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S B tudy


John MacArthur Author and General Editor


New International Version

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The MacArthur Study Bible, New International Version Copyright © 2013 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by Permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Maps by International Mapping. Copyright © 2009, 2011 by Zondervan. All rights reserved. The NIV® text may be quoted in any form (written, visual, electronic or audio), up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without the express written permission of the publisher, providing the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible nor do the verses quoted account for twenty-five percent (25%) or more of the total text of the work in which they are quoted. Notice of copyright must appear on the title or copyright page as follows: Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™ When quotations from the NIV® text are used by a local church in non-saleable media such as church bulletins, orders of service, posters, overhead transparencies, or similar materials, a complete copyright notice is not required, but the initials (NIV®) must appear at the end of each quotation. Any commentary or other biblical reference work produced for commercial sale, that uses the NIV® text must obtain written permission for use of the NIV® text. Permission requests for commercial use within the USA and Canada that exceeds the above guidelines must be directed to, and approved in writing by Zondervan, 5300 Patterson Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49530, USA, www.Zondervan. com Permission requests for commercial use within the UK, EU and EFTA that exceeds the above guidelines must be directed to, and approved in writing by Hodder & Stoughton Limited, 338 Euston Road, London NW1 3BH, United Kingdom, Permission requests for non-commercial use that exceeds the above guidelines must be directed to, and approved in writing by Biblica US, Inc., 1820 Jet Stream Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80921, USA, Any Internet addresses (websites, blogs, etc.) and telephone numbers printed in this Bible are offered as a resource. They are not intended in any way to be or imply an endorsement by Zondervan, nor does Zondervan vouch for the content of these sites and numbers for the life of the Bible. A portion of the purchase price of your NIV® Bible is provided to Biblica so together we support the mission of Transforming lives through God’s Word. Biblica provides God’s Word to people through translation, publishing and Bible engagement in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, and North America. Through its worldwide reach, Biblica engages people with God’s Word so that their lives are transformed through a relationship with J­ esus Christ. All text other than that specified below or otherwise noted copyright ©1997, 2006, 2013 by John MacArthur. Interior charts and maps used by permission of Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee. Chronological charts on pages 2, 3, 10, 11, 1352, 1353, 1359, 1360 are used by permission of John C. Whitcomb, Jr. and James L. Boyer. “Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s Day” on page 669 is taken from The Illustrated Bible Dictionary and is used by permission. Copyright © 1980 by The Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship. “Second Kings, Jeremiah, and Lamentations Compared” on page 1123 is taken from A Biblical Approach to Personal Suffering by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. and is used by permission of the author. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America


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NT ew



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Introduction to The

The English word “gospel” derives from the Anglo-Saxon word godspell, which can mean either “a story about God,” or “a good story.” The latter meaning is in harmony with the Greek word translated “gospel,” euangellion, which means “good news.” In secular Greek, euangellion referred to a good report about an important event. The four gospels are the good news about the most significant events in all of history—​the life, sacrificial death, and resurrection of ­Jesus of Nazareth. The gospels are not biographies in the modern sense of the word, since they do not intend to present a complete life of ­Jesus (cf. Jn 20:30; 21:25). Apart from the birth narratives, they give little information about the first 30 years of J­ esus’ life. While J­ esus’ public ministry lasted over three years, the gospels focus much of their attention on the last week of His life (cf. Jn 12–​20). Though they are completely accurate historically, and present important biographical details of J­ esus’ life, the primary purposes of the gospels are theological and apologetic (Jn 20:31). They provide authoritative answers to questions about J­ esus’ life and ministry, and they strengthen believers’ assurance regarding the reality of their faith (Lk 1:4). Although many spurious gospels were written, the church from earliest times has accepted only Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as inspired Scripture. While each gospel has its unique perspective (see the discussion of the “Synoptic Problem” in the Introduction to Mark: Interpretive Challenges), Matthew, Mark, and Luke, when compared to John, share a common point of view. Because of that, they are known as the synoptic (from a Greek word meaning “to see together,” or “to share a common point of view”) gospels. Matthew, Mark, and Luke, for example, focus on Christ’s Galilean ministry, while John focuses on His ministry in Judea. The synoptic gospels contain numerous parables, while John records none. John and the synoptic gospels record only two common events (­Jesus’ walking on the water, and the feeding of the 5,000) prior to Passion Week. These differences between John and the synoptic gospels, however, are not contradictory, but complementary. As already noted, each gospel writer wrote from a unique perspective, for a different audience. As a result, each gospel contains distinctive elements. Taken together, the four gospels form a complete testimony about ­Jesus Christ. Matthew wrote primarily to a Jewish audience, presenting ­Jesus of Nazareth as Israel’s longawaited Messiah and rightful King. His genealogy, unlike Luke’s, focuses on J­ esus’ royal descent from Israel’s greatest king, David. Interspersed throughout Matthew are OT quotes presenting various aspects of ­Jesus’ life and ministry as the fulfillment of OT messianic prophecy. Matthew alone uses the phrase “kingdom of heaven,” avoiding the parallel phrase “kingdom of God” because of the unbiblical connotations it had in first-century Jewish thought. Matthew wrote his gospel, then, to strengthen the faith of Jewish Christians, and it provides a useful apologetic tool for Jewish evangelism. Mark targeted a Gentile audience, especially a Roman one (see Introduction to Mark: Background and Setting). Mark is the gospel of action; the frequent use of “immediately” and “then” keeps his narrative moving rapidly along. ­Jesus appears in Mark as the Servant (cf. Mk 10:45) who came to suffer for the sins of many. Mark’s fast-paced approach would especially appeal to the practical, action-oriented Romans. Luke addressed a broader Gentile audience. As an educated Greek (see Introduction to Luke: Author and Date), Luke wrote using the most sophisticated literary Greek of any NT writer. He was a careful researcher (Lk 1:1–​4) and an accurate historian. Luke portrays J­ esus as the Son of Man (a

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Introduction to the Gospels




title appearing 25 times), the answer to the needs and hopes of the human race, who came to seek and save lost sinners (Lk 9:56; 19:10). John, the last gospel written, emphasizes the deity of J­esus Christ (e.g., 5:18; 8:58; 10:30–​33; 14:9). John wrote to strengthen the faith of believers and to appeal to unbelievers to come to faith in Christ. The apostle clearly stated his purpose for writing in 20:31: “ . . . these are written that you may believe that J­ esus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Taken together, the four gospels weave a complete portrait of the God-Man, ­Jesus of Nazareth. In Him were blended perfect humanity and deity, making Him the only sacrifice for the sins of the world, and the worthy Lord of those who believe.

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Introduction to

// Title The title of the fourth gospel continues the pattern of the other gospels, being identified originally as “According to John.” Like the others, “The Gospel” was added later.

// Author and Date Although the author’s name does not appear in the gospel, early church tradition strongly and consistently identified him as the apostle John. The early church father Irenaeus (ca. a.d. 130–​200) was a disciple of Polycarp (ca. a.d. 70–​160), who was a disciple of the apostle John, and he testified on Polycarp’s authority that John wrote the gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia Minor when he was advanced in age (Against Heresies 2.22.5; 3.1.1). Subsequent to Irenaeus, all the church fathers assumed John to be the gospel’s author. Clement of Alexandria (ca. a.d. 150–​215) wrote that John, aware of the facts set forth in the other gospels and being moved by the Holy Spirit, composed a “spiritual gospel” (see Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History 6.14.7). Reinforcing early church tradition are significant internal characteristics of the gospel. While the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) identify the apostle John by name approximately 20 times (including parallels), he is not directly mentioned by name in the gospel of John. Instead, the author prefers to identify himself as the disciple “whom Jesus loved” (13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20). The absence of any mention of John’s name directly is remarkable when one considers the important part played by other named disciples in this gospel. Yet, the recurring designation of himself as the disciple “whom Jesus loved,” a deliberate avoidance by John of his personal name, reflects his humility and celebrates his relation to his Lord Jesus. No mention of his name was necessary since his original readers clearly understood that he was the gospel’s author. Also, through a process of elimination based primarily on analyzing the material in chaps. 20, 21, this disciple “whom Jesus loved” narrows down to the apostle John (e.g., 21:24; cf. 21:2). Since the gospel’s author is exacting in mentioning the names of other characters in the book, if the author had been someone other than John the apostle, he would not have omitted John’s name. The gospel’s anonymity strongly reinforces the arguments favoring John’s authorship, for only someone of his well-known and preeminent authority as an apostle would be able to write a gospel that differed so markedly in form and substance from the other gospels and have it receive unanimous acceptance in the early church. In contrast, apocryphal gospels produced from the mid-second century onward were falsely ascribed to apostles or other famous persons closely associated with Jesus, yet universally rejected by the church. John and James, his older brother (Ac 12:2), were known as “the sons of Zebedee” (Mt 10:2–​4), and Jesus gave them the name “sons of thunder” (Mk 3:17). John was an apostle (Lk 6:12–​16) and one of the three most intimate associates of Jesus (along with Peter and James—​cf. Mt 17:1; 26:37), being an eyewitness to and participant in Jesus’ earthly ministry (1Jn 1:1–​4). After Christ’s ascension, John became a “pillar” in the Jerusalem church (Gal 2:9). He ministered with Peter (Ac 3:1; 4:13; 8:14) until he went to Ephesus (tradition says before the destruction of Jerusalem), from where he wrote this gospel and from where the Romans exiled him to Patmos (Rev 1:9). Besides the gospel that bears his name, John also authored 1–​3 John and the book of Revelation (Rev 1:1).

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Introduction to John

Because the writings of some church fathers indicate that John was actively writing in his old age and that he was already aware of the Synoptic Gospels, many date the gospel sometime after their composition, but prior to John’s writing of 1–​3 John or Revelation. John wrote his gospel ca. a.d. 80–​90, about 50 years after he witnessed Jesus’ earthly ministry.

// Background and Setting Strategic to John’s background and setting is the fact that according to tradition John was aware of the Synoptic Gospels. Apparently, he wrote his gospel in order to make a unique contribution to the record of the Lord’s life (“a spiritual gospel”) and, in part, to be supplementary as well as complementary to Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The gospel’s unique characteristics reinforce this purpose: First, John supplies a large amount of unique material not recorded in the other gospels. Second, he often supplies information that helps the understanding of the events in the Synoptics. For example, while the Synoptics begin with Jesus’ ministry in Galilee, they imply that Jesus had a ministry prior to that (e.g., Mt 4:12; Mk 1:14). John supplies the answer with information on Jesus’ prior ministry in Judea (chap. 3) and Samaria (chap. 4). In Mk 6:45, after the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus compelled His disciples to cross the Sea of Galilee to Bethsaida. John recorded the reason. The people were about to make Jesus king because of His miraculous multiplying of food, and He was avoiding their ill-motivated efforts (6:26). Third, John is the most theological of the Gospels, containing, for example, a heavily theological prologue (1:1–​18), larger amounts of didactic and discourse material in proportion to narrative (e.g., 3:13–​17), and the largest amount of teaching on the Holy Spirit (e.g., 14:16, 17, 26; 16:7–​14). Although John was aware of the Synoptics and fashioned his gospel with them in mind, he did not depend upon them for information. Rather, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he utilized his own memory as an eyewitness in composing the gospel (1:14; 19:35; 21:24). John’s gospel is the second (cf. Lk 1:1–​4) that contains a precise statement regarding the author’s purpose (20:30, 31). He declares, “these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (20:31). The primary purposes, therefore, are twofold: evangelistic and apologetic. Reinforcing the evangelistic purpose is the fact that the word believe occurs approximately 100 times in the gospel (the Synoptics use the term less than half as much). John composed his gospel to provide reasons for saving faith in his readers and, as a result, to assure them that they would receive the divine gift of eternal life (1:12). The apologetic purpose is closely related to the evangelistic purpose. John wrote to convince his readers of Jesus’ true identity as the incarnate God-Man whose divine and human natures were united perfectly into one person who was the prophesied Christ (“Messiah”) and Savior of the world (e.g., 1:41; 3:16; 4:25, 26; 8:58). He organized his whole gospel around eight “signs” or proofs that reinforce Jesus’ true identity leading to faith. The first half of his work centers around seven miraculous signs selected to reveal Christ’s person and engender belief: 1) water made into wine (2:1–​11); 2) the healing of the royal official’s son (4:46–​54); 3) the healing of the lame man (5:1–​18); 4) the feeding of a multitude (6:1–​15); 5) walking on water (6:16–​21); 6) healing of the blind man (9:1–​41); and 7) the raising of Lazarus (11:1–​57). The eighth sign is the miraculous catch of fish (21:6–​11) after Jesus’ resurrection.

// Historical and Theological Themes In accordance with John’s evangelistic and apologetic purposes, the overall message of the gospel is found in 20:31: “Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.” The book, therefore, centers on the person and work of Christ. Three predominant words (“signs,” “believe,” and “life”) in 20:30, 31 receive constant reemphasis throughout the gospel to enforce the theme of salvation in Him, which is first set forth

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Introduction to John




in the prologue (1:1–​18; cf. 1Jn 1:1–​4) and re-expressed throughout the gospel in varying ways (e.g., 6:35, 48; 8:12; 10:7, 9; 10:11–​14; 11:25; 14:6; 17:3). In addition, John provides the record of how men responded to Jesus Christ and the salvation that He offered. Summing up, the gospel focuses on: 1) Jesus as the Word, the Messiah, and the Son of God; 2) who brings the gift of salvation to mankind; 3) who either accept or reject the offer. John also presents certain contrastive sub-themes that reinforce his main theme. He uses dualism (life and death, light and darkness, love and hate, from above and from below) to convey vital information about the person and work of Christ and the need to believe in Him (e.g., 1:4, 5, 12, 13; 3:16–​21; 12:44–​46; 15:17–​20). There are also seven emphatic “I AM” statements which identify Jesus as God and Messiah (6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 9; 10:11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1, 5).

// Interpretive Challenges Because John composed his record in a clear and simple style, one might tend to underestimate the depth of this gospel. Since John’s gospel is a “spiritual” gospel (see Authorship and Date), the truths he conveys are profound. The reader must prayerfully and meticulously explore the book, in order to discover the vast richness of the spiritual treasures that the apostle, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (14:26; 16:13), has lovingly deposited in his gospel. The chronological reckoning between John’s gospel and the Synoptics presents a challenge, especially in relation to the time of the Last Supper (13:2). While the Synoptics portray the disciples and the Lord at the Last Supper as eating the Passover meal on Thursday evening (Nisan 14) and Jesus being crucified on Friday, John’s gospel states that the Jews did not enter into the Praetorium in order “to avoid ceremonial uncleanness . . . because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover” (18:28). So, the disciples had eaten the Passover on Thursday evening, but the Jews had not. In fact, John (19:14) states that Jesus’ trial and crucifixion were on the day of Preparation for the Passover and not after the eating of the Passover, so that with the trial and crucifixion on Friday Christ was actually sacrificed at the same time the Passover lambs were being slain (19:14). The question is, “Why did the disciples eat the Passover meal on Thursday?” The answer lies in a difference among the Jews in the way they reckoned the beginning and ending of days. From Josephus, the Mishna, and other ancient Jewish sources we learn that the Jews in northern Israel calculated days from sunrise to sunrise. That area included the region of Galilee, where Jesus and all the disciples, except Judas, had grown up. Apparently most, if not all, of the Pharisees used that system of reckoning. But Jews in the southern part, which centered in Jerusalem, calculated days from sunset to sunset. Because all the priests necessarily lived in or near Jerusalem, as did most of the Sadducees, those groups followed the southern scheme. That variation doubtlessly caused confusion at times, but it also had some practical benefits. During Passover time, for instance, it allowed for the festival to be celebrated legitimately on two adjoining days, thereby permitting the temple sacrifices to be made over a total period of four hours rather than two. That separation of days may also have had the effect of reducing both regional and religious clashes between the two groups. On that basis the seeming contradictions in the gospel accounts are easily explained. Being Galileans, Jesus and the disciples considered Passover day to have started at sunrise on Thursday and to end at sunrise on Friday. The Jewish leaders who arrested and tried Jesus, being mostly priests and Sadducees, considered Passover day to begin at sunset on Thursday and end at sunset on Friday. By that variation, predetermined by God’s sovereign provision, Jesus could thereby legitimately celebrate the last Passover meal with His disciples and yet still be sacrificed on Passover day. Once again one can see how God sovereignly and marvelously provides for the precise fulfillment of His redemptive plan. Jesus was anything but a victim of men’s wicked schemes, much less

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Introduction to John

of blind circumstance. Every word He spoke and every action He took were divinely directed and secured. Even the words and actions by others against Him were divinely controlled. See, e.g., 11:49–​ 52; 19:11.



I. The Incarnation of the Son of God (1:1–​18) A. His Eternality (1:1, 2) B. His Pre-incarnate Work (1:3–​5) C. His Forerunner (1:6–​8) D. His Rejection (1:9–​11) E. His Reception (1:12, 13) F. His Deity (1:14–​18)

II. The Presentation of the Son of God (1:19—​4:54) A. Presentation by John the Baptist (1:19–​34)   1. To the religious leaders (1:19–​28)   2. At Christ’s baptism (1:29–​34) B. Presentation to John’s Disciples (1:35–​51)   1. Andrew and Peter (1:35–​42)   2. Philip and Nathanael (1:43–​51) C. Presentation in Galilee (2:1–​12)   1. First sign: water to wine (2:1–​10)   2. Disciples believe (2:11, 12) D. Presentation in Judea (2:13—​3:36)   1. Cleansing the temple (2:13–​25)   2. Teaching Nicodemus (3:1–​21)   3. Preaching by John the Baptist (3:22–​36) E. Presentation in Samaria (4:1–​42)   1. Witness to the Samaritan woman (4:1–​26)   2. Witness to the disciples (4:27–​38)   3. Witness to the Samaritans (4:39–​42) F. Presentation in Galilee (4:43–​54)   1. Reception by the Galileans (4:43–​45)   2. Second sign: healing the royal official’s son (4:46–​54)

III. The Opposition to the Son of God (5:1—​12:50) A. Opposition at the Festival in Jerusalem (5:1–​47)   1. Third sign: healing the paralyzed man (5:1–​9)   2. Rejection by the Jews (5:10–​47) B. Opposition During Passover (6:1–​71)   1. Fourth sign: feeding the 5,000 (6:1–​14)   2. Fifth sign: walking on water (6:15–​21)   3. Bread of Life discourse (6:22–​71) C. Opposition at the Festival of Tabernacles (7:1—​10:21)   1. The opposition (7:1—​8:59)   2. Sixth sign (9:1—​10:21)

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Introduction to John




D. Opposition at the Festival of Dedication (10:22–​42) E. Opposition at Bethany (11:1—​12:11)   1. Seventh sign: raising of Lazarus (11:1–​44)   2. Pharisees plot to kill Christ (11:45–​57)   3. Mary anointing Christ (12:1–​11) F. Opposition in Jerusalem (12:12–​50)   1. The triumphal entry (12:12–​22)   2. The discourse on faith and rejection (12:23–​50)

IV. The Preparation of the Disciples by the Son of God (13:1—​17:26) A. In the Upper Room (13:1—​14:31)   1. Washing feet (13:1–​20)   2. Announcing the betrayal (13:21–​30)   3. Discourse on Christ’s departure (13:31—​14:31) B. On the Way to the Garden (15:1—​17:26)   1. Instructing the disciples (15:1—​16:33)   2. Interceding with the Father (17:1–​26)

V. The Execution of the Son of God (18:1—​19:37) A. The Rejection of Christ (18:1—​19:16)   1. His arrest (18:1–​11)   2. His trials (18:12—​19:16) B. The Crucifixion of Christ (19:17–​37)

VI. The Resurrection of the Son of God (19:38—​21:23) A. The Burial of Christ (19:38–​42) B. The Resurrection of Christ (20:1–​10) C. The Appearances of Christ (20:11—​21:23)   1. To Mary Magdalene (20:11–​18)   2. To the disciples without Thomas (20:19–​25)   3. To the disciples with Thomas (20:26–​29)   4. Statement of purpose for the gospel (20:30, 31)   5. To the disciples (21:1–​14)   6. To Peter (21:15–​23)

VII. Conclusion (21:24, 25)

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//The Word Became Flesh


Word, a

In the be­gin­ning was the and the Word was with God, b and the Word was God. c 2 He was with God in the be­gin­ning. d 3 Through him all t­ hings were made; with­out him noth­ing was made that has been made. e 4 In him

1:1 a Rev 19:13 b Jn 17:5; c Php 2:6

1:2 d Ge 1:1 1:3 e 1Co 8:6;

Col 1:16; Heb 1:2

1:4 f Jn 5:26; 11:25; 14:6 g Jn 8:12 1:5 h Jn 3:19

1:1–​18 These verses constitute the prologue that introduces many of the major themes that John will treat, especially the main theme that “­Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God” (vv. 12–​14, 18; cf. 20:31). Several key words repeated throughout the gospel (e.g., life, light, witness, glory) appear here. The remainder of the gospel develops the theme of the prologue as to how the eternal “Word” of God, ­Jesus the Messiah and Son of God, became flesh and ministered among men so that all who believe in Him would be saved. Although John wrote the prologue with the simplest vocabulary in the NT, the truths the prologue conveys are the most profound. Six basic truths about Christ as the Son of God are featured in the prologue: 1) the eternal Christ (vv. 1–​3); 2) the incarnate Christ (vv. 4, 5); 3) the forerunner of Christ (vv. 6–​8); 4) the unrecognized Christ (vv. 9–​11); 5) the omnipotent Christ (vv. 12, 13); and 6) the glorious Christ (vv. 14–​18). 1:1 In the beginning. In contrast to 1Jn 1:1 where John uses a similar phrase (“from the beginning”) to refer to the starting point of J­ esus’ ministry and gospel preaching, this phrase parallels Ge 1:1 where the same phrase is used. John uses the phrase in an absolute sense to refer to the beginning of the time-space-material universe. was. The verb highlights the eternal preexistence of the Word, i.e., ­Jesus Christ. Before the universe began, the Second Person of the Trinity always existed; i.e., He always was (cf. 8:58). This word is used in contrast with the verb “were made” in v. 3, which indicates a beginning in time. Because of John’s theme that J­esus Christ is the eternal God, the Second Person of the Trinity, he did not include a genealogy as Matthew and Luke did. While in terms of ­Jesus’ humanity, He had a human genealogy; in terms of His deity, He has no genealogy. the Word. John borrowed the use of the term “Word” not only from the vocabulary of the OT but also from Gr. philosophy, in which the term was essentially impersonal, signifying the rational principle of “divine reason,” “mind,” or even “wisdom.” John, however, imbued the term entirely with OT and Christian meaning (e.g., Ge 1:3 where God’s Word brought the world into being; Pss 33:6; 107:20; Pr 8:27 where God’s Word is His powerful self-expression in creation, wisdom, revelation, and salvation) and made it refer to a person, i.e., ­Jesus Christ. Greek philosophical usage, therefore, is not the exclusive background of John’s thought. Strategically, the term “Word” serves as a bridgeword to reach not only Jews but also the unsaved Greeks. John chose this concept because both Jews and Greeks were familiar with it. the Word was with God. The Word, as the Second Person of the Trinity, was in intimate fellowship with God the Father throughout all eternity. Yet, although the Word enjoyed the splendors of heaven and eternity with the Father (Isa 6:1–​13; cf. 12:41; 17:5), He willingly gave up His heavenly status, taking the form of a man, and became subject to the death of the cross (see notes on

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1Jn 1:2




was life, f and that life was the ­light g of all man­ kind. 5 The ­light s­ hines in the dark­ness, and the dark­ness has not over­come a it. h 6 There was a man sent from God ­whose name a 5 Or understood   

Php 2:6–​8). was God. The Gr. construction emphasizes that the Word had all the essence or attributes of deity, i.e., J­esus the Messiah was fully God (cf. Col 2:9). Even in His incarnation when He emptied Himself, He did not cease to be God but took on a genuine human nature/body and voluntarily refrained from the independent exercise of the attributes of deity. 1:3 Through him all things were made. J­esus Christ was God the Father’s agent involved in creating everything in the universe (Col 1:16, 17; Heb 1:2). 1:4, 5 life . . . light . . . darkness. John introduces the reader to contrastive themes that occur throughout the gospel. “Life” and “light” are qualities of the Word that are shared not only among the Godhead (5:26) but also by those who respond to the gospel message regarding J­esus Christ (8:12; 9:5; 10:28; 11:25; 14:6). John uses the word “life” about 36 times in his gospel, far more than any other NT book. It refers not only in a broad sense to physical and temporal life that the Son imparted to the created world through His involvement as the agent of creation (v. 3), but especially to spiritual and eternal life imparted as a gift through belief in Him (3:15; 17:3; Eph 2:5). In Scripture “light” and “darkness” are very familiar symbols. Intellectually, “light” refers to biblical truth while “darkness” refers to error or falsehood (cf. Ps 119:105; Pr 6:23). Morally, “light” refers to holiness or purity (1Jn 1:5) while “darkness” refers to sin or wrongdoing (3:19; 12:35, 46; Ro 13:11–​14; 1Th 5:4–​7; 1Jn 1:6; 2:8–​11). “Darkness” has special significance in relationship to Satan (and his demonic cohorts) who rules the present spiritually dark world (1Jn 5:19) as the “ruler of the kingdom of the air” promoting spiritual darkness and rebellion against God (Eph 2:2). John uses the Greek term skotia for “darkness” 14 times (8 in the gospel and 6 in 1 John) out of its 17 occurrences in the NT, making it almost an exclusive Johannine word. In John, “light” and “life” have their special significance in relationship to the Lord ­Jesus Christ, the Word (v. 9; 9:5; 1Jn 1:5–​7; 5:12, 20). 1:5 overcome. Darkness is not able to overcome or conquer the light. Just as a single candle can overcome a room filled with darkness, so also the powers of darkness are overcome by the person and work of the Son through His death on the cross (cf. 19:11a). 1:6 sent from God. As forerunner to ­Jesus, John was to bear witness to Him as the Messiah and Son of God. With John’s ministry, the “400 silent years” between the end of the OT and the beginning of the NT period, during which God had given no revelation, ended. John. The name “John” always refers to John the Baptist in this gospel, never to the apostle John. The writer of this gospel calls him merely “John” without using the phrase “the Baptist,” unlike the other gospels, which use the additional description to identify him (Mt 3:1; Mk 6:14; Lk 7:20). Moreover, John the apostle

