Those of you with children will know this all to well. Your children ask you if they can play with something and your response is, “No, you can not play with that right now. I will let you know when you can.” However, what one child has just heard is this, “You can right now play with that.”  And when you enter the room and see your child playing with it, you proceed to pull your hair out as you reminisce about Bill Cosby speaking of “brain damage.” You ask your child, “What part of what I said did you not understand?” But he responds by telling you that he understood the words you said just find. Again, hair pulling, Bill Cosby, brain damage.

However, the fact of the matter is, your child is correct; he did hear you and understood the words you said just fine. But what’s the problem? Were you planning on letting your children play with the toy eventually? Yes, just not at that precise moment. Your child chose to hear and apply the part of the message that made sense to him in a way that would give him what he wanted and when he wanted it. But it gets more confusing when you face your other child and see him playing with a different toy because he heard you say that he could not play with the toy they asked about. How can one understand your words one way and one understand them another way. This is what happens when relativism enters the thought process.

This is something that happens with Scripture all the time today. But it’s nothing new. I want to look at a passage and show you what happens when Scripture is misquoted or only partially read.

John 12:34 says, “The people answered Him, We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?” What do you see wrong with that verse? Will Jesus Christ reign forever? Yes. To that I have no doubt. So what’s the problem? Are the people misquoting Scripture? Let’s look at the verses they are referencing in their comments.

  • Psalm 89:3637 - His seed shall endure for ever, And his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, And as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.
  • Isaiah 9:67 - For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: And the government shall be upon his shoulder: And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, Upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, To order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice From henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
  • Micah 4:7 - And I will make her that halted a remnant, And her that was cast far off a strong nation: And the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.

In each of these passages, we are told that a Savior will establish His throne forever.

Back to John 12…In verse 32, Jesus says He must be “lifted up.” In considering the above passages the people were, needless to say, confused. We learn in an earlier verse in John 12 what was causing the problem, and it is the same problem many people are plagued with today.

In John 12:29 we read, “Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it thundered. Others said, ‘An angel has spoken to Him’” In order to continue to understand the problem, we must continue to read John 12 in reverse order. What was it that caused some to hear one thing and some to hear something else? Jesus had just stated that in His life and death, He wanted the Father to be glorified and, “…then a voice came from heaven, saying ‘I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.’” 

People had just heard God speak and many heard different things. We come back to verse 34 and see that they did not necessarily misquote the Old Testament passages, but they were doing nothing but taking only the verses they wanted to hear. Verses that made them “feel good.” They had missed the part that spoke of the Savior coming to suffer first before being lifted up. So many people do this today. Either they take verses out of context in order to work with their life choices (Jesus turned water into wine, so it must be OK for me to get drunk) or, they apply certain principles to Scripture unequally. More and more Christians are accepting the “scientific teaching” that the earth is millions of years old, yet they do not apply science to matters of life and death as presented in the Bible. What does science say about a person who has no brain function, their heart has stopped beating, and they are no longer breathing…..for three days? I would think science would say they are dead. Yet Christians would not dare apply that scientific principle to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Too many people want to accept the “good news” but they don’t want to accept something that contradicts with their life. Are you like the little child that asks for something and then turn to hear only what you wanted to hear? Or do you take the Bible at face value and allow it to transform your life?

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