Dr. S. Lewis Johnson gives in depth exposition on the nature of Christ Jesus' salvation of both Jews and Gentiles. Dr. Johnson comments on how Jesus' response to the Greeks signifies the greater purpose of his mission.
[Message] Now, for the Scripture reading today will you turn with me to John chapter 12? John chapter 12 and we’re going to read verse 27 through verse 36. Remember that we are in the context of our Lord’s visit from the Greeks who have said, “Sir, we would see Jesus.” Philip came and told Andrew, Andrew and Philip together told the Lord. And Jesus had said when heard, “The hour has come that the son of man should be glorified.” And so he recognized in this that a significant change in the divine program is taking place with his death and that the ministry which has been directed primarily to the nation Israel, his own ministry was as a minister of the circumcision to confirm the promises made unto the Father, is now broadening out and is going to be directed more directly to the Gentiles. And so he recognizes that. And it’s a very serious time for him because of course it reminds him of the fact that the cross lies shortly ahead. “Now, he has said just above, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die it abideth alone. But if it die it bringeth forth much fruit.”
And now in verse 27,
“‘Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? Father, save me from that hour? But for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify Thy name’. Then came there a voice from heaven saying, ‘I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.’ The people therefore that stood by and heard it said that it thundered. Others said an angel spake to him. Jesus answered and said, ‘This voice came not because of me but for your sakes. Now, is the judgment of the world. Now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto me.’ This he said signifying by what death he should die. The people answered him, ‘We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth forever. And how sayest Thou the son of man must be lifted up. Who is this son of man?’ Then Jesus said unto them, ‘Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light lest darkness come upon your. For he that walketh in darkness knoweth not wither he goeth. While ye have the light believe in the light that ye may be the children of light.’ These things spake Jesus, and departed and did hide himself from them.”
May God bless this reading of his word. We bow together now in a moment of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we are grateful to Thee for the opportunity that is ours again today to turn to the Scriptures and have them minister to us the things of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. We thank Thee that there was a day in his ministry when his soul was troubled and we thank Thee for all that he underwent that we might have life. We thank Thee for the much fruit that has resulted from the falling into the ground of the corn of wheat and its death for we know that we are the result of that and we are grateful. We thank Thee for the life that we have and we desire, Lord, to glorify him who has made it possible.
May through the ministry of the word today there come some more fruit from the corn of wheat that fell onto the ground and died. We thank Thee too, Lord, for the words of exhortation that if we should save our lives we must lose it and if we desire to save them then they shall be lost. O Lord, give us faithfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ and to the message that he has left us to propagate and make known.
We thank Thee for all of the promises of the word of God. And we pray, Lord, Thy blessing upon the ministry today wherever it goes forth, not only here but wherever the Lord Jesus Christ is lifted up may there be fruit. We pray especially for those who are ill, those whose names are mentioned in the calendar of concern. We bring them, Lord, to Thee and we pray that Thou wilt minister to them to the glory of our name. For our country, for the whole body of Christ, for the ministry of the chapel, its elders and its deacons, its outreach through the Bible classes and the radio ministry, we pray, Lord, Thy blessing upon it. Bless also the meeting tomorrow night here. We commit it all to Thee with Thanksgiving and praise. For Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.
[Message] The subject for today in the ministry of the word is “Christ Drawing all Men”. We are in a most critical part of the Gospel of John for it is in this chapter that the apostle concludes his account of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ to the Jewish nation and gives in the latter part of the chapter a review of the significance of the ministry of our Lord to Israel. He has been the recipient of this request from the Greeks, “Sir, we would see Jesus.” And our Lord has recognized in that the fact that there is a significant change in the program of God.
It’s sometimes forgotten by us that the Lord Jesus came as a minister of the circumcision. That is, a minister of Israel to confirm the promises made unto the fathers. That is, he came in order to confirm the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and that ultimately out of this would flow salvation to the Gentiles. But it is to the Jew first and then to the Greek. That is the order of things.
