Blinded Eyes and Hardened Hearts

John 12:37-40 WEB

But though he had done so many signs before them, yet they didn’t believe in him, [38] that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke, “Lord, who has believed our report? To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” [39] For this cause they couldn’t believe, for Isaiah said again, [40] “He has blinded their eyes and he hardened their heart, lest they should see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, and would turn, and I would heal them.”


How can we be responsible for God blinding our eyes and hardening our hearts? This is the very thing Paul addressed in chapter 7 of Romans. It brings new meaning to the idea of being saved by grace. We are saved by grace but are rewarded for our choices. Those who seek the Lord with humility will find him. The Word says that the one who has some will be given more and the one who has little will lose even what they have (Mat 25:15-28). This gives us insight into how to respond to this passage.

If we seek God, he will soften our hearts and open our eyes to be able to see him. Seeking God is easy. It is reading the Bible, praying, and attending public worship. We can also seek God with our behavior. On the other hand, we can also push God away with our behaviors. If we deliberately sin God will harden our hearts so that we continue to sin. Of course, if we deliberately walk in righteousness the Lord will soften our hearts so we walk in more righteousness.

The Lord is righteous. He does not cast anyone away from himself who walks in righteousness and holiness. The Word says those he foreknew he predestined to be sons of God (Rom 8:29). It is not that God is fickle. It is that God knows the future. God knows who will choose him and who will not. Of those that choose him, he creates opportunities for success. For those who are never going to choose him, he gives over to sin and unrighteousness. The primary thing we can do to ensure that God continues to open our eyes is to seek God and walk in righteousness.


Lord, please open my eyes so I can see you and understand your will. Soften my heart so I recognize sin in myself and give me the chance to repent. I long to be both saved and to have a vibrant relationship with you, Father. In Jesus’ name, amen.

The First to See

John 8:13-14 WEB

The Pharisees therefore said to him, “You testify about yourself. Your testimony is not valid.” [14] Jesus answered them, “Even if I testify about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from, and where I am going; but you don’t know where I came from, or where I am going.


Jesus came from the Father and was returning to the Father. It was simple for Jesus. He regularly cultivated his relationship with the Father, he knew how to hear his voice (Mark 1:35). Jesus knew scripture. Jesus knew who he was, and he knew what it meant (John 8:22).

The Pharisees could not even properly discern where Jesus was born, let alone anything else about him (John 7:52). Jesus rebuked the Pharisees because of their blindness (Mat 23:26). Jesus did not make excuses for their ignorance. They were the experts in scripture. The Pharisees should have been the first ones to realize Jesus was the Messiah.

Now, we are close to the end of the age. Jesus is coming back. Will we recognize him when he returns? With the modern-day push for all believers to know scripture, the church will be without excuse. However, with all believers educated in the Bible, we should be the first ones to recognize the Messiah.


Lord Jesus, please help me discern you in the world. If you return in my life, help me recognize you. Protect me from being deceived by the antichrist. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Jesus’ Holiness

John 4:27-29 WEB

At this, his disciples came. They marveled that he was speaking with a woman; yet no one said, “What are you looking for?” or, “Why do you speak with her?” [28] So the woman left her water pot, and went away into the city, and said to the people, [29] “Come, see a man who told me everything that I did. Can this be the Christ?”


The disciples would have been astonished that Jesus was speaking with a Samaritan, let alone a Samaritan woman. Yet, they knew their master well enough to keep silent. Because of their silence, the woman goes back to her city and stokes the interest of the citizens. In fact, she calls them to come and listen to Jesus. The Samaritan woman was an astute woman and good at social relationships. She waited until she knew how Jesus’ disciples were going to behave before she was willing to bring her friends and family to Christ.

How often does the scorn of a believer stop the gospel? The gospel is good news, yet, so often Christians have such disdain for sinners that they become ineffective in sharing the good news. Jesus’ disciples were raised up from childhood in an environment of righteousness apart from holiness. The disciples knew what the law prescribed as right and wrong behaviors. Unfortunately, they also learned the traditions of the elders as if they were scripture. They learned to despise foreigners, to despise women, and to despise anyone who failed to keep the law.