4/19/13 9:31 AM

John 1:7

was John. i 7 He came as a wit­ness to tes­ti­fy j con­ cern­ing that ­light, so that t­ hrough him all m ­ ight be­lieve.  k 8 He him­self was not the ­light; he came only as a wit­ness to the l­ight. 9 The true l­ight l that g ­ ives l­ight to ev­ery­one m was com­ing into the world. 10 He was in the ­world, and t­ hough the w ­ orld was made t­ hrough him, n the w ­ orld did not rec­og­nize him. 11 He


1:6 i Mt 3:1 1:7 j ver 15, ​19, ​32 k ver 12


l 1Jn 2:8

m Isa 49:6

1:10 n Heb 1:2 1:12 o ver 7

p 1Jn 3:23 q Gal 3:26

1:13 r Jn 3:6; Jas 1:18;

1Pe 1:23; 1Jn 3:9 1:14 s Gal 4:4; Php 2:7, ​8; 1Ti 3:16; Heb 2:14

(or, son of Zebedee) never identified himself directly by name in the gospel even though he was one of the three most intimate associates of J­esus (Mt 17:1). Such silence argues strongly that John the apostle authored the gospel and that his readers knew full well that he composed the gospel that bears his name. For more on John the Baptist, cf. Mt 3:1–​6; Mk 1:2–​6; Lk 1:5–​25, 57–​80. 1:7 witness to testify. The terms “witness” or “to testify” receive special attention in this gospel, reflecting the courtroom language of the OT where the truth of a matter was to be established on the basis of multiple witnesses (8:17, 18; cf. Dt 17:6; 19:15). Not only did John the Baptist witness regarding J­ esus as Messiah and Son of God (vv. 19–​34; 3:27–​30; 5:35), but there were other witnesses: 1) the Samaritan woman (4:29); 2) the works of ­Jesus (10:25); 3) the Father (5:32–​37); 4) the OT (5:39, 40); 5) the crowd (12:17); and 6) the Holy Spirit (15:26, 27). that through him all might believe. “Him” refers not to Christ but to John as the agent who witnessed to Christ. The purpose of his testimony was to produce faith in ­Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world. 1:8 He . . . was not the light. While John the Baptist was the agent of belief, ­Jesus Christ is the object of belief. Although John’s person and ministry were vitally important (Mt 11:11), he was merely the forerunner who announced the coming of the Messiah. Many years after John’s ministry and death, some still failed to understand John’s subordinate role to ­Jesus (Ac 19:1–​3). 1:9 The true light . . . coming into the world. This phrase highlights the incarnation of ­Jesus Christ (v. 14; 3:16). gives light to everyone. Through God’s sovereign power, every man has enough light to be responsible. God has planted His knowledge in man through general revelation in creation and conscience. The result of general revelation, however, does not produce salvation but either leads to the complete light of ­Jesus Christ or produces condemnation in those who reject such “light” (see notes on Ro 1:19, 20; 2:12–​16). The coming of ­Jesus Christ was the fulfillment and embodiment of the light that God had placed inside the heart of man. the world. The basic sense of this Gr. word meaning “an ornament” is illustrated by the word “adornment” (1Pe 3:3). While the NT uses it a total of 185 times, John had a particular fondness for this term, using it 78 times in his gospel, 24 times in 1–​3 John and 3 times in Revelation. John gives it several shades of meaning: 1) the physical created universe (v. 9; cf. v. 3; 21:24, 25); 2) humanity in general (3:16; 6:33, 51; 12:19); and 3) the invisible spiritual system of evil dominated by Satan and all that it offers in opposition to God, His Word, and His people (3:19; 4:42; 7:7; 14:17, 22, 27, 30; 15:18, 19; 16:8, 20, 33; 17:6, 9, 14; cf. 1Co 1:21; 2Pe 1:4; 1Jn 5:19). The latter concept is the significant new use that the term acquires in the NT and that predominates in John. Thus, in the majority of times that John uses the word, it has decidedly negative overtones. 1:11 his own . . . his own. The first usage of “his own” most likely refers to the world of mankind in general, while the second refers to the Jewish nation. As Creator, the world belongs to the Word as His property but the world did not even recognize Him due to spiritual blindness (cf. also v. 10). John uses the second occurrence

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came to that ­which was his own, but his own did not re­ceive him. 12 Yet to all who did re­ceive him, to t­ hose who be­lieved o in his name, p he gave the ­right to be­come chil­dren of God q — ​ 13  chil­dren born not of nat­u­ral de­scent, nor of hu­man de­ci­ sion or a hus­band’s will, but born of God. r 14 The Word be­came ­flesh s and made his dwell­ ing a­ mong us. We have seen his glo­ry, the glo­ry

of “his own” in a narrower sense to refer to ­Jesus’ own physical lineage, the Jews. Although they possessed the Scriptures that testified of His person and coming, they still did not accept Him (Isa 65:2, 3; Jer 7:25). This theme of Jewish rejection of their promised Messiah receives special attention in John’s gospel (12:37–​41). 1:12, 13 These verses stand in contrast to vv. 10, 11. John softens the sweeping rejection of Messiah by stressing a believing remnant. This previews the book since the first 12 chapters stress the rejection of Christ, while chaps. 13–​21 focus on the believing remnant who received Him. 1:12 to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name. The second phrase describes the first. To receive Him who is the Word of God means to acknowledge His claims, place one’s faith in Him, and thereby yield allegiance to Him. gave. The term emphasizes the grace of God involved in the gift of salvation (cf. Eph 2:8–1​ 0). the right. Those who receive ­Jesus, the Word, receive full authority to claim the exalted title of “children of God.” his name. Denotes the character of the person himself. See note on 14:13, 14. 1:13 of God. The divine side of salvation: ultimately it is not a man’s will that produces salvation but God’s will (cf. 3:6–​8; Titus 3:5; 1Jn 2:29). 1:14 The Word became flesh. While Christ as God was uncreated and eternal (see notes on v. 1), the word “became” emphasizes Christ’s taking on humanity (cf. Heb 1:1–​3; 2:14–​18). This reality is surely the most profound ever because it indicates that the Infinite became finite; the Eternal was conformed to time; the Invisible became visible; the supernatural One reduced Himself to the natural. In the incarnation, however, the Word did not cease to be God but became God in human flesh, i.e., undiminished deity in human form as a man (1Ti 3:16). made his dwelling. Meaning “to pitch a tabernacle,” or “live in a tent.” The term recalls to mind the OT tabernacle where God met with Israel before the temple was constructed (Ex 25:8). It was called the “tent of meeting” (Ex 33:7; “tabernacle of witness”—​LXX) where “the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend” (Ex 33:11). In the NT, God chose to dwell among His people in a far more personal way through becoming a man. In the OT, when the tabernacle was completed, God’s Shekinah presence filled the entire structure (Ex 40:34; cf. 1Ki 8:10). When the Word became flesh, the glorious presence of deity was embodied in Him (cf. Col 2:9). We have seen his glory. Although His deity may have been veiled in human flesh, glimpses of His divine majesty exist in the Gospels. The disciples saw glimpses of His glory on the Mount of Transfiguration (Mt 17:1–​8). The reference to Christ’s glory, however, was not only visible but also spiritual. They saw Him display the attributes or characteristics of God (grace, goodness, mercy, wisdom, truth, etc.; cf. Ex 33:18–​23). glory of the one . . . who came from the Father. J­esus as God displayed the same essential glory as the Father. They are one in essential nature (cf. 5:17–​30; 8:19; 10:30). one and only. The Gr. word for this term has the idea of “the only beloved one.” It, therefore, has the idea of singular uniqueness, of being beloved like no other. By this

4/19/13 9:31 AM




of the one and only Son, who came from the Fa­ ther, full of ­grace and truth. t 15  (John tes­ti­fied  u con­ cern­ing him. He c­ ried out, say­ing, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who ­comes af­ter me has sur­passed me be­cause he was be­fore me.’ ”) v 16 Out of his full­ ness w we have all re­ceived g­ race in p­ lace of g­ race al­ready giv­en. 17 For the law was giv­en ­through Mo­ses;  x ­grace and ­truth came ­through ­Jesus ­Christ.  y 18 No one has ever seen God, z but the one and only Son, who is him­self God and a a is in clos­est re­la­tion­ship with the Fa­ther, has made him known.

1:14 t Jn 14:6 1:15 u ver 7 v ver 30; Mt 3:11 1:16 w Eph 1:23; Col 1:19 1:17 x Jn 7:19 y ver 14 1:18 z Ex 33:20; Jn 6:46; Col 1:15; 1Ti 6:16 a Jn 3:16, ​ 18; 1Jn 4:9 1:19 b  Jn 2:18; 5:10, ​ 16; 6:41, ​52

con­fess, but con­fessed free­ly, “I am not the Mes­ si­ah.”  c 21 They a ­ sked him, “Then who are you? Are you Eli­jah?”  d He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Proph­et?” e He an­swered, “No.” 22 Fi­nal­ly they said, “Who are you? Give us an an­swer to take back to ­those who sent us. What do you say ­about your­self ?” 23  John re­plied in the ­words of Isa­iah the proph­et, “I am the v­ oice of one call­ing in the wil­der­ness,  f ‘Make ­straight the way for the Lord.’ ” c g 24  Now the Phar­ i­ sees who had been sent

1:20 c Jn 3:28; Lk 3:15, ​16 1:21 d Mt 11:14 e Dt 18:15 1:23 f Mt 3:1 g Isa 40:3

a 18 

//John the Baptist Denies Being the Messiah 19 Now

this was ­John’s tes­ti­mo­ny when the Jew­ish lead­ers  b b in Je­ru­sa­lem sent ­priests and Le­ vites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to

John 1:24

Some manuscripts but the only Son, who    b 19  The Greek term traditionally translated the Jews (hoi Ioudaioi) refers here and elsewhere in John’s Gospel to those Jewish leaders who opposed Jesus; also in 5:10, 15, 16; 7:1, 11, 13; 9:22; 18:14, 28, 36; 19:7, 12, 31, 38; 20:19.    c 23 Isaiah 40:3   

emphasized distinct aspects regarding Him. The events in these verses took place in a.d. 26/27, just a few months after John’s baptism of ­Jesus (cf. Mt 3:13–​17; Lk 3:21, 22).

word, John is emphasizing the exclusive character of the relationship between the Father and the Son in the Godhead (cf. 3:16, 18; 1Jn 4:9). It does not connote origin but rather unique prominence; e.g., it was used of Isaac (Heb 11:17) who was Abraham’s second son (Ishmael being the first; cf. Ge 16:15 with Ge 21:2, 3). full of grace and truth. John probably had Ex 33, 34 in mind. On that occasion, Moses requested that God display His glory to him. The Lord replied to Moses that He would make all His “goodness” pass before him, and then as He passed by God declared “the Lord . . . compassionate and gracious . . . slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (Ex 33:18, 19; 34:5–​7). These attributes of God’s glory emphasize the goodness of God’s character, especially in relationship to salvation. ­Jesus as Yahweh of the OT (8:58; “I am”) displayed the same divine attributes when He tabernacled among men in the NT era (Col 2:9).

1:19 John. John, born into a priestly family, belonged to the tribe of Levi (Lk 1:5). He began his ministry in the Jordan Valley when he was approximately 29 or 30 years old and boldly proclaimed the need for spiritual repentance and preparation for the coming of the Messiah. He was the cousin of J­esus Christ and served as His prophetic forerunner (Mt 3:3; Lk 1:5–​25, 36). the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. This may refer to the Sanhedrin, the main governing body of the Jewish nation. The Sanhedrin was controlled by the family of the high priest, and thus the envoys would naturally be priests and Levites who would be interested in John’s ministry, both his message and his baptism.

1:15 John the Baptist’s testimony corroborates John the apostle’s statement regarding the eternality of the Incarnate Word (cf. v. 14).

1:20 I am not the Messiah. Some thought that John was the Messiah (Lk 3:15–​17).

1:16 grace in place of grace. This phrase emphasizes the superabundance of grace that has been displayed by God toward mankind, especially believers (Eph 1:5–​8; 2:7).

1:21 Are you Elijah? Malachi 4:5 (see note there) promises that the prophet Elijah will return before Messiah establishes His earthly kingdom. If John was the forerunner of Messiah, was he Elijah, they asked? The angel announcing John’s birth said that John would go before ­Jesus “in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Lk 1:17), thus indicating that someone other than literal Elijah could fulfill the prophecy. God sent John who was like Elijah, i.e., one who had the same type of ministry, the same power and similar personality (2Ki 1:8; cf. Mt 3:4). If they had received ­Jesus as Messiah, John would have fulfilled that prophecy (see notes on Mt 11:14; Mk 9:13; Lk 1:17; Rev 11:5, 6). Are you the Prophet? This is a reference to Dt 18:15–​18, which predicted God would raise up a great prophet like Moses who would function as His voice. While some in John’s time interpreted this prophecy as referring to another forerunner of Messiah, the NT (Ac 3:22, 23; 7:37) applies the passage to ­Jesus.

1:17, 18 Corroborating the truth of v. 14, these verses draw a closing contrast to the prologue. The law, given by Moses, was not a display of God’s grace but God’s demand for holiness. God designed the law as a means to demonstrate the unrighteousness of man in order to show the need for a Savior, J­esus Christ (Ro 3:19, 20; Gal 3:10–​14, 21–​26). Furthermore, the law revealed only a part of truth and was preparatory in nature. The reality or full truth toward which the law pointed came through the person of ­Jesus Christ. 1:18 who is . . . in closest relationship with the Father. This term denotes the mutual intimacy, love, and knowledge existing in the Godhead (see 13:23; Lk 16:22, 23). made him known. Theologians derived the term “exegesis” or “to interpret” from this word. John meant that all that ­Jesus is and does interprets and explains who God is and what He does (14:8–​10). 1:19–​37 In these verses, John presents the first of many witnesses to prove that ­Jesus is the Messiah and Son of God, thus reinforcing his main theme (20:30, 31). The testimony of John the Baptist was given on three different days to three different groups (cf. vv. 29, 35, 36). Each time, he spoke of Christ in a different way and

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1:23 John quoted and applied Isa 40:3 to himself (cf. Mt 3:3; Mk 1:3; Lk 3:4). In the original context of Isa 40:3, the prophet heard a voice calling for the leveling of a path. This call was a prophetic picture that foreshadowed the final and greatest return of Israel to their God from spiritual darkness and alienation through the spiritual redemption accomplished by the Messiah (cf. Ro 11:25–​27). In humility, John compared himself to a voice rather than a person, thus focusing the attention exclusively upon Christ (cf. Lk 17:10).

4/19/13 9:31 AM

John 1:25 25 ­ques­tioned him, “Why then do you bap­tize if you are not the Mes­si­ah, nor Eli­jah, nor the Proph­et?” 26 “I bap­ tize with a wa­ter,” John re­plied, “but ­among you ­stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who ­comes af­ter me, h the ­straps of ­whose san­dals I am not wor­thy to un­tie.” 28 This all hap­pened at Beth­a­ny on the oth­er side of the Jor­dan, i ­where John was bap­tiz­ing.




1:27 h ver 15, ​30 1:28 i Jn 3:26; 10:40 1:29 j ver 36;

Isa 53:7; 1Pe 1:19; Rev 5:6 1:30 k ver 15, ​27

//John’s Disciples Follow Jesus

//John Testifies About Jesus next day John saw J­ esus com­ing to­ward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, j who ­takes away the sin of the w ­ orld! 30 This is the one Im ­ eant when I said, ‘A man who ­comes af­ter me has sur­passed me be­cause he was be­fore me.’ k 31 I my­ self did not know him, but the rea­son I came bap­tiz­ing with wa­ter was that he ­might be re­vealed to Is­ra­el.”

32 Then John gave this tes­ti­mo­ny: “I saw the Spir­it come down from heav­en as a dove and re­ main on him. l 33 And I my­self did not know him, but the one who sent me to bap­tize with wa­ter m told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spir­it come down and re­main is the one who will bap­ tize with the Holy Spir­it.’ n 34 I have seen and I tes­ti­fy that this is G ­ od’s Cho­sen One.” b o

1:40-42pp —​Mt 4:18-22; Mk 1:16-20; Lk 5:2-11

29 The

1:32 l Mt 3:16; Mk 1:10 1:33 m Mk 1:4 n Mt 3:11; Mk 1:8 1:34 o ver 49; Mt 4:3 1:35 p Mt 3:1 1:36 q ver 29

35 The next day John p was t­ here a ­ gain with two of his dis­ci­ples. 36 When he saw J­ esus pass­ing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” q 37 When the two dis­ci­ples ­heard him say this, they fol­lowed ­Jesus. 38  Turn­ing ­around, ­Jesus saw them fol­low­ing and ­asked, “What do you want?” a 26 Or in;

also in verses 31 and 33 (twice)    b 34  See Isaiah 42:1; many manuscripts is the Son of God.   

1:25 baptize. Since John had identified himself as a mere voice (v. 23), the question arose as to his authority for baptizing. The OT associated the coming of Messiah with repentance and spiritual cleansing (Eze 36, 37; Zec 13:1). John focused attention on his position as forerunner of Messiah, who used traditional proselyte baptism as a symbol of the need to recognize those Jews who were outside God’s saving covenant like Gentiles. They, too, needed spiritual cleansing and preparation (repentance—​Mt 3:11; Mk 1:4; Lk 3:7, 8) for Messiah’s advent. See notes on Mt 3:6, 11, 16, 17 for an explanation of the significance of John’s baptism.

writings (19:36; cf. Rev 5:1–​6; 7:17; 17:14) and that appears in other NT writings (e.g., 1Pe 1:19). sin of the world. See note on v. 9; cf. 3:16; 6:33, 51. In this context “world” has the connotation of humanity in general, not specifically every person. The use of the singular “sin” in conjunction with “of the world” indicates that ­Jesus’ sacrifice for sin potentially reaches all human beings without distinction (cf. 1Jn 2:2). John makes clear, however, that its efficacious effect is only for those who receive Christ (vv. 11, 12). For discussion of the relation of Christ’s death to the world, see note on 2Co 5:19.

1:27 John the Baptist’s words here continue a theme of the preeminence of Messiah in the prologue (vv. 6–​8, 15) and demonstrate extraordinary humility. Each time John had opportunity to focus on himself in these encounters, he instead shifted the focus onto Messiah. John went so far as to state that he, unlike a slave that was required to remove his master’s shoes, was not even worthy of performing this action in relationship to Messiah.

1:31 I . . . did not know him. Although John was J­esus’ cousin, he did not know ­Jesus as the “Coming One” or “Messiah” (v. 30).

1:28 Bethany. Some translations render this word as “Bethabara.” Some feel that John incorrectly identified Bethany as the place of these events. The solution is that two Bethanys existed, i.e., one near Jerusalem where Mary, Martha, and Lazarus lived (11:1) and one “on the other side of the Jordan” near the region of Galilee. Since John took great pains to identify the other Bethany’s close proximity to Jerusalem, he most likely was referring here to that other town with the same name. 1:29–​34 The verses introduce a series of Messianic titles that refer to ­Jesus: Lamb of God (vv. 29, 36), Messiah/Christ (v. 41), God’s Chosen One (v. 34), Son of God (v. 49), king of Israel (v. 49), Son of Man (v. 51), and “the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote” (v. 45). 1:29 The next day. These events took place the day after John’s encounter with those sent from the Pharisees (v. 19ff). This same phrase occurs two more times (vv. 35, 43). the Lamb of God. The use of a lamb for sacrifice was very familiar to Jews. A lamb was used as a sacrifice during Passover (Ex 12:1–​36); a lamb was led to the slaughter in the prophecies of Isaiah (Isa 53:7); a lamb was offered in the daily sacrifices of Israel (Lev 14:12–​21; cf. Heb 10:5–​7). John the Baptist used this expression as a reference to the ultimate sacrifice of J­esus on the cross to atone for the sins of the world, a theme that John the apostle carries throughout his

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1:32 the Spirit come down. God had previously communicated to John that this sign was to indicate the promised Messiah (v. 33), so when John witnessed this act, he was able to identify the Messiah as ­Jesus (cf. Mt 3:16; Mk 1:10; Lk 3:22). 1:34 God’s Chosen One. Lit. “sons of God.” Although, in a limited sense, believers can be called “chosen,” John uses this phrase with the full force as a title that points to the unique oneness and intimacy that ­Jesus sustains to the Father as “Chosen.” The term carries the idea of the deity of ­Jesus as Messiah (v. 49; 5:16–​30; cf. 2Sa 7:14; Ps 2:7; see notes on Heb 1:1–​9). 1:35–​51 This portion deals with John’s witness to a third group, i.e., some of John’s disciples, on the third day (see vv. 19–​28, 29–​34 for the first and second groups) regarding J­esus. Consistent with John’s humility (v. 27), he focuses the attention of his own disciples onto ­Jesus (v. 37). 1:37 they followed J­esus. Although the verb “follow” usually means “to follow as a disciple” in the writing of the apostle (v. 43; 8:12; 12:26; 21:19, 20, 22), it may also have a neutral sense (11:31). The “following” here does not necessarily mean that they became permanent disciples at this time. The implication may be that they went after J­esus to examine Him more closely because of John’s testimony. This event constituted a preliminary exposure of John the Baptist’s disciples to ­Jesus (e.g., Andrew; v. 40). They eventually dedicated their lives to Him as true disciples and apostles when J­ esus called them to permanent service after these events (Mt 4:18–​22; 9:9; Mk 1:16–​20). At this point in the narrative, John the Baptist fades from the scene and the attention focuses upon the ministry of Christ.

4/19/13 9:31 AM




They said, “Rab­bi” r (which ­means “Teach­er”), “where are you stay­ing?” 39 “Come,” he re­plied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw ­where he was stay­ing, and they s­ pent that day with him. It was a­ bout four in the af­ter­noon. 40 An­drew, Si­mon Pe­ter’s broth­er, was one of the two who ­heard what John had said and who had fol­lowed ­Jesus. 41 The ­first t­ hing An­drew did was to find his broth­er Si­mon and tell him, “We have ­found the Mes­si­ah” (that is, the ­Christ). s 42 And he ­brought him to J­ esus. Jesus ­looked at him and said, “You are Si­mon son of John. You will be c­ alled t Ce­phas” (which, when trans­lat­ed, is Pe­ter  a ). u

//Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael 43 The

next day ­Jesus de­cid­ed to ­leave for Gal­i­ lee. Find­ing Phil­ip, v he said to him, “Fol­low me.” w

1:38 r ver 49; Mt 23:7 1:41 s Jn 4:25 1:42 t Ge 17:5, ​15 u Mt 16:18 1:43 v Mt 10:3; Jn 6:5‑7; 12:21, ​22; 14:8, ​9 w Mt 4:19

1:44 x Mt 11:21; Jn 12:21

1:45 y Jn 21:2

z Lk 24:27 a Lk 24:27 b Mt 2:23; c Lk 3:23

42, ​52

1:47 e Ro 9:4, ​6 f Ps 32:2

1:49 g ver 38; Mt 23:7 h ver 34; Mt 4:3 i Mt 2:2; 27:42; Jn 12:13

1:39 four in the afternoon. Lit. about the tenth hour. The Jews divided the daylight period of the day into 12 hours (starting at sunrise, approximately 6 a.m.). This would make it 4 p.m. John is reckoning time by the Roman method of the day beginning at midnight. See note on Mk 15:25. This would make the time about 10:00 a.m. John mentions the precise time most likely to emphasize that he was the other disciple of John the Baptist who was with Andrew (v. 40). As an eyewitness to these events occurring on three successive days, John’s first meeting with ­Jesus was so life changing that he remembered the exact hour when he first met the Lord. 1:41 Messiah. The term “Messiah” is a transliteration of a Heb. or Aram. verbal adjective that means “Anointed One.” It comes from a verb that means “to anoint” someone as an action involved in consecrating that person to a particular office or function. While the term at first applied to the king of Israel (“the Lord’s anointed”—​1Sa 16:6), the high priest (“the anointed priest,” Lev 4:3) and, in one passage, the patriarchs (“my anointed ones,” Ps 105:15), the term eventually came to point above all to the prophesied “Coming One” or “Messiah” in His role as prophet, priest, and king. The term “Christ,” a Gr. word (verbal adjective) that comes from a verb meaning “to anoint,” is used in translating the Heb. term, so that the terms “Messiah” or “Christ” are titles and not personal names of J­esus. 1:42 ­Jesus looked at him. ­Jesus knows hearts thoroughly (vv. 43–​ 51) and not only sees into them (vv. 47, 48) but also transforms a person into what He wants him to become. You will be called Cephas. Up to this time, Peter had been known as “Simon the son of John” (“Jonah” in some translations; the name “Jonah” in Aram. means “John”; cf. 21:15–​17; Mt 16:17). The term “Cephas” means “rock” in Aram. which is translated “Peter” in Greek. ­Jesus’ assignment of the name “Cephas” or “Peter” to Simon occurred at the outset of His ministry (cf. Mt 16:18; Mk 3:16). The statement is not only predictive of what Peter would be called but also declarative of how ­Jesus would transform his character and use him in relationship to the foundation of the church (cf. 21:18, 19; Mt 16:16–​18; Ac 2:14—​4:32). 1:43–​51 This section introduces the fourth day since the beginning of John the Baptist’s witness (cf. vv. 19, 29, 35).

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Mk 1:24

1:46 d Jn 7:41, ​

John 1:49 44 Phil­ip, like An­drew and Pe­ter, was from the town of Beth­sa­i­da.  x 45  Phil­ip ­found Na­than­a­el  y and told him, “We have ­found the one Mo­ses ­wrote ­about in the Law, z and ­about whom the proph­ets also ­wrote  a  — ​­Jesus of Naz­a­reth,  b the son of Jo­seph.” c 46 “Naz­ a­reth! Can any­thing good come from ­there?”  d Na­than­a­el asked. “Come and see,” said Phil­ip. 47  When ­Jesus saw Na­than­a­el ap­proach­ing, he said of him, “Here tru­ly is an Is­ra­el­ite e in whom ­there is no de­ceit.” f 48 “How do you know me?” Na­than­a­el asked. Jesus an­swered, “I saw you ­while you were s­ till un­der the fig tree be­fore Phil­ip c­ alled you.” 49  Then Na­than­a­el de­clared, “Rab­bi,  g you are the Son of God; h you are the king of Is­ra­el.” i a 42 

Cephas (Aramaic) and Peter (Greek) both mean rock.   

