Disasters of Unbelief
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 8:15-16 (Holman) AYou judge by human standards. I judge no one. And if I do judge, My judgment is true, because I am not alone, but I and the Father who sent Me judge together.@
The religious leaders could not judge Jesus= credentials accurately because they could make only surface judgments. Jesus, though, had Divine help. The first coming of Jesus was mainly for the purpose of giving medicine, not judgment, but His presence made judgment inevitable. Light by its nature reveals.
Any judgment made by Jesus is accurate because He works with the Father. Both mercy and warning are here: mercy, He understands all mitigating circumstances; warning, no evil can be hidden from His eyes.
John 8:17-18 AEven in your law it is written that the witness of two men is valid. I am the One who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me.@
Rather than call a physical witness to appear in His behalf, Jesus bluntly said the Father was bearing witness to Him. Jesus was not boasting. He just knew His own self.
A surgeon who has confidence in his own skill is not bragging. A Judge listens to arguments, and then has to decide, to trust in himself. This is not pride, it is necessity. Jesus knew what He knew, and spoke openly about it.
John 8:19 Then they asked Him, AWhere is Your Father?@ AYou know neither Me nor My Father,@ Jesus answered. AIf you knew Me, you would also know My Father.@
The appeal to an absent, unseen, witness did not satisfy the leaders. They wanted a witness who could take an oath and appear physically to bear witness.
Calling on the Father to be a witness was, for these leaders, an effort in vain, for He was a witness they did not know. God the Father had already borne witness to His Son in:
1. Jesus= words. No person ever spoke like Jesus (John 7:46). His words evidenced Divine authority.
2. Jesus= deeds. His miracles were possible only through God=s power.
3. Jesus= transforming power. He made bad people good. He does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. This power belongs only to God.
4. Jesus= knowledge. He knew Zaccheus and Nathaniel without introduction. He predicted His own death and the destruction of Jerusalem. Foreknowledge this precise had to be Divine.
5. Jesus= drawing power. People are still drawn by the story of His cross and shed blood. The Holy Spirit woos us and enables us to trust in Jesus.
The Father=s evidence in Jesus= behalf was (and is) clear. God was in Christ. The only ones who do not see this truth are those who refuse to see it.
John 8:20 He spoke these words by the treasury, while teaching in the temple complex. But no one seized Him, because His hour had not come.
The leaders wanted to arrest Jesus, but a mysterious power held them back. The Temple was their home turf, the very center of their operations, but they were bound. An invisible hand restrained them.
People have freedom, but God does keep us within certain bounds. What was in these religious leaders is potentially in every unregenerate soul. Without God=s restraining hand on depraved hearts, the world would be pandemonium. All social decency, order, peace, and enjoyment would end.
Be grateful that He who reigns over the oceans and keeps them within bounds, holds in check the passions and impulses of depraved minds.
John 8:21 Then He said to them again, AI=m going away; you will look for Me, and you will die in your sin. Where I=m going you cannot come.@
This verse reveals four disasters coming on the impenitent leaders. One, Christ will depart from them. This is a true woe. When Christ departs, all defense is gone. The leaders lost their hope when they lost Jesus.
Opportunities can and do come, leave, and never return. Israel missed its opportunity and has floundered ever since. They crucified their only hope for peace. Their lost opportunity resulted in judgment.
Two, they will continue to long for Messiah. Once Jesus was gone and God=s judgments began to fall on Jerusalem, the Jews constantly sought a Messiah, but in vain. He had already come.
Their seeking would also be misguided, a search not for spiritual salvation, but for deliverance from political distress. They would be seeking rescue from calamity, not deliverance from sin. It is possible to seek Christ too late or from the wrong motive. Both are futile.
Three, they will die in their sin. The word Asin@ is singular, referring to unbelief. Dying in sin is the supreme disaster. Its consequences are unspeakable.
It is sad to die in prison, in a pauper=s shack, in a martyr=s torture, or in youth; but far worse to die in our sin. Death to the unbeliever is a trap door opening into punishment.
Four, they will be separated from Christ forever. Unbelief is the condemning sin. It stops the current of God=s flowing mercy and clots the cleansing blood that spills from Christ=s wounds. Unbelief is a sin against God=s only remedy for sin. They who sin against the cure perish without it.
T. Dewitt Talmage once asked a dying lady to repent. She adamantly said, AI shall not.@ Talmage said she then looked up as though she heard the click of the hoofs of the pale horse. Her long locks tossed on the pillow as she whispered, AThe summer is ended.@
The prospect of everlasting separation from God is frightening. Near death, the infidel Hobbes foreboded, AI am taking a fearful leap into the dark.@ The murderous king, Charles IX, died saying, AI am lost forever. I know it.@ This is not the way we want to enter eternity. Jesus offers a better way, Himself, the only way to the Father.