JOHN:The Book of Heartfelt Belief
BELIEVING THE BELIEVABLE
Jerry A. Collins
A few years ago I spoke at my grandfatherís funeral. Sitting there in the front row was my grandmother. Nearly seventy years they had been husband and wife. I do not recall even once my grandmother acknowledges my grandfathers death. Many, many times she has mentioned still being with him as if nothing has changed. She attended the same funeral I did. Saw the same burial I did, but the evidence did not matter. Grandfather was still alive and still with her.
What is sadder still is a personís refusal to believe the clear evidence about Christís person and work to rescue him from his sin. Jesus is confronted one last time here in John by an angry mob of religious leaders who have continually refused to believe the believable. Jesus is no hypocrite. He has backed all of His claims with His works. So His words should be taken seriously and some do. (Healing the officials son, healing pool of bethesda, feeding 5000, healing man born blind) Others do not!
1. EVIDENCE IS NOT ENOUGH TO CONVINCE PEOPLE TO BELIEVE
Two months have elapsed since the last confrontation with these opponents. 7:2 it began at the feast of Tabernacles which was in October. It is now the feast of the Dedication (Hanukkah) celebrating the reconsecration of the Temple after it was taken back from Syrian hostilities. Jewish religious leaders surround him Ďclosed in on himí. Aggravated we will see, because they feel Jesus has been evasive and not up front with them. They were blaming Jesus of keeping them from coming to a conclusion about who he was! However, the problem is not with Jesus. He has clearly told them who He was they just refused to believe it vs 25. He has not withheld any information. Over and over again he has made His claims (2:16, 23; 5:17-30; 6:37-40; 8:58). He has even backed up His claims with proof vs 25b. His miracles are evidence! However, evidence is not enough to convince them to believe vs 26. They reject the evidence due to their stubborn refusal to believe it. The reason is because they are not His sheep. His opponents are not His sheep!
People are not believers because they refuse to believe. If you refuse to believe what the evidence clearly says, it is not the evidence that is the problem but the unwillingness of the person to accept it. At the judgment seat, God will not have the problem. The evidence speaks for itself. It is legitimate to answer peoples questions about faith as part of the process of evangelizing them. But answering their questions alone with the mounting evidence about the truth will not be enough to convince them to believe. All the evidence can do if they refuse to believe it is condemn them when they stand before God. Jesus answered their questions and as the Son of God performed His miracles but these still refused to believe it. Their refusal to believe is evidence that they are not members of Gods flock!
2. THOSE WHO DO BELIEVE WILL NEVER BE LOST 27-30
The contrast is instructive. These listen and follow. They recognize Jesus as Savior and accept what the evidence teaches about Christ. Not only do they know their shepherd but there shepherd also knows them! An intimate relationship between the shepherd and His sheep is established by faith! These sheep are given eternal life as a gift. Once one has it, he has it eternally! No one is able to be snatched away from the Christís flock. Since no one is greater than His Father, no one is able to snatch these sheep from His Fatherís hand either!
Some gifts can be given back and some cannot. If I give my son a new bicycle, he could give it back. If I gave him a polio vaccination, that is a gift he could not give back. If after I gave him the medication and he refused to believe in polio vaccinations, and even denied he ever got one, he is still vaccinated against polio. Why? Because the nature of the gift will not allow it to be given back or destroyed. The Bible describes salvation as just such a gift. It depends not on us, the sheep, but on God our shepherd. The Bible nowhere tells us that we are to keep ourselves saved. Salvation does not originate with us or depend upon us!
Jesus comments in vs 30 that I and the Father are One. Eight times Jesus mentions His Father in these verses. Here they are One in the sense of their ability to give eternal life to believers! The Father, Son, Holy Spirit are three persons who each possess the attributes of deity. (3 Oís and JESUITHIL) They are also united in mind, emotion, will and purpose!
3. WE MUST NEVER COMPROMISE THE DEITY OF CHRIST
Like Jesus, we must declare His divine nature. He is the Son of God. Jesus never let the potential for conflict keep Him from declaring this truth vss 31 and 39. He claims His deeds are from the Father vss 32, 37; He is Gods Son vs 36; He and the Father are united in every way vs 38. They had identified some of the OT prophets as gods vs 34 in sense that they directly represented God. So how could they accuse Jesus of blasphemy vs 33, for calling Himself Gods Son. How much more so since He was under divine orders (set apart) on a divine mission (sent into the world). If nothing else, believe this only because Christís works reveal it to be true vs 38. In the end Christ withdrew with His disciples vss 40-42, rather than making peace with the establishment. Such peace was impossible since compromise about His deity was impossible! Here where John the Baptist first witnessed of Christ, were many who believed because of Johns testimony about Christ.
(Illustrate with my defense of Christ at the world Muslim league)
We should never attempt to gain a hearing from unbelievers by compromising in any way about who Jesus is and what He has done to save us. If you do that, then you have nothing left to say. Our fear of peopleís response should never dictate the truth we are going to give them about Christ. They may be unwilling to believe that truth but unless they do, they are condemned. Religious establishments must be avoided rather than reformed!