John Chapter 12:12-50

Page 1

The Gospel Of John Chapter 12:12-50

I. Introductory Comments: ‘The narrative of the triumphal entry is found in all four Gospels….John does not include all the details that we find elsewhere, and, for example, says little about the procuring of the donkey, saying only that Jesus “having found a young donkey, sat thereon”…He has some touches of his own. He alone dates the incident (12:12). He alone mentions the palms, the reference to the raising of Lazarus, the fact that the disciples did not understand the significance of these happenings until after Jesus “was glorified”.’ (Morris p. 581) Once again we must reject the theory that the Gospel writers merely copied from each other, or from a common human document. Jesus said they would be guided by the Holy Spirit, and not left to fallible memory or human sources in retelling this events (John 14:26)

II. Commentary: The reader should note that parallel passages mentioning the same account are found in Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11 and Luke 19:29-44.

John 12:12 ‘On the next day the great multitude who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,’ ‘On the next day’-most feel that this ‘next day’ is Sunday. Jesus arrived on Friday, the feast was either held Friday night, during the Sabbath or on Saturday night. Word quickly spread on that morning that Jesus was on His way to the city from Bethany. Josephus says that at one Passover, over 3 million people were present.

John 12:13 ‘took branches of the palm trees, and went out to meet Him, and began to cry out, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.”’ ‘took branches of the palm trees’-Evidently many palms grew in this region and along the route, the palm was a symbol of victory (Leviticus 23:40; Revelation 7:9). ‘Conquering kings and princes were usually honored in this manner at their triumphal 1

entry—evergreen branches and garlands of flowers were strewn along the parade route. Josephus says that Alexander and Agrippa were received at Jerusalem in this manner. Simon Maccabeaus and later his brother, Judas, were both accorded this honor.’ (Butler p. 177) In addition, the multitudes were spreading their garments as a kind of ‘red carpet’ treatment for Jesus (Matthew 21:8).

‘began to cry out’-the imperfect tense, they cried out persistently, “shouting all the while” (Berkeley)

“Hosanna!”-the word literally means, “save now, we pray”, or “grant salvation”. ‘In greeting Jesus the word seems to have been used by the multitude less like a prayer to God and more like a joyful acclamation, a little like our: All hail!’ (Lenski p. 852) Hendriksen notes, ‘It is a supplication addressed to Jehovah by the worshipper, who is convinced that the proper time for full deliverance has now at last arrived. In the spirit of joy and of approaching triumph he prays that Jehovah may no longer delay the promised salvation.’ (p. 188)

“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord’-This is a quotation from Psalm 118:26. A very messianic psalm, this is the same psalm that talks about the stone which the builders rejected (118:22-23; Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:7). This was also one of the Psalms which was sung at the Passover.

“even the king of Israel”-It is clear that many believed that Jesus was the Messiah (12:11). But many also probably believed that Jesus was the answer to their earthly expectations, that is, one who would re-establish Israel to her former physical power and glory. Points To Note: 1.

Luke records that these shouts of praise started to happen when Jesus reached the descent of the Mount of Olives (19:37), and that the people were also praising God for all the miracles which Jesus had wrought (19:37). 2. Mark records that the people said, ‘Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David’ (11:10). ‘There can be little doubt that this multitude is anticipating in Jesus the longawaited Messiah who is about to set up His throne in Jerusalem in all the earthly splendor of David.’ (Butler p. 177) 3. Once again the claim of the Premillennialists, that Jesus was coming to set up a physical kingdom, but was rejected of the Jews and therefore changed His mind, is seen as completely contrary to the facts. The multitudes were completely prepared to set up that supposed earthly kingdom on this day! There was no rejection of Jesus being their earthly King—that is what they wanted and they wanted it now!

