41 Isaiah said these things because he saw Jesus’ glory; he spoke about Jesus. 42 Even so, many leaders believed in him, but they wouldn’t acknowledge their faith because they feared that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. 43 They believed, but they loved human praise more than God’s glory.
John 12:41-43 CEB
We all like to have human praise, or folks liking us. Whether its on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, our jobs, church etc., etc., it’s appreciated and makes us feel good. However, if liking us, or working to be liked is the ultimate fix in our lives. Its probably not going to please our Saviour that much. For He came into the world, and world ” knew ” him not ( John 1:10-12 ).
The Messiah society was looking for couldn’t be this Jesus they thought. Because he didn’t have the right theological approach, and his personal call to holiness was not the kind of outward addressing message the Pharisees had been ascribing to. He just didn’t fit the religious expectations of the day, and His message starkly contrasted that of the Judaism that the Scribes and Pharisees were embracing. His message was personal, convicting, hope filled and talked of such intimacy with God. This couldn’t be true religion they thought, but this was exactly the cure for the vain religion that had become the norm of the day.
Jesus the Light of the World came on the seen and exposed the present day ills, the culture of greed, and the sins of the leadership of the nation. He taught a revolutionary message of hope and redemption. Where people could be set free from the burdens of sin and have a renewed and personal relationship with God. What he shared and the ministry he expressed saw signs and wonders follow every step it seemed. With the dead raised, the lame walking, the deaf talking and inner healing and hope. This message and the messenger brought life, and he helped bring about a revival of true faith, which would utterly shake the then known world.
Authorities tried to stop it and persecute the Christian believers. Whether the religious institutions of the day, or the governments in power, they tried everything to silence this Christian message. This message about ” setting the captive free “, it just didn’t fit with the culture of the times. Authoritarian regimes brutalized the church, but the church ” grew “, these Christians saw hope in a resurrected Lord, whom appeared unto them for many days after His death. These Christians practiced love and obedience to a Lord who would heal, cleanse and work in miraculous ways through faith in His name. Being ” liked ” wasn’t their main goal. Giving people hope through the ” Bread of Life ” Jesus was.
I know its not always comfortable to ” live ” the message of Christ. To embrace his teachings and to truly come to grips with the true message of the gospel. Modernizing and or ” Americanizing ” the gospel to our culture, and presenting it like 1% homogenized milk is much more to our liking. However, the truth be told. We need the life giving message of the cross more than ever. We need living epistles whose lives can be read by all, and we need them to be true to the cause of Christ.
The Light ( Jesus ) came into the world, but they knew him not, that doesn’t mean it stopped there. He bore the message, he shared the Father’s love and many came to embrace the message Jesus preached. The light he shone revealed the hypocrisy of the religion of the day. It made many rebel, and some look to kill him from the onset of his ministry. However, Jesus didn’t come to be ” liked ” he came to set the captives free.
Have you ever seen people shocked when they have been set free? Its amazing the varied responses. Some just can’t accept it and run from it. Some hide in a corner not knowing what to think. However, as time moves on and the change is seen, many rise up to be counted with those whom have been redeemed. The oppression, the pain, the hurt, the brutality, the heartache. Well, it turns to hope and light begins to shine, and new dreams are dreamed and new opportunities come to life. Jesus knew it wasn’t going to be easy and not everyone would like him. However, he knew there would be those who would choose to love him, and that outweighed all the personal feelings he might have had in his life. It took him to an old rugged cross, and he gave himself away for those who liked him, hated him, loved him or ignored him. He just simply gave.
Bob Gass has written a devotional that I have been going through that is having me soul search a great deal. I have shared bits of it with the my Neighborhood Shepherd Group and the Church. However, I feel I am just scratching the surface. Chapter One got my attention, but Chapter Two hit me with a two by four and knocked me down. I just had to reflect, repose and pray on it an awful lot. I share that chapter with you today from my Logos Library. It is from Bob’s book ” Forgetting Your Past:Turn Your Pain Into Purpose. ” You might want to make it a part of your library as well.