One sees this in our Lord’s earthy ministry and not simply in the incident in which he sent the disciples out and told them not to go except into the way of the lost sheep of the house of Israel. There is an incident in our Lord’s life that illustrates it quite well, too. Remember when the woman of cannon came out of the coasts and cried unto him saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou son of David. My daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.” And she kept repeating this and our Lord Jesus did not even both to answer her.
And finally, “The disciples came to him and besought him,” the text of Scripture says, “saying, ‘Send her away for she cries after us.'” They were upset and irritated with the fact that she was following along and crying out to our Lord, “Have mercy upon me, O Lord, Thou son of David. My daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.” And he was paying her no attention whatsoever. Finally, the Lord turned and said, “I’m not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” And one would think from that that it would have been impossible for her to receive any mercy from him at all. It was an obvious outward rebuff. But she came and worshipped him and she said, “Lord, help me.” And our Lord repeated the sense of his words. He said, “It’s not meat to take the children’s bread and to give it to dogs.” What a rebuff. She was not one of the children. She was one of the little doggies. But she said, “True, Lord.” In other words, by some flash of insight from the Holy Spirit she came to understand that being a gentile she did not have the claim upon him that Israel did. And she said, “Truth, Lord. Yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from the master’s table.” Now, whether she wittingly understood or unwittingly — it’s not necessary to talk about it now. It’s evident that she’s taken the proper place. She’s taken the secondary place. And Jesus then said unto her, “Oh woman, great is thy faith. Be it unto you even as thou wilt.” “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” but even then of course there was a possibility of Gentiles being saved if they took their proper place before the Lord as receiving salvation through Israel.
Now when the Greeks come — a word that may simply mean gentile — the Greeks came and said, “We would see Jesus.” Our Lord recognizes that the change in the direct program of God is soon at hand and it will not be long until the age will be introduced in which the full number of the Gentiles are to come into the body of Christ. Now, the Lord recognizes that this is going to mean his death and that’s why he says, “Now is my soul troubled.”
This section is very difficult in some ways. It’s also very deep in others. But it’s a very blessed section to one who has great devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. In one of the commentaries one of the commentators said, “What deeps calling to deeps are in them, these words.” And of course, the proper approach to them is to approach them in faith. As Cooper wrote, “Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan his work in vein. God is his own interpreter and he will make it plain.” This is perfect illustration incidentally, this section that we have read, of a statement that Jesus has just made. He said in verse 25, “He that loveth his life shall lose it and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal.” Well, what follows is a beautiful illustration, a perfect illustration, of hating ones life in this world.
He speaks of his struggle. “Now is my soul troubled, and what shall is say?” This no doubt has been going on for a considerable period of time. That seem to be indicated by the very way in which he phrases it. “Now has my soul become troubled and is troubled.” We have a bit of a problem here in the rendering of verse 27 and I want to say just a word about it because you may have a version that reads little bit differently from the one from which I’m reading. The one I’m reading, the Authorized Version, says, “Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour. But for this cause came I unto this hour.” In other words, an interrogation and then a declaration.
Well, if this is a question and then a declaration what is meant by this? “What shall I say? Father, save me from this hour.” Well, I could understand this in two ways. I could understand this to be a prayer for deliverance from the hour, not from the death but from the hour. That is, from the agony of the death. Well, that would make sense. No one would excuse of our Lord of the necessity for desirability of escape from the agony of death. He realizes he must die. He has prophesied several times before this that he is going to Jerusalem. He will be put to death. He will be buried. He will rise again from the dead. But our Lord being fully human did not look forward to the physical suffering of death. And so one can understand how he might say, “Save me from this hour,” in the sense of, “Save me from the agony of this death.”
