Read: John 12:37-43
With ample evidence standing right in front of them, people refused to believe in Jesus even then. The Pharisees refused to believed because they feared that they would be kicked out of the synagogue if they did because they loved the praise of men. They knew they would be expelled from a place of power by the Romans if Jesus was to become too popular (John 10:48). Because they feared to lose power, they refused to believe rather than following the evidence were it lead, which was to the truth of the claims Jesus was making concerning himself about being one from God.
John says that their refusal to believe was a fulfillment of what Isaiah had spoken in Isaiah 53:1. The entire chapter of Isaiah 53 reports of a man who was without sin that died for others and was then resurrected from the dead. This could be none other than Jesus, but even so, Isaiah asks, “who has believed their report?” John then refers to Isaiah’s commission and message. Isaiah had just seen the glory of God and was cleansed. He was then told to go tell the people a message, but knowing that they their eyes would be shut and their ears closed. This was not the case because they couldn’t hear the message, but that they refused to believe it, otherwise they would be healed. The Pharisees just refused to believe even when some of the “rulers” (that is some members of the Sanhedrin, perhaps Nicodemus from John 3:1) believed in him.
In the world today, one of the most often cited reasons for not believing in God is that there is no evidence for the existence of God. Many even go further, saying that Jesus did not exist. The problem with saying this is that it is simply not true. Jesus’ existence is well documented as historical facts by both biblical and extrabiblical sources. Prominent non-Christian historians and figures like Tacitus, Gaius Suetonius, Josephus, Pliny the Younger, and the Emperor Hadrian all acknowledge Jesus’ existence. One would have to deny both the biblical and extra biblical evidence to deny the existence of Jesus. But affirming Jesus as a man does not affirm him as God. One would have to accept the existence of Jesus but deny other historical evidence that affirms his divinity (such as the resurrection) to say that Jesus was merely a man. All in all, evidence for Jesus’ existence would be evidence for God’s existence. The Pharisees had the evidence revealed to their own eyes and would not believe because they had some other motive not to believe, and this is probably the reason that many refuse to believe in God. If one is truly open to where the evidence leads then it can only really lead one place: Jesus. Christians need not fear being wrong about what they believe because what they believe is true and affirmed by facts.
Lord, the truth can only be found in you! I believe and know it to be so!