When things feel shaky and alarming circumstances play out in our community, John 12:37-43 provides a sturdy grid for a diagnostics test on our faith. Pastor Brian helps us identify areas where we may need to see, believe, and speak about God's saving power all the more. He does this by helping us apply the text to three different groups of people.
People who see and don't believe. People who believe without speaking. And people who see, believe, and speak up.
Let's walk through these verses, identify which group we may be in, and discuss how the gospel should inform our faith in times like these.
37 Even though He had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in Him. 38 But this was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet, who said: Lord, who has believed our message? And who has the arm of the Lord been revealed to? 39 This is why they were unable to believe, because Isaiah also said: 40 He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so that they would not see with their eyes or understand with their hearts, and be converted, and I would heal them. 41 Isaiah said these things because he saw His glory and spoke about Him. 42 Nevertheless, many did believe in Him even among the rulers, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, so they would not be banned from the synagogue. 43 For they loved praise from men more than praise from God.
Some key statements and questions put forward that are important for us to talk about…
Even though He had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in Him...According to this text, you can't build a faith solely upon seeing signs of God's power.
• What outcomes are you looking for in this current situation to prove God is powerful?
• How could you exercise faith in God's power regardless of what you see?
Nevertheless, many did believe in Him even among the rulers, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him...The second group of people believed in Jesus, but did not speak about it to those who didn't.
• Have you been speaking up about Jesus and what he is doing in your life to those who don't know him as an answer to their fear and anxiety?
• Why do you think belief demands you use your voice in order for it to actually be belief?
Isaiah said these things because he saw His glory and spoke about Him...The third group of people boldly confess and proclaim how God's power has dealt with their sin problem and qualified them to share that good news.
• Do people in your life hear you proclaim God's glory and goodness often?
• How might your prayers and proclamations need to change in order to usher in a season of "seeing and speaking" like Isaiah?
"If you ask for eyes to see, it will change your everything and it will change your forever." Why do we need God's help to see past our own inconvenience and hardship? Do you feel blind to what others may need right now? Next step: pray right now for God to give you the eyes to see.
"Ultimately, God often uses strange things to bring his redemptive purposes to pass." Are you struggling to "fully believe" in this season? If so, what area seems to be most affected: belief in God's protection, God's plan, God's promises, etc.? Next step: pray right now for God to empower full belief.
"We have the opportunity to experience a closeness with Jesus now more than we ever thought possible." Do you feel near or far from Jesus right now? Do you have healthy boundaries between bad news and the Good News? Next step: confess any sin that might be affecting your closeness with Jesus and others.
Share honestly about your news scrolling habits in light of your Bible study and prayer habits. How can you improve?