him.
— John 12:37-41
Illustration of John 12:37-41 — "Lord, who believed the things we told them? Who has seen the Lord's power?"

Key Thought

Wow! This is a tough Scripture. These people didn't believe because they couldn't believe. Of course, this statement needs to be put together with other passages in John where we learn that they wouldn't believe and that if people would genuinely seek God they could come to believe. What is the point? Some religious people can't and won't believe it even when God's truth is spoken and shown. One reason is that their hearts are hardened to the truth. When we are sharing Christ with others, some just won't believe. We are never quite sure why they don't, but God knows. Let's always ask the Father to open the door to their hearts through circumstances in their life that will make them more readily available to receive God's message in Jesus.

Today's Prayer

O gracious and sovereign God, I do not understand all the ways you work in the lives and upon the hearts of your human children. So I pray for those I know that are not near to you. I pray for those who have rejected you. Please work in their lives to give your people a chance to share your grace with them. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

Jesus did all these many miracles. The people saw these things, but they still did not believe in him. This was to make clear the full meaning of what Isaiah the prophet said: "Lord, who believed the things we told them? Who has seen the Lord's power?" This is why the people could not believe. Because Isaiah also said, "God made the people blind. God closed their minds. God did this so that they will not see with their eyes and understand with their minds. God did this so that they would not turn and be healed." Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory. So Isaiah spoke about him. But many people believed in Jesus. Even many of the Jewish leaders believed in Jesus. But they were afraid of the Pharisees. So they did not say openly that they believed. They were afraid that they would be put out of the synagogue. These men loved praise from people more than praise from God. Then Jesus said loudly, "The person that believes in me is really believing in the One (God) who sent me. The person that sees me is really seeing the One who sent me. I am light, and I came into this world. I came so that every person that believes in me would not stay in darkness. "I did not come into the world to judge people. I came to save the people in the world. So I am not the one that judges the people who hear my teaching but don't obey. There is a judge for the person that refuses to believe in me and does not accept what I say. The message I have taught will judge that person on the last day. Why? Because the things I taught were not from myself. The Father (God) who sent me told me what to say and what to teach. And I know that eternal life comes from what the Father commands. So the things I say are what the Father told me to say."

John 12:37-50

Related Scripture Readings

You carefully study the Scriptures. You think that those Scriptures give you life forever. Those same Scriptures tell about me! But you refuse to come to me to have that life {you want}. "I don't want praise from you or any other human. But I know you—I know that you don't have God's love in you. I have come from my Father—I speak for him. But you don't accept me. But when another person comes speaking only for himself, you will accept him. You like to have praise from each other. But you never try to get the praise that comes from the only God. So how can you believe? Don't think that I will stand before the Father and say that you are wrong. Moses is the person that says that you are wrong. And Moses is the one that you hoped would save you. If you really believed Moses, you would believe me. Why? Because Moses wrote about me. But you don't believe what Moses wrote. So you cannot believe the things I say."

John 5:39-47

The Jewish leaders gathered around Jesus. They said, "How long will you make us wonder about you? If you are the Christ, then tell us clearly." Jesus answered, "I told you already, but you did not believe. I do miracles in my Father's name. Those miracles show who I am. But you don't believe. Why? Because you are not my sheep (people). My sheep listen to my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give my sheep eternal life. They will never die. And no person can take them out of my hand. My Father gave my sheep to me. He is greater than all. No person can steal my sheep out of my Father's hand. The Father and I are one." Again the Jews there picked up rocks to kill Jesus. But Jesus said to them, "I have done many good things from the Father. You have seen those things. Which of those good things are you killing me for?"

John 10:24-32

If a person wants to do what God wants, then that person will know that my teaching comes from God. That person will know that this teaching is not my own.

John 7:17

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.