John 12:14 ‘And Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written,’ ‘finding a young donkey’-The other accounts describe how this animal was procured (Matthew 21:2-7; Mark 11:2-7; Luke 19:30-35). We should be impressed that something 2

very significant is being taught by Jesus’ example on this occasion. Jesus isn’t riding into Jerusalem on a horse, which was a symbol of war, but a donkey, which was commonly associated with peaceful endeavors (Judges 10:4; 12:14; 2 Samuel 17:23; 19:26). Tenney notes, ‘The donkey was used by judges and kings in the Old Testament on errands of peace; the horse was used mainly as a charger in battle. By this conscious fulfillment of prophecy, Jesus offered Himself as a king of peace, not as a warrior. He asserted royal claims, but not in the military manner. The ensuing bewilderment of the disciples was caused by their inability to reconcile His willingness to be recognized as the King of Israel with His unwillingness to exert the secular authority which they thought all kings should use. Not until after the resurrection did they understand His motives.’ (p. 185)

John 12:15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold your King is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” “Fear not, daughter of Zion”-This is a quotation from Zechariah 9:9. ‘Zion appears originally to have denoted either the citadel at Jerusalem or the hill on which it stood. But the word was used poetically as a designation for the city itself. “Daughter of Zion” is a collective, referring to the inhabitants of Jerusalem as a whole.’ (Morris p. 587) Jesus coming on a donkey, emphasizes the peaceful nature of His approach. He comes as a Prince of Peace. ‘To emphasize the peaceful character of his approach and of his reign it is added that he is mounted upon the colt of a donkey. He comes as the Prince of Peace, not as a war-lord. Hence, the daughter of Zion should stop being afraid.’ (Butler p. 178) Lenski notes, ‘Jerusalem deserved the fate that her King should come with power to punish her wickedness and unbelief (and that would happen-Matthew 24:1ff), but this was still the day of grace…So this King came with grace and salvation, not to be feared and dreaded, but to be loved, trusted, and joyfully followed.’ (pp. 854-855) Notice that Jesus is doing everything He can to make the people understand the true nature of His Kingdom.

John 12:16 ‘These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him.’ What a statement! Jesus knew exactly what was happening, but the disciples had been unconsciously, by their words and actions, fulfilling Old Testament prophecies. It was not until after Jesus was resurrected that they understood the true nature of His reign and kingdom (Luke 24:44-49; 25-27). ‘they then perceived that the kingdom was vastly greater and far more worthy than any earthly reign they had envisioned.’ (Woods p. 260)

John 12:17 ‘And so the multitude who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb, and raised him from the dead, were bearing Him witness.’ ‘were bearing Him witness’-There had been a good number of witnesses present when Jesus had raised Lazarus (11:31). Wide spread publicity was being given to this miracle. ‘In the middle of the scenes of enthusiasm, with Jesus being hailed on all sides as king, those who had seen the stupendous miracle, were moved to tell others of what they 3

had seen.’ (Morris p. 588) ‘It was such an unheard of and wonderful deed that they just had to tell it again and again.’ (Hendriksen p. 192)

John 12:18 ‘For this cause also the multitude went and met Him, because they heard that He had performed this sign.’ John 12:19 ‘The Pharisees therefore said to one another, “You see that you are not doing any good; look, the world has gone after Him.”’ “You see that you are not doing any good”-‘you’re not going anywhere’ (Beck); ‘There’s nothing one can do’ (Phi). The Pharisees are frustrated men at this point. ‘They had laid careful plans which probably called for subtle but quiet watching and waiting to spring a cleverly conceived trap. But now all these plans have been upset by the overwhelming popularity He has gained. It seemed as if the whole world had deserted the leadership of the Pharisees…All they could do for the moment was wring their hands in helpless frustration.’ (Butler p. 180) The Pharisees are also frantic, the complaint probably includes the thought that they were moving too slow, they had to do something and something fast! Apparently some of the Pharisees are complaining that this has happened because they haven’t moved fast enough. They could have nipped this in the bud, but now it is too late. ‘This is what we get for moving with caution.’