All of us know that who’ve ever had an operation. We go to a doctor. He examines us. We tell him our problems. He diagnoses our difficulty and he says to us, “You need an operation.” Well, we want the operation because we want the deliverance but we don’t look forward to the physical agony of the operation itself. So one might think of our Lord as addressing his petition to the agony of his death. “Father, save me from this our.” Not from the death but from the agony of the death. But the difficulty with this view is that it cannot handle that but that follows. “But for this cause came I unto this hour.” And that seems to contradict that particular petition. In fact you can notice, as you look at our Lord’s comments with reference to his death, a growing identification with what is going to happen; a degration of the suffering. He has said just previous to this that he had a baptism to be baptized with, a reference to his death. “And how am I straightened until it be accomplished”
Here he says, “Father, save me from this hour.” And in a few moments in the garden in Gethsemane he will say, “O my Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done.” So as our Lord approached the cross he did feel the intensification of the physical suffering that was before him. Well in the light of that some of have suggested that perhaps this declaration, if that’s the way it should be translated, is a pray for resurrection. “Father, save me from this hour.” That is, “Save me from the hour in the sense that though I know I’m going to die give me resurrection. Save from this death that I am to die.” And those who have suggested this interpretation have frequently cited Hebrews chapter 5 and verse 7 as a parallel text in which the author of that epistle speaking of our Lord says, “Who in the days of his flesh when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears, unto him that was able to save him from death and was heard in that he feared,” suggesting that it’s a prayer for resurrection. But again, one can hardly understand how he can say, “But for his cause came I unto this hour. Father, save me. Bring me through death and resurrection but,” — well, the “but” just does not fit with the context. And so it’s probably true that we are to take verse 27 as containing two questions.
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall is say?” First question. “Father, save me from this hour.” Second question — should I pray, “Father, save me from this hour.” No? It’s for this very reason that I have come to this hour so I should not pray to be delivered from what has been my purpose in coming, to come to this very hour. Well, that seems to make better since. It’s a rejection of temptation to turn from this hour and I rather think that that is what our Lord means. “My soul is troubled. What shall is say? Father, save me from this hour. It’s for this very reason that I have come to this hour. I would not pray that.”
Now, I think there’s something else that one should comment upon here. It’s obviously that we have here a statement that reflects the full humanity of our Lord. We sometimes in our anxiety to be sure that others affirm the deity of the Lord Jesus and to realize that he is the great divine Son of God overlook his true humanity. And here is a text that sets it out very starkly. He can say just previous to this, “How am I straightened until this death be accomplished? Now, shall I pray save me from this hour? My soul is troubled.” And then in a moment he will say, “O my Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me.” One senses the fact that the Lord Jesus entered fully into these sufferings that were lying before him. What intensity of suffering he knew as a man.
Now, most of us fall out into sin long before the temptation becomes as severe as the temptation that our Lord Jesus underwent. No one knows the intensification of the human sufferings that Jesus knew. I say the reason is is because we fail. Why, we fall out at the ten percent degree of testing or the twenty percent degree of testing. But our Lord went on to the one hundred percent degree of testing and overcame. So he knew testings, and tensions, and trials that you and I have no idea about in his human nature. And this is very revealing. Very revealing of the things into which he entered.
The reasons, we know later on from other teaching in the New Testament, is that he might have sympathy with individuals who are in testings and that we might realize that he knows exactly the kinds of testing that we have to face. Furthermore, I think you can see in this a marvelous exhibition of the sincerity, the purity, in fact the pellucid character of the Lord Jesus Christ thoroughly open to what was happening to him.
You know, I could see good reason why as a human being who is a sinner that he would never say these things. “Now is my soul troubled.” Is not he the one who has comforted the disciples? Is not he one who says, “My peace I give unto you, my peace I leave with you.”? Is not he one who is a beautiful illustration of the fact that if you trust in God you may expect the Lord to uphold you at all times? And yet he confesses here to the fact that his own soul is troubled. Later on the same kind of thing will appear again in the garden of Gethsemane and finally on the cross he will cry out, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” All of these things express not only his humanity but his sincerity in the unfolding of the fact that he too must lean upon the Father as he was carrying out his mediatorial work. He is very God of very God. But he is also very man of very man.
