A Short Study of John 12:39

“Therefore they could not believe…”
(John 12:39)


What a sobering verse of God’s word! A verse that speaks not about willingness, but ability. These Jewish and Greek people gathered at Jerusalem with the religious leaders were affixed to Jesus as He had just entered the city. Palm branches and shouts of Hosanna were heard around the gate. The eyewitnesses that saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the grave were there bearing witness of His miracle. All eyes were on Jesus, all focus was on Jesus, all attention was on Jesus. So much so, the leaders said “the whole world has gone after him”

Right in the middle of all the attention, Jesus prayed that the Father would glorify Himself and the Father spoke audibly from heaven and said “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” Thundering from heaven, the voice of God confirmed that Christ was His Son! Everyone heard it! All the words of Jesus, all the miracles, all the fulfilled prophecies, and twice God speaking audibly telling people that Jesus was the Christ  and verse 37 says, “they believed not on him.”

Brethren, you cannot have more convincing proof to believe on Jesus than what these people had. No preacher alive, no “church”, committee, evangelism team, worship team, seminary, Sunday school, vacation bible school, mother or father can convince one to believe. If the Christ of God and God Himself who bore witness of Him is not enough to convince then what do you think you can do? 

They “believed not” because “therefore they could not believe”. They did not have the ability to believe……apart from divine life. They had to be given faith, by the spiritual life that comes from Christ alone. That is why we preach, teach, proclaim, and love God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ Jesus! 

May Christ be glorified! 


– M. Smith

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