‘the world has gone after Him’-Which is an ironic thing to say. That was the point, for the world to come to Him (2 Peter 3:9). Points To Note: Between John 12:19 and 20 other events will have taken place: 1. The Pharisees demand that Jesus rebuke His disciples and quiet down the crowds (Luke 19:39-40). 2. Jesus will weep over the city of Jerusalem (19:41-44). Butler notes, ‘The multitudes were now shouting “Hosanna” but they would soon be shouting “Crucify him”…Jesus, by divine prophetic wisdom, could see ahead some thirty-seven years to the day when their shouts of exuberant joy would be turned to cries of agony and wails of despair. Visions of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D. passed vividly before His minds-eye.’ (p. 179) 3. That night He will lodge in Bethany (Mark 11:11). 4. He will then curse the fig tree (Mark 11:12-18), and cleanse the temple (11:17-18). 5. He will answer the question concerning His authority (Matthew 21:23-27), and then He will ask the Pharisees some questions (21:28-32), and give the parable of the wicked husbandmen (21:33-46), and the marriage of the king’s son (Matthew 22:11-14) 6. The Jewish rulers will then try to entrap Jesus with various questions (Matthew 22:15-46). 7. He will rebuke the abuses of the Pharisees (Matthew 23), and observe the poor widow who gave all she had (Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4).

The Greeks Come To Jesus 4

It appears from the events in the other Gospels, that two days are between John 12:19 and 12:20. The triumphal entry took place on Sunday, and the Greeks come to Jesus on Tuesday.

John 12:20 ‘Now there were certain Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast.’ ‘certain Greeks’-Not Greek speaking Jews, but Gentiles. These were probably ‘men who were attracted by the lofty morality and the monotheism of Judaism, but did not care to become full proselytes by circumcision.’ (Morris p. 591) These Greeks may have seen Jesus cleanse the Temple court of the hucksters. Butler notes, ‘Out of despair and hopelessness brought on by their lifelong association with Greek philosophy and religion they were probably attracted to the Jewish religion because of its reasonableness and high moral standards. The idealism of Plato was cold, unfeeling and hopeless; and the materialism of Aristotle was unreasonable and contrary to man’s higher nature; the determinism and sensuality of Epicurus led to chaos and despair.’ (p. 185) All of this is very interesting, because our Western civilization seems to think that the writings of the Greek philosophers contain a lot of wisdom. These Greeks don’t seem to be very impressed with such things.

John 12:21 ‘these therefore came to Philip, who was from Bethsadia of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus”’. ‘came to Philip’-Why did they approach Philip? Attracted by his Greek name? Or is his home town mentioned, because the Greeks were also from that town or had meet him there?

“we wish to see Jesus”-anyone could “see” Jesus as He moved among the people, these individuals wanted much more than that, they wanted a personal interview with Jesus. These Greeks will not be the last Gentiles to ‘seek’ Jesus. Obviously, these individuals are seeking time with Jesus, like any seeker of truth. The wisdom of the Greeks and failed to satisfy their souls. They were hopeful that Jesus could satisfy their spiritual needs.

John 12:22 ‘’Philip came and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip came, and they told Jesus.’ Philip appears to be somewhat perplexed by the request and solicits the assistance of Andrew. Jesus had instructed the disciples not to go in the way of the Gentiles (Matthew 10:5). ‘here in the Temple hostile eyes watched every moment of Jesus with the most vicious intent. For him to make advances to these Greek proselytes might involve him in great peril. So Philip consults Andrew..’ (Lenski p. 861)


John 12:23 ‘And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”’ ‘Jesus answered them’-‘We do not know whether the Greeks were within hearing distance of Jesus’ speech or whether He answered the two disciples and they in turn told the Greeks.’ (Butler p. 186) And yet, others are hearing what Jesus is teaching, the multitude appears in 12:29 and 12:34.

“The hour has come”-Jesus knew exactly the events that would happen this week, He was fully in tune with the Father’s time schedule. The “hour” which had not been at hand previously (7:6,30; 8:20), has now arrived.

