Reasons Why Some Will Not Come to Christ

by Albert N. Martin

Jerusalem was buzzing with activity during one of the high Jewish feast days. And now at the pool of Bethesda the controversial young rabbbi from Galilee had astounded everyone by healing a man paralyzed for thirty-eight years! But instead of rejoicing, the Jewish leaders first confronted the healed man for carrying his bed on the Sabbath—this was work, they said, and God had forbidden all work on the Sabbath—and then condemned Jesus for His “work” of healing on the Sabbath day! Chapter Five of the Gospel of John records Jesus’ simple response: “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” This response the Jews understood as nothing less than Jesus “making himself equal with God” .

His plain claims to equality with God stirred up murder in the hearts of those envious Jewish leaders, yet Jesus graciously affirmed His heart’s desire for them when He declared in , “I say these things that you may be saved.” And since they could not be saved unless they believed on Him as God in the flesh and their promised Messiah, He showed them that His claims to deity were validated by three kinds of evidence, not unfamiliar to any of them: the testimony of John the Baptist, the miraculous works which Jesus had done, and the Scriptures themselves. But in spite of all this evidence, their persistent unbelief called forth from Jesus these words recorded in :

“And you will not come to me, that you may have life. ”

Surely these are some of the most tragic words ever spoken! In them Jesus plainly asserted that life was to be found in Him, and that it was to be obtained simply by coming to Him. He was not speaking of physical life or physical coming, for his hearers had already come near Him physically, but of spiritual and eternal life received by joining themselves to Him through faith. Yet His hearers refused to do the one thing necessary to have eternal life, for they refused to believe on Him. And Jesus’ sober words show that He holds them—and everyone like them—fully accountable for their stubborn unwillingness to come to Him.

What kept these outwardly religious people from coming to Christ? What keeps you, my unsaved friend, from coming to Christ today? As I outline four major reasons why some will not come to Christ, I hope to show you that every kind of reason is inexcusable. I hope to persuade you to abandon those reasons, and come to Jesus Christ.

1. Ignorance of Your Desperate Need of Christ

Some people will not come to Christ simply because they are ignorant of their need as sinners. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were classic examples of this self-ignorance. In Jesus boldly spoke a parable directed toward these hypocrites, who “trusted in themselves that they were righteous” . When the scribes and Pharisees murmured against Jesus for eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners, Jesus observed, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” .

What was true of the Pharisees two thousand years ago is true of many today: they don’t even know they are sick. They are unaware that they have any moral or spiritual disease. They don’t care to go to the great Physician of their souls because they don’t think there is anything wrong.

But such indifference to the real condition of your soul is inexcusable, and it is inexcusable because of the clear testimony of the Bible and of your conscience.

Open almost any book of the Bible and you will read about the sinful, fallen condition of man. From the account of Adam and Eve disobeying God, down through the entire record of man, God’s Word shows we are a guilty and polluted race. But if you count yourself an exception, consider several summarizing statements by the apostle Paul, speaking on behalf of Jesus Christ and through the infallible guidance of the Holy Spirit: “In Adam all die” (), or , “Through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus deathspread to all men, because all sinned.”

We are, indeed, sinners because of this heritage. Paul describes us as “children of wrath by nature” (). David, the man after God’s own heart, testifies of himself, “I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (). Each one of us has inherited a sin-nature, and sinning comes naturally to every one of us. We are guilty of breaking the laws of God written on our hearts and in God’s Word. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way,” declares the prophet in . Paul asserts with final, sweeping authority, “There is none righteous, no, not one” ().

And besides the external witness of the Scriptures, there is the internal testimony of your own conscience. Conscience is active in every person, either accusing bad actions or commending those which are good (). You know that conscience takes the pleasure out of sin, and you find ways to argue it down. If conscience could speak audibly it would declare loudly how vile your heart is. It would reveal all the perverse motives and desires active in your spirit. If you would only listen to your conscience you could not be ignorant of your desperate need of Christ. You know that you are under the condemnation of God because of your sin, and liable for the full punishment of that sin. Yet you also know that you are powerless to help yourself. How many there are who ignore the testimony of the Bible and fight the witness of their own consciences! Don’t congratulate yourself that you can listen unmoved to the offer of mercy from Christ, but pray instead for a sight of your desperate need and the extent of your guilt and defilement. Instead of being like the Pharisee in , who brazenly stood in God’s presence proclaiming his own goodness, may you bow like the humble tax collector and cry, “God be merciful to me, the sinner.”

