“Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him,” John 12:37
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!” Isaiah 6:3
Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. John 12:41
As John opens his evangelical book with the sobering words that Jesus came to his own and his own did not receive him, so we find in chapter twelve of John’s writing that many, many did not believe in him, even though they saw so many miracles. We are forced to ask why? Why do these people not believe? From their experience they simply did not find the evidence compelling enough for them to jump on board and follow Jesus. Jesus is very demanding. He says you must abide in his word to truly be his disciple. They are not that impressed; they take a pass.
In John 12, John 6:44, John 8: 47, and in Matthew 11: 25, (and many other places) God tells us that the unbelief is all a part of God’s plan too. In John 12 John tells us that the people did not believe in order that God’s word would be fulfilled. Then quoting Isaiah he makes the point that their unbelief is actually predetermined by God!
Their unbelief is their responsibility, and they will be held accountable for it, yet at the same time it is preordained by God too. To our simple, finite minds this seems like an irreconcilable contradiction, but it is the way God reveals it to be, and it is the way in which God operates his creation. (Read 1 Peter 2: 6-10, and Romans 9: 6-26 for further support.)
But look, here is the gorgeous clincher in John 12: 41. John recalls to mind Isaiah's rapturous vision of God high and lifted up sitting on his throne. As I quoted above, remember what the seraphim were constantly saying? “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” Isaiah 6:3 The original context of this vision was a time period where obedient faith was very rare. God’s people had rejected him over and over. They were bound for crushing judgment. Yet even in this context God is perfectly holy, and the whole earth is full of his glory! Even in overwhelming, flooding, ubiquitous dishonoring of God, he is still receiving glory. The WHOLE EARTH is FULL of his glory. His glory is not diminished at all by the unbelief of mankind. He is actually glorified through it. As Proverbs 16: 4 says “The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.”
God is not some unsuccessful salesman who cannot close the deal! He is working his perfect plan and it all brings him glory. See his glory. Believe in him! The whole earth is full of his glory!