1:44 Andrew and Peter . . . from . . . Bethsaida. While Mk 1:21, 29 locates Peter’s house in Capernaum, John relates that he was from Bethsaida. Resolution centers in the fact that Peter (and Andrew) most likely grew up in Bethsaida and later relocated to Capernaum in the same way that ­Jesus was consistently identified with His hometown of Nazareth, though He lived elsewhere later (Mt 2:23; 4:13; Mk 1:9; Lk 1:26). 1:45 the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote. This phrase encapsulates the stance of John’s whole gospel: J­esus is the fulfillment of OT Scripture (cf. v. 21; 5:39; Dt 18:15–​19; Lk 24:44–​47; Ac 10:43; 18:28; 26:22, 23; Ro 1:2; 1Co 15:3; 1Pe 1:10, 11; Rev 19:10). 1:46 Can anything good come from there? Nathanael was from Cana (21:2), another town in Galilee. While Galileans were despised by Judeans, Galileans themselves despised people from Nazareth. In light of 7:52, Nathanael’s scorn may have centered in the fact that Nazareth was an insignificant village without seeming prophetic importance (cf., however, Mt 2:23). Later, some would contemptuously refer to Christians as the “the Nazarene sect” (Ac 24:5). 1:47 no deceit. ­Jesus recognized that Nathanael’s forthright comment (v. 46) revealed him to be a man of sincerity and honesty who was open to the truth about Christ. The term reveals an honest, seeking heart. The reference here may be an allusion to Ge 27:35 where Jacob, in contrast to the sincere Nathanael, was known for his trickery. The meaning may be that the employment of trickery characterized not only Jacob but also his descendants. In ­Jesus’ mind, an honest and sincere Israelite had become an exception rather than the rule (cf. 2:23–​25). 1:48 I saw you. A brief glimpse of J­esus’ supernatural knowledge. Not only was J­esus’ brief summary of Nathanael accurate (v. 47), but He also revealed information that could only be known by Nathanael himself. Perhaps Nathanael had some significant or outstanding experience of communion with God at the location, and he was able to recognize ­Jesus’ allusion to it. At any rate, ­Jesus had knowledge of this event not available to men. 1:49 the Son of God  .  .  . the king of Israel. J­esus’ display of supernatural knowledge and Philip’s witness removed Nathanael’s doubts, so John added the witness of Nathanael to this section.

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John 1:50 50 Jesus said, “You be­lieve a be­cause I told you I saw you un­der the fig tree. You will see great­er ­things than that.” 51 He then add­ed, “Very tru­ly I tell you, b you b will see ‘heav­en open, j and the an­ gels of God as­cend­ing and de­scend­ing k on’ c the Son of Man.” l




1:51 j Mt 3:16

k Ge 28:12 l Mt 8:20

2:1 m Jn 4:46; 21:2 n Mt 12:46

2:4 o Jn 19:26 p Mt 8:29

q Mt 26:18;

Jn 7:6

2:5 r Ge 41:55 2:6 s Mk 7:3, ​4; Jn 3:25

//Jesus Changes Water Into Wine


On the ­third day a wed­ding took ­place at Cana in Gal­i­lee.  m ­Jesus’ moth­er  n was t­ here, 2 and ­Jesus and his dis­ci­ples had also been in­vit­ed to the wed­ding. 3 When the wine was gone, J­ esus’ moth­er said to him, “They have no more wine.” 4  “Wom­an,  d o why do you in­volve me?” p ­Jesus re­plied. “My hour q has not yet come.” 5 His moth­er said to the ser­vants, “Do what­ev­ er he ­tells you.” r 6 Near­by ­stood six ­stone wa­ter jars, the kind used by the Jews for cer­e­mo­ni­al wash­ing, s each hold­ing from twen­ty to thir­ty gal­lons. e

2:9 t Jn 4:46 2:11 u ver 23;



Jn 3:2; 4:48; 6:2, ​14, ​  50 Or Do you believe . . . ?     51 The Greek is plural.    c 51 Gen. 28:12    d 4  The Greek for Woman does not denote any 26, ​30; 12:37; 20:30 v Jn 1:14 w Ex 14:31 disrespect.    e 6  Or from about 75 to about 115 liters   

The use of “the” with “Son of God” most likely indicates that the expression is to be understood as bearing its full significance (cf. v. 34; 11:27). For Nathanael, here was One who could not be described merely in human terms. 1:51 Very truly. Cf. 5:19, 24, 25. A phrase used frequently for emphasizing the importance and truth of the coming statement. heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending. In light of the context of v. 47, this verse most likely refers to Ge 28:12 where Jacob dreamed about a ladder from heaven. ­Jesus’ point to Nathanael was that just like Jacob experienced supernatural or heaven-sent revelation, Nathanael and the other disciples would experience supernatural communication confirming who ­Jesus was. Moreover, the term “Son of Man” replaced the ladder in Jacob’s dream, signifying that J­esus was the means of access between God and man. Son of Man. See note on Mt 8:20. This is ­Jesus’ favorite self-designation, for it was mostly spoken by ­Jesus who used it over 80 times. In the NT, it refers only to ­Jesus and appears mostly in the Gospels (cf. Ac 7:56). While the term at times may refer merely to a human being or as a substitute for “I” (6:27; cf. 6:20), it especially takes on an eschatological significance referring to Da 7:13, 14 where the “Son of Man” or Messiah comes in glory to receive the kingdom from the “Ancient of Days” (i.e., the Father). 2:1–​11 John relates the first great sign performed by ­Jesus to demonstrate His deity, the turning of water into wine. Only God can create from nothing. John identifies eight miracles in his gospel that constitute “signs” or confirmation of who J­esus is. Each of the eight miracles were different; no two were alike (cf. v. 11). 2:1 On the third day. This phrase has reference to the last narrated event, i.e., the calling of Philip and Nathanael (1:43). wedding. A Jewish wedding could last up to seven days. It was the groom’s responsibility to pay for the festivities. To run out of wine for the guests would have been an embarrassment to the groom and could have made him vulnerable to legal consequences from the bride’s relatives. Cana in Galilee. Cana was the home of Nathanael (21:2). Its exact location is unknown. A probable location is Khirbet Qana, a village now in ruins approximately nine mi. N of Nazareth. 2:2 J­esus and his disciples had also been invited. The fact that ­Jesus, His mother, and His disciples were all present on this occa-

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7 Jesus said to the ser­vants, “Fill the jars with wa­ter”; so they ­filled them to the brim. 8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the mas­ter of the ban­quet.” They did so, 9 and the mas­ter of the ban­quet tast­ed the wa­ter that had been t­ urned into wine. t He did not re­al­ize w ­ here it had come from, ­though the ser­vants who had d­ rawn the wa­ter knew. Then he ­called the bride­groom ­aside 10 and said, “Ev­ery­one ­brings out the ­choice wine ­first and then the cheap­er wine af­ter the ­guests have had too much to d­ rink; but you have s­ aved the best till now.” 11 W hat ­ Jesus did here in Cana of Gal­il­ee was the f­ irst of the ­signs u ­through ­which he re­ vealed his glo­ry; v and his dis­ci­ples be­lieved in him. w

sion probably indicates that the wedding was for a relative or a friend of the family. The disciples who accompanied Him are the five mentioned in chap. 1: Andrew, Simon Peter, Philip, Nathanael, and the unnamed disciple (1:35) who was surely John, who also witnessed this miracle. 2:3 wine. The wine served was subject to fermentation. In the ancient world, however, to quench thirst without inducing drunkenness, wine was mixed with water to dilute its strength. Due to the climate and circumstances, even “new wine,” or “sweet wine,” fermented quickly and had an inebriating effect if not mixed (Ac 2:13). Because of a lack of water purification process, wine mixed with water was also safer to drink than water alone. While the Bible condemns drunkenness, it does not necessarily condemn the consumption of wine (Ps 104:15; Pr 20:1; see notes on Eph 5:18). 2:4 Woman. ­Jesus’ tone was not disrespectful, but abrupt. why do you involve me? Lit. “What (is that) to me and to you? The expression, common in Semitic idiom (Jdg 11:12; 2Sa 16:10), always distances the two parties, the speaker’s tone conveying some degree of reproach. ­Jesus’ tone was not rude, but abrupt. The phrase asks what is shared in common between the parties. The thrust of ­Jesus’ comment was that He had entered into the purpose for His mission on earth, so that He subordinated all activities to the fulfillment of that mission. Mary had to recognize Him not so much as a son whom she raised but as the promised Messiah and Son of God. Cf. Mk 3:31–​35. My hour has not yet come. The phrase constantly refers to J­esus’ death and exaltation (7:30; 8:20; 12:23, 27; 13:1; 17:1). He was on a divine schedule decreed by God before the foundation of the world. Since the prophets described the messianic kingdom as having an abundance of wine (Jer 31:12; Hos 14:7; Am 9:13, 14), J­esus was likely referring to the fact that the necessity of the cross must come before the blessings of the millennial age. 2:6 used by the Jews for ceremonial washing. Stone jars were used because stone was more durable than earthenware and also less susceptible to uncleanness. As a result, stone was preferable for symbolic washings (cf. Mk 7:3, 4). 2:11 signs. By this word, John emphasizes that miracles were not merely displays of power but had a significance beyond the mere acts themselves.

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12  Af­ter this he went down to Ca­per­na­um x with his moth­er and broth­ers y and his dis­ci­ples. ­There they ­stayed for a few days.

2:12 x Mt 4:13 y Mt 12:46

2:13 z Jn 11:55 a Dt 16:1‑6;

Lk 2:41

//Jesus Clears the Temple Courts 2:14-16pp —​Mt 21:12,13; Mk 11:15-17; Lk 19:45,46 13 When it was al­most time for the Jew­ish Pass­ over, z ­Jesus went up to Je­ru­sa­lem. a 14 In the tem­

2:16 b Lk 2:49

2:12 After this. John often uses this phrase to connect two narratives in his gospel (e.g., 3:22; 5:1, 14; 6:1; 7:1; 11:7, 11; 19:28, 38). John placed this verse here as a transition to explain ­Jesus’ movement from Cana in Galilee to Capernaum and eventual arrival at Jerusalem for the Passover celebration. Capernaum was on the NW shore of Galilee about 16 mi. NE of Cana. 2:13–​25 John used this section where ­Jesus cleansed the temple in righteous indignation to reinforce his main theme that He was the promised Messiah and Son of God. In this section, he highlights three attributes of J­esus that confirm His deity: 1) His passion for reverence (vv. 13–​17); 2) His power of resurrection (vv. 18–​22); and 3) His perception of reality (vv. 23–​25). 2:13–​17 The first way John demonstrated Christ’s deity in the narrative of the temple cleansing was to show His passion for reverence. God alone exercises the right to regulate His worship. 2:13 Jewish Passover. This is the first of three Passovers that John mentions (v. 13; 6:4; 11:55). Jews selected the lamb on the tenth of the month, and celebrated Passover on the 14th day of the lunar month of Nisan in late March or early April. They slaughtered the lamb between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. on the night of the festival. Passover commemorates the deliverance of the Jews from slavery in Egypt when the angel of death “passed over” Jewish homes in Egypt whose “door frames” were sprinkled with blood (Ex 12:23–​27). ­Jesus went up to Jerusalem. ­Jesus’ journeying to Jerusalem for the Passover was a standard annual procedure for every devout Jewish male over 12 years old (Ex 23:14–​17). Jewish pilgrims crowded into Jerusalem for this greatest of Jewish festivals. 2:14 people selling . . . exchanging money. During the celebration of Passover, worshipers came from all over Israel and the Roman Empire to Jerusalem. Because many traveled large distances, it was inconvenient to bring their sacrificial animals with them. Opportunistic merchants, seeing a chance to provide a service and probably eyeing considerable profit during this time, set up areas in the outer courts of the temple in order for travelers to buy animals. The ones

John 2:16

ple c­ ourts he f­ound peo­ple sell­ing cat­tle, s­ heep and ­doves, and oth­ers sit­ting at ta­bles ex­chang­ ing mon­ey. 15 So he made a whip out of ­cords, and ­drove all from the tem­ple ­courts, both ­sheep and cat­tle; he scat­tered the ­coins of the mon­ey chang­ers and over­turned ­their ta­bles. 16  To ­those who sold ­doves he said, “Get ­these out of here! Stop turn­ing my Fa­ther’s ­house b into a mar­ket!”

exchanging money, commonly known as money changers, were needed because the temple tax, paid annually by all Jewish men (Ex 30:13, 14; Mt 17:24–​27), had to be in Jewish or Tyrian coinage (due to its high content of silver). Those coming from foreign lands would need to exchange their money into the proper coinage for the tax. The money changers charged a high fee for the exchange. With such a large group of travelers and because of the seasonal nature of the celebration, both the animal dealers and money exchangers exploited the situation for monetary gain (“den of robbers”; Mt 21:13). Religion had become crass and materialistic. 2:15 As John recorded this cleansing of the temple at the beginning of ­Jesus’ ministry, the Synoptic Gospels record a temple cleansing at the end of J­esus’ ministry during the final Passover week before ­Jesus’ crucifixion (Mt 21:12–​17; Mk 11:15–​18; Lk 19:45, 46). The historical circumstances and literary contexts of the two temple cleansings differ so widely that attempts to equate the two are unsuccessful. Furthermore, that two cleansings occurred is entirely consistent with the overall context of J­esus’ ministry, for the Jewish nation as a whole never recognized J­esus’ authority as Messiah (Mt 23:37–​39). Instead, they rejected His message as well as His person, making such repeated cleansing of the temple highly probable (as well as necessary). drove all from the temple courts. When the holiness of God and His worship was at stake, ­Jesus took fast and furious action. The “all” indicates that He drove not only men out but also animals. Yet, although His actions required brute force, they were not cruel. The moderation of His actions is seen in the fact that no riotous activity occurred; otherwise Roman troops would have rapidly intervened. Although the primary reference is to the actions of the Messiah in the millennial kingdom, ­Jesus’ actions in cleansing the temple were an initial fulfillment of Mal 3:1–​3 (and Zec 14:20, 21) that speak of Messiah’s purifying the religious worship of His people. 2:16 Stop turning. The force of the Gr. imperative indicates that ­Jesus made a strong demand that they stop their current practice. God’s holiness demands holiness in worship. my Father’s. John

/ The Eight Signs \ Turns water into wine (Jn 2:1–12) Heals a royal official’s son (Jn 4:46–54) Heals a lame man at the pool of Bethesda (Jn 5:1–17) Feeds 5,000 (Jn 6:1–14) Walks on water, stills a storm (Jn 6:15–21) Heals a man blind from birth (Jn 9:1–41) Raises Lazarus from the dead (Jn 11:17–45) Causes abundant catch of fish (Jn 21:6)

Jesus is the source of life. Jesus is master over distance. Jesus is master over time. Jesus is the bread of life. Jesus is master over nature. Jesus is the light of the world. Jesus has power over death. Jesus is master over the animal world. ©1997 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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John 2:17 17 His dis­ ci­ples re­mem­bered that it is writ­ten: “Zeal for your ­house will con­sume me.” a c 18 The Jews then re­spond­ed to him, “What sign can you show us to p­ rove your au­thor­it­y to do all this?” d 19 Jesus an­swered them, “De­stroy this tem­ple, and I will ­raise it a­ gain in t­ hree days.” e 20 They re­plied, “It has tak­en for­ty-six y ­ ears to ­build this tem­ple, and you are go­ing to ­raise it in t­ hree days?” 21 But the tem­ple he had spo­ken of was his body. f 22 Af­ter he was ­raised from the dead, his dis­ci­ples re­called what he had said. g Then they be­lieved the scrip­ture and the ­words that ­Jesus had spo­ken.


2:17 c Ps 69:9 2:18 d Mt 12:38 2:19 e Mt 26:61;

27:40; Mk 14:58; 15:29 2:21 f 1Co 6:19 2:22 g Lk 24:5‑8; Jn 12:16; 14:26

23 Now ­while he was in Je­ru­sa­lem at the Pass­ over Fes­ti­val,  h many peo­ple saw the ­signs he was per­form­ing and be­lieved in his name. b 24 But ­Jesus ­would not en­trust him­self to them, for he knew all peo­ple. 25 He did not need any tes­ti­mo­ ny ­about man­kind, for he knew what was in each per­son.  i

//Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

2:23 h ver 13 2:25 i Mt 9:4;

Jn 6:61, ​64; 13:11 3:1 j Jn 7:50; 19:39 k Lk 23:13

gives a subtle hint of ­Jesus’ divine Sonship as well as His messiahship with the recording of this phrase (see 5:17, 18). house into a market. ­Jesus may have intended a play on words. The word “market” pictures a trading house filled with wares. 2:17 Quoted from Ps 69:9 to indicate that ­Jesus would not tolerate irreverence toward God. When David wrote this psalm, he was being persecuted because of his zeal toward God’s house and his defense of God’s honor. The disciples were afraid that ­Jesus’ actions would precipitate the same type of persecution. Paul quotes the latter half of Ps 69:9 in Ro 15:3 (“The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me”), clearly indicating the messianic nature that the psalm had for the early church. 2:18–​22 The second way John demonstrated Christ’s deity in the account of the temple cleansing was to show His power over death through resurrection. Only God has this right. 2:18 The Jews. Most likely the temple authorities or representatives of the Sanhedrin (cf. 1:19). sign. The Jews demanded that ­Jesus show some type of miraculous sign that would indicate His authority for the actions He had just taken in regulating the activities of the temple. Their demand of a sign reveals that they had not grasped the significance of ­Jesus’ rebuke that centered in their need for proper attitudes and holiness in worship. Such an action itself constituted a “sign” of J­esus’ person and authority. Moreover, they were requesting from J­esus a crass display of miracles on demand, further displaying their unbelief. 2:19 At His trial, the authorities charged ­Jesus (Mk 14:58; cf. Mk 15:29) with making a threatening statement against the temple, revealing that they did not understand ­Jesus’ response here. Once again John’s gospel supplements the other gospels at this point by indicating that J­esus enigmatically referred to His resurrection. As with His usage of parables, J­esus’ cryptic statement most likely was designed to reveal the truth to His disciples but conceal its meaning from unbelievers who questioned Him (Mt 13:10, 11). Only after His resurrection, however, did the disciples understand the real significance of this statement (v. 22; cf. Mt 12:40). Importantly, through the death and resurrection of Christ, temple worship in Jerusalem was destroyed (cf. 4:21) and reinstituted in the hearts of those who were built into a spiritual temple called the church (Eph 2:19–​22). 2:20 forty-six years to build this temple. This was not a reference to the Solomonic temple, since it had been destroyed during the Babylonian conquest in 586 b.c. When the captives returned from Babylon, Zerubbabel and Jeshua began rebuilding the temple (Ezr 1–​4). Encouraged by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah (Ezr 5:1—​6:18), the Jews completed the work in 516 b.c. In 20/19 b.c.

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Now ­there was a Phar­is­ ee, a man ­named Nic­ o­de­mus  j who was a mem­ber of the Jew­ish rul­ ­ ight and said, ing coun­cil.  k 2 He came to J­ esus at n “Rab­bi, we know that you are a teach­er who has a 17 Psalm 69:9    b 23 Or in


Herod the Great began a reconstruction and expansion. Workers completed the main part of the project in 10 years, but other parts were still being constructed even at the time ­Jesus cleansed the temple. Interestingly, the finishing touches on the whole enterprise were still being made at its destruction by the Romans along with Jerusalem in a.d. 70. The famous “Wailing Wall” is built on part of the Herodian temple foundation. 2:23–​25 The third way John demonstrated Christ’s deity in the account of the temple cleansing was to show His perception of reality. Only God truly knows the hearts of men. 2:23, 24 many . . . believed in his name. . . . But ­Jesus would not entrust himself to them. John based these two phrases on the same Gr. verb for “believe.” This verse subtly reveals the true nature of belief from a biblical standpoint. Because of what they knew of J­esus from His miraculous signs, many came to believe in Him. However, ­Jesus made it His habit not to wholeheartedly “entrust” or “commit” Himself to them because He knew their hearts. Verse 24 indicates that ­Jesus looked for genuine conversion rather than enthusiasm for the spectacular. The latter verse also leaves a subtle doubt as to the genuineness of the conversion of some (cf. 8:31, 32). This emphatic contrast between vv. 23, 24 in terms of type of trust, therefore, reveals that, lit., “belief into His name” involved much more than intellectual assent. It called for whole-hearted commitment of one’s life as ­Jesus’ disciple (cf. Mt 10:37; 16:24–​26). 3:1–2​ 1 The story of ­Jesus and Nicodemus reinforces John’s themes that ­Jesus is the Messiah and Son of God (apologetic) and that He came to offer salvation to men (evangelistic). John 2:23, 24 actually serves as the introduction to Nicodemus’s story, since chap. 3 constitutes tangible evidence of ­Jesus’ ability to know men’s hearts and thereby also demonstrates J­esus’ deity. ­Jesus also presented God’s plan of salvation to Nicodemus, showing that He was God’s messenger, whose redemptive work brings about the promised salvation to His people (v. 14). The chapter may be divided into two sections: 1) ­Jesus’ dialogue with Nicodemus (vv. 1–​10); and 2) ­Jesus’ discourse on God’s plan of salvation (vv. 11–​21). 3:1–​10 This section on J­esus’ dialogue with Nicodemus may be divided into three sections: 1) Nicodemus’s inquiry of J­esus (vv. 1–​3); 2) ­Jesus’ insight into Nicodemus (vv. 4–​8); and 3) ­Jesus’ indictment of Nicodemus (vv. 9, 10). 3:1 Pharisee. See note on Mt 3:7. The word “Pharisee” most likely comes from a Heb. word meaning “to separate” and therefore probably means “separated ones.” They were not separatists in the sense of isolationists but in the puritanical sense, i.e., they were highly zealous for ritual and religious purity according to the

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N come from God. For no one ­could per­form the ­signs  l you are do­ing if God were not with him.” m 3 Jesus re­plied, “Very tru­ ly I tell you, no one can see the king­dom of God un­less they are born again. a ” n 4 “How can some­one be born when they are old?” Nic­o­de­mus ­asked. “Sure­ly they can­not en­ ter a sec­ond time into ­their moth­er’s womb to be born!” 5 Jesus an­swered, “Very tru­ly I tell you, no one can en­ter the king­dom of God un­less they are born of wa­ter and the Spir­it. o 6  Flesh ­gives ­birth

John 3:11

3:2 l Jn 9:16, ​33

to ­flesh, but the Spir­it b ­gives ­birth to spir­it. p 7 You ­should not be sur­prised at my say­ing, ‘You c must be born a­ gain.’ 8  The wind ­blows wher­ev­er it pleas­es. You hear its s­ ound, but you can­not tell ­where it ­comes from or ­where it is go­ing. So it is with ev­ery­one born of the Spir­it.” d 9 “How can this be?” q Nic­o­de­mus asked. 10  “You are Is­ra­el’s teach­er,”  r said J­esus, “and do you not un­der­stand ­these ­things? 11  Very tru­ly

m Ac 2:22;


3:3 n Jn 1:13; 1Pe 1:23

3:5 o Titus 3:5

3:6 p Jn 1:13; 1Co 15:50 3:9 q Jn 6:52, ​60 3:10 r Lk 2:46

Mosaic law as well as their own traditions that they added to the OT legislation. Although their origin is unknown, they seem to have arisen as an offshoot from the “Hasidim” or “pious ones” during the Maccabean era. They were generally from the Jewish middle class and mostly consisted of laity (businessmen) rather than priests or Levites. They represented the orthodox core of Judaism and very strongly influenced the common people of Israel. According to Josephus, 6,000 existed at the time of Herod the Great. J­esus condemned them for their hyper-concentration on externalizing religion (rules and regulations) rather than inward spiritual transformation (vv. 3, 7). Nicodemus. Although Nicodemus was a Pharisee, his name was Gr. in origin and means “victor over the people.” He was a prominent Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin (“a member of the Jewish ruling council”). Nothing is known about his family background. He eventually came to believe in ­Jesus (7:50–​52), risking his own life and reputation by helping to give ­Jesus’ body a decent burial (19:38–​42). a member of the Jewish ruling council. This is a reference to the Sanhedrin (see note on Mt 26:59), the main ruling body of the Jews in Israel during the Greco-Roman period. It was the Jewish “supreme court” or ruling council of the time and arose most likely during the Persian period. In NT times, the Sanhedrin was composed of the high priest (president), chief priests, elders (family heads), and scribes for a total of 71 people. The method of appointment was both hereditary and political. It executed both civil and criminal jurisdiction according to Jewish law. However, capital punishment cases required the sanction of the Roman procurator (18:30–​32). After a.d. 70 and the destruction of Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin was abolished and replaced by the Beth Din (court of Judgment) that was composed of scribes whose decisions had only moral and religious authority. 3:2 came to J­esus at night. While some have thought that Nicodemus’s visit at night was somehow figurative of the spiritual darkness of his heart (cf. 1:5; 9:4; 11:10; 13:30) or that he decided to come at this time because he could take more time with ­Jesus and be unhurried in conversation, perhaps the most logical explanation lies in the fact that, as a ruler of the Jews, Nicodemus was afraid of the implications of associating openly in conversation with J­esus. He chose night in order to have a clandestine meeting with ­Jesus rather than risk disfavor with his fellow Pharisees among whom ­Jesus was generally unpopular. 3:3 born again. The phrase lit. means “born from above.” ­Jesus answered a question that Nicodemus does not even ask. He read Nicodemus’s heart and came to the very core of his problem, i.e., the need for spiritual transformation or regeneration produced by the Holy Spirit. New birth is an act of God whereby eternal life is imparted to the believer (2Co 5:17; Titus 3:5; 1Pe 1:3; 1Jn 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1, 4, 18). Chapter 1:12, 13 indicates that “born again” also carries the idea “to become children of God” through trust in the name of the incarnate Word. no one can see the kingdom of God.

