The Unbelief of People

John 12:37-43 But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spoke of him. Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. 

‘They believed not on him’ For them to believe was the purpose of the miracles then, and it still is today. Yet, so many still don’t ever become doers of the Word and also serve Christ for earthly benefits and gain (1Cor. 15:19).

The 7th Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in John: ‘Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?’

The “arm of the Lord” expresses His miraculous power (Psa. 98:1; Isa. 52:10; 53:1; 59:16; 63:5; Acts 4:30; 11:21; 13:11).

The 8th Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in John (Isa. 6:9-10) “He hath blinded their eyes and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart and be converted, and I should heal them.”

‘Converted, and I should heal them’ Two things promised believers here: conversion, a change of direction, a new walk with God (Psa. 19:7; 51:13; Isa. 6:10; 60:5; Matt. 13:15; 18:3; Mark 4:12; Luke 22:32; Acts 3:19; 15:3; 28:27; Jas. 5:19-20) and physical healing, a change of health, a new health in God (Exo. 15:26; Psa. 91:1-16; 103:3; Isa. 6:10; 53:1-12; Matt. 8:17; John 10:10; Rom. 8:11; 1Pet. 2:24; 3Jn. 1:2; Jas. 5:14-16).

To accept the literal fulfilment of only half of this prophecy is wrong. The way Jesus demonstrated healing and conversion together is proof that both are still for all men (Matt. 8:17; 9:5, 35; 10:1-8; 12:28; 13:15; John 10:10; Acts 10:38). Shall we say that it is easier to forgive than heal? That it was only God’s will that He does this for men for a limited time? That God does not care to bless His children this way today? That He loved them for only a few years? That the work of Christ on the cross has lost its power? That the promises, provision, and benefits started with the gospel were only temporary? Or, shall we return to God and the original gospel benefits, trust Him in all our well-being?

‘His glory’ Jesus here applies Isaiah 6:1-13 to Himself, proving His deity and pre-existence. ‘Many believed on him’ only two are named (John 19:38-39).

Many still love the praise of men more than the praise of God. They permit fear of disgrace, love of the praise of men, riches, and temporal advantages to make them cowards and too weak in faith to bear the reproach of Christ (Heb. 11:26; 13:13; 1Pet. 4:14).

You Believed Not

John 10:22-26 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and you believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But you believe not, because you are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

‘The feast of the dedication’ the feast was appointed by Judas Maccabaeus to commemorate the purification of the temple after it had been defiled by Antiochus Epiphanes on the 25th of Chisleu (December), 164 B.C. He offered a sow on the altar and polluted the temple by sprinkling its broth all around (1 Macc. 4:52-59). It lasted 2 days and could be celebrated elsewhere. It was about 3 1/2 months after the feast of tabernacles of John 7:2 and about 4 months before the passover and the crucifixion.

‘Solomon’s porch’ the outer court of the temple or court of the Gentiles was surrounded by cloisters supported upon ranges of marble columns. They were called porches and were used by the Jews and strangers as public promenades. The eastern side of the court was called Solomon’s porch, built by him and left standing, when Nebuchadnezzar took the city, probably because of its grandeur and beauty. It was over 800 feet long.

The Jews confronted Jesus and asked Him how long He was going to make them doubt. They felt that He held them in suspense, and excite their expectations. They really wanted Him to declare Himself as King of the Jews so they could then accuse Him to Pilate.

Jesus told them who He was, and what the Father sent Him to do, but they did not want to believe Him, therefore, they cannot be His sheep. All His works were done in the name of His Father (John 5:43).

Three things men must do and continue in to receive eternal life: believe, which implies complete and continued obedience; hear His voice, and be not hearers only, but also doers of His Word (Jas. 1:22-27; 2:9-26); and follow Christ, not only at the beginning of a Christian experience, but daily and throughout life (Luke 9:23). To claim eternal life when one does not follow is like these Jews claiming to know God and have eternal life. Jesus declared such was not true (John 5:37-47; 8:54-55).

Answer to Prayer

James 4:1-4 From whence come wars and fighting among you?  Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? You lust, and have not: you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war, yet you have not, because you ask not. You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts. You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 

About this time in Judea the Jews made many insurrections against the Romans under the pretence of defending their religion and procuring their way of life. Many factions among the Jews also fought violently, massacring and plundering one another. In some provinces, Jews killed many heathens and brought destruction upon themselves. These wars were undertaken through a spirit of covetousness and zeal, trying to convert the heathen and destroy idolatry.

This passage should never be taken by the Christian as an excuse for unanswered prayer. By so doing he automatically classes himself as lustful, murderous, covetous, adulterous, worldly, proud, sinful, and blasphemous. Is it any wonder that God does not answer the prayers of such people? No man can ask amiss if he is in Christ and asks according to the promises (John 15:7; Heb. 11:6; Jas. 1:5-8). The reason Christian prayers are not answered is because of their unbelief.

For a Christian to get answers to prayers, we must be free from the cares of the world (Mat. 13:22; Lk. 21:34-36); not gain the world at the expense of our souls (Mat. 16:26); not offend others as the world does (Mat. 18:7); not be of the world – partake of it and be like the world (John 15:19; 17:14, 16); not love our lives in the world (John 12:25); be delivered from the world (Gal. 1:4); be crucified to the world (Gal. 6:14); shine as a light in the world, no darkness in us (Php. 2:15); deny worldly lusts; live godly in it (Tit. 2:12); be unspotted from the world (Jas. 1:27); not be friends with the world (Jas. 4:4); escape the pollution and corruption of the world (2Pet. 1:4; 2:20); not love the world, neither the things that are in the world (1Jn. 2:15-17); be like Christ in the world (1Jn. 4:17); overcome the world (1Jn. 5:4-5); be not conformed to it (Rom. 12:2); and be dead to its ways (Col. 2:20).