The Results of Jesus’ Ministry.

Many commentators who study the book of John divide the book into two parts, the first part being Jesus’ public ministry and the second part as His private ministry to His disciples. The passage today makes that clear in verse 36 when Jesus says, “while you have the Light, believe in the Light.”

Although Jesus performed many signs before them, the hearers would not believe. This leaves a question lingering in the air: Is Jesus’ ministry successful? The people Jesus came to save refused Him. The religious leaders rejected Him. The people He spoke to would put Him to death. Even Jesus’ disciples had to go into hiding.

However, the God of Heaven said, “Yes, You have glorified Me and You will glorify Me” (verse 28). In reality, Jesus’ ministry is powerful and merciful.

The Necessity of Unbelief

The unbelief that is seen because of Jesus’ ministry actually confirms Jesus’ ministry as successful. When we review the prophecy in Isaiah 53, given 700-750 years before Christ's birth, we see that unbelief was necessary in the fulfillment of the prophecy.

In verse 38, John says:

This happened so that the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke would be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

And again in verse 40:

For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, “He has blinded their eyes and He hardened their heart, so that they will not see with their eyes and understand with their heart, and be converted, and so I will not heal them.”

This was clearly a part of God’s plan. Just like Pharaoh during Moses’ time and the Israelite people in the wilderness, the people who saw Jesus’ signs and heard His words turned away from the Lord. The religious leaders never argued if Jesus actually did the signs. No, they were not questioning the fact that Jesus showed signs or miracles. Instead, they disputed if He should be doing those things and if He was the Son of God.

They could not believe because, although God had shown much mercy to them, God gave them over to the stubbornness of their heart (Psalm 81:11-12). They were not responding to God’s obvious display of His power.

The Nature of True Belief

Jesus’ ministry was not a failed ministry. God the Father knew that His people Israel would be blind as with a veil over their eyes (2 Corinthians 3:14). However, He would bring the Gospel to the Gentiles; and in time, God will stir their hearts and move Israel back to true belief in Jesus.

Jesus tells us the nature of true belief in verse 44: “The one who believes in Me, does not believe only in Me, but also in Him who sent Me.”

Jesus’ words perfectly and adequately reveal who God is. They are the words of eternal life. Belief is simple, but it has profound implications for your life. Believers are called to follow Jesus, no matter the cost. We no longer choose our own adventure or path through life. We do not trust Jesus in addition to anything else, but Him alone.

Application Points

True belief in Jesus changes your trajectory. It has profound implications for your life as you figure out how to take up His cross. If you don't have God's Word as your road map, your life’s course is constantly changing.

  • Do you know where you are going when you die? If you know about Jesus but He hasn't changed your life, don't be fooled into thinking that God's mercy in your life means you are okay. You still need to turn to Him, repent of your sins, and recognize that Jesus is the only way to Heaven.
  • If you don't know what God's purposes are, you need to go to His Word. Jesus' purpose was to do the Father's will. You know you are praying for the purposes of God when God answers your prayers.
  • If you are going to glorify God like Jesus did, you must allow it to affect your heart and life. We serve and live our belief in Jesus when we live according to our eternal purpose.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore:
  • Isaiah 53:1-6
  • Romans 11:11-42
  • Acts 28:20-28
  • Isaiah 6
A Hymn to Encourage: “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus”

'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
and to take him at his word;
just to rest upon his promise,
and to know, "Thus saith the Lord."

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him!
How I've proved him o'er and o'er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust him more!

O how sweet to trust in Jesus,
just to trust his cleansing blood;
and in simple faith to plunge me
'neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Yes, 'tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
just from sin and self to cease;
just from Jesus simply taking
life and rest, and joy and peace.