Jesus replied to them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces much fruit. 25 The one who loves his life will lose it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me. Where I am, there my servant also will be. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.27 “Now my soul is troubled. What should I say—Father, save me from this hour? But that is why I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd standing there heard it and said it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus responded, “This voice came, not for me, but for you. 31 Now is the judgment of this world. Now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 As for me, if I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to indicate what kind of death he was about to die.” John 12:23-33
Was it thunder, an angel, or God? Your answer matters entirely. Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd standing there heard it and said it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”
I urge you to not only read the whole chapter but to read the gospel of John. I say this so that you can be sure I am not taking these verses out of context, but also because the Word of God says anything I say at least a million times better. Let the Bible speak for itself. I know Christianity is not the most appealing religion, but I am convinced that most of the confusion and general “problems” with the Bible begin with people not reading the Bible in the first place. Yeah, it says some harsh and controversial things, but do you understand the context? Do you understand who this was written for? Do you understand what Jesus meant when He said this? Let the Bible speak for itself.
There’s only so much I can say that I have not already shared in a previous post, but I keep seeing the same patterns, feelings, and logic that occurs in these interactions with and during the time Jesus walked the earth. Recently, I heard this sermon about John 12 and felt convicted. I am always prone to think that people would believe if Jesus just showed up and performed these miracles again. Between you and me, my prayers for my unbelieving friends usually includes something like, “God, please just work a miracle in this person’s life. Do something incredible in a way that they cannot deny the truth found in the gospel.” I want that to work and of course, if it is in God’s Will for it to work, it’ll work, but I come across these passages all the time. Events recorded in the gospels where Jesus evidently and without doubt performed these miracles yet it gets dismissed entirely. Jesus healed. Jesus lived a life without sin. Jesus died and was resurrected. Jesus appeared after His death, at one point to 500 individuals at once. Jesus did so many things in front of people and yet there were still people that denied everything. There was alternative reasoning for everything. I ask you, what are the miracles that have occurred in your life that you’ve been downplaying? Was it science, good luck, an alignment within the stars, or Jesus? Was it thunder, an angel, or God?
And listen, in a day and age where it is easy to misconstrue and share false news, I’m not saying go and have blind faith. In fact, I admire people who are skeptical about this whole Jesus guy. I feel more at peace sharing the gospel with you because I know you will look more into this. But also, you do not waste your time wishing and wondering, unbeliever, give your life to Christ.
Do not get caught up in this cycle of eternal questioning because whatever you place your faith in, I can guarantee you will not know all of the answers. It’s one of the limitations that make us human and not like God who is all-knowing and all-loving. You know what the gospels have said about Jesus. You know the Bible points to Jesus as Lord. You see God’s prophecies fulfilled, even today. You know that an array of non-biblical evidence exists and boldly points to Jesus. You have read the evidence from Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Flavius Josephus, and others. They all describe Jesus in a way that affirms the Bible. You know that out of all religions, Christianity is the most reasonable faith. You know this.
You know that this world calls for a Creator. Everything about its existence points to something greater than ourselves. The fine-tuning of our universe is inexplainable via a lucky dice roll. There are 122 agreed-upon anthropic principles including the rotational speed, the tilt of the earth, the salt content of the ocean, and so many more that are needed for life to exist, how is this possible without a God? I’m a STEM major, the more I learn about science. the more I see a world that points to a Designer.
With grace and gentleness I say, “Wake up, friend.” Taste and see the goodness and realness of God. Begin with the sixty-six books that point to Jesus. Wake up, friend. God is real. Jesus died for your sins so that you can be saved. Give your life to Christ and let the gospel completely transform you. I know, I know you do not want to let go of some of those habits. I know that you do not like the idea of sin. The gospel does not promise you heaven on earth. You will face hardships, but nothing in this world compares to what you will experience once this world fades away. As Paul described in the book of Philippians, “I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 9 and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.” Philippians 3:7-9 Taste and see the good news found in Christ alone. This is your invitation.
This is not like trying to sell you a new car. This is not like trying to convince you to go on some fad diet pill. This is truly much more serious than that. As my dad once borrowed from a sermon illustration, he described salvation as choosing between two glasses both filled with clear liquid. In one glass is freshly filtered water while one contains poison. One promises life and the other guarantees death. That is why this matters entirely. I’ve heard it said before that all religions lead to salvation or typically put, “there are several paths to heaven so it doesn’t matter what you believe.” One of the biggest reasons why that’s untrue is many of these religions tell you something different about their deity and path to heaven. In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus claims that the only way to Heaven is through faith in Him alone. So I gently yet firmly ask again, friend, what is it? Thunder, an angel, or God? Your answer determines everything.
I say these things out of love and compassion. Today is a beautiful day to give your life to Christ. I say these things because I have studied the evidence that exists and I have found an overwhelming amount that points to Jesus as Lord. I cannot see this world without an Intentional Designer.
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on him will not be put to shame,12 since there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord of all richly blesses all who call on him. 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:9-13
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