The Gospel of John: The Fallen Sinner’s Inability to Understand the Gospel.

Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.” The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? What does he mean by saying, ‘You will seek me and you will not find me,’ and, ‘Where I am you cannot come’?” (John 7:33-36)

1 Corinthians 2:14 says, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

We have already seen the truth of I Corinthians 2:14 in Jesus’ conversations with the unconverted. Two examples are Jesus’ dialogue with Nicodemas (John 3) and the Woman at the Well (John 4). While Jesus communicated spiritual truths in both cases, the individuals involved did not, and according to I Corinthians 2:14 could not, understand the spiritual significance of Jesus’ words void of a work by the Holy Spirit to regenerate their dead hearts (John 3:1-8). This, ironically, was Jesus’ point to both Nicodemas and the woman in describing conversion as receiving a new birth or living water.

Today’s text also reveals the incapacity of even religious leaders, who are unconverted, to understand biblical truth. When Jesus said, ““I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come,” the Sadducees and the Pharisees were stymied. They began thinking, much like Nicodemas and the Woman at the Well, in literal and physical terms.

They reasoned to each other, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? What does he mean by saying, ‘You will seek me and you will not find me,’ and, ‘Where I am you cannot come’?” Again, much like Nicodemas and the Woman of Samaria, they had questions but no answers. In fact, they may even have been mocking Jesus regarding His spoken words. The sincerity of Nicodemas and the woman is contrasted with the sarcasm of the self-righteous religious leaders.

Dr. John MacArthur makes an insightful observation when he says, “The phrase “teach the Greeks” probably had reference to Jewish proselytes, i.e., Gentiles. John may have been citing this phrase with ironic force since the gospel eventually went to the Gentiles because of Jewish blindness and rejection of their Messiah. See notes on Rom. 11:7–11.

Always remember that our understanding of the Gospel was not because of our superior intellects. Rather, it was solely because of the grace of God in regenerating our dead souls (Ephesians 2:1-3) and making us alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:4-9) and declaring us righteous (Romans 3:21-26; Philippians 3:1-9) that you and I stand today as believers and disciples of Jesus and children of God.

Soli deo Gloria!

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