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a 3 

The Greek for again also means from above; also in verse 7.    spirit    c 7 The Greek is plural.    d 8  The Greek for Spirit is the same as that for wind.    b 6 Or but

In context, this is primarily a reference to participation in the millennial kingdom at the end of the age, fervently anticipated by the Pharisees and other Jews. Since the Pharisees were supernaturalists, they naturally and eagerly expected the coming of the prophesied resurrection of the saints and institution of the messianic kingdom (Isa 11:1–​16; Da 12:2). Their problem was that they thought that mere physical lineage and keeping of religious externals qualified them for entrance into the kingdom rather than the needed spiritual transformation that ­Jesus emphasized (cf. 8:33–​39; Gal 6:15). 3:4 A teacher himself, Nicodemus understood the rabbinical method of using figurative language to teach spiritual truth, and he was merely picking up ­Jesus’ symbolism. 3:5 born of water and the Spirit. ­Jesus is referring not to literal water here but to the need for “cleansing” (e.g., Eze 36:24–​27). The Old Testament sometimes uses water as a metaphor for spiritual cleansing or renewal (Nu 19:17–​19; Ps 51:9, 10; Isa 32:15; 44:3–​5; 55:1–​3; Jer 2:13; Joel 2:28, 29). Thus, ­Jesus made reference to the spiritual washing or purification of the soul, accomplished by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God at the moment of salvation (cf. Eph 5:26; Titus 3:5), required for belonging to His kingdom. 3:8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. ­Jesus’ point was that just as the wind cannot be controlled or understood by human beings but its effects can be witnessed, so also it is with the Holy Spirit. He cannot be controlled or understood, but the proof of His work is apparent. Where the Spirit works, there is undeniable and unmistakable evidence. 3:10 Israel’s teacher. Nicodemus was a renowned master-teacher in the nation of Israel, an established religious authority par excellence. He enjoyed a high standing among the rabbis or teachers of his day. ­Jesus’ reply emphasized the spiritual bankruptcy of the nation at that time, since even one of the greatest of Jewish teachers did not recognize this teaching on spiritual cleansing and transformation based clearly in the OT (cf. v. 5). The net effect is to show that externals of religion may have a deadening effect on one’s spiritual perception. 3:11–​21 The focus of these verses turns away from Nicodemus and centers on ­Jesus’ discourse regarding the true meaning of salvation. The key word in these verses is “believe,” used seven times. The new birth must be appropriated by an act of faith. While vv. 1–​10 center on the divine initiative in salvation, vv. 11–​21 emphasize the human reaction to the work of God in regeneration. In vv. 11–​21, the section may be divided into three parts: 1) the problem of unbelief (vv. 11, 12); 2) the answer to unbelief (vv. 13–​17); and 3) the results of unbelief (vv. 18–​21). 3:11, 12 ­Jesus focused on the idea that unbelief is the cause of ignorance. At heart, Nicodemus’s lack of understanding J­esus’ words pointed not so much to his mental capacity but to his unwillingness to embrace ­Jesus’ testimony.

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John 3:12

I tell you, we s­peak of what we know, s and we tes­ti­fy to what we have seen, but ­still you peo­ ple do not ac­cept our tes­ti­mo­ny. t 12 I have spo­ken to you of earth­ly ­things and you do not be­lieve; how then will you be­lieve if I s­ peak of heav­en­ly ­things? 13 No one has ever gone into heav­en u ex­ cept the one who came from heav­en v — ​the Son of Man. a 14 Just as Mo­ses lift­ed up the ­snake in the wil­der­ness,  w so the Son of Man must be lift­ ed up, b x 15  that ev­ery­one who be­lieves  y may have eter­nal life in him.” c 16 For God so l­ oved z the w ­ orld that he gave his one and only Son, that who­ev­er be­lieves in him ­shall not per­ish but have eter­nal life. a 17 For God did not send his Son into the ­world b to con­demn the ­world, but to save the w ­ orld ­through him. c 18 Who­ev­er be­lieves in him is not con­demned, d but who­ev­er does not be­lieve s­ tands con­demned al­ready be­cause they have not be­lieved in the name of G ­ od’s one and only Son. e 19 This is the


3:11 s Jn 1:18; 7:16, ​ 17 t ver 32 3:13 u Pr 30:4; Ac 2:34; Eph 4:8‑10 v Jn 6:38, ​42 3:14 w Nu 21:8, ​9 x Jn 8:28; 12:32 3:15 y ver 16, ​36 3:16 z Ro 5:8; Eph 2:4; 1Jn 4:9, ​10 a ver 36; Jn 6:29, ​40; 11:25, ​26 3:17 b Jn 6:29, ​57; 10:36; 11:42; 17:8, ​ 21; 20:21 c Jn 12:47; 1Jn 4:14 3:18 d Jn 5:24 e 1Jn 4:9

3:19 f Jn 1:4; 8:12 3:20 g Eph 5:11, ​13 3:22 h Jn 4:2 3:24 i Mt 4:12; 14:3

3:11 you . . . do not accept our testimony. The plural “you” here refers back to the “we” of v. 2, where Nicodemus was speaking as a representative of his nation Israel (“we know”). ­Jesus replies in v. 11 with “you” indicating that Nicodemus’s unbelief was typical of the nation as a collective whole. 3:13 No one has ever gone into heaven. This verse contradicts other religious systems’ claims to special revelation from God. Only He had His permanent abode in heaven prior to His incarnation and, therefore, only He has the true knowledge regarding heavenly wisdom (cf. Pr 30:4). 3:14 so the Son of Man must be lifted up. Cf. 8:28; 12:32, 34; 18:31, 32. This is a veiled prediction of ­Jesus’ death on the cross. ­Jesus referred to the story of Nu 21:5–​9 where the Israelite people who looked at the serpent lifted up by Moses were healed. The point of this illustration or analogy is in the “lifted up.” Just as Moses lifted up the snake on the pole so that all who looked upon it might live physically, those who look to Christ, who was “lifted up” on the cross, will live spiritually and eternally. 3:15 eternal life. This is the first of 17 references to “eternal life” in John’s gospel. The same Gr. phrase is translated in some versions as “everlasting life.” The two expressions appear in the NT nearly 50 times. Eternal life refers not only to eternal quantity but also to divine quality of life. It means lit. “life of the age to come” and refers therefore to resurrection and heavenly existence in perfect glory and holiness. This life for believers in the Lord ­Jesus is experienced before heaven is reached. This “eternal life” is in essence nothing less than participation in the eternal life of the Living Word, J­ esus Christ. It is the life of God in every believer, yet not fully manifest until the resurrection (Ro 8:19–​23; Php 3:20, 21). 3:16 For God so loved the world. The Son’s mission is bound up in the supreme love of God for the evil, sinful “world” of humanity (cf. 6:32, 51; 12:47; see notes on 1:9; Mt 5:44, 45) that is in rebellion against Him. The word “so” emphasizes the intensity or greatness of His love. The Father gave His unique and beloved Son to die on behalf of sinful men (see note on 2Co 5:21). eternal life. See note on v. 15; cf. 17:3; 1Jn 5:20. 3:18 believed in the name. This phrase (lit. “to believe into the name”) means more than mere intellectual assent to the claims of

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ver­dict: ­Light  f has come into the ­world, but peo­ ple ­loved dark­ness in­stead of ­light be­cause ­their ­deeds were evil. 20 Every­one who does evil hates the ­light, and will not come into the ­light for fear that ­their ­deeds will be ex­posed. g 21  But who­ever lives by the t­ ruth comes into the l­ight, so that it may be seen plain­ly that what they have done has been done in the s­ ight of God.

//John Testifies Again About Jesus 22 Af­ter this, ­Jesus and his dis­ci­ples went out into the Ju­de­an coun­try­side, ­where he ­spent some time with them, and bap­tized. h 23 Now John also was bap­tiz­ing at Ae­non near Sa­lim, be­cause ­there was plen­ty of wa­ter, and peo­ple were com­ ing and be­ing bap­tized. 24 (This was be­fore John was put in pris­on.) i 25  An ar­gu­ment de­vel­oped a 13 

Some manuscripts Man, who is in heaven    b 14  The Greek for lifted up also means exalted.    c 15  Some interpreters end the quotation with verse 21.   

the gospel. It includes trust and commitment to Christ as Lord and Savior that results in receiving a new nature (v. 7) that produces a change in heart and obedience to the Lord (see note on 2:23, 24). 3:22–​36 This section constitutes John the Baptist’s last testimony in this gospel regarding Christ. As his ministry faded away, ­Jesus’ ministry moved to the forefront. In spite of the fact that John the Baptist received widespread fame in Israel and was generally accepted by the common people of the land as well as those who were social outcasts, his testimony regarding ­Jesus was rejected, especially by the leaders of Israel (cf. Mt 3:5–​10; Lk 7:29). 3:22 into the Judean countryside. While the previous episode with Nicodemus took place in Jerusalem (2:23), which was part of Judea, the phrase here means that ­Jesus went out into the rural areas of that region. baptized. Chapter 4:2 specifically says that ­Jesus did not personally baptize but that His disciples carried on this work. 3:23 Aenon near Salim. The exact location of this reference is disputed. The phrase may refer to either Salim near Shechem or Salim that is six mi. S of Beth Shan. Both are in the region of Samaria. Aenon is a transliterated Heb. word meaning “springs,” and both of these possible sites have “plenty of water.” 3:24 before John was put in prison. This provides another indication that John supplemented the Synoptic Gospels by providing additional information that helps further understanding of the movements of John the Baptist and ­Jesus (see Introduction). In Matthew and Mark, Christ’s temptation is followed by John’s imprisonment. With this phrase, John the apostle fills in the slot between ­Jesus’ baptism and temptation and the Baptist’s imprisonment. 3:25 An argument developed. The argument probably concerned the relation of the baptismal ministries of John and J­esus to the Jews’ purification practices alluded to in 2:6. The real underlying impetus, however, centered in the concern of John’s disciples that ­Jesus was in competition with him. 3:25–3​ 6 This section may be divided into three parts that highlight the significance of what was occurring in relationship to John’s and ­Jesus’ ministry: 1) John the Baptist constituted the end of the old age (vv. 25–​29); 2) the transition to ­Jesus’ ministry (v. 30); and

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b­ e­tween some of J­ohn’s dis­ci­ples and a cer­tain Jew over the mat­ter of cer­e­mo­ni­al wash­ing.  j 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rab­bi, k that man who was with you on the oth­er side of the Jor­dan — ​the one you tes­ti­fied l ­about — ​look, he is bap­tiz­ing, and ev­ery­one is go­ing to him.” 27 To this John re­plied, “A per­son can re­ceive only what is giv­en them from heav­en. 28 You your­selves can tes­ti­fy that I said, ‘I am not the Mes­si­ah but am sent a­ head of him.’ m 29 The ­bride be­longs to the bride­groom. n The f­riend who at­tends the bride­groom ­waits and lis­tens for him, and is full of joy when he ­hears the bride­groom’s ­voice. That joy is mine, and it is now com­plete.  o 30 He must be­come great­er; I must be­come less.” a 31 The one who ­ comes from ­above p is a­ bove all; the one who is from the ­earth be­longs to the ­earth, and ­speaks as one from the ­earth. q The one who ­comes from heav­en is a­ bove all. 32  He tes­ti­

3:25 j Jn 2:6 3:26 k Mt 23:7 l Jn 1:7

3:28 m Jn 1:20, ​23 3:29 n Mt 9:15

o Jn 16:24; 17:13; Php 2:2; 1Jn 1:4; 2Jn 12 3:31 p ver 13 q Jn 8:23; 1Jn 4:5

fies to what he has seen and h ­ eard, r but no one ac­cepts his tes­ti­mo­ny.  s 33  Who­ever has ac­cept­ed it has cer­ti­fied that God is truth­ful. 34 For the one whom God has sent t ­speaks the w ­ ords of God, for God b ­gives the Spir­it u with­out lim­it. 35 The Fa­ther ­loves the Son and has ­placed ev­ery­thing in his h ­ ands. v 36 Who­ev­er be­lieves in the Son has eter­nal life,  w but who­ev­er re­jects the Son will not see life, for ­God’s ­wrath re­mains on them.

//Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman

3:32 r Jn 8:26;

15:15 s ver 11 3:34 t ver 17 u Mt 12:18; Lk 4:18; Ac 10:38 3:35 v Mt 28:18; Jn 5:20, ​22; 17:2 3:36 w ver 15; Jn 5:24; 6:47 4:1 x Jn 3:22, ​26 4:3 y Jn 3:22

3) ­Jesus’ ministry as constituting the beginning of the new age (vv. 31–​36). Instead of jealousy, John exhibited humble faithfulness to the superiority of J­esus’ person and ministry. 3:26 everyone is going to him. The potential conflict between John and ­Jesus was heightened by the fact that both were engaged in ministry in close proximity to one another. Because baptism is mentioned in v. 22, J­esus may have been close to Jericho near the fords of the Jordan, while John was a short distance N baptizing at Aenon. John’s followers were especially disturbed by the fact that so many were flocking to ­Jesus whereas formerly they had come to John. 3:27 given them from heaven. This verse emphasizes God’s sovereign authority in granting ministry opportunity (cf. 1Co 4:7; 15:10). 3:29 bridegroom . . . friend who attends the bridegroom. John used an illustration to clarify his role for his disciples. The “friend of the bridegroom” was essentially the best man. He helped organize the details of the ceremony and took great pleasure in seeing the wedding proceed without incident. Most likely, John also alluded to OT passages where faithful Israel is portrayed as the bride of the Lord (Isa 62:4, 5; Hos 2:16–​20). 3:31–​36 In these verses, John the Baptist gave five reasons for Christ’s superiority to him: 1) Christ had a heavenly origin (v. 31); 2) Christ knew what was true by firsthand experience (v. 32); 3) Christ’s testimony always agreed with God (v. 33); 4) Christ experienced the Holy Spirit in an unlimited manner (v. 34); and 5) Christ was supreme because the Father sovereignly had granted that status to Him (v. 35). 3:34 the Spirit without limit. God gave the Spirit to the Son without limits (1:32, 33; Isa 11:2; 42:1; 61:1). 3:36 This constitutes an appropriate conclusion to the third chapter of John’s gospel. John the Baptist laid out two divergent paths, sincere faith and stubborn disobedience. As John faded from the forefront, he offered an invitation to faith in the Son and clearly expressed the ultimate consequence of failure to believe, i.e., “God’s wrath.” 4:1–​26 The story of the Samaritan woman reinforces John’s main theme that J­esus is the Messiah and Son of God. The thrust of these verses is not so much her conversion but that J­esus is Messiah (v. 26). While her conversion is clearly implied, the apostle’s

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John 4:5


Now ­Jesus ­learned that the Phar­i­sees had ­ eard that he was gain­ing and bap­tiz­ing h more dis­ci­ples than John x — ​ 2 al­though in fact it was not ­Jesus who bap­tized, but his dis­ci­ples. 3 So he left Ju­dea y and went back once more to Gal­i­lee. 4 Now he had to go ­through Sa­mar­ia. 5 So he a 30 

Some interpreters end the quotation with verse 36.    b 34 Greek he   

focus centers on J­ esus’ declaration foretold in the Scriptures (v. 25). Important also is the fact that this chapter demonstrates ­Jesus’ love and understanding of people. His love for mankind involved no boundaries, for He lovingly and compassionately reached out to a woman who was a social outcast. In contrast to the limitations of human love, Christ exhibits the character of divine love that is indiscriminate and all-encompassing (3:16). 4:3 he left Judea. John the Baptist and ­Jesus had official scrutiny focused on them because of their distinctive message regarding repentance and the kingdom. Most likely, J­esus wanted to avoid any possible trouble with John’s disciples who were troubled with His growing popularity and, since the Pharisees were also focusing on His growing influence, J­esus decided to leave Judea and travel N in order to avoid any conflict. 4:4 he had to go through. Several roads led from Judea to Galilee: one near the seacoast; another through the region of Perea; and one through the heart of Samaria. Even with the strong antipathy between Jews and Samaritans, the Jewish historian Josephus relates that the custom of Judeans at the time of the great festivals was to travel through the country of the Samaritans because it was the shorter route. Although the verb “had to” may possibly refer to the fact that ­Jesus wanted to save time and needless steps, because of the gospel’s emphasis on the Lord’s consciousness of fulfilling His Father’s plan (2:4; 7:30; 8:20; 12:23; 13:1; 14:31), the apostle may have been highlighting divine, spiritual necessity, i.e., J­esus had an appointment with divine destiny in meeting the Samaritan woman, to whom He would reveal His messiahship. Samaria. When the nation of Israel split politically after Solomon’s rule, King Omri named the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel “Samaria” (1Ki 16:24). The name eventually referred to the entire district and sometimes to the entire northern kingdom, which had been taken captive (capital, Samaria) by Assyria in 722 b.c. (2Ki 17:1–​6). While Assyria led most of the populace of the 10 northern tribes away (into the region that today is northern Iraq), it left a sizable population of Jews in the northern Samaritan region and transported many non-Jews into Samaria. These groups intermingled to form a mixed race through intermarriage. Eventually, tension developed between the Jews who returned from captivity and the Samaritans. The Samaritans withdrew from the worship of

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John 4:6

came to a town in Sa­mar­ia ­called Sy­char, near the plot of g­ round Ja­cob had giv­en to his son Jo­ seph. z 6 Ja­cob’s well was t­ here, and J­ esus, t­ ired as he was from the jour­ney, sat down by the well. It was ­about noon. 7 When a Sa­mar­i­tan wom­an came to draw wa­ ter, ­Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a ­drink?” 8 (His dis­ci­ples had gone into the town a to buy food.) 9 The Sa­mar­i­tan wom­an said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Sa­mar­it­ an b wom­an. How can you ask me for a ­drink?” (For Jews do not as­so­ci­ate with Sa­mar­i­tans.  a ) 10 Jesus an­swered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a d­ rink, you ­would have ­asked him and he ­would have giv­en you liv­ing wa­ter.”  c 11 “Sir,” the wom­an said, “you have noth­ing to draw with and the well is deep. ­Where can you get this liv­ing wa­ter? 12 Are you great­er than our fa­ther Ja­cob, who gave us the well d and ­drank


4:5 z Ge 33:19; 48:22; Jos 24:32 4:8 a ver 5, ​39 4:9 b Mt 10:5; Lk 9:52, ​53 4:10 c Isa 44:3; Jer 2:13; Zec 14:8; Jn 7:37, ​38; Rev 21:6; 22:1, ​17 4:12 d ver 6

4:14 e Jn 6:35

f Jn 7:38 g Mt 25:46

4:15 h Jn 6:34 4:19 i Mt 21:11

Y­ ahweh at Jerusalem and established their worship at Mt. Gerizim in Samaria (vv. 20–​22). Samaritans regarded only the Pentateuch as authoritative. As a result of this history, Jews repudiated Samaritans and considered them heretical. Intense ethnic and cultural tensions raged historically between the two groups so that both avoided contact as much as possible (v. 9; Ezr 4:1–​24; Ne 4:1–​6; Lk 10:25–​37). See note on 2Ki 17:24. 4:5, 6 These verses refer back to Ge 48:22 where Jacob bequeathed a section of land to Joseph that he had purchased from the “sons of Hamor” (cf. Ge 33:19). When the Jews returned from Egypt, they buried Joseph’s bones in that land at Shechem. The precise location of “Jacob’s well” has been set by a firm tradition among Jews, Samaritans, Muslims, and Christians and lies today in the shadow of the crypt of an unfinished Orthodox church. The term used here for “well” denotes a running spring, while in vv. 11, 12 John uses another term for “well” that means “cistern” or “dugout-well,” indicating that the well was both dug out and fed by an underground spring. This spring is still active today. 4:5 Sychar. This town was located where the village of Askar is today, on the side of Mount Ebal, opposite of Mount Gerizim. Ancient tradition identifies Jacob’s well to be about a half-mile south of Askar. 4:6 tired . . . from the journey. Since the Word became flesh (1:14), He also suffered from physical limitations in His humanity (Heb 2:10–​14). about noon. If John used the Jewish reckoning of time, calculated from sunrise at about 6:00 a.m., the time was about noon. If John used Roman time, which started reckoning from 12:00 p.m., the time would be about 6:00 p.m. 4:7 a Samaritan woman came to draw water. Women generally came in groups to collect water, either earlier or later in the day to avoid the sun’s heat. If the Samaritan woman came alone at 12:00 p.m., this may indicate that her public shame (vv. 16–​19) caused her to be isolated from other women. Will you give me a drink? For a Jewish man to speak to a woman in public, let alone to ask from her, a Samaritan, a drink was a definite breach of rigid social custom as well as a marked departure from the social animosity that existed between the two groups. Further, a “rabbi” and reli-

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from it him­self, as did also his sons and his live­ stock?” 13 Jesus an­swered, “Ev­ery­one who ­drinks this wa­ter will be ­thirsty a­ gain, 14  but who­ever ­drinks the wa­ter I give them will nev­er t­ hirst. e In­deed, the wa­ter I give them will be­come in them a ­spring of wa­ter  f well­ing up to eter­nal life.” g 15 The wom­an said to him, “Sir, give me this wa­ter so that I w ­ on’t get t­hirsty h and have to keep com­ing here to draw wa­ter.” 16  He told her, “Go, call your hus­band and come back.” 17 “I have no hus­band,” she re­plied. Jesus said to her, “You are r­ ight when you say you have no hus­band. 18 The fact is, you have had five hus­bands, and the man you now have is not your hus­band. What you have just said is q­ uite true.” 19 “Sir,” the wom­ an said, “I can see that you are a proph­et. i 20 Our an­ces­tors wor­shiped on this a 9 Or do

not use dishes Samaritans have used   

gious leader did not hold conversations with women of ill repute (v. 18). 4:8 to buy food. This verse indicates that since ­Jesus and His disciples were willing to buy food from Samaritans, they did not follow the beliefs of stricter Jews, who would never have ingested food from outcast Samaritans. 4:10 living water. The OT is the background for this term, which has important metaphorical significance. In Jer 2:13, Yahweh decries the disobedient Jews for rejecting Him, the “spring of living water.” The OT prophets looked forward to a time when “living water will flow out from Jerusalem” (Eze 47:9; Zec 14:8). The OT metaphor spoke of the knowledge of God and His grace that provides cleansing, spiritual life, and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit (cf. Isa 1:16–​18; 12:3; 44:3; Eze 36:25–​27). John applies these themes to J­esus Christ as the living water that is symbolic of eternal life mediated by the Holy Spirit from Him (cf. v. 14; 6:35; 7:37–​39). ­Jesus used the woman’s need for physical water to sustain life in this arid region in order to serve as an object lesson for her need for spiritual transformation. 4:15 The woman, like Nicodemus (3:4), did not realize that J­esus was talking about her spiritual needs. Instead, in her mind, she wanted such water in order to avoid her frequent trips to Jacob’s well. 4:16 call your husband. Since the woman failed to understand the nature of the living water He offered (v. 15), ­Jesus abruptly turned the dialogue to focus sharply on her real spiritual need for conversion and cleansing from sin. His intimate knowledge of her morally depraved life not only indicated His supernatural ability, but also focused on her spiritual condition. 4:18 not your husband. She was living conjugally with a man who ­Jesus said was not her husband. By such an explicit statement, our Lord rejected the notion that when two people live together it constitutes marriage. Biblically, marriage is always restricted to a public, formal, official, and recognized covenant. 4:19 you are a prophet. His knowledge of her life indicated He had supernatural inspiration.

