John 12 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“This is why they were unable to believe, because Isaiah also said: 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. Isaiah said this because he saw His glory and spoke about Him. 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. For they loved the praise from men more than praise from G_d.” John 12:39-43
Perhaps, the worst kind of blindness is when people refuse to see. G_d offers everyone the ability to “believe” or “trust” in Him. But if people continue to reject Him, “belief” may eventually become impossible for them.
In today’s passage, John states that G_d blinded the eyes & hardened the hearts of those who resisted Yeshua. It is the same language we find in the book of Exodus, where it says G_d “hardened” Pharaoh’s heart. But a closer inspection of the Exodus narrative reveals that, in actuality, Pharaoh hardened his own heart through a pattern of refusal to acknowledge the overwhelming evidence that the G_d of Israel is “the Lord”.
The same sun that softens the wax, also hardens the clay. After a series of Egyptian “signs/plagues”, not only was Israel convinced that their G_d was delivering them, but many in Pharaoh’s own court tried to convince him to surrender to the Lord. Eventually, G_d honored Pharaoh’s choice (to not believe) by refusing to reveal the truth to him anymore…except for the final “revelation” which was the literal destruction of Pharaoh and his army! G_d’s eternal judgment is the tragic end of all people who refuse to believe in Messiah. But, what about those who “believe”, but refuse to go public?
Contrary to the opinions of some in the greater Messianic community, believers in Yeshua are not called to hide their faith, but to profess it openly. The Bible NEVER calls for people to be “secret believers” who refuse to profess their faith (or even deny their faith when the social/political pressure heats up). There is a vast difference between “intellectual ascent”, (the mere recognition that of the facts of Yeshua’s life events and teachings), and receiving Him as your L_rd (submitting to His leading even when you feel uncomfortable). The former may enable you to pass a Bible knowledge exam, but the latter is evidence of true salvation!
Instead of fearing G_d and professing Yeshua openly, some Pharisees chose to stay silent. In essence, the “secret believer” chooses to fear “men” instead of trusting G_d.
“But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny before My Father, Who is in heaven.” Matthew 10:33
When we consistently refuse to acknowledge our faith, we have to ask ourselves if we really have a faith to share. If loving G_d were against the law, would there be enough evidence in your life to convict you?
~Steve Wiggins, Assistant Rabbi
Daily Devotional, Monday, July 8, 2013