Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. (Jn 12:28-29)
Two chapters previous to this point in Jesus' life, He uttered the profound statement:
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (Jn 10:27)
The people tried to stone Him for those words. (Jn 10:31) Then just days later, as if being stoned was not controversy enough, He goes and raises Lazarus from the dead. (Jn 11) You'd think this miracle would make them see the error of their ways, but no. It served to only make them angrier.
When we come to the events of John 12, Jesus is having dinner with Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha. Mary pours expensive ointment on Jesus' feet - again more controversy, "How could she WASTE that?" - and then the Scripture makes an even more mind-blowing statement.
Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death. (Jn 12:9-10)
You have two groups of people here - the rubberneckers and the haters. The rubberneckers only came to see Lazarus. The haters take it a step further; they want to put Lazarus to death.
It's no wonder then when we get to verse 27, all the people hear is thunder. Just think about that.
You've witnessed a man being raised from the dead. You can see the guy sitting at the table with Jesus eating a meal, so you know he's alive and healthy. You then watch Jesus enter the city to great acclaim. (Jn 12:13) When suddenly, the voice of God speaks from the sky, yet all you hear is thunder.
"Hmm, it sounds like rain."
Standing there, witnessing such marvelous events, they missed God entirely. Why? What makes the difference?
"SUZANNE! LISTEN TO ME!"
Each of us has at one time been that deaf. It isn't that God refuses to speak. I always have this visual image of Him shouting at me; you know, like you do to your children when they aren't listening. Somehow more volume will reach into their brains. Or we resort to begging. The Bible refers to God as "pleading" with us. (Is 43:26;Is 51:22;Jer 50:34) So God is definitely speaking. Yet we're not hearing because we've become like the crowd. We're there to rubberneck. We want to view church and not actually participate. Or we're too full of hate and pride to listen. We tear down the ministry instead of building it up, and God can't get through to us as a result.
More than anything else, I need to hear God's voice. Only by hearing His instructions will I know what steps to take in faith to follow Him. Only then will I receive the best He has for me.
I want to be the person in the crowd who says, "Wow! Did you hear that? It was GOD!"
Suzanne Williams Photography
Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.