“the Son of Man to be glorified”-Note how Jesus describes His own death. It isn’t a mistake, a second thought, or only a plan-B. ‘It was important that all present should know that the Lord’s glorification came not by worldly applause such as he received from the curious multitudes who expected an earthly kingdom with all the pomp and splendor of oriental realms, but by death.’ (Woods pp. 263-264) Jesus speaks of His death, not as a tragedy but of triumph. Death is not dishonor Him, rather, He and the Father were glorified by the crucifixion and the resurrection. It demonstrated the great love and unselfishness of Deity (Romans 5:6-8; Philippians 2:6-9). The Premillennialists are so off base on this point. The Jews didn’t reject Jesus as their earthly King—He was now more popular than ever. He could have had an earthly throne on the day He entered Jerusalem in triumph.

John 12:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” ‘With divine mastery Jesus pictures the glorification which is about to begin for him. The image chosen perfectly illustrates both the necessity of the cross and its resultant glory…If a grain of wheat be not put into the soil, it will, indeed, not die, but it will then “itself remain alone” and produce nothing.’ (Lenski pp. 862-863) Jesus realized that His death would open up the opportunity for tremendous fruit (i.e. converts) and all the positive ramifications of the gospel message. ‘That the unspeakable shame and suffering of His torture and death on the cross should be hailed as the hour of glorification, savors of heaven rather than earth. Jesus explains how this can be that His death is to be the open door to life.’ (Foster p. 1181) Like the grain of wheat, Jesus must first die, before abundant life can result. Here is one more passage which stresses the essential nature of the cross. If we are to have spiritual life, then Jesus must die!

John 12:25 “He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal.” “He who loves his life loses it”-Matthew 16:24-26/ Luke 14:26ff. It is this principle that enables Jesus to lay down His life. Jesus isn’t following some “forced” plan, rather, 6

He is following a great principle. But this principle also applies to those who would follow Jesus. 1. Jesus pointed out that “life” is more than “living” (Matthew 6:25). 2. A life spent in the pursuit of material things or self-interest, is a life that will miss true life. 3. ‘The world is full of these blind lovers who love themselves to their undoing. Many will at last hate themselves bitterly for not having hated themselves properly in this life.’ (Lenski p. 864)

“he who hates his life in this world”-Jesus isn’t advocating suicide, but rather a healthy attitude of putting oneself second, to the more important things in life. ‘The man whose priorities are right has such an attitude of love for the things of God that it makes all interest in the affairs of this life appear by comparison as hatred.’ (Morris p. 594) This passage means that Christians need to be prepared to go contrary to their ‘natural’ inclinations of comfort, pleasure, and so on, in order to serve God and others. Hating our life means that we are willing to put aside fear, peer pressure, what we are comfortable with, shyness, and so on to further the gospel. Lenski notes, ‘He may look as though he is losing his life by getting nothing out of it, yet in reality he is the only one who is taking care of and protecting even his earthly life.’ (p. 864)

John 12:26 “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall My servant also be; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” “anyone”-The Greeks can come to Jesus, as can anyone else who so chooses. “let him follow Me”-Let his service be more than lip service, or an academic type of following (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46). ‘imitate me; do what I do, bear what I bear, and love what I love.’ (Butler p. 187) This following means, ‘let him follow Me in denying self, in putting God first, in remaining faithful, regardless of the cost, and so on’ (Galatians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:21ff).

“there shall My servant also be”-In this life there must be a continual following. Morris says, ‘This is to be understood in the light of the previous verse. Being where the Lord is entails suffering.’ (p. 594) Unbelievers can’t come where the Lord is (John 7:34; 8:21). This verse probably also includes the idea of being with the Lord is eternity (Philippians 1:21,23).

“the Father will honor him”-The Father will not honor those who refuse or neglect to serve Jesus. Some of this honor is seen in Matthew 25:21 and 1 Peter 1:4.

