37.  But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him,

Here we learn that, although the Lord had not hidden Himself from the common people of Israel as He had done from the Greeks, and though He had worked so many signs before them, yet they did not believe in Him.  Let us be careful of ever saying, “If I could just see a miracle from the Lord, then I would believe.”  A sign, no matter how miraculous, is not what causes people to believe.  What the Lord asks of us today is to believe the record He has given of His Son.  Though He shows us no sign, He wants us to believe, and if we wish to please Him, that is what we must do!

38.  That the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?”

This unbelief actually fulfilled a prophecy in the Old Testament.  This prophecy was in Isaiah 53:1.  It asked who had believed their report, and to whom had the arm of the LORD been revealed?  The arm symbolized power, and could have referred to Jesus Christ, Who executed the power of God, or to these very signs that He was performing.  The answer to these questions is that the same people who did not believe Their report were the very ones to whom the arm of the LORD had been revealed!  Though they saw the signs, they still did not believe in Him.  This prophecy was fulfilled to the letter.

39.  Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again:

When they refused to believe the signs, they then became unable to believe at all.  This is again in fulfillment of a prophecy, this time from Isaiah 6:9-10.

40.  “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, Lest they should see with their eyes, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.”

This is a great prophecy, and one that is quoted often at crisis moments, and most often when a dispensational change of some sort is taking place.  In this case, it was only a change in regard to these men.  Formerly, the Lord had given them every opportunity to believe, both giving them His words and proving the truth of them by bearing them witness with miraculous signs.  They had rejected both the words of the Lord and the evidence of His miracles, however, and so now the Lord both blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts.  He did not do this originally before He ever offered the truth to them.  He only did this afterwards, once they had received the truth and rejected it.  Once they had done this, He had no interest in giving them any further opportunity for understanding in their hearts and turning and being healed.

Mr. Sellers once used this illustration to set this forth.  This is just like if I offered to sell you something, showing it to you and naming my price, and you refused it and said you didn’t want it.  Well, then, I could remove the item from the table, and no longer offer it to you, even if you changed your mind and wanted it.  This does not mean that my offer was not genuine, or that you could not have bought the item from me if you had responded that you wanted it originally.  In the same way, we cannot blame God for these people rejecting the truth.  He offered it to them, and He offered it honestly.  Once they rejected it, He hardened their hearts, being unwilling to give it to them after they had rejected it upon seeing such evidence.  Their not receiving the truth was entirely their fault, not His for hardening their hearts.  There is no indication here that people who do not believe cannot help it because God doesn’t let them!

41.  These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.

We find out here that Isaiah spoke this great prophecy when he saw the Lord’s glory and spoke of Him.  Notice that “His glory” is also called “Him,” as if His glory was a person.  Indeed, His glory is a person, for we read in II Corinthians 4:6 of “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”  The glory of God is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.  He is the glory of the Lord that Isaiah saw and spoke about!  So we can clearly see that Jesus Christ is the One referred to here as the glory of God.  Yet it is also clear from reading Isaiah 6 that the One Isaiah saw was the One called “Yahweh” in the Old Testament.  This is another passage that gives us proof that the Yahweh, the “LORD,” of the Old Testament and the Lord Jesus Christ of the New Testament are one and the same Person!

42.  Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue;

Many of the rulers believed in Him.  They had seen enough to know that the Lord must truly be the One sent from God.  Yet we read that these rulers believed secretly because they feared the Pharisees.  They knew that if they confessed Him they could be put out of the synagogue.  As we have discussed before, this would have been the next thing to a death knell to an Israelite, for to be separated from the community would take away his livelihood, his friends, his support system…anything and everything he depended on in his life.

