Monday, October 17, 2016

Day 178: John 12:44-50 & Psalm 45 - Did Jesus Come to Judge the World?

Today's Reading: John 12:44-50 & Psalm 45

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Did Jesus Come to Judge the World?

If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. - John 12:47, ESV

When Jesus said "I did not come to judge the world," did He mean that it doesn't matter whether people believe in Him or not? Did He mean that all roads lead to God and each one should just choose their own religion and their own way to God? Well, no. That's not what He meant. But if not, what did He mean when He said, "If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him"?

The world without Jesus is full of darkness, and people who do not believe in Jesus are already trapped in lies. Jesus makes this clear over and over again. He is the light which shines in the darkness. He is the truth which frees us from lies. He is the life that overcomes the death that dominates this world. 

In John 3:17-18, the verses that follow one of the most famous verses in the Bible, Jesus had said, "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." 

This is the same message Jesus is emphasizing here: "The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak." (vv. 48-49)

To properly understand Jesus' message, we must understand our natural condition. We must accept the testimony Jesus gives about our sinful condition apart from Him. It makes all the difference what we believe about where we stand with God and the truth on our own: 

  • If we're convinced that we're basically good and right and that we know and live according to the truth on our own, then it seems rather unreasonable that Jesus would say that we must accept Him and His words in order to have eternal life.
  • But if we understand that, on our own, we are spiritually dead and blind and walking in darkness, the the news of one who comes as the light of the world, the giver of life and the truth that sets us free. 
We need Jesus. We need to be saved from ourselves. He is the only way of salvation because He alone is eternal life, the light of truth and the way to God. He did not come into the world to judge and condemn the world, but that doesn't mean that you can reject Him without consequence. For if you have heard the message of Christ and you reject Him, the message He brought will be your judge and you will be condemned because you freely rejected the word of life. 

Prayer Based on Psalm 45:

Psalm 45 is a love song written in honor of the king's wedding, praising the glory of the king and the beauty of the princess, his bride. It is ultimately a love song about Christ and the church, the King of kings and His glorious bride.

You are the most handsome of the sons of men;
    grace is poured upon your lips;
    therefore God has blessed you forever.
Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one,
    in your splendor and majesty!
In your majesty ride out victoriously
    for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;

    let your right hand teach you awesome deeds!

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.
    The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness;
     you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you
    with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;
     your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.

From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad.

All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold.
    In many-colored robes she is led to the king,
    with her virgin companions following behind her.
With joy and gladness they are led along
    as they enter the palace of the king.
God causes Your name to be remembered in all generations;
    therefore nations will praise You forever and ever.

This Psalm reminds me of a beautiful new worship song from Audrey Assad, "Even Unto Death":

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