John 12:27 “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour?’ But for this purpose I came to this hour.” “My soul has become troubled”-Jesus certainty didn’t teach or practice some Eastern mystical religion. He wasn’t apathetic about life, death and suffering. The word ‘troubled’ means deeply stirred or agitated. ‘Not by any means coldly, indifferently, or without feeling is Jesus going into his death. He was perfectly aware of all that his death 7

entailed.’ (Lenski p. 869) Jesus didn’t have His head in the clouds, like some naïve person who thinks that death will solve all their problems. His death will be extremely painful. We should note that God doesn’t like pain either, God doesn’t find pleasure in seeing people suffer. It’s OK to be unsettled by things, it’s OK to be afraid to die. Barclay notes, ‘Real courage does not mean not being afraid. There is no virtue in doing a thing if to do it is an easy thing. Real courage means to be terribly afraid, and yet to do the thing that ought to be done.’ (p. 146)

“and what shall I say, ‘Father save Me from this hour?’”-Here we are given a glimpse into the heart of Jesus, we are allowed to see His innermost thoughts. In view of such an agonizing death, should Jesus ask to be spared? Jesus is allowing us to hear His thoughts, He presents to us the alternatives, but in the end there is only one choice.

“But for this purpose I came to this hour”-God’s plan had never been changed. The purpose Jesus came to this earth was to die for the sins of man (John 3:16).

John 12:28 “Father, glorify Thy name.” There came therefore a voice out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” “Father, glorify Thy name”-Instead of praying to be spared, Jesus prayed that the Father would be glorified by His death. ‘The one and in the highest sense the only, purpose of Jesus, now as ever, is the Father’s glory and will…To glorify that “name” is to make it stand out before men in all its truth, grace, power, and other attributes.’ (Lenski pp. 870-871)

“I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again”-The Father’s name had been glorified through the miracles and teachings of Jesus and would be glorified again at the crucifixion and resurrection. On two other occasions the Father had spoken from heaven (Matthew 3:13-17; 17:1ff)

John 12:29 ‘The multitude therefore, who stood by and heard it, were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.”’ John 12:30 ‘Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes.”’

‘The multitude’-These words had been spoken before an audience of people. ‘that it had thundered…an angel has spoken to Him’-Obviously the sound of the voice was audible to all. Some see this as being similar to what Jesus said to Saul


(Acts 9:7; 22:9), while Saul understood what was being said, those following with him only heard a sound. But Morris notes, ‘It is now plain that the voice was not intended primarily for Jesus but for the crowds. Why then did they not understand it?’ (p. 597) ‘Jesus needed no audible answer from the Father to any of his prayers; he knew that the Father always heard him.’ (Lenski p. 873) I personally lean towards the following explanation, ‘Perhaps (those who said it sounded like thunder) they knew better but were trying to give a natural explanation to a supernatural happening, like the skeptics of today!’ (Hendriksen p. 201) This may be a situation like Acts 2:13, where many of the people deliberately chose not to listen to what was being said, or tried to find some ‘natural’ explanation.

John 12:31 “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world shall be cast out.” “Now judgment is upon this world”-The word ‘now’ connects this verse with the events described in the previous verses. The death of Jesus would be a ‘judgment’, for it labeled everyone as a sinner (Romans 3:23).

“now the ruler of this world shall be cast out”-Through sin, Satan had gained the upper-hand over mankind (Luke 4:6; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2; 6:12). Through His death, Jesus would deliver a crushing blow to Satan’s power (Genesis 3:15). Men and women could now escape from the bondage of sin, and also from all the superstitions and fears which the devil had used to shackle mankind (Hebrews 2:14-15). The devil is a defeated enemy for the Christian, we know his tactics (2 Corinthians 2:11), and he will flee from us when we resist him (1 Peter 5:8-9). And yet, he is like a vicious dog that has been bound to a tree. The devil can still do tremendous harm within the circle of his influence and movement. If a person becomes apathetic, or flirtatious with sin, the devil will definitely take advantage of your foolishness. Harkrider notes, ‘By inciting the world to kill Jesus the devil actually brought doom to himself (Revelation 12:9-10)..Only those who willingly close their eyes will be deceived by the ‘god’ of this world (2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2; 6:1213).’ (p. 88)

John 12:32 “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” “draw all men to Myself”-That is, men and women from every race and nation. Another clear statement that anyone can be saved, and that Jesus is the Savior for the whole world. This verse is not teaching the doctrine that God will save everyone, regardless of the choices that people make (2 Peter 3:9). Previously, Jesus had described His death usually the same terminology of being “lifted up” (John 3:14).

