The rejection of Jesus was not a rational thing. He had done so many signs and wonders it was an almost more amazing wonder that most had not believed. Instead of an intellectual thing, it was a prophetic thing. This rejection was to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah (Isaiah 53:1-3). Their own sin led to the hardening of their hearts, and the miracles only calcified their consciences. However, their unbelief did not ruin the purposes of God, but rather confirmed them.
Therefore they could not believe. John wants us to understand the grace of God toward us who are not Jews. The plan of God included us and in order for that plan to include us as an individual, it had to be taken away from Israel as a nation (Romans 9:6-8, 11:25). God ordained that the Jews reject Jesus that He might be crucified for our sins.
This rejection involved both the will of the unbelieving Jews and the will of God (Acts 2:23). This was all known to God and all predicted by Isaiah, who saw the glory of the Lord (Isaiah 6:1-4), and therefore submitted to His sovereignty (Isaiah 6:8-10). He was given the picture of the Messiah as the Suffering Servant, the sacrifice for man’s sin (Isaiah 53:4-12). God is sovereign, and to deny that is to attempt to rob Him of glory.
People think they can wait to submit to Jesus, but the longer they wait, the more difficult it gets. Even when we have committed to Christ, Christians struggle with the temptation to be secret and blend in with the world (but for fear…they did not confess it). The truth is that we are more concerned with our own comfort than we are about seeing God’s glory as revealed in Scripture. Consequently, we fear the world and love its glory. Conversely, if we see His glory, this is what calms our fears.
For they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. If you seek your own glory, you will see Jesus with the eyes of fear. If you seek God’s glory, you will see Jesus with the eyes of faith. There is a price to following Jesus. The offer is free, but it will mean the loss of certain things. For Jesus, obedience cost Him His life. In one way or another, it will cost you yours as well.
It all depends on how you see things.