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John Twelve

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

John 12:1 Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.

John 12:2 There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.

John 12:3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

very costly. The cost of the ointment was almost equal to the annual wages of a laborer (see note on Matthew 26:12).

the feet of Jesus. This act was similar to that of the sinful woman recorded in Luke 7:37-38. However, the time and place were quite different, as was the unnamed woman. Mary's act of devotion is also described in Matthew 26:6-13 and Mark 14:3-9, though her name was not given in these. The dinner was actually held in the house of Simon the leper (Mark 14:3). It is unlikely that Mary Magdalene (that is, Mary of Magdala, or Mary the Magdalene) could have either been Mary of Bethany or the unnamed woman of Luke 7:37-38 (Mary Magdalene appears immediately after in Luke 8:2).

John 12:4 Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him,

John 12:5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?

pence. See note on John 6:7.

John 12:6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.

he was a thief. Thus Judas was dishonest and a false disciple all along. His act of betrayal, in return for money, was fully in character. He had evidently gone along with the disciples, thinking he would profit when Jesus established His kingdom and overthrew the Romans. When he finally saw this was not going to happen, he decided to get what he could for his trouble and betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

John 12:7 Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.

John 12:8 For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.

poor always. This could be taken as a fulfilled prophecy. No matter what scheme of government or economics has been tried throughout history, poverty has never been eliminated; this is as true today as in the days of Jesus.

John 12:9 Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.

John 12:10 But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death;

John 12:11 Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.

went away, and believed. It is noteworthy that the miracles of Jesus, especially that of the raising of Lazarus, were never doubted by the generation living at the time, because they had seen them. Skeptics in later generations have said the miracles could not have happened, but the opponents of Jesus in His own generation, since they could not question the reality of His miracles, decided simply to slay Him, preventing Him from doing any more.

John 12:12 On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,

John 12:13 Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.

John 12:14 And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written,

as it is written. See the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9. On the various implications of this “triumphal entry,” see the parallel accounts in Matthew 21:4-9; Mark 11:7-10; and Luke 19:28-38.

John 12:15 Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt.

John 12:16 These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.

John 12:17 The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record.

John 12:18 For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle.

John 12:19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.

John 12:20 And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:

John 12:21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.

John 12:22 Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.

John 12:23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.

hour is come. Previously, Jesus had frequently responded to certain pressures merely by saying that His hour had not yet come (e.g., John 2:4; 7:6). Now, however, this was His final week, and He proceeded to stress that fact.

John 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

die. Before He could be glorified, however, Christ must die, be buried, then rise again. This is similar to a corn of wheat planted and seeming to die before springing up from the ground to produce life-giving bread.

John 12:25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

shall lose it. The importance of this principle is indicated by the fact that Christ cites it probably more than any other of His teachings. See also Matthew 10:39; 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24; 17:33. In slightly different form, it is also enunciated frequently by Paul (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; 6:9-10; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 2:5-11; 2 Timothy 2:11-12).

John 12:26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

where I am. And where is Jesus? “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). Such an assembly would usually (but not necessarily) be in an organized local church.

my servant. In this verse, the two occurrences of “serve” should be read in the sense of “minister to.” The word “servant, however, means “bondslave.”

my father honour. That is, when Christ returns. Note 1 Peter 1:7.

John 12:27 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.

John 12:28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.

voice from heaven. The Father had also spoken audibly from heaven in behalf of the Son at His baptism and on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 3:17; 17:5).

John 12:29 The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.

John 12:30 Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.

John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

prince of this world. The “prince of this world” is Satan (John 14:30; 16:11). See also 2 Corinthians 4:4; xTerm 5:18; Ephesians 2:2. The “now” of which Christ speaks refers to the assurance of ultimate victory over Satan that would be won at the cross (Colossians 2:14-15) and empty tomb (Revelation 1:18; Matthew 16:18).

John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

draw all men. Here is another amazing claim (as in Matthew 24:35; John 8:12) that seems absurd, yet has been a remarkably fulfilled prophecy. How could “all kinds of men” (literal meaning) be drawn to a local, relatively unknown itinerant teacher, who was crucified as a criminal on a Roman cross? Yet that is exactly what has been happening for the almost two thousand years since He died.

John 12:33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.

what death. Although His initial hearers did not at first comprehend the meaning of His phrase “lifted up from the earth,” He clearly was referring to His imminent crucifixion (see also John 3:14).

John 12:34 The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?

Christ abideth for ever. Indeed He shall, for “His name shall endure for ever” (Psalm 72:17). His kingdom shall endure “with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever” (Isaiah 9:7). But first He must be “lifted up” and then “the Son of man should be glorified” (John 12:23), through His sacrificial death and victory over death.

John 12:35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.

John 12:36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.

John 12:37 But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:

believed not. Some believed, of course (John 12:11), but most did not, especially the Jewish leaders. Not even such mighty miracles of creation as described in John's gospel will persuade those who prefer not to believe. Note Luke 16:31. Even Christ's own bodily resurrection will not convince those who do not want to submit to Him.

John 12:38 That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?

John 12:39 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,

John 12:40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

John 12:41 These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.

These things said Esaias. This unbelief in Christ was not surprising, for it had been prophesied long before. In John 12:38, John cites Isaiah 53:1, and in John 12:40 he cites Isaiah 6:10. It was in connection with the latter prophecy that Isaiah “saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up” (Isaiah 6:1), in a glorious theophany.

John 12:42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:

did not confess him. A mental belief in the facts concerning Christ is not sufficient for salvation. Open confession is an evidence of saving faith (Romans 10:9-10).

John 12:43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

praise of men. This comment is an indictment of many modern professed evangelicals, who often are so enamored of acceptance and prestige among their “peers” that they will dilute Biblical standards of doctrine and practice to attain and keep their standing in the world.

John 12:44 Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.

John 12:45 And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.

John 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

John 12:47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.

John 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

the word. The vital and eternal importance of the written Word of God (which is, to all intents and purposes, the word spoken by Christ) is thus indicated by the Lord Jesus. The response of men to the Word will be the basis on which they are judged (note John 5:24; Revelation 20:12, 15; etc.).

John 12:49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

John 12:50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.