John 12:33 ‘But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die.’


Once again, God is making sure that we don’t misunderstand what Jesus is saying. The Bible has its own built in commentary on many verses and statements.

John 12:34 ‘The multitude therefore answered Him, “We have heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up?’ Who is this Son of Man?”’ “We have heard out of the Law…”-The crowd as puzzled. They were under the impression that the Scriptures taught that when the Messiah arrived, He would abide on the earth forever. But when Jesus talked about Himself being “lifted up” (whether they understood that to be a reference to death, or translation into heaven, as in the case of Elijah), that seemed to contradict their understanding of the O.T. The passages that they might have appealed to would have been (Isaiah 9:6; Daniel 7:13-14)

‘Who is this Son of Man?’-that is, the Son of Man that Jesus is making reference to (12:23). ‘Surely, they reasoned, Jesus could not be speaking of the Messiah of the Old Testament; it must be some other Son of Man.’ (Tenney p. 189) ‘We should not overlook the fact that this is the last mention of the crowd in Jesus’ ministry. It is significant that to the end they remain confused and perplexed, totally unable to appreciate the magnitude of the gift that is offered them, nor the significance of the Person who offers it.’ (Morris p. 600)

John 12:35 ‘Jesus therefore said to them, “For a little while longer the light is among you. Walk while you have the light, that darkness may not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes.” John 12:36 “While you have the light, believe in the light, in order that you may become sons of light.” “For a little while longer”-Jesus doesn’t answer their question directly, probably because there are so many misconceptions that need to be unraveled to answer it fully. Rather their questions eventually would be answered, only if they continued to walk in the light of His teachings. Right now, more important than a specific answer to a specific question, they need to believe that Jesus is the light (8:12) and possessed the answers to every question. Points To Note: 1. If we don’t follow Jesus we will end up in the darkness! 2. Regardless of our level of education, social standing and so on, without Jesus, we will end up in sin. We will end up holding to superstitions, erroneous beliefs, ignorant views and sinful habits. 3. Jesus would only be with them for a few more days, if they continued to reject Him, they would remain in darkness and be lost. 4. Contrary to their opinion of the Messiah being on the earth forever, Jesus will only be with them a little while longer. 5. These verses dramatically demonstrate that a person cannot walk in the light apart from Jesus Christ. There are many applications of “darkness”: There is immorality, superstition, anger,


selfishness, self-pity, bitter, resentment, dread, terror, anxiety, and so on. will control your life, it will either be God or the darkness.

6. Something

“believe in the light”-is in the present tense, a continuous belief. Note, our faith isn’t in some “philosophy”, our faith is in a person, “the light” (John 8:12).

John 12:36 ‘These things Jesus spoke, and He departed and hid Himself from them.’ ‘The previous narrative has made it quite plain that He will certainly die. But He will die when He wills. He will not be seized before the time.’ (Morris p. 603)

John 12:37 ‘But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him;’ ‘in verses 38-41 John quotes Isaiah, to show not only that God foreknew this unbelief, but the cause for an unbelief so stubborn that it resists even divine manifestations of miraculous signs.’ (Butler p. 196) This statement makes it clear that the fault for such unbelief wasn’t God or Jesus, but clearly and solely on the shoulders of men. Jesus had tried everything, sort of forcing these people to believe in Him.

John 12:38 ‘that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke, “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”’ ‘the word of Isaiah’-this is a quotation from Isaiah 53:1. This prophecy speaks both of man’s failure to believe in spite of God’s revelation and God’s mighty power. This perfectly fits the previous verse. God’s report had been fully given through Jesus, and God’s mighty arm had been continually exercised in performing miracles, and yet, ‘Who has believed?’