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moun­tain,  j but you Jews ­claim that the ­place ­ here we must wor­ship is in Je­ru­sa­lem.” k w 21 “Wom­an,” ­Jesus re­plied, “be­lieve me, a time is com­ing  l when you will wor­ship the Fa­ther nei­ ther on this moun­tain nor in Je­ru­sa­lem. m 22 You Sa­mar­i­tans wor­ship what you do not know; n we wor­ship what we do know, for sal­va­tion is from the Jews. o 23 Yet a time is com­ing and has now come p when the true wor­ship­ers will wor­ship the Fa­ther in the Spir­it q and in t­ruth, for they are the kind of wor­ship­ers the Fa­ther s­eeks. 24 God is spir­it,  r and his wor­ship­ers must wor­ship in the Spir­it and in truth.” 25  The wom­an said, “I know that Mes­si­ah” (called ­Christ)  s “is com­ing. When he ­comes, he will ex­plain ev­ery­thing to us.” 26 Then J­ esus de­clared, “I, the one speak­ing to you — ​I am he.” t

4:20 j Dt 11:29; Jos 8:33 k Lk 9:53 4:21 l Jn 5:28; 16:2 m Mal 1:11; 1Ti 2:8 4:22 n 2Ki 17:28‑41 o Isa 2:3; Ro 3:1, ​ 2; 9:4, ​5 4:23 p Jn 5:25; 16:32 q Php 3:3 4:24 r Php 3:3 4:25 s Mt 1:16 4:26 t Jn 8:24; 9:35‑37

4:27 u ver 8 4:29 v ver 17, ​

18 w Mt 12:23; Jn 7:26, ​31 4:31 x Mt 23:7 4:32 y Job 23:12; Mt 4:4; Jn 6:27 4:34 z Mt 26:39; Jn 6:38; 17:4; 19:30

4:20 on this mountain. Both Jews and Samaritans recognized that God had commanded their forefathers to identify a special place for worshiping Him (Dt 12:5). The Jews, recognizing the entire Hebrew canon, chose Jerusalem (2Sa 7:5–​13; 2Ch 6:6). The Samaritans, recognizing only the Pentateuch, noted that the first place Abraham built an altar to God was at Shechem (Ge 12:6, 7), which was overlooked by Mt. Gerizim, where the Israelites had shouted the blessings promised by God before they entered the Promised Land (Dt 11:29, 30). As a result, they chose Mt. Gerizim for the place of their temple. 4:21 neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. There was no reason to debate locations, since both places would be obsolete soon and neither would have any role to play in the lives of those who genuinely worship God. Jerusalem would even be destroyed with its temple (a.d. 70). 4:22 you do not know. The Samaritans did not know God. They did not have the full revelation of Him, and thus could not worship in truth. The Jews did have the full revelation of God in the OT; thus they knew the God they worshiped, because salvation’s truth came first to them (see note on Lk 19:9) and through them to the world (cf. Ro 3:2; 9:4, 5). 4:23 a time. This refers to ­Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension to God, having completed redemption. true worshipers. ­Jesus’ point is that in light of His coming as Messiah and Savior, worshipers will be identified, not by a particular shrine or location, but by their worship of the Father through the Son. With Christ’s coming, previous distinctions between true and false worshipers based on locations disappeared. True worshipers are all those everywhere who worship God through the Son, from the heart (cf. Php 3:3). 4:24 God is spirit. This verse represents the classical statement on the nature of God as Spirit. The phrase means that God is invisible (Col 1:15; 1Ti 1:17; Heb 11:27) as opposed to the physical or material nature of man (1:18; 3:6). The word order of this phrase puts an emphasis on “spirit,” and the statement is essentially emphatic. Man could never comprehend the invisible God unless He revealed Himself, as He did in Scripture and the incarnation. must worship. J­esus is not speaking of a desirable element in worship but that which is absolutely necessary. in the Spirit and in truth. The word “spirit” refers not to the Holy Spirit but to the human spirit. ­Jesus’ point here is that a person must worship not simply by external conformity to religious rituals and places (out-

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John 4:34

//The Disciples Rejoin Jesus 27 Just then his dis­ ci­ples re­turned u and were sur­prised to find him talk­ing with a wom­an. But no one ­asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talk­ing with her?” 28  Then, leav­ing her wa­ter jar, the wom­an went back to the town and said to the peo­ple, 29 “Come, see a man who told me ev­ ery­thing I ever did. v ­Could this be the Mes­si­ah?” w 30 They came out of the town and made t­heir way to­ ward him. 31  Mean­while his dis­ci­ples ­urged him, “Rab­bi,  x eat some­thing.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat y that you know noth­ing about.” 33 Then his dis­ci­ples said to each oth­er, “Could some­one have ­brought him food?” 34 “My food,” said ­Jesus, “is to do the will z of

wardly) but inwardly (“in the spirit”) with the proper heart attitude. The reference to “truth” refers to worship of God consistent with the revealed Scripture and centered on the “Word made flesh” who ultimately revealed His Father (14:6). 4:25 Messiah. The Samaritans also anticipated Messiah’s coming. 4:26 I, the one speaking to you—​I am he. ­Jesus forthrightly declares Himself to be Messiah, though His habit was to avoid such declarations to His own Jewish people who had such crassly political and militaristic views regarding Messiah (cf. 10:24; Mk 9:41). The “he” in this translation is not in the original Gr., for ­Jesus lit. said, “I who speak to you am.” The usage of “I am” is similar to 8:58 (see notes there). This claim constitutes the main point of the story regarding the Samaritan woman. 4:27–​42 These verses reinforce ­Jesus’ acknowledgment that He was Messiah by offering proof for His claim. John gives five genuine, but subtle, proofs that ­Jesus was truly Messiah and Son of God, which reinforces his main theme of 20:31: 1) proof from His immediate control of everything (v. 27); 2) proof from His impact on the woman (vv. 28–​30); 3) proof from His intimacy with the Father (vv. 31–​34); 4) proof from His insight into men’s souls (vv. 35–​38); and 5) proof from His impression on the Samaritans (vv. 39–​42). 4:27 Just then. Had the disciples arrived earlier, they would have interrupted and destroyed the conversation, and if they had arrived any later, she would have gone and they would not have heard His declaration of messiahship. This feature subtly reveals J­ esus’ divine control over the situation that was occurring. 4:28–​31 to the people. ­Jesus had such an impact on the woman that she was eager to share the news among the townspeople whom she had previously avoided because of her reputation. Her witness and candor regarding her own life so impressed them that they came to see ­Jesus for themselves. 4:32, 33 I have food. Just like the Samaritan woman’s misunderstanding of J­esus’ words regarding literal water (v. 15), ­Jesus’ own disciples thought only of literal food. John commonly used such misunderstanding to advance the argument of his gospel (e.g., 2:20; 3:3). 4:34 My food . . . is to do the will of him who sent me. Most likely J­esus echoed Dt 8:3, where Moses stated, “man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (cf. Mt 4:4; Lk 4:4). When He talked with the ­Samaritan

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John 4:35

him who sent me and to fin­ish his work. a 35 Don’t you have a say­ing, ‘It’s s­ till four m ­ onths un­til har­ vest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the ­fields! They are ripe for har­vest. b 36 Even now the one who r­ eaps draws a wage and har­vests c a crop for eter­nal life, d so that the sow­er and the reap­ er may be glad to­geth­er. 37 Thus the say­ing ‘One sows and an­oth­er ­reaps’  e is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not w ­ orked for. Oth­ers have done the hard work, and you have r­eaped the ben­e­fits of ­their la­bor.”




4:34 a Jn 19:30 4:35 b Mt 9:37;

Lk 10:2 4:36 c Ro 1:13 d Mt 25:46 4:37 e Job 31:8; Mic 6:15 4:39 f ver 5 g ver 29

//Jesus Heals an Official’s Son 43  Af­ter

the two days i he left for Gal­i­lee. J­esus him­self had point­ed out that a proph­et has no hon­or in his own coun­try.) j 45 When he ar­rived in Gal­i­lee, the Gal­il­ e­ans wel­ comed him. They had seen all that he had done in Je­ru­sa­lem at the Pass­over Fes­ti­val,  k for they also had been there. 46  Once more he vis­it­ed Cana in Gal­i­lee, ­where he had ­turned the wa­ter into wine. l And ­there was a cer­tain roy­al of­fi­cial w ­ hose son lay sick at Ca­per­na­um. 47 When this man h ­ eard that ­Jesus had ar­rived in Gal­i­lee from Ju­dea, m he went to him and ­begged him to come and heal his son, who was ­close to death. 48 “Un­less you peo­ple see s­ igns and won­ders,” n ­Jesus told him, “you will nev­er be­lieve.” 44  (Now

//Many Samaritans Believe 39  Many of the Sa­mar­it­ans from that town f be­lieved in him be­cause of the wom­an’s tes­ti­ mo­ny, “He told me ev­ery­thing I ever did.” g 40 So when the Sa­mar­i­tans came to him, they u­ rged him to stay with them, and he ­stayed two days. 41 And be­cause of his w ­ ords many more be­came be­lievers. 42 They said to the wom­an, “We no lon­ger be­

lieve just be­cause of what you said; now we have ­heard for our­selves, and we know that this man real­ly is the Sav­ior of the world.” h

4:42 h Lk 2:11; 1Jn 4:14 4:43 i ver 40 4:44 j Mt 13:57; Lk 4:24 4:45 k Jn 2:23 4:46 l Jn 2:1‑11 4:47 m ver 3, ​54 4:48 n Da 4:2, ​3; Jn 2:11; Ac 2:43; 14:3; Ro 15:19; 2Co 12:12; Heb 2:4

woman, ­Jesus was performing the will of the Father and thereby received greater sustenance and satisfaction than any mere physical food could offer Him (5:23, 24; 8:29; 17:4). Obedience to and dependence upon God’s will summed up ­Jesus’ whole life (Eph 5:17). God’s will for Him to finish is explained in 6:38–​40 (see note on 6:40).

servant, was healed; and 3) ­Jesus was far more negative regarding the official’s faith (v. 48) than the centurion’s (Mt 8:10). One may divide this section into three parts: 1) ­Jesus contemplating unbelief (vv. 43–​45); 2) J­esus confronting unbelief (vv. 46–​49); and 3) ­Jesus conquering unbelief (vv. 50–​54).

4:35 four months until harvest. The event probably happened in Dec. or Jan., which was four months before the normal spring harvest (mid-Apr.). Crops were planted in Nov., and by Dec. or Jan. the grain would be sprouting up in vibrant green color. ­Jesus used the fact that they were surrounded by crops growing in the field and waiting to be harvested as an object lesson to illustrate His urgency about reaching the lost, which the “harvest” symbolized. ­Jesus points out the Samaritan woman and people of Sychar (“open your eyes”) who were at that moment coming upon the scene (v. 30) looking like a ripened “harvest” that urgently needed “gathering,” i.e., evangelizing. ripe for harvest. Lit. “white for harvest.” Their white clothing seen above the growing grain may have looked like white heads on the stalks, an indication of readiness for harvest. J­ esus knew the hearts of all (2:24), so was able to state their readiness for salvation (cf. vv. 39–​41).

4:43 left for Galilee. After two days in Samaria, ­Jesus traveled to Galilee, resuming the trip that began in v. 3.

4:36–​38 The Lord’s call to His disciples to do the work of evangelism contains promises of reward (“a wage”), fruit that brings eternal joy (v. 36), and the mutual partnership of shared privilege (vv. 37, 38). 4:42 Savior of the world. This phrase occurs also in 1Jn 4:14. The verse constitutes the climax to the story of the woman of Samaria. The Samaritans themselves became another in a series of witnesses in John’s gospel that demonstrated the identity of ­Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God. This episode represents the first instance of cross-cultural evangelism (Ac 1:8). 4:43–​54 The episode of ­Jesus’ healing of the official’s son constitutes the second major “sign” of eight that John uses to reinforce ­Jesus’ true identity for producing belief in his readers (v. 54). In this episode, J­ esus chided the official’s unbelief in needing a miraculous sign in order to trust in Christ (v. 48). While some believe that this story is the same as the healing of the centurion’s servant (Mt 8:5–​13; Lk 7:2–​10), sufficient differences exist to demonstrate that it is different from the synoptic account; e.g., 1) no evidence exists that the official’s son was a Gentile; 2) the official’s son, not his

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4:44 a prophet has no honor in his own country. This proverb (also in Mt 13:57; Mk 6:4) contrasts the believing response of the Samaritans (v. 39) with the characteristic unbelief of ­Jesus’ own people in Galilee (and Judea) whose reticent faith depended so much on ­Jesus’ performance of miracles (v. 48). While in Samaria, ­Jesus had enjoyed His first unqualified and unopposed success. His own people’s hearts were not open to Him, but exhibited reluctance and hardness. 4:45 the Galileans welcomed him. The apostle may have meant these words as irony, especially in light of the surrounding context of vv. 44, 48. The reception was likely that of curiosity seekers whose appetite centered more on seeing miracles than believing in ­Jesus as Messiah—​as it had been at “the Passover Festival” (see notes on 2:23–​25). 4:46 Cana in Galilee. The deep irony of the statement in v. 45 increases with the fact that J­esus had only recently performed a miracle in Cana at the wedding. Instead of responding in belief, the people wanted more (see note on v. 48). The basis of their welcome was extremely crass. royal official. This term most likely designated someone officially attached to the service of King Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee from 4 b.c. to a.d. 39. sick at Capernaum. Capernaum was approximately 16 mi. NE of Cana. 4:47 begged him. The language here indicates that he repeatedly begged ­Jesus to heal his son. His approach to ­Jesus was out of desperation, but he had little appreciation of who ­Jesus was. In light of v. 46, apparently the official’s motivation centered in J­esus’ reputation as a miracle worker rather than as Messiah. 4:48 Unless you people see signs and wonders. The “you” is plural. ­Jesus addresses these words to the Galileans as a whole and not just to the royal official (see notes on vv. 45, 46). The response of the Galileans was fundamentally flawed because it disregarded

4/19/13 9:31 AM

N 49 The roy­al of­fi­cial said, “Sir, come down be­ fore my ­child dies.” 50 “Go,” J­ esus re­plied, “your son will live.” The man took J­esus at his word and de­part­ ed. 51 While he was s­ till on the way, his ser­vants met him with the news that his boy was liv­ing. 52 When he in­quired as to the time when his son got bet­ter, they said to him, “Yes­ter­day, at one in the af­ter­noon, the fe­ver left him.” 53 Then the fa­ther re­al­ized that this was the ex­ act time at ­which J­esus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his ­whole house­hold o be­lieved. 54 This was the sec­ond sign p ­Jesus per­formed af­ter com­ing from Ju­dea to Gal­i­lee.



John 5:10

4:53 o Ac 11:14 4:54 p ver 48;

sur­round­ed by five cov­ered col­on­nades. 3 Here a g­ reat num­ber of dis­abled peo­ple used to lie — ​the ­blind, the lame, the par­a­lyzed. [4] b 5 One who was ­there had been an in­val­id for thir­ty-­eight y­ ears. 6 When J­esus saw him ly­ ing t­here and l­earned that he had been in this con­di­tion for a long time, he ­asked him, “Do you want to get well?” 7 “Sir,” the in­val­id re­plied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the wa­ter is ­stirred. ­While I am try­ing to get in, some­one else goes down ­ahead of me.” 8 Then ­Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” s 9 At once the man was ­cured; he ­picked up his mat and walked. The day on w ­ hich this took p­ lace was a Sab­ bath, t 10 and so the Jew­ish lead­ers u said to the

Jn 2:11 5:2 q Ne 3:1; 12:39 r Jn 19:13, ​17, ​20; 20:16; Ac 21:40; 22:2; 26:14

//The Healing at the Pool


Some time lat­er, ­Jesus went up to Je­ru­sa­lem for one of the Jew­ish fes­ti­vals. 2 Now t­ here is in Je­ru­sa­lem near the ­Sheep Gate q a pool, ­which in Ar­a­ma­ic  r is ­called Be­thes­da  a and ­which is

a 2 

5:8 s Mt 9:5, ​6;

Mk 2:11; Lk 5:24

5:9 t Jn 9:14 5:10 u ver 16

the person of Christ and centered in the need for a constant display of miraculous signs. Such an attitude represents the deepest state of unbelief. 4:50 your son will live. ­Jesus met the demands of Galilean unbelief by healing the official’s son, revealing not only His sympathy, but His marvelous graciousness in spite of such a faithless demand for miracles. 4:52 one in the afternoon. Lit. seventh hour. About 1 p.m., reckoning from sunrise (6 a.m.) using the Jewish method. 4:53 the exact time. The time when the official’s son improved corresponded precisely with the time that he had spoken with ­Jesus. This served to strengthen the official’s faith and, as a result, the “whole household” believed. 5:1—​7:52 This section evidences the shift from reservation and hesitation about ­Jesus as Messiah (3:26; 4:1–​3) to outright rejection (7:52). The opposition started with controversy regarding ­Jesus’ healing on the Sabbath (vv. 1–​18), intensified in chap. 6 with many of His disciples abandoning Him (6:66), and finally hardened in chap. 7 into official opposition against Him with the religious authorities’ unsuccessful attempt to arrest Him (7:20–​52). Accordingly, the theme of this section is the rejection of J­esus as Messiah. 5:1–​18 Although opposition to ­Jesus smoldered beneath the surface (e.g., 2:13–​20), the story of ­Jesus’ healing at the Pool of Bethesda highlights the beginning of open hostility toward Him in Jerusalem. The passage may be divided into three parts: 1) the miracle performed (vv. 1–​9); 2) the Master persecuted (vv. 10–​16); and 3) the murder planned (vv. 16–​18). 5:1 Jewish festivals. Throughout his gospel, John highlighted various Jewish festivals (John 2:13—​Passover (a.d. 27); 6:4—​Passover (a.d. 29); 7:2—​Tabernacles; 10:22—​Hanukkah or Festival of Dedication; and 11:55—​Passover (a.d. 30), but this reference is the only instance when he does not identify the particular festival occurring at the time. 5:2 Sheep Gate. A reference to the gate identified in Ne 3:1, 32; 12:39. It was a small opening in the N wall of the city, just W of the NE corner. there is . . . a pool. Some have suggested that John

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Some manuscripts Bethzatha; other manuscripts Bethsaida    Some manuscripts include here, wholly or in part, paralyzed — ​ and they waited for the moving of the waters. 4From time to time an angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters. The first one into the pool after each such disturbance would be cured of whatever disease they had.    b 3,4 

wrote his gospel before the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70, because his usage of “is” here implies that the pool still existed. However, John frequently uses what is known as a “historical present” to refer to past events, so this argument carries little weight. For more on the date of writing, see Introduction: Author and Date. Bethesda. “Bethesda” is the Gr. transliteration of a Heb. (or Aram.) name meaning “house of outpouring.” 5:3a lie. It was a custom at that time for people with infirmities to gather at this pool. Intermittent springs may have fed the pool and caused the disturbance of the water (v. 7). Some ancient witnesses indicate that the waters of the pool were red with minerals, and thus thought to have medicinal value. 5:3b, 4 See NIV footnote. 5:5 thirty-eight years. John included this figure to emphasize the gravity of the debilitating disease that afflicted the individual. Since his sickness had been witnessed by many people for almost four decades, when ­Jesus cured him everyone knew the genuineness of the healing (cf. v. 9). 5:6 learned. The word implies supernatural knowledge of the man’s situation (1:47, 48; 4:17). ­Jesus picked the man out from among many sick people. The sovereign initiative was His, and no reason is given as to His choice. 5:8 Get up! Pick up . . . walk. In the same way that He spoke the world into being at creation (Ge 1:3), J­esus’ spoken words had the power to cure (cf. 1:3; 8:58; Ge 1:1; Col 1:16; Heb 1:2). mat. The straw mat was not heavy. It could easily be rolled up, lifted, and carried by an able-bodied individual (cf. Mk 2:11). 5:9 picked up his mat and walked. This phrase emphasizes the completeness of the cure (cf. v. 5). 5:10, 11 The OT prohibited working on the Sabbath but did not stipulate what kind of “work” was specifically indicated (Ex 20:8–​11). Scripture implies that “work” consisted of one’s regular employment, but rabbinical opinion had developed oral tradition beyond the OT which stipulated 39 activities that were forbidden, including transporting an item from one area to another. Thus, the man had broken oral tradition, not OT law (see notes on v. 16).

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John 5:11

man who had been ­healed, “It is the Sab­bath; the law for­bids you to car­ry your mat.” v 11 But he re­plied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ” 12 So they ­asked him, “Who is this fel­low who told you to pick it up and walk?” 13 The man who was h ­ ealed had no idea who it was, for J­ esus had ­slipped away into the c­ rowd that was there. 14 Lat­er ­Jesus f­ ound him at the tem­ple and said to him, “See, you are well a­ gain. Stop sin­ning w or some­thing w ­ orse may hap­pen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jew­ish lead­ers x that it was ­Jesus who had made him well.

//The Authority of the Son 16 So, be­cause ­Jesus was do­ing ­these t­ hings on the Sab­bath, the Jew­ish lead­ers be­gan to per­se­ cute him. 17 In his de­fense J­ esus said to them, “My Fa­ther is al­ways at his work y to this very day, and I too am work­ing.” 18 For this rea­son they ­tried


5:10 v Ne 13:15‑22; Jer 17:21; Mt 12:2

5:14 w Mk 2:5;

Jn 8:11 5:15 x Jn 1:19 5:17 y Jn 9:4; 14:10

5:18 z Jn 7:1

a Jn 10:30, ​33;

5:19 b ver 30;


Jn 8:28 5:20 c Jn 3:35 d Jn 14:12 5:21 e Ro 4:17; 8:11 f Jn 11:25 5:22 g ver 27; Jn 9:39; Ac 10:42; 17:31 5:23 h Lk 10:16; 1Jn 2:23 5:24 i Jn 3:18 j 1Jn 3:14

5:10 the law forbids you. The phrase reveals that the Judaism during ­Jesus’ time had degenerated into pious hypocrisy. Such hypocrisy especially enraged the Lord ­Jesus (cf. Mt 22, 23), who used this incident to set up a confrontation with Jewish hyper-legalism and identified the need for national repentance. 5:14 Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you. The basic thrust of ­Jesus’ comments here indicates that sin has its inevitable consequences (cf. Gal 6:7, 8). Although Scripture makes clear that not all disease is a consequence of sin (cf. 9:1–​3; Lk 13:1–​5), illness at times may be directly tied into one’s moral turpitude (cf. 1Co 11:29, 30; Jas 5:15). J­esus may specifically have chosen this man in order to highlight this point. 5:16 on the Sabbath. ­Jesus did not break God’s law since in it there was no prohibition of doing good on that day (Mk 2:27). However, J­ esus disregarded the oral law of the Jews that had developed, i.e., “the tradition of the elders” (cf. also Mt 15:1–​9). Most likely, J­esus deliberately practiced such healing on the Sabbath to provoke a confrontation with their religious hypocrisy that blinded them to the true worship of God (see vv. 17–​47 for the main reason for ­Jesus’ confrontation; see notes on vv. 10, 11). persecute. The verb tense means that the Jews repeatedly persecuted J­esus, i.e., continued hostile activity. This was not an isolated incident of their hatred toward Him because of His healings on the Sabbath (cf. Mk 3:1–​6). 5:17–​47 These verses reveal the ultimate reason J­esus confronted the Jews’ religious hypocrisy, i.e., the opportunity to declare who He was. This section is Christ’s own personal statement of His deity. As such, it is one of the greatest Christological discourses in Scripture. Herein J­esus makes five claims to equality with God: 1) He is equal with God in His person (vv. 17, 18); 2) He is equal with God in His works (vv. 19, 20); 3) He is equal with God in His power and sovereignty (v. 21); 4) He is equal with God in His judgment (v. 22); and 5) He is equal with God in His honor (v. 23). 5:17 ­Jesus’ point is that God is continuously at work, and since ­Jesus Himself worked continuously, He also must be God. Furthermore, God does not need a day of rest, for He never wearies (Isa 40:28). For J­esus’ assertion to be true, the same attributes

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all the more to kill him; z not only was he break­ ing the Sab­bath, but he was even call­ing God his own Fa­ther, mak­ing him­self ­equal with God. a 19 Jesus gave them this an­swer: “Very tru­ly I tell you, the Son can do noth­ing by him­self; b he can do only what he sees his Fa­ther do­ing, be­cause what­ev­er the Fa­ther does the Son also does. 20 For the Fa­ther l­oves the Son c and s­ hows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even great­er ­works than ­these,  d so that you will be a­ mazed. 21 For just as the Fa­ther rais­es the dead and ­gives them life, e even so the Son ­gives life f to whom he is ­pleased to give it. 22 More­over, the Fa­ther judg­ es no one, but has en­trust­ed all judg­ment to the Son, g 23 that all may hon­or the Son just as they hon­or the Fa­ther. Who­ev­er does not hon­or the Son does not hon­or the Fa­ther, who sent him. h 24 “Very tru­ly I tell you, who­ev­er ­hears my word and be­lieves him who sent me has eter­nal life and will not be j­ udged i but has c­ rossed over from ­death to life. j 25 Very tru­ly I tell you, a time is

that apply to God must also apply to Him. J­esus is Lord of the Sabbath (Mt 12:8)! Interestingly, even the rabbis admitted that God’s work had not ceased after the Sabbath, because He sustains the universe. 5:18 This verse confirms that the Jews instantly grasped the implications of His remarks that He was God (see notes on v. 17). 5:19 Very truly. Cf. vv. 24, 25; 1:51. This is an emphatic way of saying “I’m telling you the truth.” In response to Jewish hostility at the implications of His assertions of equality with God, J­esus became even more fearless, forceful, and emphatic. J­esus essentially tied His activities of healing on the Sabbath directly to the Father. The Son never took independent action that opposed the Father’s will. The Son only did those things that were in perfect agreement with the Father. ­Jesus thus implied His equality to the Father since He alone could do what the Father does. 5:20 greater works. This refers to the powerful work of raising the dead. God has that power (cf. 1Ki 17:17–​24; 2Ki 4:32–​37; 5:7) and so does the Lord J­ esus (vv. 21–​29; 11:25–​44; 14:19; 20:1–​18). 5:23 honor the Son. This verse explains why God bestowed all judgment to the Son, i.e., so that all should honor the Son as they honor the Father. ­Jesus is not a mere herald sent from the heavenly court; He is the King Himself, possessing full equality with the Father (cf. Php 2:9–​11). honor the Father. ­Jesus turned the tables on the Jewish accusation against Him of blasphemy. Instead, J­esus affirmed that the only way anyone can honor the Father is through receiving the Son. Therefore, the Jews were the ones who actually blasphemed the Father by rejection of His Son. 5:24 crossed over from death to life. This develops the truth of v. 21, that ­Jesus gives life to whomever He desires. The people who receive that life are here identified as those who hear the Word and believe in the Father and the Son. They are the people who have eternal life and never will be condemned (Ro 8:1; Col 1:13). 5:25–​29 The theme of these verses is resurrection. ­Jesus related that all men, saved and unsaved, will be literally and physically resurrected from the dead. However, only the saved experience a spiritual (“born again”), as well as physical, resurrection unto

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com­ing and has now come k when the dead will hear l the ­voice of the Son of God and t­ hose who hear will live. 26 For as the Fa­ther has life in him­ self, so he has grant­ed the Son also to have life in him­self. 27 And he has giv­en him au­thor­i­ty to ­judge  m be­cause he is the Son of Man. 28 “Do not be ­amazed at this, for a time is com­ ing n when all who are in ­their ­graves will hear his ­voice 29 and come out — ​­those who have done what is good will rise to live, and t­ hose who have done what is evil will rise to be con­demned. o 30 By my­self I can do noth­ing; p I ­judge only as I hear, and my judg­ment is just, q for I seek not to ­please my­self but him who sent me. r

//Testimonies About Jesus 31 “If

I tes­ti­fy ­about my­self, my tes­ti­mo­ny is not true. s 32 There is an­oth­er who tes­ti­fies in my fa­ vor, t and I know that his tes­ti­mo­ny a­ bout me is true. 33 “ You have sent to John and he has tes­t i­ fied u to the ­truth. 34 Not that I ac­cept hu­man tes­ti­mo­ny;  v but I men­tion it that you may be ­saved. 35 John was a lamp that b­ urned and gave

5:25 k Jn 4:23 l Jn 8:43, ​47

5:27 m ver 22;

Ac 10:42; 17:31

5:28 n Jn 4:21 5:29 o Da 12:2; Mt 25:46

5:30 p ver 19

q Jn 8:16 r Mt 26:39;

Jn 4:34; 6:38

5:31 s Jn 8:14 5:32 t ver 37; Jn 8:18

5:33 u Jn 1:7 5:34 v 1Jn 5:9

5:35 w 2Pe 1:19 5:36 x 1Jn 5:9 y Jn 14:11; z Jn 3:17;

b Dt 4:12; 1Ti 1:17; Jn 1:18 5:38 c 1Jn 2:14 d Jn 3:17 5:39 e Ro 2:17, ​ 18 f Lk 24:27, ​44; Ac 13:27 5:41 g ver 44 5:44 h Ro 2:29

eternal life. The unsaved will be resurrected unto judgment and eternal punishment through separation from God (i.e., the second death; cf. Rev 20:6, 14; 21:8). These verses also constitute proof of the deity of J­esus Christ since the Son has resurrection power (vv. 25, 26), and the Father has granted Him the status of Judge of all mankind (v. 27). In the light of other Scripture, it is clear that J­esus speaks generally about resurrection, but not about one, general resurrection (see notes on Da 12:2; 1Co 15:23; 1Th 4:16). 5:25 time is coming and has now come. Cf. 4:23. This phrase reveals an already/not yet tension regarding the resurrection. Those who are born again are already “spiritually” resurrected (“has now”; Eph 2:1; Col 2:13), and yet a future physical resurrection still awaits them (“time is coming”; 1Co 15:35–​54; Php 3:20, 21). 5:26 he has granted the Son. The Son from all eternity had the right to grant life (1:4). The distinction involves ­Jesus’ deity versus His incarnation. In becoming a man, J­esus voluntarily set aside the independent exercise of His divine attributes and prerogatives (Php 2:6–​11). J­esus here affirms that even in His humanity, the Father granted Him “life-giving” power, i.e., the power of resurrection (see note on v. 20). 5:27 authority. Cf. 17:2; see note on Mt 28:18. 5:29 those who have done what is good . . . what is evil. ­Jesus was not teaching justification by works (see 6:29). In the context, the “good” is believing on the Son so as to receive a new nature that produces good works (3:21; Jas 2:14–​20), while the “evil” done is to reject the Son (the unsaved) and hate the light, which has the result of evil deeds (3:18, 19). In essence, works merely evidence one’s nature as saved or unsaved (see notes on Ro 2:5–​10), but human works never determine one’s salvation. 5:30 to please . . . him who sent me. In summarizing all He has said from v. 19 on about His equality with God, ­Jesus claimed that the judgment He exercised was because everything He did was dependent upon the Father’s word and will (cf. vv. 19, 20).