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour. But for this cause came I unto this hour.” And then characteristic of our Lord is, “Father, glorify Thy name. No matter what it costs glorify Thy name.” What a magnificent illustration of committal into the hands of the Lord. Now then, at this point there came a voice from heaven saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” This is a rather interesting thing. The voice comes from heaven and the voice says, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” And the people stood by and heard it. And some of them said it thundered. Others said an angel. And then our Lord gives the correct interpretation. Now you’ll notice from this that there are three interpretations then that are given to the voice that came from heaven. Let’s look at the voice first. Then we want to about the interpretation.
Now, the Father says, “I have both glorified the name of God and I will glorify it again in the son.” Suppose the Lord Jesus had died in his sleep about this time. Suppose for example, just for the sake of supposition, let’s suppose that you had the next day opened up the Jerusalem Herald and you’d read across it, “Jesus of Nazareth Dies in His Sleep, Apparent Victim of Heart Attack”. Well of course, that would have disastrous consequences for us as we look at it. But think about it for a moment. People would say, “He was a great prophet. We surely had some idea of God from him that we never had from any other prophet. He was surely the greatest of all the prophets and when one saw him in his ministry one gained a good impression of what God must be like.”
It’s true that if our Lord had died in his sleep it could be said that God’s name was glorified through him. But the Father said, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” Of course, he didn’t die in his sleep. Men could have said, “I gained the truest picture of God I’ve ever gained anywhere just from the observance of the life of Jesus of Nazareth.” But there is far more to it than that. “I will glorify again.” And so we have afterwards the agony in Gethsemane, the final days in Jerusalem, the agony of the cross and his death, the victory of his resurrection, the victory of his ascension, the victory of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the victory of the much fruit that has flowed down to this present day. And some of you in this audience are that much fruit that has come from the corner when the Lord God said from heaven, “I have both glorified it and will glorify again,” we have then the death of the Lord Jesus. Not simply a man, not simply a great prophet, but one through whom God has spoken as through no other one for he is the Son of God.
Now, I said that three interpretations were given. You know, things in this life are often very mysterious. They’re often meaningful, too. A baby’s birth, full of mystery that often takes us right to God. Science may tell us briskly what happened but their explanations are usually superficial. “Just thunder,” one might say. Even the daily round in the drama played before angels is of tremendous importance. We sometimes forget that. We are the theatre of angels. Isn’t that interesting? You and I are like people on a stage and the angels are watching. Our sins today don’t vex us very much. They’re not particularly meaningful to us, just thunder. They hurt and break the heart of God. Our lighthearted look at divine forgiveness, which has cost the Lord Jesus Christ the shedding of his blood — some people hear that Jesus died for sinners and they say just thunder. Others sense that there’s something different about it. There’s some significance there. They don’t quite pierce through to what it is. Let me illustrate.
If you were to speak to a wild beast what would that wild beast hear? Well, he would hear a sound but that’s about all. But now if you were to speak to a trained animal and you were to say to a trained animal, “Sit.” And the animals sat. That animal has comprehended something a little more than just sound. He has sensed that there is some meaning in what you have uttered. He doesn’t sit when you say other things, but when you say sit he sits. Now, wild beasts hear sounds. Trained animals gain some sense of meaning and people are able to think.
When the Gospel goes out there are some people who say simply, “It’s a noise and that’s all. It’s a noise. It has no real sense of meaning to them at all.” The Apostle Paul puts it plainly when he says, “The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God. They’re foolishness to him. Neither can he know for they are spiritually discerned.” And then there are some individuals who sense that there is meaning in the gospel but they haven’t really grasped it for themselves. They can even tell you the facts of the gospel. They can say, “I attend Believers Chapel or some other Evangelical church where they know the facts of the gospel. And some unfortunately even think that if they sense the meaning of the gospel, that is that our Lord has a churched an atoning work of sorts for sinners, that they are alright.
