Tom: We’re continuing with the Gospel of John, and we are in chapter 12—we are going to pick up with verse 27. But Dave, I think it’s important to keep encouraging and maybe informing some of our listeners—if you are a first time listener, the name of the program is Search the Scriptures Daily. And our continual encouragement, exhortation, admonition even, is to—look, we do a lot of chatting back and forth here, and we hope that our conversation has to do with the truth of God’s Word. But it’s up to you, our listeners, to check us out. The last thing we want to do is to promote something that’s erroneous, that’s not true to God’s Word, and we need and we hope and we pray that our listeners would have a heart for the Word of God. That’s our authority, we’ve talked about that in many programs.
Dave: And if we say something that you believe sincerely is not biblical, please write to us and give us your reasons. We would be happy to be corrected from the Word of God.
Tom: Right. We may continue to have differences on certain issues, but ultimately, it’s up to the individual himself. He or she has to know what they believe and why they believe it because they’re going to be standing before the Lord at some point, and if you’ve not read the Word of God, we’re going through the Gospel of John, and it’s our recommendation that if you’ve never read through the Bible, you begin with the Gospel of John. It’s all God’s Word, but this is just a tremendous place to start. John, chapter 12, verse 27, “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.”
Dave: Tom, let me just say something maybe a little bit trivial here, but some people think we have said we take the Bible literally when it should be taken literally, and you know whether it should be taken literally or not. And we know that here He is not talking about a literal 60-minute hour. When we get down to verse 48, “The same shall judge him in the last day.” Well, he’s not talking about a 24-hour day either—the “last day” is much longer than that. So, just deal with that first of all. This is a figurative expression. It’s a period of time. And He is looking forward to the cross and His soul is troubled. We don’t even begin to understand what that means. Not just having nails driven in His hands and feet and being mocked and brutalized, scourged, and a crown of thorns pressed down upon Him, which must have been horrible, painful, but His soul is troubled because He was going to be made sin for us. He was going to bear the full weight of God’s wrath and God’s judgment against the sin of all humanity—of all time—and we don’t even know what that means. And that was what troubled Him.
So He says, “Well, what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour?” In fact, in the garden He prayed, “If it be possible….” He’s not asking the Father to deliver Him. Only if it is possible, and that’s one of the many reasons we know there is no salvation in any other way. Jesus wept in the garden and He said to the Father, “Don’t make me go through with this if man can be saved any other way.” The Father said, “he can’t be saved any other way.” So here He is saying, “Shall I ask the Father to save me from this hour? It’s horrible! No, this is the reason I came into this world.” He has had this ahead of Him his whole life from eternity past; He’s the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.
Tom: Dave, is there any other religion—look, if there’s an expert on religions, it’s you. Seventy-some years, seventy-six years you have been—well, of course, early years you probably took some time off then. But my point is, you have scoured the earth, looked at and dealt with religions probably more than anybody I know. Have you ever found a religion that is even close to offering what biblical Christianity offers?
Tom: …or the God of this religion?
Dave:No, that’s one thing you notice when you study the world’s religions. They have their many differences. Buddhism is basically atheism—there is no God. Buddha didn’t believe in God. He was turned off by the multiplicity of the Hindu gods. In Islam there is one god, Allah. And then, you’ve got the gods of the Greeks, you’ve got paganism, you’ve got the mind sciences, you’ve got so many that seem to be different, and yet, in their essence, they are all against the Bible. You have Christianity on one side, all the world’s religions on the other side. And, of course, what you are referring to is the uniqueness of the sacrifice of Christ.
Tom: Dave, can I just interject this—they do have moral ideas—there are moralists among the religious of the world, but…
Dave: But they imagine that the good deeds can outweigh the bad—we’ve talked about that many times. We just said “the last day will not come until the Muslims confront the Jews and the Muslims destroy them.” This is what Muhammad said: “Every Jew must be killed on the face of the earth before the last day will come.” What is the last day? That’s the day when the good deeds are weighed against the bad deeds, and if the good deeds outweigh the bad, then you make it into paradise.
