Two Levels of Belief

Friday, January 31                      

There’s another phrase in John 1:12 that calls for clarification—“he gave the right to be children of God.”  Why not just that they became the children of God?  The phrase implies that becoming a child of God is not automatic, that it requires a proper response.  There are two levels of belief.  There’s something beyond just knowing the facts.  The Jewish leaders had the facts. They knew that the time for the prophesied Messiah had come.  They witnessed Jesus’ life.  After nearly four years preaching repentance and performing miracles, including restoring at least two people to life, they defied logic by saying that Jesus did it by Satanic power.  The “common people” knew better.  They said Jesus did good and that it could not come from Satan.  They were utterly amazed that their leaders would take that position.  Even when they brought Jesus to trial, the Jewish leaders could find no sin in him, and had to resort to false witnesses.  The man that was born blind and healed by Jesus in John 9 could not believe that his Jewish leaders were so unbelieving.  After several interrogations and threats, he said “I have told you already and you did not listen.  Why do you want to hear it again?  Do you want to be his disciple, too?”  It was obvious that they deliberately denied the facts.  After the resurrection, the Sanhedrin admitted that Jesus rose from the grave, but still would not acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah.  After Peter healed the man who had been crippled from birth, the disciples were brought before the Sanhedrin to be reprimanded.  Peter told the Sanhedrin point blank in Acts 4:8-10 that they were responsible for crucifying their own Messiah.  Acts 4:16-17 reveals their evil hearts.  “What are we going to do with these men?  Everybody living in Jerusalem knows that they have done an outstanding miracle, and we can not deny it.  But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”  All this to suggest that “gave the right” in John 1:12 means that man now has the opportunity to make a choice about Christ.  Knowing the truth demands a response.  The Jewish leaders made theirs.

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