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15:24 10:25

5:37 a Jn 8:18

John 5:44

­light,  w and you ­chose for a time to en­joy his light. 36  “I have tes­ti­mo­ny weight­ie­ r than that of John. x For the ­works that the Fa­ther has giv­en me to fin­ish — ​the very ­works that I am do­ing y  — ​ tes­ti­fy that the Fa­ther has sent me. z 37 And the Fa­ther who sent me has him­self tes­ti­fied con­ cern­ing me.  a You have nev­er ­heard his ­voice nor seen his form, b 38 nor does his word ­dwell in you, c for you do not be­lieve the one he sent. d 39 You ­study  a the Scrip­tures e dil­i­gent­ly be­cause you ­think that in them you have eter­nal life. T ­ hese are the very Scrip­tures that tes­ti­fy ­about me, f 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life. 41 “I do not ac­cept glo­ry from hu­man be­ings, g 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your ­hearts. 43 I have come in my Fa­ther’s name, and you do not ac­cept me; but if some­one else ­comes in his own name, you will ac­cept him. 44 How can you be­lieve ­since you ac­ cept glo­ry from one an­oth­er but do not seek the glo­ry that ­comes from the only God b ? h a 39 Or 39Study    b 44 

Some early manuscripts the Only One   

5:32–​47 The background of these verses is Dt 17:6; 19:15 where witnesses were to establish the truthfulness of a matter (see note on 1:7). ­Jesus Himself emphasized the familiar theme of witnesses who testify to the identity of the Son: 1) John the Baptist (vv. 32–​35); 2) ­Jesus’ works (vv. 35, 36); 3) the Father (vv. 37, 38); and 4) the OT Scriptures (vv. 39–​47). 5:36 the works that the Father has given me. Cf. 10:25. The miracles of ­Jesus were witness to His deity and messiahship. Such miracles are the major signs recorded by John in this gospel, so as to fulfill his purpose in 20:30, 31 (see Introduction: Historical and Theological Themes). 5:37 Father . . . has himself testified. Cf. Mt 3:17; Mk 1:11; Lk 3:22. 5:39 You study. Although the verb “study” could also be understood as a command (i.e., “Study the Scriptures!”), most prefer this translation as an indicative. The verb implies diligent scrutiny in investigating the Scriptures to find “eternal life.” However, ­Jesus points out that with all their fastidious effort, they miserably failed in their understanding of the true way to eternal life through the Son of God (see notes on Mt 19:16–​25; cf. 14:6; 2Ti 3:15). testify about me. Cf. v. 45. Christ is the main theme of Scripture. See note on 1:45. 5:40 refuse to come. They searched for eternal life but were not willing to trust its only source (cf. v. 24; 1:11; 3:19). 5:41 glory from human beings. If ­Jesus agreed to be the kind of Messiah the Jews wanted, providing miracles and food along with political and military power, He would receive honor and glory from them. But He sought only to please God (vv. 19ff.). 5:43 you will accept him. The Jewish historian Josephus records that a string of messianic pretenders arose in the years before a.d. 70. This verse contrasts the Jewish rejection of their true Messiah because they did not love or know God (v. 42), with their willing acceptance of charlatans.

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John 5:45 45 “But do not t­hink I will ac­cuse you be­fore the Fa­ther. Your ac­cus­er is Mo­ses, i on whom your ­hopes are set. j 46 If you be­lieved Mo­ses, you ­would be­lieve me, for he w ­ rote a­ bout me. k 47  But ­since you do not be­lieve what he w ­ rote, how are you go­ing to be­lieve what I say?” l




5:45 i Jn 9:28 j Ro 2:17

5:46 k Ge 3:15;

Lk 24:27, ​44; Ac 26:22 5:47 l Lk 16:29, ​31 6:2 m Jn 2:11 6:3 n ver 15 6:4 o Jn 2:13; 11:55 6:5 p Jn 1:43 6:8 q Jn 1:40

//Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand 6:1-13pp —​Mt 14:13-21; Mk 6:32-44; Lk 9:10-17


Some time af­ter this, J­ esus c­ rossed to the far s­ hore of the Sea of Gal­i­lee (that is, the Sea of Ti­be­ri­as), 2 and a ­great ­crowd of peo­ple fol­ lowed him be­cause they saw the s­igns m he had per­formed by heal­ing the sick. 3 Then ­Jesus went up on a moun­tain­side n and sat down with his dis­ ci­ples. 4  The Jew­ish Pass­over Fes­ti­val  o was near. 5 When J­ esus ­looked up and saw a g ­ reat c­ rowd com­ing to­ward him, he said to Phil­ip, p “Where ­shall we buy b­ read for t­ hese peo­ple to eat?” 6 He ­asked this only to test him, for he al­ready had in mind what he was go­ing to do. 7 Phil­ ip an­swered him, “It ­would take more than half a ­year’s wag­es a to buy ­enough ­bread for each one to have a bite!” 8  An­oth­er of his dis­ci­ples, An­drew, Si­mon Pe­ ter’s broth­er,  q ­spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five

6:9 r 2Ki 4:43 6:11 s ver 23;

Mt 14:19 6:14 t Jn 2:11 u Dt 18:15, ​18; Mt 11:3; 21:11 6:15 v Jn 18:36 w Mt 14:23; Mk 6:46

5:46 Moses . . . for he wrote about me. J­esus does not mention any specific passage in the five books of Moses although there are many (e.g., Dt 18:15; cf. 1:21; 4:19; 6:14; 7:40, 52). 6:1–​14 The story of the feeding of the 5,000 is the fourth sign John employed to demonstrate that ­Jesus is the Messiah and Son of God. It is the only miracle recorded in all four gospels (Mt 14:13–​23; Mk 6:30–​46; Lk 9:10–​17). Since John most likely wrote to supplement and provide additional information not recorded in the Synoptics (see Introduction: Background and Setting), his recording of this miracle emphasizes its strategic importance in two ways: 1) it demonstrated the creative power of Christ more clearly than any other miracle, and 2) it decisively supported John’s purposes of demonstrating the deity of ­Jesus Christ while also serving to set the stage for ­Jesus’ discourse on the “bread of life” (vv. 22–​40). Interestingly, both creative miracles of J­esus, the water into wine (2:1–​10) and the multiplying of bread (vv. 1–​14), speak of the main elements in the Lord’s Supper or communion (v. 53). 6:1 Some time after this. A large gap of time may exist between chaps. 5 and 6. If the festival in 5:1 is Tabernacles, or Booths, then at least six months passed (Oct. to Apr.). If the festival of 5:1 is Passover, then a year passed between these chapters. the Sea of Galilee. Chapter 6 is very close to the same structure as chap. 5 since both occur around a Jewish festival and both lead to a discourse of J­esus’ deity. While chap. 5 takes place in the S around Judea and Jerusalem, chap. 6 takes place in the N around Galilee. The result of both chapters is the same: He is rejected not only in the southern but also in the northern regions. See note on 21:1. 6:2 they saw the signs. The crowds followed not out of belief but out of curiosity concerning the miracles that He performed (v. 26). However, in spite of the crowd’s crass motivations, ­Jesus, having compassion on them, healed their sick and fed them (cf. Mt 13:14; Mk 6:34).

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­small bar­ley ­loaves and two ­small fish, but how far will they go ­among so many?” r 10  Jesus said, “Have the peo­ple sit down.” ­There was plen­ty of ­grass in that p­ lace, and they sat down (about five thou­sand men were ­there). 11 ­Jesus then took the ­loaves, gave ­thanks, s and dis­trib­ut­ed to ­those who were seat­ed as much as they want­ed. He did the same with the fish. 12 When they had all had ­ enough to eat, he said to his dis­ci­ples, “Gath­er the piec­es that are left over. Let noth­ing be wast­ed.” 13 So they gath­ered them and f­ illed ­twelve bas­kets with the piec­es of the five bar­ley ­loaves left over by t­ hose who had eat­en. 14  Af­ter the peo­ple saw the sign t ­Jesus per­ formed, they be­gan to say, “Sure­ly this is the Proph­et who is to come into the ­world.” u 15 ­Jesus, know­ing that they in­tend­ed to come and make him king v by ­force, with­drew ­again to a moun­ tain by him­self. w

//Jesus Walks on the Water 6:16-21pp —​Mt 14:22-33; Mk 6:47-51 16  When eve­ning came, his dis­ci­ples went down to the lake, 17 where they got into a boat a 7 Greek

take two hundred denarii   

6:7 half a year’s wages. Lit. “two hundred denarii.” Since one denarius was a day’s pay for a common laborer, 200 denarii would be approximately 8 months’ wages. The crowd, however, was so large that such a significant amount was still inadequate to feed them 6:10 five thousand. The number of men was 5,000, not including women and children, who probably brought the total up to 20,000. 6:14 the Prophet. The crowd referred to “the Prophet” of Dt 18:15. Sadly, these comments, coming right after J­esus healed and fed them, indicate that the people desired a Messiah who met their physical, rather than spiritual, needs. Apparently, no recognition existed for the need of spiritual repentance and preparation for the kingdom (Mt 4:17). They wanted an earthly, political Messiah to meet all their needs and to deliver them from Roman oppression. Their reaction typifies many who want a “Christ” that makes no demands of them (cf. Mt 10:34–​39; 16:24–​26), but of whom they can make their selfish personal requests. 6:15 make him king by force. John supplements the information in Matthew and Mark by indicating that the reason ­Jesus dismissed the disciples and withdrew from the crowd into a mountain alone was because of His supernatural knowledge of their intention to make Him king in light of His healing and feeding of them. The crowd, incited by mob enthusiasm, was ready to proceed with crassly political intentions that would have jeopardized God’s will. 6:16–​21 The story of ­Jesus’ walking on the water constituted the fifth sign in John’s gospel designed to demonstrate the writer’s purpose that ­Jesus is the Messiah and Son of God (20:30, 31). The miracle demonstrates J­esus’ deity by His sovereignty over the laws of nature.

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N and set off a­ cross the lake for Ca­per­na­um. By now it was dark, and J­esus had not yet j­oined them. 18 A ­strong wind was blow­ing and the wa­ ters grew ­rough. 19 When they had ­rowed ­about ­three or ­four ­miles,  a they saw J­ esus ap­proach­ing the boat, walk­ing on the wa­ter; x and they were fright­ened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I; ­don’t be ­afraid.”  y 21 Then they were will­ing to take him into the boat, and im­me­di­ate­ly the boat r­ eached the ­shore w ­ here they were head­ing. 22 The next day the ­crowd that had ­stayed on the op­po­site ­shore of the lake z re­al­ized that only one boat had been ­there, and that J­ esus had not en­tered it with his dis­ci­ples, but that they had gone away ­alone. a 23 Then some b­ oats from Ti­be­ ­ here the peo­ple had ri­as  b land­ed near the ­place w eat­en the ­bread af­ter the Lord had giv­en ­thanks. c 24 Once the ­crowd re­al­ized that nei­ther J­ esus nor his dis­ci­ples were t­ here, they got into the b­ oats and went to Ca­per­na­um in s­ earch of J­ esus.

//Jesus the Bread of Life 25 When

they ­found him on the oth­er side of

John 6:32

6:19 x Job 9:8 6:20 y Mt 14:27 6:22 z ver 2

the lake, they ­asked him, “Rab­bi, d when did you get here?” 26 Jesus an­swered, “Very tru­ly I tell you, you are look­ing for me, e not be­cause you saw the ­signs f I per­formed but be­cause you ate the l­oaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that ­spoils, but for food that en­dures g to eter­nal life, h ­which the Son of Man i will give you. For on him God the Fa­ther has p­ laced his seal j of ap­prov­al.” 28 Then they a ­ sked him, “What must we do to do the ­works God re­quires?” 29 Jesus an­swered, “The work of God is this: to be­lieve  k in the one he has sent.” l 30 So they a ­ sked him, “What sign m then will you give that we may see it and be­lieve you? n What will you do? 31 Our an­ces­tors ate the man­ na o in the wil­der­ness; as it is writ­ten: ‘He gave them ­bread from heav­en to eat.’ b ” p 32 Jesus said to them, “Very tru­ly I tell you, it is not Mo­ses who has giv­en you the ­bread from heav­en, but it is my Fa­ther who g­ ives you the

a ver 15‑21

6:23 b ver 1 c ver 11

6:25 d Mt 23:7 6:26 e ver 24 f ver 30;

Jn 2:11

6:27 g Isa 55:2 h ver 54;

Mt 25:46; Jn 4:14 i Mt 8:20 1Co 9:2; 2Co 1:22; Eph 1:13; 4:30; 2Ti 2:19; Rev 7:3 6:29 k 1Jn 3:23 l Jn 3:17 6:30 m Jn 2:11 n Mt 12:38 6:31 o Nu 11:7‑9 p Ex 16:4, ​15; Ne 9:15; Ps 78:24; 105:40 j Ro 4:11;

6:17 for Capernaum. Matthew 14:22 and Mk 6:45 indicate that as soon as ­Jesus had fed the multitudes, He immediately dismissed His disciples to travel W toward Capernaum (vv. 16, 17). 6:18 A strong wind was blowing. The Sea of Galilee is almost 700 ft. below sea level. Cooler air from the northern mountains and southeastern tablelands rushes down into the lake and displaces the warm, moist air, causing violent churning of the water. 6:19, 20 J­ esus . . . walking on the water. The Synoptics reveal that in fear and the darkness, they thought He was a ghost (Mt 14:26; Mk 6:49). The Son of God, who made the world, was in control of its forces and, in this case, He suspended the law of gravity. The act was not frivolous on J­esus’ part, for it constituted a dramatic object lesson to the disciples of ­Jesus’ true identity as the sovereign Lord of all creation (cf. 1:3). 6:21 immediately the boat reached the shore. This wording indicates that another miracle occurred besides walking on the water, i.e., the boat miraculously and instantly arrived at its precise destination as soon as ­Jesus stepped into the boat. 6:22–​58 J­esus’ famous discourse on the bread of life. The key theme is v. 35, i.e., “I am the bread of life,” which is the first of seven emphatic “I AM” statements of J­esus in this gospel (8:12; 10:7, 9; 10:11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1, 5). This analogy of ­Jesus as “the bread” of life reinforces John’s theme of J­esus as the Messiah and Son of God (20:30, 31). Although John records J­ esus’ miracles to establish His deity, he moves quickly to ­Jesus’ discourse on the spiritual realities of His person in order to define correctly who ­Jesus Christ was, i.e., not merely a wonder-worker but the Son of God who came to save mankind from sin (3:16). This discourse took place in the synagogue at Capernaum (v. 59). 6:22, 23 These verses indicate that the crowds who witnessed ­Jesus’ healings and His feeding of the multitudes were still at the original site of these miracles (E of the lake) and, out of heightened curiosity, desired to find ­Jesus once again. Other boats loaded with people from Tiberias (on the NW shore of the lake) also heard of the miracles and sought Him out.

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a 19 Or about

5 or 6 kilometers    b 31  Exodus 16:4; Neh. 9:15; Psalm


6:26 because you ate. This phrase emphasizes ­Jesus’ point that the crowds following Him were motivated by superficial desire for food rather than any understanding of the true spiritual significance of ­Jesus’ person and mission (8:14–​21; Mk 6:52). 6:27 food that spoils. J­esus rebuked the crowd for regarding the messianic kingdom in a wholly earthly, physical way. (cf. v. 26; 4:15). Although Messiah’s kingdom would be literal and physical someday, the people failed to see the overriding spiritual character and blessing of “eternal life” given immediately to those who believe the witness of God to His Son. food that endures to eternal life. The continuing discourse indicates that this was a reference to ­Jesus Himself (v. 35). 6:28 the works God requires. They thought ­Jesus was saying that God required them to do some works to earn everlasting life, which they thought they would be able to do. 6:29 The work of God is this: to believe. The crowd misunderstood ­Jesus’ prohibition in v. 27 (“Do not work”), which prompted ­Jesus to remind them that an exclusive focus on material blessings is wrong. The only work God desires is faith or trust in ­Jesus as Messiah and Son of God (cf. Mal 3:1). The “work” that God requires is to believe in His Son (cf. 5:24). 6:30 What will you do? The question demonstrated the obtuseness, the spiritual blindness of the crowd, and their shallow, selfish curiosity. The feeding of 20,000 (v. 10) was a sufficient enough sign to demonstrate Christ’s deity (cf. Lk 16:31). 6:31 Our ancestors ate the manna. The crowd’s logic appeared to be that ­Jesus’ miraculous feeding was a small miracle compared to what Moses did. In order for them to believe in Him, they would need to see Him feed the nation of Israel on the same scale that God did when He sent manna and fed the entire nation of Israel during their wilderness wanderings for 40 years (Ex 16:11–​36). They were demanding that J­esus outdo Moses if they were to believe in Him. They quoted from Ps 78:24. 6:32 true bread from heaven. The manna God gave was temporary and perished and was only a meager shadow of what God offered

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John 6:33

true b­ read from heav­en. 33 For the b­ read of God is the b­ read that ­comes down from heav­en q and ­gives life to the world.” 34 “Sir,” they said, “al­ways give us this bread.” r 35 Then ­Jesus de­clared, “I am the ­bread of life. s Who­ev­er ­comes to me will nev­er go hun­gry, and who­ev­er be­lieves in me will nev­er be t­hirsty. t 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and ­still you do not be­lieve. 37 All those the Fa­ther g­ ives me u will come to me, and who­ev­er c­ omes to me I will nev­er ­drive away. 38 For I have come down from heav­en not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. v 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I s­hall lose none of all

6:33 q ver 50 6:34 r Jn 4:15 6:35 s ver 48, ​51 t Jn 4:14

6:37 u ver 39;

Jn 17:2, ​6, ​9, ​24

6:38 v Jn 4:34; 5:30

6:39 w Jn 10:28; 17:12; 18:9 x ver 40, ​ 44, ​54 6:40 y Jn 3:15, ​16 6:42 z Lk 4:22 a Jn 7:27, ​28 b ver 38, ​62 6:44 c ver 65; Jer 31:3; Jn 12:32

them in the true bread, ­Jesus Christ, who gives spiritual and eternal life to mankind (“the world,” v. 33). 6:33 bread of God. This phrase is synonymous with the phrase “bread from heaven” (v. 32). 6:34 Sir, . . . always give us this bread. This statement once again demonstrates the blindness of the crowd, for they were thinking of some physical bread and failed to understand the spiritual implication that J­esus was that “bread” (cf. 4:15). 6:35 I am the bread of life. The obtuseness in v. 34 prompted ­Jesus to speak very plainly that He was referring to Himself. 6:37 All those the Father gives me will come to me. This verse emphasizes the sovereign will of God in the selection of those who come to Him for salvation (cf. vv. 44, 65; 17:6, 12, 24). The Father has predestined those who would be saved (see notes on Ro 8:29, 30; Eph 1:3–​6; 1Pe 1:2). The absolute sovereignty of God is the basis of ­Jesus’ confidence in the success of His mission (see note on v. 40; cf. Php 1:6). The security of salvation rests in the sovereignty of God, for God is the guarantee that “all” He has chosen will come to Him for salvation. The idea of “gives me” is that

/ The “I AM” Statements \ Twenty-three times in all we find our Lord’s meaningful “I AM” (ego eimi, Gr.) in the Greek text of this gospel (Jn 4:26; 6:20, 35, 41, 48, 51; 8:12, 18, 24, 28, 58; 10:7, 9, 11, 14; 11:25; 13:19; 14:6; 15:1, 5; 18:5, 6, 8). In several of these, He joins His “I AM” with seven tremendous metaphors that are expressive of His saving relationship toward the world. “I AM the Bread of life” (Jn 6:35, 41, 48, 51). “I AM the Light of the world” (Jn 8:12). “I AM the Gate for the sheep” (Jn 10:7, 9). “I AM the Good Shepherd” (Jn 10:11, 14). “I AM the Resurrection and the Life” (Jn 11:25). “I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (Jn 14:6). “I AM the true Vine” (Jn 15:1, 5). ©1997 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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t­ hose he has giv­en me, w but ­raise them up at the last day. x 40 For my Fa­ther’s will is that ev­ery­one who ­looks to the Son and be­lieves in him s­ hall have eter­nal life, y and I will r­ aise them up at the last day.” 41  At this the Jews t­here be­gan to grum­ble ­about him be­cause he said, “I am the ­bread that came down from heav­en.” 42 They said, “Is this not ­Jesus, the son of Jo­seph, z ­whose fa­ther and moth­er we know? a How can he now say, ‘I came down from heav­en’?” b 43  “Stop grum­bling ­among your­selves,” ­Jesus an­swered. 44 “No one can come to me un­less the Fa­ther who sent me d­ raws them, c and I will

every person chosen by God and drawn by God (v. 44) must be seen as a gift of the Father’s love to the Son. The Son receives each “love gift” (v. 37), holds on to each (v. 39), and will raise each to eternal glory (vv. 39, 40). No one chosen will be lost (see notes on Ro 8:31–​39). This saving purpose is the Father’s will that the Son will not fail to do perfectly (v. 38; cf. 4:34; 10:28, 29; 17:6, 12, 24). 6:40 everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him. This verse emphasizes human responsibility in salvation. Although God is sovereign, He works through faith, so that a person must believe in ­Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God who alone offers the only way of salvation (cf. 14:6). However, even faith is a gift of God (Ro 12:3; Eph 2:8, 9). Intellectually harmonizing the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man is impossible humanly, but perfectly resolved in the infinite mind of God. raise them. Lit. “raise him.” 6:41–​50 This section constitutes the beginning of the crowd’s reaction to ­Jesus’ discourse on the bread of life and may be divided into three sections: 1) the murmuring reaction of the crowd (vv. 41, 42); 2) ­Jesus’ rebuke of the crowd for their reaction (vv. 43–​46); and 3) ­Jesus’ reiteration of His message to the crowd (vv. 47–​51). 6:41 the Jews. In this gospel, the term “Jews” is often associated with hostility toward Christ. It is used ironically to indicate the incongruity of their rising hostility toward their Messiah. Since they hardened their hearts, God judicially hardened their hearts also (cf. 12:37–​40; Isa 6:10; 53:1; Mt 13:10–​15). In the Tribulation, Israel will turn to ­Jesus as their true Messiah and be saved (Ro 11:25–​27; Rev 1:7; 7:1–​8; cf. Zec 12:10–​14). grumble. The reaction of the synagogue crowds to ­Jesus’ statements was the same as the Jews in the wilderness who grumbled against God both before and after the manna was given to them (Ex 16:2, 8, 9; Nu 11:4–​6). because he said, “I am the bread .  .  . from heaven.” The Jews’ anger centered in two things: 1) that ­Jesus said He was the bread, and 2) that He came down from heaven. Both the Jews in Jerusalem (5:18) and the Galileans reacted negatively when ­Jesus placed Himself equal with God. 6:42 whose father and mother we know? On the human level, they knew ­Jesus as a fellow Galilean. These words are reminiscent of ­Jesus’ words in 4:44, “a prophet has no honor in his own country.” Their hostility sprang from the root of unbelief. ­Jesus’ death was impending because hostility had resulted everywhere He went. 6:44 draws them. Cf. v. 65. A comparison of v. 37a and v. 44 demonstrates that the divine drawing of sinners to salvation cannot be relegated to what is referred to as “prevenient grace,” i.e., that somehow the power to come to Christ is allegedly dispensed to all of mankind, thus enabling everyone to accept or reject the gospel according to their own will alone. Scripture indicates that no

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­raise them up at the last day. 45 It is writ­ten in the Proph­ets: ‘They will all be ­taught by God.’ a d Ev­ery­one who has ­heard the Fa­ther and ­learned from him c­ omes to me. 46 No one has seen the Fa­ther ex­cept the one who is from God; e only he has seen the Fa­ther. 47 Very tru­ly I tell you, the one who be­lieves has eter­nal life. 48 I am the ­bread of life. f 49 Your an­ces­tors ate the man­na in the wil­der­ness, yet they died. g 50 But here is the ­bread that ­comes down from heav­en, h ­which any­one may eat and not die. 51 I am the liv­ing ­bread that came down from heav­en. Who­ev­er eats this ­bread will live for­ev­er. This ­bread is my ­flesh, ­which I will give for the life of the world.” i 52 Then the Jews be­gan to ar­gue sharp­ly ­among them­selves,  j “How can this man give us his ­flesh to eat?” 53 Jesus said to them, “Very tru­ ly I tell you, un­less you eat the f­lesh of the Son of Man k and ­drink his b­ lood, you have no life in you. 54 Who­ ev­er eats my ­flesh and d­ rinks my b­ lood has eter­ nal life, and I will r­ aise them up at the last day. l 55 For my f­lesh is real food and my b ­ lood is real

6:45 d Isa 54:13;

Jer 31:33, ​34; Heb 8:10, ​11; 10:16 6:46 e Jn 1:18; 5:37; 7:29 6:48 f ver 35, ​51 6:49 g ver 31, ​58 6:50 h ver 33 6:51 i Heb 10:10 6:52 j Jn 7:43; 9:16; 10:19 6:53 k Mt 8:20 6:54 l ver 39

­drink. 56 Who­ev­er eats my ­flesh and d­ rinks my ­blood re­mains in me, and I in them. m 57 Just as the liv­ing Fa­ther sent me n and I live be­cause of the Fa­ther, so the one who ­feeds on me will live be­cause of me. 58 This is the ­bread that came down from heav­en. Your an­ces­tors ate man­na and died, but who­ev­er f­eeds on this b­ read will live for­ev­er.”  o 59 He said this w ­ hile teach­ing in the syn­a­gogue in Ca­per­na­um.

