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Friday, June 7, 2013

For Whom Did Jesus Die?

Written by Mike Gendron on .
        One of the most quoted Scriptures in the Bible is John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." As popular as this verse is, some people misunderstand what Jesus meant by the word "world". Does it mean that Jesus died for everyone in the world or does it mean that He died for people "from every tribe and language and people and nation" (Rev. 5:9). In John 17:9, the Lord states that He is "not praying for the world but for those whom you [the Father] have given me, for they are yours." Clearly the word "world" does not mean the same thing in every context. Jesus does not pray for the carnal unbelieving goats of the world which lie in sin and will be condemned because they rejected Him. Since He did not die for them, He did not pray for them. Instead His prayer was for those whom He died and would follow Him in faith.
        The Father gives a particular group of people to His Son who will come to the Son and whom then the Son will never lose (John 6:39). The Lord Jesus declared, "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out" (John 6:37). Clearly we see a connection between the Father electing, the chosen coming and the Savior saving. It is for a definite and particular group of people. There are no conditions included in the context of John 6. In fact, Jesus asserted, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day" (John 6:40). In John 6:50 Jesus refers to Himself as the "bread" that one may eat of it and not die. Those who eat of this bread are those who receive Him by faith and will be raised on the last day (John 6:40). He is the life-giving spiritual nourishment for those who repent and believe His Gospel of grace.
        This should encourage us in evangelism because it guarantees success. When we proclaim the Gospel, the lost sheep will hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and will follow Him. Jesus declared, "The sheep hear his voice, and He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out...and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice" (John 10:3-4). The reason everyone does not believe is clearly given by the Savior. He said, "you do not believe because you are not among my sheep" (John 10:26). Believers are referred to as His Sheep. The Good Shepherd makes a glorious promise to them. "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand" (John 1027-29). proclaimingthegospel.org