2. Impenitence before the Searching Demands of Christ

Perhaps you are ready to admit your need and escape the accusations of a condemning conscience, but there is another reason why you will not come to Christ. Perhaps you are one who remains impenitent before His searching demands.

Christ’s call to come to Him is also a command to leave your sins. “You shall call His name Jesus,” said the angel to Joseph, “for He will save His people from their sins” (). He will not save them in their sins, but from their sins. “I have come to call sinners to repentance,” Jesus said in . The terms under which you may be wedded to Christ are terms of complete divorce from your sins. Nor can you separate repentance from faith and forgiveness. Paul affirmed the authentic Gospel message to be “repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (). God exalted Jesus as Prince and Savior, Peter told the Jews in , in order to “give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.”

Your problem may not be insensitivity—in fact, you may be miserably aware of your desperate need for pardon and peace. But you are not ready to leave your sins and come to Christ on His terms. This was the problem of the rich young ruler in . He sincerely desired eternal life, and he came to Christ looking for it. But Jesus, in His omniscient knowledge of the human heart, focused on one issue: the man’s love of possessions. Jesus must be his only master: “Go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But the rich young ruler was unwilling to yield to the searching demands of Christ, and the narrative says, “he went away sorrowful.”

We must not think that the issue is always a call to forsake riches, for Jesus called at least a few rich men like Matthew and Zaccheus and never made that particular demand upon them. But when He dealt with any sinner, like the woman of Samaria in , He found his or her darling sin and boldly staked His claim. Jesus says to each one that eternal life is to be found in supreme attachment to Himself. “You cannot serve God and the things of this world” (). “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (). Do you see that impenitence before the searching demands of Christ is inexcusable? The perfectly holy Lord of glory calls you away from your sins in order to give you eternal life, and you refuse to leave them. But those sins to which you are clinging, what will they do for you in the end? “The wages of sin is death,” says the apostle in . Salvation through Jesus Christ is intended to deliver you from the penalty, power, practice, and one day, blessed be God, even the presence of sin. Why do you cling to those sins which will only drag you to hell?

Jesus knows how costly separation may be. He spoke of sins as dear as a right eye or a right hand. He knows that true repentance, confession and forsaking of sin may cause embarrassment, misunderstanding, financial loss, and the pain of breaking off close relationships. When He said to those Jews, “You will not come to Me,” He knew that they loved to receive honor from one another (). To follow such a despised teacher was more than their proud hearts could bear. Jesus knew their struggles but never compromised His flesh-withering demands.

Do you see that such impenitence is not only inexcusable, but also irrational? Consider all the evidence against a life given over to sin. Look closely at the scarred and twisted lives of those who resisted God’s gracious call in their youth—people who are the very fulfillment of God’s prophetic words in Isaiah, “The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. ‘There is no peace for the wicked,’ says my God” (Is. 57:20-21). “The way of transgressors is hard” (). Look at the terror-filled deathbeds of those who die in their sins. Look at the coming Day of Judgment, when the great ones of the earth will cry for mountains and rocks to fall on them, to hide them from “the wrath of the Lamb” (). Look into hell itself, as unrepenting sinners are cast into the furnace of fire: “There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (). “The smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever” ().

Finally, look at the cross. Behold the Lord of glory, the only man who ever lived a sinless life, who, there on the cross, was made to be sin for His people. Look at the price Jesus paid for the sins which you love. Look upon His sufferings at the hands of wicked men. Mark His greater, indescribable agony under His Father’s wrath for human sin. Stand and look until you can say with John Newton:

“A bleeding Savior I have viewed, And now I hate my sin.”

If such meditations are not enough to turn you away from those sins which now seem so dear, it will be right in that last great day for God to say to you, “Depart from Me, you cursed” (). “Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone” (). Do not sink down into hell, clinging to your darling sins. Come to Christ on His terms, that you may have life.