//Many Disciples Desert Jesus

6:56 m Jn 15:4‑7; 1Jn 3:24; 4:15

6:57 n Jn 3:17 6:58 o ver 49‑51; Jn 3:36

6:60 p ver 66 6:61 q Mt 11:6 6:62 r Mk 16:19;

Jn 3:13; 17:5 6:63 s 2Co 3:6 6:64 t Jn 2:25

“free will” exists in man’s nature, for man is enslaved to sin (total depravity) and unable to believe apart from God’s empowerment (Ro 3:1–​19; Eph 2:1–​3; 2Co 4:4; 2Ti 1:9). While “whosoever will” may come to the Father, only those whom the Father gives the ability to will toward Him will actually come to Him. The drawing here is selective and efficacious (producing the desired effect) upon those whom God has sovereignly chosen for salvation, i.e., those whom God has chosen will believe because God has sovereignly determined that result from eternity past (Eph 1:9–​11). 6:45 J­ esus paraphrased Isa 54:13 to support the point that if someone comes to faith and repentance to God, it is because they have been taught, and hence drawn, by God. The “drawing” and “learning” are just different aspects of God’s sovereign direction in the person’s life. Those taught by God to grasp the truth are also drawn by God the Father to embrace the Son. 6:49, 50 J­esus contrasted the earthly and heavenly bread. The manna that was given in the wilderness, although sent from heaven to help sustain the Israelites for their physical needs, could not impart eternal life nor meet their spiritual needs as could the “bread of life” (v. 48) that came down from heaven in the person of ­Jesus the Messiah. The proof of this contrast centers in the irrefutable fact that all the fathers died who ate the wilderness manna. 6:51–​59 This section may be divided into three divisions: 1) ­Jesus’ pronouncement (v. 51); 2) the crowd’s perplexity (v. 52); and 3) ­Jesus’ promises (vv. 53–​59). 6:51 This pronouncement exactly reiterates vv. 33, 35, 47, 48. bread is my flesh. J­esus refers here prophetically to His impending sacrifice upon the cross (cf. 2Co 5:21; 1Pe 2:24). ­Jesus voluntarily laid down His life for evil, sinful mankind (10:18; 1Jn 2:2). 6:52 argue. Once again the perplexity of the Jews indicates that they failed to understand the spiritual truth behind J­esus’ illustration. Every time J­esus had given them a veiled saying or physical illustration, the Jews failed to see its spiritual significance (e.g., 3:4; 4:15). The Mosaic law prohibited the drinking of blood or the

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John 6:64

60 On hear­ ing it, many of his dis­ci­ples p said, “This is a hard teach­ing. Who can ac­cept it?” 61  Aware that his dis­ci­ples were grum­bling ­about this, J­ esus said to them, “Does this of­fend you? q 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man as­ cend to ­where he was be­fore! r 63  The Spir­it ­gives life; s the f­lesh c­ ounts for noth­ing. The w ­ ords I have spo­ken to you — ​they are full of the Spir­ it b and life. 64 Yet t­ here are some of you who do not be­lieve.” For ­Jesus had k­ nown t from the be­ gin­ning ­which of them did not be­lieve and who a 45 Isaiah 54:13    b 63 Or are

Spirit; or are spirit   

eating of meat with blood still in it (Lev 17:10–​14; Dt 12:16; Ac 15:29). The Jews, unable to go beyond the mere physical perspective, were perplexed and angered. 6:53–​58 eat . . . drink. J­esus’ point was an analogy that has spiritual, rather than literal, significance: just as eating and drinking are necessary for physical life, so also is belief in His sacrificial death on the cross necessary for eternal life. The eating of His flesh and drinking of His blood metaphorically symbolize the need for accepting ­Jesus’ cross work. For the Jews, however, a crucified Messiah was unthinkable (cf. Ac 17:1–​3). Once again, the Jews, in their willful and judicial blindness, could not see the real spiritual significance and truth behind ­Jesus’ statements. Moreover, ­Jesus’ reference here to eating and drinking was not referring to the ordinance of communion for two significant reasons: 1) communion had not been instituted yet, and 2) if ­Jesus was referring to communion, then the passage would teach that anyone partaking of communion would receive eternal life. 6:60–​71 These verses constitute the reaction of ­Jesus’ disciples to His sermon on the “bread of life.” As with the crowds’ response in Jerusalem (chap. 5) and in Galilee (chap. 6), the response of many of His disciples was unbelief and rejection of Him. John lists two groups and their reactions: 1) the false disciples’ reaction of unbelief (vv. 60–​66), and 2) the true disciples’ reaction of belief (vv. 67–​71). After this sermon, only a small nucleus of disciples remained (v. 67). 6:61 his disciples were grumbling. Many of J­esus’ disciples had the same reaction as the Jews in v. 41 and of the first generation of Israelites to manna, i.e., they grumbled (Ex 16:2). 6:64 ­Jesus had known. Reminiscent of John’s words in 2:23–​25, ­Jesus knew the hearts of men, including those disciples who followed Him. He supernaturally knew that many did not believe in Him as Messiah and Son of God so He did not entrust Himself to them. These false disciples were simply attracted to the physical phenomena (e.g., miracles and food), and failed to understand the true significance of ­Jesus’ teaching (v. 61).

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John 6:65

­would be­tray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me un­less the Fa­ther has en­abled them.” u 66 From this time many of his dis­ci­ples v ­turned back and no lon­ger fol­lowed him. 67 “You do not want to l­ eave too, do you?” J­ esus ­asked the Twelve. w 68  Si­mon Pe­ter an­swered him,  x “Lord, to whom ­shall we go? You have the ­words of eter­nal life. 69 We have come to be­lieve and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” y 70 Then ­Jesus re­plied, “Have I not cho­sen you, z the T ­ welve? Yet one of you is a dev­il!” a 71 (He ­meant Ju­das, the son of Si­mon Is­car­i­ot, who, ­though one of the ­Twelve, was lat­er to be­tray him.)


6:65 u ver 37, ​44 6:66 v ver 60 6:67 w Mt 10:2 6:68 x Mt 16:16 6:69 y Mk 8:29;

Lk 9:20 6:70 z Jn 15:16, ​19 a Jn 13:27

7:1 b Jn 1:19 c Jn 5:18

7:2 d Lev 23:34; Dt 16:16

7:3 e Mt 12:46 7:5 f Mk 3:21

6:65 I told you. See notes on vv. 37, 44. Although sinners are commanded to believe and will be held responsible for rejecting the truth, genuine faith is a gift of God that He initiates. Once again, in the face of unbelief, J­esus reiterated God’s sovereignty involved in selection for salvation. 6:66 disciples . . . no longer followed him. The language indicates that the abandonment was decisive and final (cf. 1Pe 2:6–​8; 1Jn 2:19). 6:69 We have come to believe. Peter’s words were somewhat pretentious in that he implied that the true disciples somehow had superior insight and, as a result, came to belief through that insight. 6:70 Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? In response to Peter’s words that the disciples had come to believe in ­Jesus, He reminds them that He sovereignly chose them (vv. 37, 44, 65). They could take no credit for God’s sovereign selection of them. a devil. The word devil means “slanderer” or “false accuser.” The idea perhaps is better rendered “one of you is the devil.” This meaning is clear from 13:2, 27; Mk 8:33; Lk 22:3. The foremost enemy of God so works behind the scenes through human agents that his malevolence becomes theirs (cf. Mt 16:23). ­Jesus supernaturally knew the source and correctly identified it. This clearly fixes the character of Judas, not as a well-intentioned but misguided man trying to force ­Jesus to exert His power and set up His kingdom (as some suggest), but as a tool of Satan doing unmitigated wickedness (see notes on 13:21–​30). 6:71 Iscariot. The word most likely is from a Heb. word meaning “man of Kerioth,” the name of a village in Judah. As with the other three gospels, as soon as he was named, he became identified as the betrayer. 7:1—​8:59 The main thrust of this section can be summarized as “high intensity hatred” since the smoldering dislike of ­Jesus in chaps. 5, 6 erupted into a blazing inferno. The culmination of this hatred occurs in 11:45–​57 where the Jewish authorities plot to kill the Son of God, culminating ultimately in His crucifixion. Both chapters deal with ­Jesus at the Festival of Tabernacles, or Booths, in Jerusalem. Especially noteworthy is the fact that two major themes associated with Tabernacles, i.e., water and light, come to prominence in these two chapters (vv. 37–​39; 8:12). At the next Passover following this celebration of Tabernacles, J­esus was crucified. The central truth that dominates this whole passage is that ­Jesus was on a divine timetable. His life was not random, but operated according to God’s sovereign and perfect timing and direction. 7:1–​13 This section has two parts: 1) ­Jesus’ avoidance of the wrong time in God’s sovereign plan (vv. 1–​9), and 2) J­ esus’ perfect obedience to the right time in God’s sovereign plan (vv. 10–​13).

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//Jesus Goes to the Festival of Tabernacles


Af­ter this, ­Jesus went ­around in Gal­i­lee. He did not want a to go ­about in Ju­dea be­cause the Jew­ish lead­ers  b ­there were look­ing for a way to kill him. c 2 But when the Jew­ish Fes­ti­val of Tab­er­na­cles  d was near, 3 ­Jesus’ broth­ers  e said to him, “Leave Gal­i­lee and go to Ju­dea, so that your dis­ci­ples t­here may see the w ­ orks you do. 4 No one who w ­ ants to be­come a pub­lic fig­ure acts in se­cret. ­Since you are do­ing t­hese ­things, show your­self to the ­world.” 5 For even his own broth­ ers did not be­lieve in him. f a 1 

Some manuscripts not have authority   

7:1 After this. A six-month gap most likely took place between chaps. 6 and 7. While chap. 6 occurred around Passover (6:4—​ Apr.), chap. 7 occurs at the Festival of Tabernacles, or Booths (Oct.). John wrote nothing about those months since his purpose was not to present an exhaustive chronology of Christ’s life but to portray Him as the Messiah and Son of God and show how men reacted to Him. went around in Galilee. Chapter 6 indicates ­Jesus spent two days with the multitude of 20,000 people (6:22), but He spent seven months teaching His 12 disciples who believed in Him. This phrase subtly highlights the great importance of discipleship, for ­Jesus concentrated great lengths of time upon training His future spiritual leaders. 7:2 Festival of Tabernacles. See note on 5:1. The Festival of Tabernacles was connected in the OT with the harvest of grapes and olives (Ex 23:16; Lev 23:33–​36, 39–​43; Dt 16:13–​15). The festival lasted a full week from the fifteenth to the twenty-first of Ethanim (September–​October). The Jewish historian Josephus indicates that, of Israel’s three major festivals (Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles), this one was the most popular. In order to commemorate the Israelites’ trek through the wilderness, the people built makeshift shelters out of leaves and branches (hence, “booths” or “tabernacles”; cf. Lev 23:42). Both a water-drawing and a lamp-lighting ceremony were featured. (“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink”—​vv. 37, 38 and “I am the light of the world”—​8:12). 7:3 ­Jesus’ brothers. Matthew 13:55 lists ­Jesus’ brothers as “James, Joseph, Simon and Judas.” James authored the NT epistle that bears his name and became the leader of the Jerusalem church, and Judas (or Jude) wrote the epistle that also bears his name. Because of ­Jesus’ virgin birth, they were only the half brothers of ­Jesus since Mary, not Joseph, was ­Jesus’ only human parent (cf. Mt 1:16, 18, 23; Lk 1:35). 7:4 to become a public figure . . . show yourself to the world. ­Jesus’ brothers wanted Him to put on a display of His miracles. Although the text does not clearly state their motivation, perhaps they made the request for two reasons: 1) they wanted to see the miracles for themselves to determine their genuineness, and 2) they may have had similar crass political motives as did the people, namely that He would become their social and political Messiah. Jerusalem’s acceptance of Him was to be the acid test for them as to whether His own family would believe in Him as Messiah. 7:5 As with the crowds in Jerusalem and Galilee, even His own brothers did not believe in J­esus at first. They did not become His followers until after the resurrection (Ac 1:14; 1Co 15:7).

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6 There­fore J­ esus told them, “My time g is not yet here; for you any time will do. 7  The ­world can­not hate you, but it h ­ ates me h be­cause I tes­ti­ fy that its ­works are evil. i 8 You go to the fes­ti­val. I am not a go­ing up to this fes­ti­val, be­cause my time j has not yet ful­ly come.” 9 After he had said this, he ­stayed in Gal­il­ee. 10 How­ev­er, af­ter his broth­ers had left for the fes­ti­val, he went also, not pub­lic­ly, but in se­cret. 11 Now at the fes­ ti­val the Jew­ish lead­ers were watch­ing for ­Jesus  k and ask­ing, “Where is he?” 12  Among the c­ rowds t­here was wide­spread whis­per­ing ­about him. Some said, “He is a good man.” Oth­ers re­plied, “No, he de­ceives the peo­ple.” l 13 But no one w ­ ould say any­thing pub­lic­ly a­ bout him for fear of the lead­ers. m

7:6 g Mt 26:18 7:7 h Jn 15:18, ​19 i Jn 3:19, ​20

7:8 7:11 k Jn 11:56 7:12 l ver 40, ​43 7:13 m Jn 9:22; j ver 6

12:42; 19:38

7:14 n ver 28; Mt 26:55 7:15 o Jn 1:19 p Ac 26:24 q Mt 13:54 7:16 r Jn 3:11; 14:24 7:17 s Ps 25:14; Jn 8:43 7:18 t Jn 5:41; 8:50, ​54 7:19 u Jn 1:17 v ver 1; Mt 12:14

7:6 My time is not yet here. This recalls the response to ­Jesus’ mother at the wedding in Cana (see 2:4). It also reveals the first reason why J­esus would not go to the festival: it was not in God’s perfect timing. The sentence reveals J­esus’ complete dependence on and commitment to the Father’s sovereign timetable for His life (cf. 8:20; Ac 1:7; 17:26). Furthermore, ­Jesus never committed Himself to being motivated by unbelief, even that of His own half brothers. for you any time will do. Because ­Jesus’ brothers did not believe in Him, they were of the world and therefore, knew nothing of God or His purposes. Because of unbelief, they did not listen to His word, did not recognize God’s schedule, and could not perceive the incarnate Word before them. As a result, any time would do for them, preferably that moment. 7:7 The world cannot hate you. The world cannot hate ­Jesus’ brothers because they belonged to the world and the world loves its own (cf. 15:18, 19). The evil world system and all who reject the Word and Son of God lie in the control of the evil one himself (1Jn 5:19). I testify that its works are evil. A true born-again believer who is living a life for God’s glory should experience the hatred and antagonism of the world (cf. 15:18–​25; 16:1–​3; 2Ti 3:12). 7:8 my time has not yet fully come. This reveals the second reason why ­Jesus would not go to the festival in Jerusalem. The Jews could not kill Him before God’s perfect timing and plan was ready (cf. Gal 4:4). ­Jesus’ commitment to God’s timetable would not permit any deviance from what God had decreed. 7:10 in secret. The assumption is that the Father had directed ­Jesus to permit Him to go to Jerusalem. The secrecy of His journey indicates His maximum discretion that was the complete opposite of what His brothers had demanded of Him (cf. v. 4). 7:12, 13 Among the crowds . . . widespread whispering. The crowds, made up of Judeans, Galileans, and Diaspora (scattered) Jews, expressed various opinions regarding Christ. The spectrum ranged from superficial acceptance (“He is a good man”) to cynical rejection (“he deceives the people”). The Jewish Talmud reveals that the latter view of deception became the predominant opinion of many Jews (Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 43a). 7:14–​24 The increasing hostility to ­Jesus did not prevent His teaching ministry. Instead, ­Jesus relentlessly set forth His claims regarding His identity and mission. In the midst of the Festival of Tabernacles, when Jews from all over Israel had migrated into Jerusalem, ­Jesus once again began to teach. In this section, ­Jesus

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John 7:19

//Jesus Teaches at the Festival 14 Not un­til half­way ­through the fes­ti­val did J­esus go up to the tem­ple c­ ourts and be­gin to ­teach.  n 15 The Jews o ­there were ­amazed and ­asked, “How did this man get such learn­ing p with­out hav­ing been taught?” q 16 Jesus an­swered, “My teach­ing is not my own. It ­comes from the one who sent me. r 17  Any­one who choos­es to do the will of God will find out s wheth­er my teach­ing ­comes from God or wheth­ er I ­speak on my own. 18  Who­ev­er ­speaks on ­their own does so to gain per­son­al glo­ry, t but he who ­seeks the glo­ry of the one who sent him is a man of ­truth; t­ here is noth­ing ­false ­about him. 19 Has not Mo­ses giv­en you the law? u Yet not one of you ­keeps the law. Why are you try­ing to kill me?” v a 8 

Some manuscripts not yet   

set forth the justification of His ministry and taught with authority as God’s Son. In this passage, five reasons are set forth as to why J­esus’ claims regarding Himself are true: 1) His supernatural knowledge originated from the Father Himself (vv. 15, 16); 2) His teaching and knowledge could be confirmed by testing (v. 17); 3) His actions demonstrated His selflessness (v. 18); 4) His impact on the world was startling (vv. 19, 20); and 5) His deeds demonstrated His identity as the Son of God (vv. 21–​24). 7:14 halfway through the festival. J­esus may have waited until the middle of the festival in order to prevent a premature “triumphal entry” that some may have forced upon Him for political motivations. up to the temple courts and begin to teach. J­esus taught according to the custom of the teachers or rabbis of His day. Prominent rabbis would enter the temple environs and expound on the OT to crowds who sat around them. 7:15 amazed. ­Jesus’ knowledge of Scripture was supernatural. The people were amazed that someone who had never studied at any great rabbinical centers or under any great rabbis could display such profound mastery of Scripture. Both the content and manner of ­Jesus’ teachings were qualitatively different than any other teacher. 7:16 the one who sent me. The qualitative difference of ­Jesus’ teaching was found in its source, i.e., the Father gave it to Him (8:26, 40, 46, 47; 12:49, 50). It originated from God the Father Himself, in contrast to rabbis who received it from man (Gal 1:12). While rabbis relied on the authority of others (a long chain of human tradition), J­ esus’ authority centered in Himself (cf. Mt 7:28, 29; Ac 4:13). 7:17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out. Those who are fundamentally committed to doing the will of God will be guided by Him in the affirmation of His truth. God’s truth is self-authenticating through the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit (cf. 16:13; 1Jn 2:20, 27). 7:18 he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him. While other saviors and messiahs acted for their own selfish interests, thereby revealing their falseness, ­Jesus Christ as God’s Son came solely to glorify the Father and accomplish the Father’s will (2Co 2:17; Php 2:5–​11; Heb 10:7). 7:19, 20 kill me. If ­Jesus were another religious fake, the world never would have reacted in such hatred. Since the evil world system loves its own, its hatred toward Him demonstrates that He came from God (15:18, 19).

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John 7:20 20  “You are de­mon-pos­sessed,”  w the c ­ rowd an­ swered. “Who is try­ing to kill you?” 21 Jesus said to them, “I did one mir­a­cle, and you are all a­ mazed. 22 Yet, be­cause Mo­ses gave you cir­cum­ci­sion  x (though ac­tu­al­ly it did not come from Mo­ses, but from the pa­tri­archs), y you cir­ cum­cise a boy on the Sab­bath. 23 Now if a boy can be cir­cum­cised on the Sab­bath so that the law of Mo­ses may not be bro­ken, why are you an­gry with me for heal­ing a m ­ an’s ­whole body on the Sab­bath? 24 Stop judg­ing by mere ap­pear­anc­ es, but in­stead ­judge cor­rect­ly.”  z

//Division Over Who Jesus Is 25 At that p ­ oint some of the peo­ple of Je­ru­sa­ lem be­gan to ask, “Isn’t this the man they are try­ing to kill? 26 Here he is, speak­ing pub­lic­ly, and they are not say­ing a word to him. Have the


7:20 w Jn 8:48;


7:22 x Lev 12:3 y Ge 17:10‑14

7:24 z Isa 11:3, ​4; Jn 8:15

7:26 a ver 48 7:27 b Mt 13:55; Lk 4:22

7:28 c ver 14

d Jn 8:14 e Jn 8:26, ​


7:29 f Mt 11:27 7:30 g ver 32, ​44; Jn 10:39

7:31 h Jn 8:30 i Jn 2:11

7:21 one miracle. The context makes clear (vv. 22, 23) that ­Jesus had reference to the healing of the paralytic that evoked the beginning of persecution against Him by the Jewish authorities because it took place on the Sabbath (see 5:1–​16). 7:22 but from the patriarchs. The patriarchal period during the time of Abraham when God instituted the sign of circumcision (Ge 17:10–​12), which was later included as part of the Mosaic covenant at Sinai (Ex 4:26; 12:44, 45). This observation demonstrated that this rite preceded the Mosaic law (Gal 3:17). Furthermore, circumcision antedates the Sabbath law also. 7:23 on the Sabbath. According to Mosaic law, baby boys were to be circumcised on the eighth day (Lev 12:1–​3). If a son was born on the Sabbath, then the eighth day (including his birthday) would come on the following Sabbath, when the Jews would circumcise the child. J­esus’ point was that the Jews broke their own Sabbath law with the circumcision of the child. Their hypocrisy is evident. healing a man’s whole body. J­esus used an argument of the lesser to the greater. If ceremonial cleansing of one part of the body is permitted on the Sabbath through the act of circumcision (the less), how much more so should the actual healing of the entire body be permitted on the Sabbath (the greater). 7:24 judge correctly. While J­esus forbade harsh, censorious judgment that self-righteous legalism promotes (Mt 7:1), He demanded the exercise of moral and theological discernment. 7:25–​36 In this section, John once again reiterates the claims of ­Jesus to His identity as the Messiah and Son of God. He focuses on His divine origin and citizenship. While some believed in Him at this time (v. 31), the religious leaders became even more angry at Him and nefariously planned to seize Him (v. 32). ­Jesus confronted the people with three dilemmas recorded in these verses: 1) the problem of dense confusion (vv. 25–​29); 2) the problem of divided conviction (vv. 30–​32); and 3) the problem of delayed conversion (vv. 33–​ 36). These three problems left Jerusalem in a state of utter despair. 7:26 Here he is, speaking publicly. What surprised the masses was that in spite of the ominous threat from the religious authorities (vv. 20, 32), ­Jesus boldly proclaimed His identity. Have the authorities really concluded .  .  .  ? The question indicates the crowds and the rulers were in great confusion and uncertainty as to who J­esus was and what to do about Him. They did not really have any firm convictions regarding ­Jesus’ identity, for their ques-

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au­thor­i­ties  a real­ly con­clud­ed that he is the Mes­ si­ah? 27 But we know w ­ here this man is from; b when the Mes­si­ah ­comes, no one will know ­where he is from.” 28  Then ­Jesus, ­still teach­ing in the tem­ple ­courts,  c ­cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know w ­ here I am from. d I am not here on my own au­thor­i­ty, but he who sent me is true. e You do not know him, 29 but I know him f be­cause I am from him and he sent me.” 30 At this they ­tried to ­seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, g be­cause his hour had not yet come. 31 Still, many in the ­crowd be­lieved in him. h They said, “When the Mes­si­ah ­comes, will he per­form more s­ igns i than this man?” 32  The Phar­i­sees ­heard the ­crowd whis­per­ing such ­things ­about him. Then the ­chief ­priests and the Phar­i­sees sent tem­ple ­guards to ar­rest him.

tion reveals their doubt and unbelief. They were also perplexed at the religious leaders’ failure to arrest and silence Him if He really were a fraud. Such dense confusion caused the crowd to wonder if the religious authorities in private concluded that He was indeed the Christ. Mass confusion among all groups reigned regarding ­Jesus. Messiah. See notes on 1:20, 41. 7:27 no one will know where he is from. Only information regarding Messiah’s birthplace was revealed in Scripture (Mic 5:2; Mt 2:5, 6). Beyond that, a tradition had developed in Jewish circles that Messiah would appear suddenly to the people, based on a misinterpretation of Isa 53:8 and Mal 3:1. In light of this, the meaning of this phrase most likely is that the identity of the Messiah would be wholly unknown until He suddenly appeared in Israel and accomplished Israel’s redemption. In contrast, ­Jesus had lived His life in Nazareth and was known (at least superficially) to the people (v. 28). 7:28 cried out. ­Jesus gave the greatest publicity to this important teaching by voicing it loudly (cf. v. 37; 1:15; 12:44). you know me, and you know where I am from. These words stand in antithesis with 8:19 where ­Jesus told His enemies that they did not know either Him or the Father, thus indicating a deep irony and sarcasm on ­Jesus’ part here. ­Jesus’ point is that contrary to what they thought, they really had no true understanding of who He was. They knew Him in the earthly sense, but not in the spiritual sense, because they didn’t know God either. You do not know him. Although they thought that they were acutely perceptive and spiritually oriented, their rejection of ­Jesus revealed their spiritual bankruptcy (Ro 2:17–​19). 7:30 his hour had not yet come. This reveals the reason why they could not seize Him, i.e., God’s sovereign timetable and plan for ­Jesus would not allow it. 7:31 many . . . believed. Divided conviction existed among the people regarding ­Jesus. While some wanted to seize Him, a small remnant of genuine believers existed among the crowds. The question here anticipates a negative answer, i.e., the Messiah could do no greater kinds of miracles than those ­Jesus had done. 7:32 the chief priests and the Pharisees. See note on 3:1. The Pharisees and chief priests historically did not have harmonious relationships with each other. Most of the chief priests were Sadducees, who were political and religious opponents to the Pharisees. John repeatedly links these two groups in his gospel (see also v.

