Harry Ironside Collection: Ironside, Harry A. - Notes on the Gospel of John: 41-Not Judge, but Savior -- Joh_12:44-50

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Harry Ironside Collection: Ironside, Harry A. - Notes on the Gospel of John: 41-Not Judge, but Savior -- Joh_12:44-50



TOPIC: Ironside, Harry A. - Notes on the Gospel of John (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: 41-Not Judge, but Savior -- Joh_12:44-50

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Not Judge, but Savior -- Joh_12:44-50



Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.



There are some very important truths brought before us in these few verses. They give the conclusion of our Lord’s presentation of Himself to the world. We have already pointed out that the book really divides into two parts, the first twelve chapters giving the presentation of the Lord Jesus Christ to the world, and in this part He is set forth in every possible way that unsaved men could apprehend Him.



Then beginning with the first verse of chapter 13 (Joh_13:1) and going on to the end of the book, we have His presentation to the hearts of His own beloved people. In these first twelve chapters we have, “He came unto his own,” but we read that “his own received him not” (Joh_1:11). As we open chapter 13 we read, “Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” In the first instance the term “His own” applies to all those whom He Himself had brought into the world by His power. “He came unto his own-but his own received him not.” But in the thirteenth chapter, “His own” refers to a distinct company taken out of the world who had received Him as Savior and owned Him as Lord.



We have seen Him as the Eternal Word, as the Light come into the world, as the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, as the great Sin offering, as the Giver of eternal life, as the Living Water, as the One who has power to quicken the dead, as the Truth and the Life, as the Bread of Life come down from heaven, as the Judge of living and dead, and in many other aspects. And in concluding His presentation in these various aspects, He says, “He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. and he that seeth me seeth him that sent me” (Joh_12:44). In these words our Lord Jesus Christ seeks to turn the attention of the people away from His mere humanity. He would not have men and women simply occupied with that, blessed as it is. If Jesus is only a man, it is impossible that He should be the Savior of sinners. He did become true Man. The title that He delighted to use was “The Son of Man.” As Son of Man He came to seek and to save that which was lost, but He could not have saved the lost if He had not been more than Son of Man. He was true Man and true God. In Psa_146:3 it is written, “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom is no help.” Even though He were the best of men, if Jesus were not more than man He would be powerless to save sinners.



Therefore, He turns our attention away from His humanity and fixes our minds upon the fact that He was God manifest in the flesh. He says, “Put your trust not in Me only, but in Him that sent Me.” “He that seeth me seeth him that sent me” (Joh_12:45). The Old Testament insists upon this in the book of Isaiah. After that wonderful promise in chapter 7 that a virgin should conceive and bear a Son, and His name should be called Immanuel, which is, God with us, we read in Isa_9:6 : “For unto us a child is born [that is His humanity], unto us a son is given [that is His Deity].” He was the child of Mary, born by divine generation, but He was also the Eternal Son of God who came into this world as Man through the gate of birth. “The government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” It seems to me that every enlightened Jewish reader, pondering these words, could not fail to see that the promised Messiah must be a supernatural being. These words could not apply rightfully to some great man, a prophet who came to do Jehovah’s bidding. They tell us clearly that the Son given is “The mighty God.”



And then again, in the announcement of His birth, as found in Mic_5:2, we have the insistence upon His eternity of being as the Son of God, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” How could these words ever find their fulfillment in one who was simply man and not also God? He was born in Bethlehem as man, it is true, but His goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. And the Lord Jesus Christ insisted on this. In Joh_10:30 of this gospel we hear Him say, “I and my Father are one.” When Philip said to Him, “Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus said unto him,… He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake” (Joh_14:8-11). That is, His works proved that He was the divine, eternal Son of God. Who else could have had power to still the waves, or who else could have robbed the grave of its victim? Only One could say, “I and my Father are one.” And from the beginning this has been the confession of the church of God-the Lord Jesus has ever been recognized as God manifest in the flesh.



In 2Co_5:18 we read, “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” Now what is that ministry? “That God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the [ministry] of reconciliation” (2Co_5:19). God was in Christ, not in the sense simply of empowering Christ or taking possession of Christ, but in His very nature, He was God and Man in one person.



So again in 1Ti_3:16 we are told, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” And in the opening verses of Hebrews 1, we are told, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Heb_1:1). Could that ever be said of a mere man? “By whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb_1:2-3). Let me read those words in a slightly different translation: “Who being the effulgence of His excellence and the exact expression of His character, and sustaining all things by the word of His might, when He had made purification for sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” This is our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore, he that believes on Him believes not only on the Man, Christ Jesus, but also on Him that sent Him, God, our Father, for Jesus could say, “He that seeth me seeth him that sent me.”



And then He goes on to tell us, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness” (Joh_12:46). That is one of the outstanding things of John’s gospel. It is the gospel of the light and life of man. We read in the first chapter, “The life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (Joh_1:4-5). Light is that which makes manifest, and we are told that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. Jesus says, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (Joh_8:12). Therefore to turn away from Him is to turn away from the light. To follow Him and listen to His Word is to walk in the light. We read that, “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1Jn_1:7).



Our Lord Jesus Christ is not only the light of the world, but He is the light of heaven. In Revelation 21, where we have that glorious description of the new Jerusalem, the city that has foundation, whose Builder and Maker is God, we read in Rev_21:22-23, “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” Jesus is the light of all heaven as well as the light of the world. And, thank God, many of us can say that “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2Co_4:6).



