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After Formal Rejection

  1. A Greek Enquiry

We saw in the first part of John 12 that the ‘triumphal entry’ was a decisive moment in God’s dealing with the Jews. Up to this point Jesus (and his disciples) had preached almost exclusively to Jews. In Matthew 10: 5, Jesus’ specific instructions to the disciples was to go to Israel only: ‘Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: “The kingdom of heaven has come near.’

Decision time

John wrote his gospel in order that his readers would believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing they may have life in his name. The main part of the gospel follows seven specific miracles Jesus performed which authenticated his claims to be the Messiah and God in flesh. Each individual person responded to Jesus: some believed whilst others wanted him dead. As John presents his gospel he confronts us with the same need for a decision.

To Jerusalem

It’s just six days before Passover. Jesus is entering the final phase of his work. Those of his close companions who were prepared to listen knew that difficult days were ahead: Jesus was going to Jerusalem to die! It really was decision time for the Jews, which way would they jump, would they choose their long awaited Messiah or would they prefer the status quo: an empty religion and Roman rule?

Last time we learned that Jesus had a purpose in healing a blind man – he was not only demonstrating his power to reverse the effect of ‘the fall’ (when Adam and Eve’s disobedience wrecked so much), he was demonstrating to the Jews that he was capable of fulfilling the promises associated with the Messiah.

From death to life

It was the English actor Christopher Bullock to whom is attributed the first use of the phrase (in 1716): ‘tis impossible to be sure of anything but Death and Taxes.’ And how right he was! We all at times have a sense that we will never die but the cold reality is that we are all headed in this direction, all that is uncertain is timing.

Just after the terror incident at London Bridge and Borough Market last week the police issued advice to the public which was simply: ‘run, hide and tell’. Our natural physiological response to a danger is reckoned to be ‘flight or fight.’ One or two brave souls did put up some resistance to the terrorists last week, but sensibly most people took the ‘flight’ option.