John 12:39 ‘For this cause they could not believe, for Isaiah said again,’ John 12:40 “He has blinded their eyes, and He hardened their heart; lest they see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, and be converted, and I heal them.” ‘they could not believe’-Doesn’t mean that God predestined them to be unbelievers. In fact, God is doing everything He can to produce faith in their heart, even granting that miraculous signs and wonders be performed in the presence of such people, so they have every incentive and every reason to believe.


‘Isaiah said again’-quotation from Isaiah 6:9. “He has blinded their eyes”-From other passages it is clear that this blinding and hardening is something that the people deliberately chose (Matthew 13:15 ‘They have closed their eyes’), which is a quotation from Isaiah 6:10. God says that He blinded them and hardened their hearts, because it was His message that they rejected. He had a message preached that they didn’t want to accept. To this day the preaching of the Gospel will open hearts (Acts 16:14) and the same preaching will close or harden other hearts (Acts 7:51-53). As someone said, the same sun that melts butter will also harden clay. Points To Note: 1.

Many a Christian has experienced the same frustration as that met by Isaiah. There are times when it seems that the preaching of the truth makes people worse instead of better. Isaiah also experienced the same frustration. 2. The Christian needs to be prepared that preaching the gospel will drive some people even farther away from God, it will only increase the alienation. 3. John quotes from two places in Isaiah (6:9) and (53:1) and attributes both of them, not merely to the book of Isaiah, but to Isaiah himself as the actual writer, ‘These things Isaiah said’ (John 12:41). Butler notes, ‘The liberal, modernistic critics may divide the book of Isaiah into two or three parts all they want, but for John there is only one book and Isaiah wrote it all.’ (p. 199) And Lenski drives home the point of how ridiculous such critics look, when he says, ‘The overwhelming evidence for Isaiah’s authorship of the entire book cannot be brushed aside by the remark, which begs the question, that “evidently John did not know any better.”’ (p. 884) John was an inspired man, John knew best!

John 12:41 ‘These things Isaiah said, because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him.’ ‘because he saw His glory’-Was given prophetic insight by God in the future (Isaiah 53:1ff). In addition, Isaiah did see the glory of Jehovah (6:3), but this glory is exactly the same degree of glory that is found in the Son (Hebrews 1:1-3).

John 12:42 ‘Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue;’ ‘Nevertheless’-John doesn’t want to leave the impression that no one believed. Even many of the rulers believed. The teaching of Jesus had been heard and accepted mentally even in the highest circles.


‘lest they should be put out of the synagogue’-Which meant social and often financial disaster for a person of the Jewish race.

John 12:43 ‘for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.’ Points To Note: 1.

The Bible is at times brutally honest. 2. These men hadn’t chosen keeping their lives over Jesus, or feeding their families over Jesus, rather they had chosen “status” over Jesus. Sadly, even some Christians appear to be more interested as what the enemies of God think about them, then what God thinks. Isn’t it strange how we are tempted to seek the praise and favor of people who view us as nothing more than mere objects? We are tempted to sacrifice our relationship with God for the favor of some person, who won’t sacrifice even their time for us. 3. This is a classic example of ‘faith-only’ and such faith never saved anyone! Barclay notes, ‘They knew that Jesus was right; they knew that their fellow-rulers were out to destroy Jesus and all that Jesus was seeking to do for God; but they were not prepared to take the risk of openly declaring for Him. It would have meant an end of their place, their profit, and their prestige..It was too high a price to pay.’ (p. 155) 4. And brethren, the world is filled with men and women are who presently living the same lie! There are countless individuals who have come into contact with the truth, who believe it, who know that what the Church of Christ teaches is the truth, but who are unwilling to pay the price. 5. Peer pressure doesn’t end once you pass out of the teenage years. In fact, in many respects, the pressure only becomes more intense, there is now more at stake! There is now more to lose or possibly part with.

