Terrifyingly Sad Words

Wednesday is for Prayer

King Uzziah has died. Isaiah has been called into ministry (Is. 6:1-8). and the first vision he is given is of a time 700 years in the future, in the weeks leading up to the crucifixion of Christ. John tells us how the prophecy was fulfilled and gives us a window into the heart of many who actually heard the Savior speak.

John 12:37-40 (ESV)
Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

“Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,

“He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.”

Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.

Terrifying words. Sobering words.  Though “he had done so many signs” (v. 37), yet they did not believe. They could not believe because they would not believe and God does not “reveal his arm to them” (v. 38).  [emphasis added]

And so God blinds their eyes. They see but see nothing. They hear but hear nothing.

Yet, verse 42 tells us two more extraordinary things. One, God does reveal himself to some–some do believe, even some among the authorities, presumably–some of the Pharisees. This is a stunning triumph of grace even more stunning when we read the second extraordinary thing at the end of the verse 42 and 43.

“But for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it [their belief], so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”

Is this not the greatest picture of the faithfulness and love of God in the face of our own faithless and fickle love? And is this not what we need to protect ourselves against?

Lord Jesus, protect me from a heart that knows the truth but refused to confess it.  From a heart that hears but does not obey, from a heart that feels the edge of truth, but recoils from the healing cuts it would make, from a heart that joys in acceptance by the leaders of the club rather than in You, from a heart that fears man more than You.

Protect me, my family, and all who know me, friend and foe, from a fraudulent heart that seeks glory in a passing-away-world.

O Lord, protect the world from a heart like that. For Your’s and the world’s joy, would You do that in me? Amen.”


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