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Green Pastures and Still Waters

The prophecy that John references in the text (12:36-43) we are studying August 29, is from Isaiah 6.  We often think of that chapter as the "call of Isaiah" or the "Vision of God" and celebrate Isaiah's response..."Here am I, send me."  That was the right response but we may forget what kind of ministry God announced Isaiah would have!  It would not be one of perceived success, rather, his proclamation would only harden the hearts of those who were rejecting God's gracious provision.  This announcement of "judicial hardening" was not new.  We first learn of this with Cain and then with Esau and then with Pharaoh.  God did not predetermine the unbelief of these individuals but He finally gave them over to what they really wanted.  C.S. Lewis once wrote that people either say to God, "Thy will be done," or God says to people, "thy will be done."  We'd like to think that this hardening of the heart is only complete after death but the Scriptures seem to indicate that such a state is possible before we die.  Let us believe today that we do not become people with dull hearts, heavy ears and closed eyes. 
Names are important.  We named our boys with the names they have on purpose.  I'm thankful they have lived up to their names.  When Jesus spoke about Himself, He most often referred to Himself as "Son of Man."  It seems rather strange since He was/is the virgin born Son of God that He would choose the designation Son of Man.  This may seem like a random connection but it is also odd that He would be baptized.  Actually the two are connected.  Jesus Christ is God in flesh, the second person of the Triune God.  However, according to Romans He also came as a new representative for the human race...the last Adam.  The first Adam chose to rebel against God and do his "own thing."  The Son of Man, the last Adam, the new representative chose to obey God and therefore became a perfect sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sin.  So what is the connection?  Jesus used the designation "Son of Man" because He wanted us to understand how completely identified He had become with the human race.  He is our model for manishness for sure.  BUT, He is our Savior, Redeemer, Hero, Reconciler and GOD!  He revealed God's love and received the justice that mankind deserved.  The Son of Man is Jesus the Lord...our Redeemer and King!