Well, there is no court of law on this earth that would go by that rule. I mean, it just doesn’t work! “Well, yeah, I know I killed one person last week but I saved the lives of two people yesterday and good deeds outweigh the bad”; “I was speeding, yeah, but I’ve driven more times within the speed limit than I have exceeding it…”! Come on! You, as a Roman Catholic growing up, you know many Catholics have this idea. Muslims have this idea. Many people think, “Well, I’m not so bad.” It only takes one sin to be a sinner; it only takes one breach of the law to be a law breaker. And James says, “If you break the law in just one point of the law you’re guilty of all,” because breaking it is rebellion against God. That’s why just eating this forbidden fruit—simple thing—brought death, judgment upon mankind. Okay?
Tom: Dave, I’m sorry for interrupting, but I’m just excited about what we are reading and again, comparing it to all the world’s religions. Their gods are all looking for those under him or her, whatever it might be, those in service to them, to do things in order to obtain salvation. But here we have Jesus, who is God, who became a man, and he’s in communication with the Father. He’s saying whatHe has to do, and it’s the only way. So here we have God doing it all and there’s nothing we can do! How different! It’s like one pole to the other, the North to the South. They are so far apart, and yet people are saying, O, no, no! “They are all saying the same thing. We’re all taking different roads to get to the same place.”
Dave: They are not all saying the same thing and this, of course, is the big divide: that God became a man; that He didn’t cease to be God, He will never cease to be man, He is the only one God/man. This is Jesus Christ, and because of who He is, He alone could pay the penalty for our sins. Now that is absolutely the opposite of all the other religions and whatever, as you point out, whatever their differences are, they all agree it’s by their good works, it’s by their efforts. They are going to appease God, they are going to somehow earn their salvation, their heaven, or whatever it is.
You know that the Catholics believe that they have to suffer in purgatory. Somehow, they will be purged in the flames of purgatory from their sins and the consequences of their sins. So you will find that everywhere in every religion—this is a commonality. The Bible alone, Christianity alone, is on the other side, in opposition to these religions and Christianity very firmly says, No, you cannot…
Tom: Biblical Christianity, I just had to interject that, Dave.
Dave: Okay, thank you. Biblical Christianity—what the Bible teaches. You cannot appease God. It’s like, what am I going to do to appease a judge? I’m a murderer, let’s say, but somehow I am going to appease the judge. No, there is something called justice. Justice has to be meted out and just because the judge loves the person does not mean he can forgive that person. That would be a breach of the law in itself, it would make him a party to their crime. So, the issue is justice and Paul argues this---you said we ought to read the book of John first, okay, then let’s go to Acts and let’s get to Romans. And in Romans, Paul is saying, How can God be just and yet justify sinners? How is he going to do it? How can he forgive the wicked, people who deserve, who are guilty, who deserve judgment? Only because the penalty has been paid. There is no religion on the earth that---well, there are some that attempt to pay the penalty but you can’t pay it.
Tom: An infinite penalty.
Dave: Only God himself could pay this penalty on behalf of man, that wouldn’t be just because he is not one of us, so God himself became a man in order to pay for our sins, the penalty that his own justice demanded. And furthermore, how could that be? People say, Well, if Jesus is God when he died on the cross who is running the universe? It wasn’t the Father who died, it wasn’t the Holy Spirit who died, it was the Son of God who died, so you couldn’t have the solution to the problem without the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father sent the Son to be the savior of the world. So, we didn’t get very far today, Tom. His soul is troubled but he’s talking to the Father. It’s the Father that has to be satisfied, his justice. Save me from this hour?---No, this is the reason I came, this is why I was born in this world was to die and pay the penalty for man’s sins and that is the distinction between Christianity, true biblical Christianity, and every religion on the face of this earth.
Tom: Now Dave, it’s true we didn’t get very far, but we got a lot, this is really tremendous stuff.