[Read this chapter online at BibleGateway.com.
In this chapter Jesus attends a dinner with His disciples, His friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus (who He had just raised from the dead in the previous chapter). People came to see Jesus and to see Lazarus that Jesus had raised from the dead. Many people had begun to follow Jesus because of this miraculous sign. The leading priests, however, instead of following Jesus, now plotted to kill Lazarus too. They had made themselves blind to even this great miracle.
Later in this chapter Jesus predicts His death and says “Father, bring glory to your name.” (John 10:28, NLT). God’s voice responds from heaven saying "I have already brought it glory, and I will do it again." (John 10:28, NLT). God spoke from heaven for all to hear yet some people still said it was only thunder. They had made themselves deaf to the Voice of God.
Later in the Chapter we read that most people did not believe in Jesus. Even though He had performed great miracles and God had spoken to Him out loud so everyone could hear with their own ears, some still found some way to explain away the most obvious and undeniable signs.C. S. Lewis
said it well in The Magician’s Nephew
(part of his Chronicles of Narnia
series of books for children): “Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you are is that you very often succeed”. As I start out on my life as a Christian one of the first things that puzzled me was how Christians referred to prayer: they said they “speak with God”. I wondered why I couldn’t hear God speak to me when I prayed. It took me a while before I realised (and it has still to fully dawn on me) that God does speak to me. I used to think it’d be much easier for me if I heard a booming Voice from the sky or if Jesus appeared in front of me. In John 12 though, we see people explaining away a Voice from above, a clear and obvious sign if ever there was one. I pray now before I read the Bible. I pray that God will grant me the wisdom to hear Him speak to me, and me specifically, when I read His Word. I pray that I will be able to see how the chapter I’m about to read will be relevant to me. It works! After reading I take up the conversation with God again, because God likes it when we talk to Him. He already knows what we think and what is going on with us but He loves us and wants us to tell Him anyway, in our own words.
I may not have been explaining away a booming Voice from the sky as thunder but I was denying the little signs. It’s hard for little me to fully comprehend that God loves me and is talking to me - me! I’m a pessimist, you see. To me it’s often the case that the glass is not only half empty, but I’ll also probably only spill it anyway so I might as well just go thirsty. It’s hard for me to believe that good things can happen to me. I had tried to explain away the signs. It was an odd set of coincidences that lead me to being a Christian, and landed myself with some of the best Christian guides anyone could ask for as friends, but I still tried to put it down to just coincidence. I’ve stopped trying to make myself stupid now. I’ve opened up.
Now I hear God speak to me when I read the Bible. I pray for things and they come true, not always in the way I expected but God is full of wonderful surprises. I was lonely and God gave me not only new friends but new brothers and sisters who care about me. I see love in my family and friends and God’s beauty in nature. I’ll probably have the bad days when I don’t hear so well but now that I have learned to accept that God is speaking to me and that God loves me, it’s easier to hear.