John 12:44 ‘And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me does not believe in Me, but in Him who sent Me.”’ One cannot separate faith in and obedience to Jesus from faith in and obedience to God (Matthew 10:40). The above Jewish rulers are like so many present ‘moral’ people in the world. They balk at becoming a Christian, because they think that it is too radical or risky. They convince themselves that while they aren’t a Christian, they are still a believer in God, and a ‘Christian person’. Jesus doesn’t buy it. If you can’t fully commit to Him, then you don’t believe in God!

John 12:45 “And he who beholds Me beholds the One who sent Me.” The same idea is found in John 14:9 and 1:18. Which means if you don’t care for Jesus, then automatically you are saying that you don’t care for God. The Father doesn’t have a different disposition and attitude than the Son. Study carefully the life of Christ, because this is exactly what the Father is like.


John 12:46 “I have come as light into the world, that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness.” “everyone”-Again, a complete absence of any idea of predestination or only certain individuals can believe.

“may not remain in darkness”-Christianity isn’t a religion of ignorance, rather it delivers men and women from darkness. Outside of Christ, one is in darkness (Acts 26:18).

John 12:47 “And if anyone hears My sayings, and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.” John 12:48 “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.” Points To Note: 1.

Jesus will judge the world, but His initial mission to this world was to offer salvation, not condemnation. The world was already condemned when He arrived (Mark 16:16). 2. One cannot claim to love Jesus or accept Him, at the same time, of ignoring or ridiculing what He taught. You cannot separate Jesus from what He taught. Those who say, ‘Teach the man, not the plan’, are saying, ‘reject His sayings, but receive Him.’ So many people try to say, ‘I love you Jesus’, but I hate what the Bible says. 3. The unbeliever will be judged, and what will judge Him, is what Jesus taught. This means that what Jesus taught in the First Century will still be valid at the last day. Time and culture will not change the Word of God. Jesus was giving a message for all time, not just for those who lived in the First Century. At the last day, the teachings of the New Testament will still be in force (Revelation 21:8; 22:18-19). Both moral teachings and doctrinal teachings. 4. Since the Gospel will be spread through the entire world (Mark 16:15), everyone in the world is accountable to what Jesus taught.

John 12:49 “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has give Me commandment, what to say, and what to speak.” “For”-Because what Jesus taught is of Divine origin, it is therefore fitting that this is the message that will judge all men.

“what to say, and what to speak”-‘what to say and how to say it’ (Bas). The totality of the message that Jesus presented was from God. Woods notes, ‘He acted by divine commandment, both with reference to what he should say (in substance) and how 14

he should say it (in manner of speaking). Thus, both the teaching and the manner of its presentation resulted from direct conformity to the will of the Father.’ (p. 277) In view of this we must conclude that Jesus will deal with the denominations and all religious groups which have deviated from the truth—just as He dealt with the Pharisees and Sadducees! The Jesus that we will face at the last day—will act and speak like the Jesus who walked upon the face of this earth.

John 12:50 “And I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.” “His commandment is eternal life”-‘The Father’s commandment is not a harsh restriction. On the contrary, it is “life eternal”.’ (Morris p. 609) Once again, Jesus connects eternal life with believing and obeying the truth. Just following any message won’t result in salvation.

“just as the Father has told Me”-We cannot take Jesus and say, ‘Well, whether or not He is the Son of God is beside the point, He is simply a great individual separate and apart from everything else.’ Jesus is either all (God) or nothing. Points to Note: 1. ‘Faith is not intellectual and spiritual complacency, resting on fixed conclusions which have long since ceased to be vital…..It is the opposite of uncertainty, aimlessness, and negation..Unbelief is not a polite unwillingness to assent to some fact, but is a flat refusal to listen to His truth.’ (Tenney pp. 195-196) 2. Unbelief is a serious matter! It is to turn one’s back on the light, to choose darkness over light, evil over good. Unbelief is to pass judgment upon one’s self, and especially it is to reject God. 3. Unbelief is inexcusable. Too much evidence exists to reject Jesus. 4. Even denominational writers like Tasker can see what Jesus saying, that obedience to His words results in salvation and that disobedience to His words results in condemnation. The faith that saves must be a faith that accepts everything that Jesus taught.


Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.