I am reading through the Gospel of John. Actually, I hope to spend most of the next 11 months in John. The people and situations are fascinating. As you know, Jesus had some enemies in pretty powerful positions. In this chapter He is telling them why they are not accepting Him. I thought it was a good lesson on how to avoid being antagonistic to Jesus. So…
How do you and I avoid being antagonistic to Jesus? Here is what Jesus said about those who were against Him:
“You do not have His [God’s] word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent.” (John 5.38)
It is not that they did not memorize the Scriptures nor try to apply them to life in a practical way. They missed something else. Abiding must involve more than knowing and applying.
“… you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” (John 5.40)
Although the Scriptures described Jesus they were unwilling to come to Him for life. They were successful politically, religiously and probably in many other ways. Life must be more than that.
“… you do not have the love of God in yourselves.” (John 5.42)
Their thought Jesus wanted glory from people, because God’s love was not in them. Being close to the Bible does not automatically mean that you have the love of God in your life.
“…you do not receive Me [though “I have come in My Father’s name”]…” (John 5:43)
To be close to God the Father you have to receive Jesus.
“…you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” (John 5.44)
They wanted the approval of people and not so much from God. This must have been a mixed reality in their lives since they devoted themselves to religious advancement. But clearly what people thought of them and what they could achieve for their people and for themselves was more important to them than getting glory from God. Focusing on the right relationship is everything.
“…you do not believe his [Moses’] writings, how will you believe My words?”” (John 5.47)
They did not believe that Jesus was the fulfillment of what Moses said. The word of God became true in real time and they believed what they wanted and not what they saw before them. Learn to connect experiences with the Scriptures and have faith.
I was really challenged by this. The main theme of this part of John is Jesus confirming His equality with God talking about a unity and submission He has with and to the Father. But today, for me, the application was to not unite myself to the errant ways of Jesus’ opponents..