3. Unbelief with Respect to the Promises of Christ

You may not be guilty of some daring, idolatrous attachment to sin. Perhaps you already have forsaken many sins, for your own good and for the sake of respectability before others. Yet there is one subtle form of sin which you have never even considered. Maybe you do not think it is very important, and certainly not very disgraceful. Perhaps you are one who does not believe Christ’s promises.

But you say, “Unbelief? What kind of sin is that? And why would God hold me responsible for not believing something?” My friend, consider for a few minutes how unbelief can be one of the greatest obstacles to coming to Christ, and thereby keep you from entering heaven.

Can there be any question that the promises of Jesus Christ are clear, certain, and all-embracing? Read this sampling of His promises. Look them up in the Bible to see for yourself how absolutely free of conditions and qualifications they are.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

“The Lord is rich to all who call upon Him.”

“Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

“He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

“The one who comes to Me I will by no means”—under no conditions whatsoever, under no circumstances—”cast out.”

God likens His work of salvation to a wedding feast and says, “All things are ready. Come to the wedding” (). God has made all the preparations, and God has done all that needs to be done. We do not need to bring anything; we only need to come.

In the light of such marvelous, unqualified promises of forgiveness and acceptance, do you see how inexcusable is the sin of unbelief? The gospel feast has been spread and God has sent His servants to say, “Come, for all things are now ready” (). But you linger outside the banquet hall, lost and condemned in your unbelieving refusal to embrace the promised mercy of God. You may not be ignorant of your desperate need or impenitent for your sins, but you are unwilling to believe God’s testimony concerning the sufficiency of His Son as a redeemer for sinful men—the God who spoke audibly from heaven, “This is My beloved Son; hear Him” ().

There will be many surprising kinds of sinners in heaven. There will be notorious sinners like the immoral woman of whose reputation was known by all. There will be desperate sinners like the thief whose crimes warranted crucifixion. There will be murderers and blasphemers in heaven like Saul of Tarsus, and even some people whose hands put to death the Son of God (). But there will be one type of sinner who will be conspicuously absent: there will be no unbelievers. There will be no persons in heaven who in this life were not joined by faith to Jesus Christ.

The Book of the Revelation paints many pictures of God’s final judgment of mankind. Many of these images are puzzling and mysterious, but look at one very clear picture of those standing outside the gates of heaven. says, “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Those whose lives were respectable and even upright, but marked by the chronic sin of unbelief, shall take their eternal place with those whose lives were characterized by murder, lying and other grosser forms of sin.

We are tempted to view unbelief as a defect, or a sort of “vitamin deficiency” that leaves us spiritually anemic but really not so bad overall. God views unbelief in its true light. When Jesus describes the Holy Spirit’s purpose in coming to convict the world of sin, here is the principal sin which He highlights: “Because they do not believe in Me” ().

If until now you have been unbelieving, will you turn from this sin and cling by faith to Christ? Will you believe His abundant promises of salvation, pardon and rest?

4. Unwarranted Expectation of Additional Revelation from Christ

Perhaps we have not yet identified your reason for waiting to come to Christ. You feel your need and you are ready to leave your sins. You are seeking to put your faith in Jesus at the right time, but you want some additional word from Him.

Your exposure to the Bible, whether through personal reading, family training, or church attendance, has taught you an important truth. You know that unless you are one of God’s elect, one of God’s special chosen ones, you cannot come to Christ. God must awaken a sinner to his need, God must draw him to Himself, and God must give him the gift of faith. And so, you reason, “Until I know that I am one of God’s elect, it would be presumptuous for me to come to Christ.”

With this conviction firmly in hand, then, you have determined that you cannot act until some additional revelation comes from Christ. You would not demand a vision or a voice in the night, of course, but you are waiting either for some special text which fixes itself on your mind, or some overwhelming sense of God’s convicting presence, or some evidence of the marks of regeneration in your life. And so, you will not come to Christ because you are waiting for a message from God.

