John 12:36-40
John 12:36 (KJB)
While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.
In this verse Jesus is definitely speaking of time constraints because He uses the word “while.” He once again counsels the people who are present that they need to believe in the light which is Christ Himself who brings the Gospel of Grace to His people. If they believe on Him, then they will be the children of light, that is, saved, and they will in turn bring the true Gospel to the world, bearing fruit by seeing others become children of light. Jesus then finished His discourse with these people and then departed from them and then hid from them. The words “did hide” are in the passive voice which means He did not intentionally hide from them but withdrew and maybe went to Bethany. The principle in this verse is that Jesus counseled them one last time to believe in the light but they did not and as a result, the Light had withdrawn Himself and the Jews then sat in spiritual darkness.
John 12:37 (KJB)
But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:
Here we have the result of total unbelief. Jesus did many tremendous miracles in the sight of these people and yet, they remained in unbelief. This shows us that miracles do not make a person saved nor is it an effective mode of evangelism. Many faith healers today garner great crowds to themselves teaching that they have the ability to heal and those people who flock there will never get saved, even if a miracle is performed. Salvation is by grace through Christ and only then when a person becomes saved will they believe in Christ because before that, they are spiritually dead. (Eph 2:1 KJV) And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins:
John 12:38 (KJB)
That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?
(Isa 53:1 KJV) Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? Since they did not believe the Lord Jesus Christ even though He had performed such great miracles, it was a prophetic fulfillment from Isaiah 53. Isaiah had the same problem in his day when Judah did not believe his messages from the Lord. Two questions are asked here. The first is who hath believed our report? The only ones who have believed their report were the ones which were qualified to do so, those who became saved. It was a very tiny remnant who became saved such as Lazarus and others. The second question has to do with the arm of the Lord. The arm of the Lord is a synonym for the power of the Lord. (Job 40:9 KJV) Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him? God had asked Job if he had an arm like God, in other words, did he have power equal to God and of course the answer would be no. The arm of the Lord was revealed to Israel by the great miracles which Jesus performed. In raising the dead He showed power over death. In feeding the five thousand he showed power to multiply small amounts of food which gave us the teaching that even small amounts in the hand of God can be widely used. In turning water into wine, He showed the Creator’s ability to make wine from water in an instant.
John 12:39 (KJB)
Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,
Since the people in the time of Isaiah and in the time of Jesus could not believe because they were not qualified to believe. God must open the spiritual eyes and ears of anyone for them to believe. However, they are responsible for their actions because they have inherited the sin nature from Adam and this means that everyone is guilty before God unless they become saved.
John 12:40 (KJB)
He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.
(Isa 6:9-10 KJV) And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. {10} Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. History definitely repeats itself because 700 years prior, Isaiah had encountered the same thing. God had told Isaiah that he was going to encounter a very rebellious people who would not listen to him. Jesus faced the same situation as nothing had changed in the last 700 years. Now we read in 12:40 that God had intentionally blinded their eyes, hardened their heart so they would reject the Messiah. If Jesus was accepted as the Messiah, then He never would have gone to the cross and there would be no salvation. So God’s salvation plan included the hardening of Israel because if He did not, then the other alternative was belief. They were like Pharaoh, God had hardened his heart and Pharaoh had also hardened his heart. The Israelites had done the same thing, they were hardened by God but they also hardened themselves in their sin. They were definitely hardened because how could they see Lazarus coming out of the tomb alive and still not believe?