“But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him”John 12:37
As we read the Gospel accounts it becomes obvious that miracles do not of themselves lead to repentance and faith. Jesus had said that “if they do not hear Moses and the prophets [i.e. the Scriptures], neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead” (Luke 16:31). Miracles or signs often caused people to follow Jesus but not for Himself. Rather they followed Him for perceived temporal benefits such as food, health or wealth. After feeding the five thousand Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled” (John 6:26). It appears that He means they didn’t even associate the sign as pointing to Him being the Messiah. Those who follow Jesus for temporal reasons will be disappointed because of unrealised expectations.
Following the lead text above we read, “Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him” (John 12:42). These rulers believed that Jesus did the miracles in the power of God but they still did not repent, believe Him to be the Messiah, or trust Him for salvation. “They did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:42-43). Some today believe who Jesus is and what He has done, but still refuse to trust Him for forgiveness and submit to Him as Lord. A morally righteous life, family history, baptism, or membership of a church, as helpful as these may be, cannot save. They can be idols in the place of Jesus. These rulers of the synagogues valued their position among men greater than they valued their position before God. This is evidence of an unchanged heart. No amount of flattering words to Jesus, which they sometimes tried, could alter the fact that they have not grasped what He was saying and that the signs pointed to Him being Messiah. It is Jesus’ words that will judge them and us (John 12:48). This begs the question as to why so many professing Christians choose to bend and twist His words so that, like these rulers, they may retain their position, power and the praise of men. Jesus says, “Whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak” (John 12:50). Not to take His words in a normal literal sense makes a mockery of this and many other statements of Jesus.