And then, of course, there is the comprehension that comes when the Holy Spirit illumes us, and gives us faith, and we comprehend not simply the sound and not simply the meaning but we’ve understood it spiritually and received it for ourselves. Well, they said it’s thunder. An angel spoke to him. They sensed it was a divine conversation of some kind. Well, they didn’t really hear it but Jesus heard it. I have both glorified it and I will glorify it again.”
I’d like to say to you at this point: what’s the gospel to you? Thunder? An angel’s voice? A divine message of some kind but you don’t really understand it’s meaning? Or is it something that really has come to you in its full significance, and you have responded to it and rejoice in it? How about it? Shall we have an altar call?
Well, the sound is to be to them what the Greeks were to him: revelation. You see, when the Lord Jesus heard that some were wanting to see him who were Gentiles that was a message to him: the time is near. And so when the sound came from heaven it was to be for the disciples the sense too that something important is happening. Our Lord has to explain. And we read, “This voice didn’t come because of me but it came for you. And first of all, now is the judgment of this world.” The cross is a divine decision concerning the world. The whole world lies within the wicked one and when the Lord Jesus dies on the cross at Calvary it’s a magnificent unfolding of what is in your heart.
What is in the heart of Jews and what is in the hearts of us Gentiles is magnificently displayed and made public when Jesus Christ dies on the cross. We’re sinners. We are rebellious against God. We are enemies of God. We are weak. We are without strength. We cannot save ourselves. Not only that, we fight vigorously and violently against the divine help that is available. The revelation of God from heaven has appeared and men are holding down the truth in unrighteousness, but the cross is the revelation of the true nature of man. We crucified the Son of God. We are guilty of the death of the divine deliverer.
We say the truth will out. A parent or parents cruelly beat their child, and this goes on for weeks, and months and sometimes years. But ultimately it appears in the newspapers. The truth will out. Men are engaged in crooked business deals constantly and finally the truth comes out. Text of Scripture says, “Be sure you have sins will find you out.” It even finds out politicians. Politicians can carry on crooked business deals and carry them on, and cover up, and cover up, and cover up until finally something happens and the truth comes out. Well, the truth is out with reference to the world. It crucified Christ. It is guilty. The truth is out with reference to our hearts. They are rebellious against God. Well, that’s the first thing. The world is judged in the cross of Christ. And when he cries out, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” and becomes the sin offering that is the judgment of the world. But not only that. He says, “Now, shall the prince of this world be cast out.” The prince of this world is satan. “The whole world lies in the wicked one,” John will say later on in his first epistle. And the world’s ruler, satan, is cast out because that by which he held men, the guilt of their sins, is born by the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s the second thing. The world’s ruler is to be cast out and one may be delivered from the bondage to satan through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
And then he says in the 32nd verse that if he is lifted up from the earth he will draw all men to him. Now, when he says lifted up he means of course crucified. If you’ll go back to the 3rd chapter and the 14th verse the Lord Jesus said in his interview with Nicodemus — Nicodemus, as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the son of man be lifted up that whosoever believeth him should not perish but have eternal life. In the 8th chapter in the 28th verse another lifting to the lifting up is found. And in this chapter the Lord Jesus said, “When ye have lifted up the son of man then shall ye know that I am he and that I do nothing of myself.” To be lifted up is to be crucified, as John goes on to say. This he said signifying by what death he should die. If I be lifted up, the cross — the cross is the end of our Lord’s earthly existence in his particular mediatorial work that he did up to that point. But it is not the conclusion of his mediatorial work for he will carry it on in resurrection and ascension at the right hand of the Fahter. And he is doing that today.