I am wondering if there is someone among my readers who is perplexed by present world conditions-troubled and distressed as you think of the misery and sorrow that are all about you. In doubt and perplexity you are asking continually, “Why, and what, and wherefore?” Oh, dear friend, the answer to all your questions may be found in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, for when you know Him, He opens everything up, He explains everything. In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Listen to His words again, “Whosoever believeth on me shall not abide in darkness.” When you put your trust in Him, when you receive Him in faith as your own Savior, when you yield yourself to Him, recognizing Him as your Lord, when you take Him as your divine Teacher, He opens up all the mysteries that perplex you. His light shines upon the darkness and drives it away. In Daniel 2 we read, “He knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him” (Dan_2:22). And when you trust Him, you come into the light and His light makes everything clear. “The darkness is [passing],” says the apostle John in his first epistle, “and the true light now shineth” (1Jn_2:8).



In Joh_12:47 the Lord says, “And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.” The Lord Jesus Christ came into this scene as the expression of God’s matchless, sovereign grace. He bore all the shame that men heaped upon Him. He permitted them to turn away from His testimony. Some day He is going to appear as the Judge, and then if men have spurned His grace they will have to know the wrath of the Lamb. When the sixth seal is broken, as set forth in Revelation 6, John sees the collapse of what we call civilization in the day of tribulation that is going to follow this wonderful dispensation of the grace of God. We read in Rev_6:15-17, “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”



What a remarkable expression, “the wrath of the Lamb”! We do not associate the thought of wrath with a lamb. We think of a lamb as the very symbol of gentleness and meekness, and it is right that we should. We read, “As a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (Isa_53:7). He allowed sinful men to blindfold and buffet Him with their hands, to cause Him intense anguish, and at last nail Him to a cross of shame. But the days of His lowliness as the rejected One on earth are over, and He sits exalted on the Father’s throne. He is now speaking peace to all who will trust in Him.



But if men persist in refusing the message, if they will not hear, the Scripture speaks of the wrath of the Lamb as that which succeeds the day of grace. Oh, how foolish it is for people to turn away from Him. He tells us in verse 48, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” Oh, the folly of rejecting Christ! If men would only realize that in rejecting Him they are sinning against their own best interests!



In Proverbs 1 we hear Wisdom pleading with man to leave the path of folly and hearken to her voice. Who is Wisdom? It really speaks of our Lord Jesus Christ, for He is the wisdom of God. Will you turn away from that which is wisest and best? Wisdom says, “If you turn away from Me, the day will come when you will plead in vain for mercy, for I have called, and you have refused.” In Pro_1:26-27, He says, “I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.” When will this be? When at last the great day of God’s wrath has come. Now, in this day of His grace, Wisdom pleads with men to take the path of repentance, to receive the message of grace, to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. But if men reject Him and His Word, then the very message that they have heard will rise up against them in judgment in that coming day.



There is another very striking verse in Pro_8:16-17 (Wisdom is speaking): “By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.” Wisdom, that is Christ, says, “I love them that love me.” “Well,” you say, “does He not love those who do not love Him?” Yes, He loves all men and gave Himself for them, but in a very special way He loves them who love Him. But in righteousness He must judge those who spurn His grace. “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (Joh_12:48). When we reject Christ we are really sinning not only against Him and God, but against our own souls.



In Luk_7:30, we read, “But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.” And when, today, men refuse the full, clear gospel message sent out in the power of the Holy Spirit, concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, they are sinning against their own souls. If you, my reader, have been thus acting toward Christ, I plead with you to turn to Him and find a satisfying portion for your soul, lest someday you will be found among them who cry in vain for mercy. “When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying Lord, Lord, open unto us; and He shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are” (Luk_13:25).



And now the last two verses, 49 and 50 of chapter 12 (Joh_12:49-50): “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me” (Joh_12:49). Our Lord Jesus Christ, when He left the Father’s glory and came down to this world, did not cease to be God. He did not cease to be the omnipresent One. He did not cease to be the omnipotent One. He did not cease to be the omniscient One. But He chose not to use His divine omniscience but to learn of the Father. He chose to be localized in a given, definite place as a Man here on earth. And He chose not to use His own omnipotence, but to take His place as Man, subject to God.



Therefore, we are told that the works that He did, He did in the power of the Holy Spirit, and the words that He spoke, He spoke as the Father gave them to Him. This was predicted of Him long years before He came to the world, for Isa_50:2 sets Him forth as to both His Deity and His humanity. We read, “Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? When I called, was there none to answer? Is My hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stinketh, because there is no water, and dieth for thirst.” Who is the Speaker here? Anyone reading it must recognize the fact that it is! God Himself. It is the Creator of all things, for it is only God who can say, “I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering” (Isa_50:3). It was God who caused the blackness to fall upon Egypt. It is God only who can say, “At My rebuke I dry up the sea [the Red Sea].” God only could say, “I make the rivers a wilderness.” No one but God could do these things.



But notice the next verses. It is the same Person, but how different the language! “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned” (Isa_50:4). In Leeser’s beautiful Jewish translation it reads, “The Lord GOD hath given Me the tongue of the disciple.” Notice, there is no change in the Speaker. The One who could say, “I clothe the heavens with blackness,” now says, “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary.” Here you have His humanity. The Creator has come unto His own creation. Oh, how many millions of weary souls have heard His voice! How many have heard Him say, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden” (Mat_11:28). And they have come and have proven how wonderfully He can fulfill the promises He has made.



Continuing the reading in Isa_50:5-6, “The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.” It is Jesus speaking through the prophet seven hundred years before He came into the world.



And so He says, “I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak” (Joh_12:49). Day by day, the blessed Lord learned of the Father what He should say to those who heard Him preach. “He gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.” Thus, life everlasting is found in receiving the Word. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (Joh_5:24).



“And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak” (Joh_12:50). And this concludes the Lord’s presentation of Himself to the world. If men refuse the testimony of these first twelve chapters of John’s gospel, God has no more to say to them. He has given His full revelation. Have you received Him, or are you still rejecting Him?