THE GOSPEL OF JOHN III. The Opposition to the Son of God (5:1–12:50) A. At The Feast In Jerusalem (Jn 5:1-47) B. During The Passover (Jn 6:1-71) C. During The Feast Of Tabernacles (Jn 7:1 – 10:21) D. During The Feast Of Dedication (Jn 10:22-42) E. Because Of The Death And Resurrection Of Lazarus (Jn 11:1-57)
F. Because Of The Triumphal Entry (Jn 12:1-50) 1. The Thanksgiving Dinner (12:1-11) 2. The Triumphal Entry (12:12-19) 3. The Total Sacrifice (12:20-36) 4. The Troublesome Response (12:37-43) a. The Reason for Disbelief: Judgment of God (vv. 37-41) Read Jn 12:39.
The inability of the people to believe is tied to Scripture’s prediction, but that prediction is of a judicial hardening. ~ See Isa 6:9-10 ~ God commands Isaiah to undertake this ministry in the full knowledge that the results will be negative! ~ In that sense God Himself, through the prophet, hardens the heart of people (cf. Isa 63:15-19).
The assumption that God may judicially harden men and women frequently surfaces in the New Testament (e.g.Rom 9:18; 2Thes 2:11). ~ D.A. Carson’s comment regarding God’s hardening men and women as a form of judgment: “If a superficial reading finds this harsh, manipulative, even robotic, four things must constantly be borne in mind:
God’s sovereignty in these mattersis neverpitted against human responsibility; God’s judicial hardening is not presented as the capricious manipulation of an arbitrary potentate cursing morally neutral or even morally pure beings, but as a holy condemnation of a guilty people who are condemned to do and be what they themselves have chosen;
3) God’s sovereignty in these matters can also be a cause for hope, for if He is notsovereign in these areas there is little point in petitioning Him for help, while if He is sovereign the anguished pleas of the prophet (Isa 63:15-19) – and of believers throughout the history of the church – make sense; 4) God’s sovereign hardening of the people in Isaiah’s day, His commissioning of Isaiah to apparently
fruitless ministry, is a stage in God’s ‘strange work’(Isa 28:21-22, kjv) that brings God’s ultimate redemptive purposes to pass.” ~ Rom 9:22-33 Read Jn 12:41. Vain people, who are always ready to charge God with injustice and cruelty, may not be able to see the righteousness of God’s dealings with the children of men.
~ Isaiah had seen not only the sufferingof the Servant of Jehovah (Isa 53:1-10a) but also His glory(Isa 6:1-5). The terrible consequence of hardening ourselves against the solemn admonitions and warnings that come to us is here pointed out. ~ Again, the fault lies not in any sense with God! ~He is the God of love.
~ He earnestly warns, proclaims the Gospel, and states what will happen if people believe, also what will happen if they do not. ~ He even urgesthem to walk in the light. ~ But when people, of their own accord and after repeated threats and promises, reject Him and spurn His messages, then – and not until then – He hardens them, in order that those who were not willingto repent may not be ableto repent.
~ John Calvin: “It is indeed a terrifying judgment of God when he so overwhelms men’s minds by the light of teaching as to deprive them of all understanding, and when, even through what is their only light, he brings darkness on them. When reprobate men have of their own choosing and by their own malice rebelled against God, they make room for this vengeance – that they are
given over to a reprobate mind and rush even more and more to their own destruction.” People in Jesus’ time, like those in the time of Isaiah, would not believe despite the evidence (Jn 12:37). ~ As a result, God hardened their hearts. ~ Does that mean God intentionally prevented these people from believing in Him? ~ No, He simply confirmed their own choices.
~ Other instances of hardened hearts because of constant stubbornness: Ex 9:12; Rom 1:24-28; and 2Thes 2:9-12. Jesus had performed many miracles, but most people still didn’t believe in Him. ~ Likewise, many today won’t believe despite all that God does. ~ Don’t be discouraged if your witness for Christ doesn’t turn as many to Him as you’d like. ~ Your job is to continue as a faithful witness.