Now, having been lifted up on the cross he is drawing all men to him. You know, when the Bible says that he will draw all men to him it speaks effectually. This word draw is a word that is never used except of effectual drawing. There is always an implication of some resistance but the resistance is overcome. Effectual drawing in spite of resistance is the idea. “If I be lifted up from the earth I will draw all men to me.” Remember the text back in the 6th chapter? “No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” And so to be lifted up then is to be crucified, but to be crucified is to open up the possibility that men shall be drawn to him. How? Drawn by the spirit. Drawn by the word of God. That’s how men come to Christ. They come because the Holy Spirit uses the word of God, creates a desire within them to come when they were rebellious. Those who were willing to crucify him have so been transformed by the word of God and the spirit of God that they embrace him, and they are thankful and grateful and they come to worship him. Just like that woman of Canaan who came and worshipped him, that’s the product of the Holy Spirit and the word of God.
Napoleon once — and saint Helena in his exile has been quoted as saying looking back over his life that Alexander, and Cesar and he had founded mighty empires based upon force but that Jesus Christ had built his upon the love of redemption. And today millions would die for him but their empires are vanished. “If I be lifted up I will draw all men to me.”
I’ve wondered about this. Does the story of the cross still have its appeal to us? I wonder does it really stab us? Does it really thrill us? Why has it become a twice-told tale? Have we heard constantly by the dull ear of a drowsy man with a wandering half attention who knew positive boredom? When Christ calls to you from the cross and says, “Is it nothing to you all ye that pass by,” do you for once take a little introspective look and as you think about it really turn and look to him and say, “Well, really not very much.” Does the cross really mean much to you? You know it is something with which human beings can become bored. Sad but true. You can actually become bored. I don’t blame it, of course, on the word.
In Christianity Today a couple of issues back Euticus [phonetic] who writes in Christianity Today, has an article entitled “Dying in Leviticus”. While I greatly like expositional sermons I find myself turned off by a long series. I can’t be the only one who feels that way. I remember one church member who said that his pastor had preached for a year a half on Philippians. When it was over most people still loved the pastor but everyone hated the book of Philippians. [Laughter] Now, a lot of funny things in this article. A lot of funny things. But it’s a sad article. Isn’t it sad? I’m not sure I would want to hear a year and a half on Philippians, but I sure wouldn’t blame it on Philippians.
Lots of funny things. You know what this article reveals? It reveals that Euticus doesn’t really have too much love for the Bible. A man could never feel that about eth word of God rightly no matter what a man did to the word of God. I’ve heard some awful expository sermons. I’ve heard a series of awful sermons. They were Christian but awful. Poor exegesis. Poor interpretation. But the word of God is the word of God. I don’t think I could ever feel bored with the word of God. Whenever I feel bored with the word of God, if there is such a thing, is that I recognize that as there’s something wrong here not here. “So is it nothing to you all ye that pass by?” The Old Testament puts it in the mouth of the sufferer. And do you really reply, “Well, really not very much.”
Now, I don’t want to pass this up. He says, “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men to me. ” what is meant by all men? Now, let me ask you to think about it for moment. If all men means all men and if drawing is effectual drawing, that is they come though they may be resistant. But they do come effectually. What are we shut up to? Universalism. “And I, if I be lifted up, shall draw all men to me.” Is our Lord lifted up? Yes, he’s lifted up. Does he draw everyone to him without exception? No, if there’s one thing the Bible teaches it’s that there is no such doctrine as universalism. There are men who are saved and there are men who are lost. Does all men mean everybody without exception? No. We’ve seen this so often through the gospel of John. It’s sad that it has to keep being sad.