43.  For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Here we learn more about these “secret believers.”  The fact was that fear of the Pharisees was really just an excuse.  The Lord had among His followers those who had been declared “sinners” and excommunicated by the Pharisees.  The Lord Himself took care of these and provided for them.  Thus, if these rich rulers had been willing to risk taking a stand for the Lord, He would not have allowed them to lack for being taken care of.  Ultimately, the truth of their refusal to publicly announce their belief in Him was that they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.  Sadly, there are still many in our day who are the same way, in their lives and in their doctrine.  Indeed, the praise of men is now, and the praise of God (for us, at any rate,) is future, and it is often far easier to lay hold of that which is now than to seek after that which is future.  But those who make this choice make the wrong choice, for ultimately the praise of God will lead to far greater glory than ever the praise of men could in our day!

44.  Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me.

The Lord cries out now and says this important statement to those who were believing in Him but refusing to confess it.  He warns them that he who believes in Him, believes not in Him but in the One Who sent Him.  Thus, by refusing to acknowledge their belief in Him, they were not just refusing to acknowledge Him, but were refusing to acknowledge God.  The Lord put no difference between Himself and God here.  He who acknowledges the One acknowledges the Other.

45.  “And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me.

Now the Lord takes it even one step farther, declaring that he who sees Him also sees the One Who sent Him.  The word for “see” here is the Greek theoreo, and means to behold or gaze upon.  One who gazes at something considers it and gives it due heed.  Thus, one who gazes upon and considers Jesus Christ gazes upon and considers the God Who sent Him.  What a great truth this is!  And remember, this is the purpose of the book of John: that we who read might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.  Do you believe what is said here?  Do you believe that to see and consider Jesus Christ is to see and consider God Himself?  If you do, then, as John 20:31 says, believing, you will have life in His name!

46.  “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.

The Lord had come into the world to be its light.  As long as He was in the world, those who saw Him could believe in Him and no longer abide in darkness.  What a wonderful opportunity they had been given!  How sad that some did not take that opportunity because of the fear of men!  How sad that they loved the praise of men more than the praise that God would have given them had they chosen to dwell instead in that Light!

47.  “And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.

The Lord did not judge those who heard His words and did not believe.  He had not come to judge the world, but to save it.  The word “judge” does not mean “to condemn,” as we like to think today.  The Biblical idea of judging has to do with determining what is right, and then setting things right.  The Lord is indeed going to do this for this world in the future when He takes control of the government of this world.  However, at that time He had not come into the world to set things right.  Thus, if a man did not believe His words, He would not set him right.  He would not do anything about it.  That was not why He had come.  Rather, He had come to save this very world system we live in.  And that salvation did not come by the Lord Jesus setting things right, but by Him paying for the penalty of the sin of the world on the cross.

48.  “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him–the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.

The Lord reveals here that these rejecters do not get away with rejecting without being judged.  They will be set right someday, and what will set them right is the word that he has spoken, the very word that they have rejected.  That word will judge them in the last day.  We read in Philippians 2:10-11, “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  At that time, all will be forced to bow.  But for these, this confession will be made far too late.  For at that time, the word that they rejected will judge them, that they are not worthy of eternal life.

49.  “For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.

The Lord reveals here that what He spoke was not spoken by His Own authority.  Rather, He spoke what the Father Who sent Him commanded Him to say and speak.  “Sent” here (and in verse 44) is the Greek word pempo, and means simply that the Father sent Him from heaven to earth.  He sent Him with a command to say and speak these words.  Everything the Lord said was what the Father had given Him to say.  You can make no difference between what the Lord Jesus Christ said and what the Father would have said in the same situation.  Everything He said came from His Father.  This is yet another truth about Jesus Christ that we need to believe!

50.  “And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

By saying that the Father’s command is everlasting life, He meant that it gives everlasting life to the one who obeys it.  “Everlasting” is, as usual, aionios, and means eonion life or a life that is outflowing.  It is far more than life in our day, which runs down and will eventually run out.  It is life that lasts forever, and a life that flows from God in a way that makes life forever worth living.

The Lord concludes this discourse by emphasizing that everything He speaks, even down to the very words He uses, are according to what the Father had told Him to speak.  Let each and every one of us believe this, and acknowledge that the Lord’s words recorded here are indeed the words of God!