However, after spending time ministering with Jesus, they understood that he cared more for people than for the traditions of the elders. Jesus was both righteous and holy. He kept the commands of the Father, and he was also able to bring sinners into a right relationship with God. There were many leaders who did not view Jesus as righteous, but he did not let those judgments stop him from the holy action of sharing the gospel.

In keeping silent, the apostles advanced the kingdom. They did not uproot what Jesus was doing with disdain for the Samaritan Woman. They may have felt uncomfortable with Jesus talking to her, but they like Jesus, cared more for the Father’s will than that of the religious leaders. The apostles also cared more for Jesus’ opinion than that of their peers.

The apostles did not jump on the legalistic bandwagon with their contemporaries. They were astute enough to recognize that Jesus was sent by God. They often struggled to fully believe he was the messiah. Yet, they did believe that Jesus was working for God’s interests (John 14:11). So, they remained silent, despite the ugly feelings that may have been stirring inside of them.


Lord Jesus, please give me the insight to understand when you are working in another’s life. Please forgive me for despising people because of their sins. Let the love you have for the lost rise in me so that I can bring them to you to be saved. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Someone Jesus can Trust

John 4:25-26 WEB

The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah comes, he who is called Christ. When he has come, he will declare to us all things.” [26] Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who speaks to you.”


The woman at the well marveled at the words of Christ. Jesus had been telling her wonderful things. However, this was a woman with great social skills, and she knew how to navigate politics. So, she tests Jesus with a statement of faith. She does not ask a question that will risk either of them losing face. Rather, she makes an exploratory statement. She states the facts, “Messiah comes, he who is called Christ.” And in a rare moment of transparency, Jesus simply tells her the whole truth, “I am he, the one who speaks to you.”

How often does the Lord speak the truth to us? A better question might be, how often do we listen? If we never listen, it is unlikely we will ever hear God’s secrets. In Jeremiah 33:3 the prophet tells us that God will tell us great things we do not know. However, if we want God to tell us his wonderful secrets, we need to cultivate a relationship built on trust with God. Before the Lord is going to tell us these great and unsearchable truths, he needs to be able to trust us. But we also need to trust Jesus.  

It is not enough to trust God for our salvation. If we believe fully, our behaviors will change. We will read and know the Bible so that we can understand God and what he wants from us. One of the benefits of the covenant of salvation is that God will tell us his secrets. To hear these secrets, we must cultivate a relationship with God that is built upon trust. And that trust looks like something specific to God.

A trust that God approves of will lead us to believe and obey the words of Christ. If we are not in obedience, the Lord said in Matthew 7 that he does not know us. If we are not in obedience the Lord will not trust us. Without trust and a listening ear, God will not tell us his secrets. He trusted the woman at the well. She was a sinner and yet Jesus trusted her. That tells us a lot about the Samaritan woman. She was a person who loved and pursued the knowledge of God. She had a relationship with God even though she was not a Jewish woman. In other words, she was not the right kind of person for God’s people to accept. Yet Jesus accepted her and told her his secret. Namely that He was the Messiah, the Christ.


Lord Jesus, please help me read and learn your word so that I can obey you. I want to have a trust relationship with you that allows you to tell me your secrets. Help me trust you more and help me be more trustworthy. In Jesus’ name, amen.

In Spirit and Truth

John 4:19-23 WEB

The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. [20] Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” [21] Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, will you worship the Father. [22] You worship that which you don’t know. We worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews. [23] But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to be his worshipers.


Jesus had just told the woman secrets that He could only know through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (John 4:17-18). She had the spiritual acumen to understand that something supernatural was taking place. Jesus goes on to confirm this when he says, “true worshipers will worship…in spirit and truth.”

Confirmation is great when it happens. However, everything that comes from the Father is not confirmed immediately. When we walk in the Spirit and in the knowledge of Biblical Truth, we are going to encounter the supernatural. God is real. Thus, when we are in a relationship with Him, he will reach across the boundaries of reality and change things for our benefit and the benefit of others.  

When these supernatural circumstances happen, they may slip by if we do not have the spiritual acumen to notice. Often the supernatural can seem like a coincidence or a possible, but natural, outcome. Thus, doubt arises. However, we must believe that God is real and that he is truly participating in our relationship with Him. This foundation of belief will make it possible to receive directly from the Father.

