Sometime people put off following Christ thinking they can always do it later. But in this passage, we see the danger of that.
Jesus in thinking about the cross and his determination to follow the Father’s plan cried out,
Father, glorify your name! (28a)
In a voice that all could hear, the Father replied,
I have glorified it, and will glorify it again. (28b)
Yet though all could hear the voice, it seemed that few if any actually heard it. Some said it was thunder. Others said it was an angel. Why couldn’t they understand the Father’s words? John later comments,
This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: “Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: “He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn–and I would heal them.” Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him. (38-41)
I’ve explained this passage in another blog, and essentially what it comes down to is that the people couldn’t hear the voice because they had already hardened their hearts to Jesus. Some hardened their hearts because his background as a carpenter from Nazareth was not what they expected from a Messiah. Others rejected him because he exposed the hypocrisy of their religion. Others rejected him because his teaching went against their religious rules and traditions.
And when Jesus performed miracles that proved who he was and the truth of his words, they tried to explain it away saying he did them by Satan’s power, or in this case, by trying to say it never really happened. That they were just imagining things.
The problem was, the more they hardened their hearts, closing their eyes and ears to the truth, the more blind and deaf they became.
And so Jesus tried to warn them, saying,
You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light. (35-36)
In other words, “Your time is short. If you don’t soften your hearts, you will become blind forever. Put your trust in me and the light I bring while you still can.”
Jesus says the same thing to you. He was lifted up on a cross that all people might be drawn to him and be saved. But if you harden your heart to him, if you close your eyes and ears to what you know is true, the time will come when you can no longer recognize the truth though it’s right in front of you. And then it will be too late. As Paul wrote,
I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. (II Corinthians 6:2)