Dealing with the Past
Every experience you’ve had from the moment you were born until now (and even while you were in your mother’s womb) has made you what you are today. The things that happened to you, especially during your earliest years, determine how you’ll act (and react) for the rest of your life.
That’s what Jesus meant when He said, “A good man gives out good from the goodness stored in his heart; and a bad man gives out evil from his store of evil.” (Matthew 12:35 Phillips) There are things stored up in each of us that must be dealt with before we can move ahead successfully. Psychologists estimate that we spend up to 50 percent of our mental and emotional energy repressing painful memories.
My brother Neil, who spent many years in private practice as a Family Systems Therapist, tells me that the counseling community has recently done a one hundred and eighty-degree turn. Instead of saying, “Dig deep and go back as far as you can,” they’re now saying, “If the patient needs to vent, let him. But make it brief; then get him focused on the future as quickly as possible.” That’s what some would call, “a sudden revelation of the obvious.”
Two thousand years ago the apostle Paul wrote, “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching unto those things which are before …” Philippians 3:13). Paul understood that forgetting and reaching are the keys to inner healing. One will not work without the other. Forgetting closes the door on the past; reaching opens the door to the future.
You say, “What did Paul have to forget?” Plenty! On his orders, Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was stoned to death. Paul watched the whole gruesome scene. Could you forget that? Listen to his testimony: “… I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it” (Galatians 1:13 KJV).
“Wasted”—that’s a Mafia term. While Christians slept, Saul of Tarsus and his zealots would break down their door, and, oblivious to the cries of children, take some parents to prison and others to the chopping block.
But now he goes back to those same towns to preach and when he stands in the pulpit, guess who’s sitting in the pews? The widows! The orphans! If Paul had not learned how to deal with his own past, he never would have written one of the thirteen best sellers we now call “epistles” or founded a church that would last for two thousand years.
This, then, is the man who writes, “This one thing I do, forgetting …” (Philippians 3:13). This book is written especially for three people; you could be one of them.
44 Jesus shouted, “Whoever believes in me doesn’t believe in me but in the one who sent me. 45 Whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. 46 I have come as a light into the world so that everyone who believes in me won’t live in darkness. 47 If people hear my words and don’t keep them, I don’t judge them. I didn’t come to judge the world but to save it. 48 Whoever rejects me and doesn’t receive my words will be judged at the last day by the word I have spoken. 49 I don’t speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me regarding what I should speak and say. 50 I know that his commandment is eternal life. Therefore, whatever I say is just as the Father has said to me.”
John 12:44-50 NRSV
A final appeal to belief: Jesus makes a last, passionate appeal to the multitude (44–50)
a. Then Jesus cried out and said: These are the last words in John’s gospel from Jesus to the public. In this last speech to the multitude, Jesus emphasized the themes of all His previous preaching in John.
b. He who sees Me sees Him who sent Me: Jesus stressed His unity with God the Father.
c. I have come as light into the world: Jesus stressed His own truthfulness, and the need man has to follow Jesus.
d. I do not judge Him: Jesus stressed His love and acceptance for the sinner; yet the word that I have spoken will judge Him—there are inescapable consequences for rejecting Jesus.
e. I have not spoken on My own authority: Jesus stressed His own submission to God the Father. His authority flowed from His submission to God the Father.
( John DGCB by David Guzik )
Some personal notes:
Jesus seems to emphasize some important points we need to consider in this reading. Here are five I share with you.
We have a new and fresh message on the CGMF Prayerline. Hope you will take the time today and be encouraged by the Word. This ministry is a ministry we pray you will take advantage of each and every day. God bless you all.
To listen in call the CGMF Prayerline at 712-432-8399 and use the Conference number 584684. Then hold to be placed in conference and the message will play.
Reverend Patrick Vossen,