They could not believe, because Isaiah said again, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they should see with their eyes and understand with their heart, lest they should turn, so that I should heal them” (John 12:39-40).
We walked through the park frequented by hordes of ducks each spring, where they poke their bills in the muck for food. As they muck around, they destroy the grass which must be replanted each year.
The grass had been replanted and I noticed lots of grass seed spread on the paved pathway. It’s doubtful that the work crew thought, Hey, maybe this year grass will grow on the asphalt. I’m also unconvinced that their boss saw the seed and complimented them; You guys deserve a raise. At least you planted a seed!
No one tosses seed on asphalt expecting it to produce a lush green lawn.
The gospels teach that Jesus performed signs for two reasons: (1) to prove that He fulfilled God’s promises of a Messiah, and (2) to condemn those who didn’t believe. To see His Christ’s works and disbelieve proved the spiritual blindness of Israel. This is the backdrop for John 12:37, Although He had done so many signs before then, they did not believe in Him.
John repeats the fact that most in Israel could not believe in Jesus (Jn 3:12; 5:38, 44, 47; 6:36, 64; 8:45, 46; 9:18; 10:25, 38). The seed of God’s Word was never intended to grow in them, but to condemn them.
Not every seed thrown is actually planted, and we shouldn’t be disappointed when seed on the pavement doesn’t grow.