Now, in the context some Greeks have come to our Lord and have said, “Sir, we would see Jesus.” “I’m not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” Jesus said. But now, “If I be lifted up I will draw all men to myself.” There can be only one thing that he means. “I am drawing both Jews and Greeks. All men. All men without distinction, not all men without exception.” Sound exegesis can only mean that. How simple. So often we are bound by traditional exegesis, never having really given it much thought. If I’m lifted up I will draw both Jews and Gentiles. Even the Interpreter’s Bible, not known for great orthodoxies says, “This is a text that has to do with the universal range of the atonement embracing Jews and Gentiles. The age is changing with the cross. The gospel’s going out to the Gentiles as Paul will learn through his own experience.” And now the final words, “This he said signifying by what death he should die.” The people answered him, “We’ve heard out of he law that Christ abideth forever. And how sayest Thou the son of man must be lifted up? Who is this son of man?”
If you went in a theological seminary you’d find that question is still being debated today. The scholars are seeking to answer the question, “Who is this son of man?” And some of us are telling us that this is a phrase that refers to a figure of lowliness. Some who are much nearer to the truth are finding in these words a title of all gust dignity and power. The son of man. “Who is this son of man?” The divine son.
Now, Jesus issues an invitation and an exhortation. “Yet a little while is the light with you.” What an invitation. What an invitation. The light is with you. And he continues, “Walk while ye have the light lest darkness come upon you for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not wither he goeth. While ye have light believe in the light that ye may be the children of the light.” Yes, it is possible to have the light and not really believe in the light. And it’s not enough to have the light. There are men who had the light. Judas had the light. Had the light of the messages of the Lord Jesus Christ and the light of personal fellowship with him. But he did not believe in the light. He did not walk in the light. And finally, out of remorse realizing what had happened to him with death working in his soul he took his own life.
Take Balaam. If he were to answer a question on a Bible quiz, “What prophet gave four early magnificent messianic prophecies of the coming of the redeemer the Lord Jesus Christ?” The correct answer would be Balaam. Four magnificent messianic promises by a man whom the New Testament makes very plain was not a believing man. Amazing isn’t it that a false prophet could have such light but not walk in the light or believe in the light?
So Jesus says, “The light’s with you. Walk while you have the light lest darkness come upon you. While you have the light believe in the light that you may the children of the light.” Evangelists in Bunyan’s allegory pointing with his finger over a very wide field said, “Do you see yonder wicked gate?” The man said, “No.” Then said the other, “Do you see yonder shining light?” He said, “I think I do.” Then said Evangelist, “Keep that light in your eye and go directly there too so shalt thou see the gate at which when thou knockest it shall be told to thee what thou shalt do.” You have the light. Walk by the light. And while you have it believe in the light that you may become children of the light, so Jesus would tell us. “Come to the light to shining for thee. Sweetly the light has dawned upon me, once I was blind but now I can see. The light of the world is Jesus,” we sing.
Well, it’s a tremendous picture of our Lord’s passion for the souls of men for me and as he draws may we respond, “Draw me. We will run after Thee.” And what a magnificent revelation too of his sympathy and strength for those in trouble. Though he were a son yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered for in that he himself hath suffered being tempted he is able to sucker them that are tempted. For we have not an high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities but was in all points tested like as we are, yet without sin. Wherefore, he is able to save unto the uttermost, those that come unto God by him seeing that he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Come to Christ. He’s offered the sacrifice that is for sinners. It is for all men. Jews and Gentiles. It is for sinners and if God the Holy Spirit has revealed your condition come to him. Receive him. Do not leave this auditorium having failed to settle the question not simply of having the light but of believing the light and becoming a child of the light. May God help you.
[Prayer] Father, we are grateful to Thee for these magnificent words of the Lord Jesus. O God, through the Holy Spirit draw men to Christ. By the word in the spirit bring them to the faith that is genuine. May it not be said of any in this auditorium they had the light but they didn’t believe in the light.
Father, if there are some here who have never believed, at this very moment may they lift their hearts to Thee and say, “I thank Thee for Jesus Christ who died for sinners. I’m a sinner. I wish the salvation that he offers. I believe in him.
[RECORDING ENDS ABRUPTLY]