Mar 03

Part 51: The Justice and Mercy of God

Todd Pruitt |Series: The Gospel of John |John 12:37-50

In his final public teaching, Jesus summarizes his message to the world and explains the purpose of his mission. Before him are both Jews and Greeks – the whole world. Once again Jesus appeals to his hearers to believe in him which has always been God’s call to sinful humanity. Once again, Jesus shines light on Trinitarian depths as he reveals that to believe in him is to believe in the Father. In facts, so closely is the Son identified with the Father that he will tell us that to see the Son is to see the Father (14:9).

With the cross now immediately before him, Jesus’ sense of urgency is especially on display as he warns his hearers that the time is short. When he is “lifted up” in crucifixion it will mean the judgment of the world even as it is the supreme display of God’s lovingkindness. But despite the numerous miraculous signs which attested to the truth of Jesus’ claims, the crowds still persisted in their unbelief (vs. 37).

Certainly, John could have left the matter with a simple statement of their unbelief. But he goes on to explain from Isaiah’s prophecy the Divine mystery behind the stubborn hearts of the crowd. And what we are told is truth that often unsettles Christians to the point of rejecting or explaining away the clear words of Scripture. Though our discomfort with the apostle’s words is understandable, it is no excuse for denying that God is free to act and judge according to his own perfect wisdom and goodness. As God declared when he revealed himself to Moses, “I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (Exodus 33:18-19; Romans 9:15).

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