The word says in James 1:6-8 that a doubter will receive nothing from God. This is not a judgment; it is a statement of fact. To receive you must believe God is working. If you do not fully believe, you will not accept what God is doing. Therefore, you will miss what God is doing. You will receive nothing. To receive from God, you cannot doubt. Moreover, you must worship him in Spirit and Truth.

When you accept the spiritual nature of your relationship with God your acumen to perceive the supernatural will rise. You will be able to participate in what God is doing in your life and in the world around you. The relationship you have with God will become real and vibrant. And in that place, just like Jesus, you will both receive and have an abundance to share with the lost.


Lord Jesus, help me to perceive your works in my life and in the world around me. I do not want to miss a single word you whisper. I do not want to miss a single thing you do. Please help me worship in Spirit and Truth so that you and I will have a vibrant relationship. Help me perceive the supernatural so that I will be filled and have an abundance to share with others. In Jesus’ name, amen.

What we have Seen

John 3:32-33 WEB

What he [Jesus] has seen and heard, of that he testifies; and no one receives his witness. [33] He who has received his witness has set his seal to this, that God is true.

When Jesus testified to the things of heaven which he had seen and heard, he was rejected. According to the above verse, no one believed him. Not his apostles, not his disciples, not the people he taught. However, many believed that Jesus was sent by God. The miracles assured at least that much belief. This verse is written by the apostle John, who at the time before the resurrection, did not believe. If the apostles, disciples, and the people did not believe Jesus, they will also not believe modern believers. However, there is hope. We still have the miracles. We have victories in our lives that looked impossible. We have the health breakthroughs, the family relationship breakthroughs, and the financial breakthroughs. We can testify to the power of Jesus in our lives. We can lift the banner of his name and his victory over death. We can lift the testimony of what we have seen and heard. Because we are like the apostle John when he wrote this scripture, we are on the winning side of Jesus’ victory over death. We live and testify after the resurrection. They did not believe Jesus before he defeated death, but they did believe in him after he rose from the dead. If you look at the above verses, you may see something unusual. First John says no one believed Jesus. Next, he says, “he who has received his witness,” that is, they who did believe. So, what happened between verses 32 and 33? Why does John say no one believed, and in the next verse talk about those who did believe? One verse tells the story before the cross and resurrection. The next verse tells the story after Jesus’ victory over death and the grave. On one hand, we are in the same situation that Jesus was in. Namely, that the works of the Father, that is the miracles, testify of the truth of our witness. On the other hand, we are in a different situation than Jesus. The Lord did his work before the cross, we do our work after the cross. Our miracles and victories are backed up with Jesus’ victory at the cross. Therefore, when we testify of unusual victories, that testimony should be brief. This is because all the details are not significant. In fact, too many details ruin the witness because no one will ever have our exact circumstances. When we witness the things we have seen and heard in our own lives, we should sketch out the major points and leave the nuance to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will do the work in the hearer’s heart. In Romans 8:16 WEB it says, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God;” This is why after we testify to the miracles, we must shift the focus from ourselves and onto Jesus. Then, anyone who receives our witness will believe that God is true. (John 3:33 WEB)

Lord Jesus, thank you for the wonderful things you have done in my life. Please help me testify of you and help me keep the focus on you rather than myself. I ask Lord that I may be a holy vessel who opens their mouth to bear witness of the things I have seen and heard. I pray Lord that those who hear my testimony will believe that you are true. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

God Loves the World

For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16 WEB

Often we hear preaching that speaks of the world derisively. Yet, in this passage, it clearly says that God loves the world. So, while it’s popular to condemn the world from the pulpit, it is not what God does. God does not currently condemn the world, rather, God wants to save the world. This is why Jesus was sent so that anyone who believes in Him will be saved. But here is the problem, when preachers condemn the world in one message and teach the great commission in another message they are defiling the word of God. The great commission is the command from the New Testament for the church to bring the lost into a saving relationship with Christ. However, Christians are often taught to hate ungodly people from the pulpit. What other outcome can there be from a message of condemnation? God does not condemn the world. Rather, he endured the cross so that the world could be saved. If anyone is going to be a soul winner for Christ, they have to love the lost. So, rather than defile the hearts of believers with an unbiblical message of present condemnation, preachers need to teach a message of love for the world.

Lord, help me to love the world without being defiled by the world. Help me to love people without letting their sin infect my heart. In Jesus’ name, amen.