Hardened Hearts and the Fear of Man

During World War II, a military governor met with General George Patton in Sicily. When he praised Patton highly for his courage and bravery, the general replied, “Sir, I am not a brave man ... The truth is, I am a coward. I have never been within the sound of gunshot or in … More

Fear
In this passage, there were those who would not believe and there were those who would not openly confess Christ even though they had believed. The first group in spite of all Jesus’ miraculous signs, still would not believe in Him (vv. 37-38). This rejection had been prophesied by Isaiah. They rejected both what they had heard and what they had seen. When a person refuses to believe God’s Word, something begins to change within him and he comes to the place where he cannot believe. His  eyes are blinded (vv. 39-41). God never prevents people from being converted but He may sometimes harden the heart. Therefore, it is a serious thing to treat God’s Word lightly.

Then there were those who some would classify as “secret believers.” They wanted the best of both worlds. They believed on Jesus, but for fear of being put out of the synagogue, they did not openly confess Him (v. 42). They feared men’s opinions and loved men’s praise (v. 43). Many people reject the truth simply because of the fear of man. Someone has said, “It is better to fear God and go to heaven than to fear men and go to hell!” Knowing Christ means knowing the Father. Seeing Christ means seeing the Father (vv. 44-45).

Jesus shares how that no one who has faith in Him will be in the dark (v. 46). His purpose is not to judge but to save (John 3:18), but if the sinner will not trust the Savior, the Savior must become the judge (v. 47). It is an awesome thought that the unbeliever will face at the Great White Throne judgment, every bit of Scripture that he has ever read or heard (v. 48). Jesus explains how He only says what the father has told Him to say (vv. 49-50). The Fathers commands lead to salvation and eternal life.

Application

What are some of the fears that hold me back from sharing my faith with others? It doesn’t matter what people think, it is what God knows that counts.

John 12:37-50 (English Standard Version)

Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: "Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them." Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. And Jesus cried out and said, "Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment--what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me."

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