“Believe” is the main key word of the Gospel of John. From the 12th chapter of John let’s see what we can learn about what it means to believe:

Many believed (vv. 10-11).

A large number who witnessed Lazarus’ resurrection came to believe in Jesus (11:45). This is as it should be, for that was why Jesus raised Lazarus in the first place (11:4, 15, 42).

Some did not believe (vv. 37-40).

In spite of Jesus’ many miracles, some still refused to put their trust in Him. Why? It’s not that they didn’t have ample evidence, but they willfully closed their eyes against the Light. In doing so, they forfeited their only hope. “Having so hardened themselves, they inevitably suffered the penalty of God’s judicial hardening, making them no longer capable of believing” (James Burton Coffman, Commentary on John, Austin, TX: Firm Foundation Publishing Co., 1974, p. 305). Could anything be sadder?

Some believed but would not go public with their faith (vv. 42-43).

They knew if they confessed their faith, they would be put out of the synagogue. So they kept quiet. In doing so they took their stand with those who did not believe. In contrast, those who believed as a result of Lazarus’ resurrection were willing to bear public witness to Christ (v. 17). They weren’t ashamed to say so.

“While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light . . . . I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness” (vv. 36, 46).

Those who do not believe and those who do not confess remain in darkness.

Those who take their stand for Jesus are the ones who become sons of light.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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