Judged By Jesus’ Words: John 12:37-50

Focus Passage: John 12:37-50 (GNT)

 37 Even though he had performed all these miracles in their presence, they did not believe in him, 38 so that what the prophet Isaiah had said might come true:

         Lord, who believed the message we told?
      To whom did the Lord reveal his power?

 39 And so they were not able to believe, because Isaiah also said,

 40 God has blinded their eyes
      and closed their minds,
   so that their eyes would not see,
      and their minds would not understand,
      and they would not turn to me, says God,
      for me to heal them.

 41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.

 42 Even then, many Jewish authorities believed in Jesus; but because of the Pharisees they did not talk about it openly, so as not to be expelled from the synagogue. 43 They loved human approval rather than the approval of God.

 44 Jesus said in a loud voice,
         Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in him who sent me. 45 Whoever sees me sees also him who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. 47 If people hear my message and do not obey it, I will not judge them. I came, not to judge the world, but to save it. 48 Those who reject me and do not accept my message have one who will judge them. The words I have spoken will be their judge on the last day! 49 This is true, because I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has commanded me what I must say and speak. 50 And I know that his command brings eternal life. What I say, then, is what the Father has told me to say.

Read John 12:37-50 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

Today’s passage has several things we can touch on, and it is one of the more ominous passages regarding the judgment that we find in the gospels. However, instead of jumping onto one of the more pronounced themes from this passage, let’s instead look at an idea that is stated, but could easily be missed if one is not paying attention:

“Those who reject me and do not accept my message have one who will judge them. The words I have spoken will be their judge on the last day!” (v. 48)

What stands out to me is the “when” that defines the judgment Jesus is preaching about: the “when” is “the last day”.

What brings this idea out so strongly in my mind is the confusion over when the judgment actually is.

Some people believe the judgment happens immediately when someone has died, and in that instant, the judgment (for them) will take place, and then they will experience the rewards or punishment immediately after.

But look at our verse again, and we see something very clear: The “when” is “the last day”. Judgment does not happen on a person’s last day, but on “the last day”. This foreshadows a day in the future which will end all days. The focus of this passage is Jesus’ words being the judge, and while this can be the case every day of our lives (because we can read Jesus’ teachings and be convicted of sin), the context for the idea here is from Jesus’ perspective and not ours. When it says “the last day”, this is from Jesus’ perspective and not our own.

This brings up a point that I want to emphasize: The less we personally read the scripture, the easier it will be for us to fall away from the truth the Bible teaches.

Are there other passages that seem to place the judgment as coming sooner than the last day? Some may believe so, but to be really certain for ourselves, we must be reading personally, and not take someone else’s word for it.

This brings up another interesting point, and our main idea for this journal entry: “Would you rather be judged by Jesus’ words today, in your life as you read the gospels, or be judged by Jesus’ words on the last day? One judgment leads to life, while the other leads to death.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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