Why is it unwarranted to expect such additional revelation? The passage in gives us a compelling answer to that question. Jesus asserted that, to the Jews, the Old Testament Scriptures should be the final, convincing proof of His claims. He said in , “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.” In he says, “If you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.” In other words, Jesus is saying, “What the Scriptures say about Me, from the earliest writings of Moses through the closing words of the last prophets, is all the warrant you need to come to Me. You should not wait for something else; these words are sufficient.”

The dialogue with the rich man in hell further reinforces Jesus’ teaching on the sufficiency and finality of the scriptural witness. To the rich man’s plea that someone warn his brothers about the torments of hell, Abraham responds, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (). The rich man, though, has a better scheme: “No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent” (v. 30). We hear the voice of Christ speaking in the final answer of Abraham: “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.”

Are you waiting for some spectacular revelation from God before you will come to Christ? Are you ignoring the message of “Moses and the prophets” which you have in your Bible? Do you see that such waiting is inexcusable? Do not think that your attitude is humble submission before God. Your reluctance is actually a proud and arrogant demand upon God, telling Him how He ought to act. In effect you are saying with the rich man, “God, I have a better plan of salvation than your ordinary methods. I have a special way for you to call me, and I’m waiting for this special revelation.” The truth is, God’s plan of salvation has been presented plainly and simply to you through the witness of the Scriptures. The wedding feast of the gospel has been spread, and God invites you to have eternal life. All you need to do is come.

Is Jesus Christ calling to you? Do you see yourself, not as a special sinner, but as a needy, lost, hell-deserving sinner? Then come to Him in repentance and faith. Look upon Christ as the perfectly suitable “friend of sinners.” See how His perfectly righteous life fully satisfies the requirements of divine law. Consider how His substitutionary death fully satisfies divine justice for your sins. Do not make complicated what God has made beautifully simple; just come. Come to Christ because of God’s gracious directive: “This is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ” (). Come to Christ because of God’s gracious promise: “Whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life” (). May you this day put aside any reasons that stop you. Come to Christ, that you may have life!

Just as I am, without one plea
But that thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou bidd’st me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am! Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
Because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come.

18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. (ESV)

34 Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. (ESV)

40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. (ESV)

18:1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” 21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But he said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” 28 And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” 29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” 34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.

35 As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” 42 And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God. (ESV)

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: (ESV)

31 And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (ESV)

22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. (ESV)

12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— (ESV)

among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (ESV)

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me. (ESV)

All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. (ESV)

10 as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one; (ESV)

15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them (ESV)

18:1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” 21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But he said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” 28 And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” 29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” 34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.

35 As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” 42 And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God. (ESV)

21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (ESV)

32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (ESV)

21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV)

31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. (ESV)

19:1 Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”

10 The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” 11 But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. 12 For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”

13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, 14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.

16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first. (ESV)

4:1 Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.

A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.

31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

43 After the two days he departed for Galilee. 44 (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) 45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.

46 So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” 49 The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. 51 As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. 52 So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 53 The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. 54 This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee. (ESV)

24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (ESV)

34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (ESV)

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (ESV)

44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? (ESV)

15 Good sense wins favor,
but the way of the treacherous is their ruin. (ESV)

16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, (ESV)

42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (ESV)

11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.” (ESV)

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (ESV)

17 Ephraim is joined to idols;
leave him alone. (ESV)

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (ESV)

12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. (ESV)

13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (ESV)

24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. (ESV)

37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. (ESV)

Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.’ (ESV)

17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ (ESV)

And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” (ESV)

7:1 After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” 10 And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.

11 Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. 12 As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” 15 And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. 16 Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” 17 And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.

18 The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, 19 calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 20 And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’” 21 In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. 22 And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. 23 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

24 When John’s messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 25 What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings’ courts. 26 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is he of whom it is written,

“‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way before you.’

28 I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” 29 (When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John, 30 but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.)

31 “To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another,

“‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’

33 For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ 35 Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.”

36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”

41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (ESV)

23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. (ESV)

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (ESV)

concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; (ESV)

5:1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.

Now that day was the Sabbath. 10 So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” 11 But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” 13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. 16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

30 “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. 31 If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not deemed true. 32 There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true. 33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory from people. 42 But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” (ESV)

39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, (ESV)

46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. (ESV)

29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ (ESV)

23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. (ESV)

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (ESV)

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