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N 33 Jesus said, “I am with you for only a s­hort time, j and then I am go­ing to the one who sent me. k 34 You will look for me, but you will not find me; and ­where I am, you can­not come.” l 35 The Jews said to one an­oth­er, “Where does this man in­tend to go that we can­not find him? Will he go w ­ here our peo­ple live scat­tered m ­among the ­Greeks,  n and t­each the G ­ reeks? 36 What did he mean when he said, ‘You will look for me, but you will not find me,’ and ‘Where I am, you can­not come’?” 37 On the last and great­est day of the fes­ti­val, o ­Jesus ­stood and said in a loud ­voice, “Let any­one who is ­thirsty come to me and ­drink. p 38  Who­ev­ er be­lieves in me, as Scrip­ture has said, q riv­ers of liv­ing wa­ter  r will flow from with­in them.” a s 39 By this he ­meant the Spir­it, t whom ­those who be­ lieved in him were lat­er to re­ceive. u Up to that time the Spir­it had not been giv­en, ­since ­Jesus had not yet been glo­ri­fied. v

John 7:47

7:33 j Jn 13:33;

40 On hear­ ing his w ­ ords, some of the peo­ple said, “Sure­ly this man is the Proph­et.” w 41 Oth­ers said, “He is the Mes­si­ah.” Still oth­ers ­asked, “How can the Mes­si­ah come from Gal­i­lee?  x 42 Does not Scrip­ture say that the Mes­si­ah will come from Da­vid’s de­scen­dants  y and from Beth­le­hem,  z the town ­where Da­vid ­lived?” 43 Thus the peo­ple were di­vid­ed a be­cause of ­Jesus. 44 Some want­ed to ­seize him, but no one laid a hand on him. b

16:16 k Jn 16:5, ​10, ​ 17, ​28 7:34 l Jn 8:21; 13:33 7:35 m Jas 1:1 n Jn 12:20; 1Pe 1:1 7:37 o Lev 23:36 p Isa 55:1; Rev 22:17 7:38 q Isa 58:11 r Jn 4:10 s Jn 4:14 7:39 t Joel 2:28; Ac 2:17, ​33 u Jn 20:22 v Jn 12:23; 13:31, ​32

//Unbelief of the Jewish Leaders 7:40 w Mt 21:11;

Jn 1:21 7:41 x ver 52; Jn 1:46 7:42 y Mt 1:1 z Mic 5:2; Mt 2:5, ​ 6; Lk 2:4 7:43 a Jn 9:16; 10:19 7:44 b ver 30 7:46 c Mt 7:28 7:47 d ver 12

45; 11:47, 57; 18:3) in order to emphasize that their cooperation stemmed from their mutual hatred of J­esus. Both were alarmed at the faith of those indicated in v. 31 and, in order to avoid any veneration of ­Jesus as Messiah, attempted unsuccessfully to arrest Him (v. 30). temple guards. These functioned as a kind of police force composed of Levites who were in charge of maintaining order in the temple environs. They could also be used by the Sanhedrin in areas outside the temple environs in religious disputes that did not affect Roman policy. 7:34 where I am, you cannot come. ­Jesus refers here to His return to His heavenly origin with His Father after His crucifixion and resurrection (see 17:15). 7:35, 36 John again highlights the ignorance of the Jews regarding ­Jesus’ words. The words were spoken to mock ­Jesus. 7:35 teach the Greeks. The phrase “teach the Greeks” probably had reference to Jewish proselytes, i.e., Gentiles. John may have been citing this phrase with ironic force since the gospel eventually went to the Gentiles because of Jewish blindness and rejection of their Messiah. See notes on Ro 11:7–​11. 7:37–​52 This section catalogues the different reactions of people to ­Jesus’ claims. These reactions have become universal patterns for reactions to Him through the ages. This section may be divided into the claim of Christ (vv. 37–​39) and the reactions to Christ (vv. 40–​52). The reactions may be subdivided into five sections: 1) the reaction of the convinced (vv. 40–​41a); 2) the reaction of the contrary (vv. 41b–​42); 3) the reaction of the hostile (vv. 43, 44); 4) the reaction of the confused (vv. 45, 46); and 5) the reaction of the religious authorities (vv. 47–​52). 7:37 On the last and greatest day. This suggests that this occasion occurred on a different day than the controversy in vv. 11–​ 36. Let anyone who is thirsty. A tradition grew up in the few centuries before ­Jesus that on the seven days of the Festival of Tabernacles, or Booths, a golden vessel containing water from the pool of Siloam was transported in a priestly procession back to the temple. As it came to the Water Gate, three trumpet blasts were sounded to mark the joy of the occasion. At the temple, as the people watched, the priests would march around

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45 Fi­nal­ly

the tem­ple g­ uards went back to the c­ hief ­priests and the Phar­i­sees, who ­asked them, “Why ­didn’t you ­bring him in?” 46 “No one ever ­spoke the way this man does,” c the ­guards re­plied. 47 “You mean he has de­ceived you also?” d the a 37,38 Or me.

And let anyone drink 38who believes in me.” As Scripture has said, “Out of him (or them) will flow rivers of living water.”   

the altar carrying the water container while the temple choir sang the Hallel (Pss. 113–​118). The water was then offered as a sacrifice to God. The use of the water symbolized the blessing of adequate rainfall for crops. ­Jesus used this event as an object lesson and opportunity to make a very public invitation on the last day of the festival for His people to accept Him as the living water. His words recall Isa 55:1. thirsty come . . . drink. These three words summarize the gospel invitation. A recognition of need leads to an approach to the source of provision, followed by receiving what is needed. The thirsty, needy soul feels the craving to come to the Savior and drink, i.e., receive the salvation that He offers. 7:38 living water. The water-pouring rite also foreshadowed the millennial rivers of living water described in Eze 47:1–​9 and Zec 13:1. The significance of ­Jesus’ invitation centers in the fact that He was the fulfillment of all the Festival of Tabernacles, or Booths, anticipated, i.e., He was the One who provided the living water that gives eternal life to man (cf. 4:10, 11). 7:39 he meant the Spirit. The impartation of the Holy Spirit is the source of spiritual and eternal life. See note on 16:7. 7:41 from Galilee. This betrays the people’s great ignorance, because ­Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, not Galilee (Mic 5:2 cf. Mt 2:6; Lk 2:4). They did not even bother to investigate His true birthplace, showing their lack of interest in messianic credentials. 7:43 divided. See Mt 10:34–​36; Lk 12:51–​53. 7:44 See notes on vv. 8, 30. 7:45 the temple guards. The officers failed in their attempt to arrest ­Jesus when they were confronted with His person and powerful teaching. Since they were religiously trained, J­esus’ words struck at their very heart. For their identity, see notes on v. 32. 7:47, 48 The Pharisees mocked the officers, not on professional (as police officers) but religious grounds (as Levites). In essence, they accused them of being seduced by a deceiver (i.e., J­esus) in contrast to the Pharisees themselves who arrogantly and selfrighteously felt that in their wisdom and knowledge no one could ever deceive them.

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John 7:48

Phar­i­sees re­tort­ed. 48 “Have any of the rul­ers or of the Phar­i­sees be­lieved in him? e 49 No! But this mob that ­knows noth­ing of the law — ​­there is a ­curse on them.” 50  Nic­o­de­mus,  f who had gone to J­esus ear­li­er and who was one of ­their own num­ber, ­asked, 51 “Does our law con­ demn a man with­out ­first hear­ing him to find out what he has been do­ing?” 52 They re­ plied, “Are you from Gal­il­ee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a proph­et does not come out of Gal­i­lee.” g

[The earliest manuscripts and many other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53 — ​8:11. A few manuscripts include these verses, wholly or in part, after John 7:36, John 21:25, Luke 21:38 or Luke 24:53.]


53 Then

they all went home, 1 but J­esus went to the ­ ount of Ol­ives. h M 2 At dawn he ap­peared ­again in the tem­ple ­courts, ­where all the peo­ple gath­ered ­around him, and he sat down to ­teach them. i 3 The teach­ers of the law and the Phar­i­sees ­brought in


7:48 e Jn 12:42 7:50 f Jn 3:1; 19:39 7:52 g ver 41 8:1 h Mt 21:1 8:2 i ver 20;

Mt 26:55

8:5 j Lev 20:10; Dt 22:22 8:6 k Mt 22:15, ​18 l Mt 12:10 8:7 m Dt 17:7 n Ro 2:1, ​22 8:11 o Jn 3:17 p Jn 5:14 8:12 q Jn 6:35 r Jn 1:4; 12:35

7:49 mob. The Pharisees condescendingly labeled the people as a “mob.” The rabbis viewed the common people (or, people of the land) as ignorant and impious in contrast to themselves. This ignorance was not only because of their ignorance of Scripture, but especially the common people’s failure to follow the Pharisees’ oral traditions. curse on them. The people were considered damned because they did not belong to the elite group or follow their beliefs regarding the law. 7:50–​52 Nicodemus’s (see 3:10) mind had not closed regarding Christ’s claims, so that while not defending ­Jesus directly, he did raise a procedural point in ­Jesus’ favor. 7:51 Does our law condemn a man . . . ? No explicit OT text can be cited that makes Nicodemus’s point. Most likely he referred to rabbinical traditions contained in their oral law. 7:52 a prophet does not come out of Galilee. The real ignorance lay with the arrogant Pharisees who did not carefully search out the facts as to where ­Jesus was actually born. While they accused the crowds of ignorance, they too were really as ignorant (v. 42). Furthermore, the prophet Jonah did come from Galilee. 7:53—​8:11 This section dealing with the adulteress most likely was not a part of the original contents of John. It has been incorporated into various manuscripts at different places in the gospel (e.g., after vv. 36, 44, 52, or 21:25), while one manuscript places it after Lk 21:38. External manuscript evidence representing a great variety of textual traditions is decidedly against its inclusion, for the earliest and best manuscripts exclude it. Many manuscripts mark the passage to indicate doubt as to its inclusion. Significant early versions exclude it. No Gr. church father comments on the passage until the twelfth century. The vocabulary and style of the section also are different from the rest of the gospel, and the section interrupts the sequence of v. 52 with 8:12ff. Many, however, do think that it has all the earmarks of historical veracity, perhaps being a piece of oral tradition that circulated in parts of the Western church, so that a few comments are in order. In spite of all these considerations of the likely unreliability of this section, it is possible

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a wom­an ­caught in adul­tery. They made her ­stand be­fore the ­group 4 and said to J­esus, “Teach­er, this wom­an was ­caught in the act of adul­tery. 5 In the Law Mo­ses com­mand­ ed us to s­ tone such wom­en. j Now what do you say?” 6 They were us­ing this ques­tion as a trap, k in or­der to have a ba­sis for ac­cus­ing him. l But ­Jesus bent down and start­ed to w ­ rite on the g­ round with his fin­ger. 7 When they kept on ques­tion­ing him, he straight­ened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is with­out sin be the f­ irst to t­ hrow a s­ tone m at her.” n 8 ­Again he s­ tooped down and w ­ rote on the ground. 9 At this, t­hose who h ­ eard be­gan to go away one at a time, the old­er ones ­first, un­til only ­Jesus was left, with the wom­an ­still stand­ing ­there. 10 ­Jesus straight­ened up and ­asked her, “Wom­an, ­where are they? Has no one con­ demned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then nei­ther do I con­demn you,” o ­Jesus de­clared. “Go now and l­eave your life of sin.” p

//Dispute Over Jesus’ Testimony 12 When ­ Jesus ­spoke ­again to the peo­ple, he said, “I am q the ­light of the ­world. r Who­ev­er

to be wrong on the issue, and thus it is good to consider the meaning of this passage and leave it in the text, just as with Mk 16:9–​20. 8:6 a trap . . . accusing him. If ­Jesus rejected the law of Moses (Lev 20:10; Dt 22:22), His credibility would be gone. If He held to Mosaic law, His reputation for compassion and forgiveness would have been questioned. 8:7 any one of you who is without sin. This directly refers to Dt 13:9; 17:7, where the witnesses of a crime are to start the execution. Only those who were not guilty of the same sin could participate. 8:8 Cf. v. 6. This seems to have been a delaying device, giving them time to think. 8:11 leave your life of sin. (cf. 3:17; 12:47; Mt 9:1–​8; Mk 2:13–​17). 8:12–​21 Excluding the story of the adulterous woman in 7:53—​ 8:11, this verse attaches itself well to 7:52. The word again indicates that ­Jesus spoke once more to the people at this same Festival of Tabernacles, or Booths (see 7:2, 10). While J­esus first used the water-drawing rite (7:37–​39) as a metaphor to portray the ultimate spiritual truth of Himself as Messiah who fulfills all that the festival anticipated, He then turned to another rite that traditionally occurred at the festival: the lighting ceremony. During Tabernacles, four large lamps in the temple’s court of women illuminated a joyous celebration that took place there, with people dancing, holding burning torches, and singing songs of praise. Levitical musicians also played. ­Jesus took this opportunity of the lighting celebration to portray another spiritual analogy for the people: “I am the light of the world.” 8:12 I am the light of the world. This is the second “I am” statement (see 6:35). John has already used the “light” metaphor for ­Jesus (1:4). ­Jesus’ metaphor here is steeped in OT allusions (Ex 13:21, 22; 14:19–​25; Pss 27:1; 119:105; Pr 6:23; Eze 1:4, 13, 26–​ 28; Hab 3:3, 4). The phrase highlights ­Jesus’ role as Messiah and Son of God (Ps 27:1; Mal 4:2). The OT indicates that the coming age of Messiah would be a time when the Lord would be a light for His people (Isa 60:19–​22; cf. Rev 21:23, 24) as well as for the whole earth (Isa 42:6; 49:6). Zechariah 14:5b–​8 has an emphasis

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fol­lows me will nev­er walk in dark­ness, but will have the ­light of life.” s 13 The Phar­ i­sees chal­lenged him, “Here you are, ap­pear­ing as your own wit­ness; your tes­ti­mo­ ny is not val­id.” t 14 Jesus an­swered, “Even if I tes­ti­fy on my own be­half, my tes­ti­mo­ny is val­id, for I know ­where I came from and w ­ here I am go­ing. u But you have no idea ­where I come from v or w ­ here I am go­ing. 15 You j­udge by hu­ man stan­dards; w I pass judg­ ment on no one. x 16 But if I do ­judge, my de­ci­ sions are true, be­cause I am not ­alone. I ­stand with the Fa­ther, who sent me. y 17 In your own Law it is writ­ten that the tes­ti­mo­ny of two wit­ ness­es is true. z 18 I am one who tes­ti­fies for my­self; my oth­er wit­ness is the Fa­ther, who sent me.” a 19 Then they ­asked him, “Where is your fa­ther?” “You do not know me or my Fa­ther,” b ­Jesus re­plied. “If you knew me, you ­would know my Fa­ ther also.” c 20 He ­spoke t­ hese w ­ ords w ­ hile teach­ ing d in the tem­ple ­courts near the ­place ­where

8:12 s Pr 4:18; Mt 5:14 8:13 t Jn 5:31 8:14 u Jn 13:3; 16:28 v Jn 7:28; 9:29 8:15 w Jn 7:24 x Jn 3:17 8:16 y Jn 5:30 8:17 z Dt 17:6; Mt 18:16 8:18 a Jn 5:37 8:19 b Jn 16:3 c Jn 14:7; 1Jn 2:23 8:20 d Mt 26:55

e Mk 12:41

f Mt 26:18; h Jn 7:34;

13:33 8:23 i Jn 3:31; 17:14 8:24 j Jn 4:26; 13:19 8:26 k Jn 7:28 l Jn 3:32; 15:15

on God as the light of the world who gives living waters to His people. This latter passage probably formed the liturgical readings for the Festival of Tabernacles. For further significance of J­esus as the “light,” see notes on 1:4, 5; 1Jn 1:5. Whoever follows me. The word “follows” conveys the idea of someone who gives himself completely to the person followed. No half-hearted followers exist in ­Jesus’ mind (cf. Mt 8:18–​22; 10:38, 39). A veiled reference exists here to the Jews, following the pillar of cloud and fire that led them during the exodus (Ex 13:21). 8:13 appearing as your own witness. The Jews mockingly brought up ­Jesus’ own words from 5:31. However, J­esus’ words there and here are reconciled by the fact that OT law required not one but multiple witnesses to establish the truth of a matter (Dt 17:6). ­Jesus was not alone in His witness that pointed to Him as Messiah, for many had already testified concerning this truth (see note on 1:7). 8:14–​18 These verses give three reasons why ­Jesus’ witness was true: 1) J­esus knew His origin and destiny while the Jews were ignorant even of basic spiritual truths, making their judgment limited and superficial (vv. 14, 15); 2) the intimate union of the Son with the Father guaranteed the truth of the Son’s witness (v. 16); and 3) the Father and Son witnessed harmoniously together regarding the identity of the Son (vv. 17, 18). 8:17 In your own Law it is written. Cf. Dt 17:6; 19:15. See notes on 1:7. 8:19 Where is your father? The Jews, as was their habit (e.g., 3:4; 4:11; 6:52), once again thought merely on human terms in asking about ­Jesus’ paternity. 8:21–​30 J­esus revealed the consequence of the rejection of Him as Messiah and Son of God, i.e., spiritual death (v. 24; cf. Heb 10:26–​31). These verses reveal four ways that ensure people will die in their sins and, as a result, experience spiritual death: 1) being self-righteous (vv. 20–​22); 2) being earthbound (vv. 23, 24); 3) being unbelieving (v. 24); and 4) being willfully ignorant (vv. 25–​29). The Jews who rejected ­Jesus displayed all four of these characteristics. 8:21 ­Jesus repeated His message of 7:33, 34 but with more omi-

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Jn 7:30

8:21 g Eze 3:18

John 8:26

the of­fer­ings were put. e Yet no one s­eized him, be­cause his hour had not yet come. f

//Dispute Over Who Jesus Is 21 Once

more ­Jesus said to them, “I am go­ing away, and you will look for me, and you will die g in your sin. W ­ here I go, you can­not come.” h 22 This made the Jews ask, “Will he kill him­ self ? Is that why he says, ‘Where I go, you can­not come’?” 23 But he con­tin­ued, “You are from be­low; I am from ­above. You are of this ­world; I am not of this ­ ould die in your ­world.  i 24 I told you that you w sins; if you do not be­lieve that I am he, j you will in­deed die in your sins.” 25 “Who are you?” they asked. “Just what I have been tell­ing you from the be­gin­ning,” ­Jesus re­plied. 26 “I have much to say in judg­ment of you. But he who sent me is trust­ wor­thy,  k and what I have ­heard from him I tell the world.” l

nous overtones regarding the consequences of rejecting Him. I am going away. By means of His impending death, resurrection, and ascension to the Father. 8:22 Will he kill himself . . . . The Jews spoke either in confusion (see notes on 7:34, 35) or, perhaps more likely, in mockery of Christ. Jewish tradition condemned suicide as a particularly heinous sin that resulted in permanent banishment to the worst part of Hades (Josephus, Jewish Wars iii.viii.5 [iii.375]). God did deliver Him to be killed (Ac 2:23); thus, as God, He gave up His own life (10:18). 8:23 You are from below. The contrast here is between the realm of God and that of the fallen, sinful world (i.e., “from below”). The world in this context is the invisible spiritual system of evil dominated by Satan and all that it offers in opposition to God, His Word, and His people (see notes on 1:9; 1Jn 5:19). ­Jesus declared that His opponents’ true kinship was with Satan and his realm. By this domination, they were spiritually blinded (see 2Co 4:4; Eph 2:1–​3). 8:24 if you do not believe. ­Jesus emphasized that the fatal, unforgivable, and eternal sin is failure to believe in Him as Messiah and Son of God. In truth, all other sins can be forgiven if this one is repented of. See notes on 16:8, 9. I am he. The word “he” is not part of the original statement. ­Jesus’ words were not constructed normally but were influenced by OT Heb. usage. It is an absolute usage meaning “I AM” and has immense theological significance. The reference may be to both Ex 3:14 where the Lord declared His name as “I am” and to Isa 40–​55 where the phrase “I am” occurs repeatedly (especially 43:10, 13, 25; 46:4; 48:12). In this, J­esus refers to Himself as the God (Yahweh—​the Lord) of the OT, and directly claims full deity for Himself, prompting the Jews’ question of v. 25. See note on v. 58. 8:25 Who are you? The Jews were willfully ignorant because chaps. 1–​8 demonstrate that multiple witnesses testified to ­Jesus’ identity, and J­ esus Himself in words and actions persistently proved throughout His ministry on earth that He was the Son of God and Messiah. from the beginning. The start of ­Jesus’ ministry among the Jews.

4/19/13 9:31 AM

John 8:27 27 They did not un­der­stand that he was tell­ing them ­about his Fa­ther. 28 So ­Jesus said, “When you have lift­ed up a the Son of Man, m then you will know that I am he and that I do noth­ing on my own but ­speak just what the Fa­ther has ­taught me. 29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me ­alone, n for I al­ways do what pleas­es him.”  o 30 Even as he ­spoke, many be­lieved in him. p




8:28 m Jn 3:14; 5:19; 12:32

8:29 n ver 16;

Jn 16:32 o Jn 4:34; 5:30; 6:38 8:30 p Jn 7:31 8:31 q Jn 15:7; 2Jn 9 8:32 r Ro 8:2; Jas 2:12 8:33 s ver 37, ​39; Mt 3:9 8:34 t Ro 6:16; 2Pe 2:19

//Dispute Over Whose Children Jesus’ Opponents Are

31 To the Jews who had be­ lieved him, ­Jesus said, “If you hold to my teach­ing, q you are real­ ly my dis­ci­ples. 32 Then you will know the t­ ruth, and the t­ ruth will set you free.” r 33 They an­swered him, “We are Abra­ham’s de­ scen­dants  s and have nev­er been ­slaves of any­one. How can you say that we s­ hall be set free?” 34 Jesus re­plied, “Very tru­ly I tell you, ev­ery­one who sins is a s­ lave to sin. t 35 Now a s­ lave has no per­ma­nent ­place in the fam­i­ly, but a son be­longs

8:35 u Gal 4:30 8:37 v ver 39, ​40 8:38 w Jn 5:19, ​30;

14:10, ​24 8:39 x ver 37; Ro 9:7; Gal 3:7 8:40 y ver 26 8:41 z ver 38, ​44 a Isa 63:16; 64:8 8:42 b 1Jn 5:1

8:28 When you have lifted up the Son of Man. ­Jesus’ impending crucifixion. you will know that I am he. Having refused to accept Him by faith and having nailed Him to the cross, they would one day awaken to the terrifying realization that this One whom they despised was the One they should have worshiped (cf. Php 2:9–​ 11; Rev 1:7). Many Jews believed on Christ after His death and ascension, realizing that the One whom they rejected was truly the Messiah (Ac 2:36, 37, 41). 8:31–​36 These verses are a pivotal passage in understanding genuine salvation and true discipleship. John emphasizes these realities by stressing truth and freedom. The focus in the passage is upon those who were exercising the beginnings of faith in ­Jesus as Messiah and Son of God. ­Jesus desired them to move on in their faith. Saving faith is not fickle but firm and settled. Such maturity expresses itself in full commitment to the truth in ­Jesus Christ resulting in genuine freedom. The passage has three features: 1) the progress of freedom (vv. 31, 32); 2) the pretense of freedom (vv. 33, 34); and 3) the promise of freedom (vv. 35, 36). 8:31 who had believed him. The first step in the progress toward true discipleship is belief in J­esus Christ as Messiah and Son of God. If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. This reveals the second step in the progress toward true discipleship. Perseverance in obedience to Scripture (cf. Mt 28:19, 20) is the fruit or evidence of genuine faith (see Eph 2:10). The word “hold” means to habitually abide in ­Jesus’ words. A genuine believer holds fast, obeys, and practices J­esus’ teaching. The one who holds to His teaching has both the Father and the Son (2Jn 9; cf. Heb 3:14; Rev 2:26). Real disciples are both learners (the basic meaning of the word) and faithful followers. 8:32 the truth. “Truth” here has reference not only to the facts surrounding ­Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God but also to the teaching that He brought. A genuinely saved and obedient follower of the Lord J­esus will know divine truth and both freedom from sin (v. 34) and the search for reality. This divine truth comes not merely by intellectual assent (1Co 2:14) but saving commitment to Christ (cf. Titus 1:1, 2).

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to it for­ev­er.  u 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free in­deed. 37 I know that you are Abra­ ham’s de­scen­dants. Yet you are look­ing for a way to kill me, v be­cause you have no room for my word. 38 I am tell­ing you what I have seen in the Fa­ther’s pres­ence,  w and you are do­ing what you have ­heard from your fa­ther. b ” 39 “Abra­ham is our fa­ther,” they an­swered. “If you were Abra­ham’s chil­dren,” x said J­ esus, “then you ­would c do what Abra­ham did. 40 As it is, you are look­ing for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the ­truth that I h ­ eard from God. y Abra­ham did not do such ­things. 41 You are do­ing the ­works of your own fa­ther.” z “We are not il­le­git­im ­ ate chil­dren,” they pro­ test­ed. “The only Fa­ther we have is God him­ self.” a 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Fa­ther, you w ­ ould love me, b for I have come here from a 28 

The Greek for lifted up also means exalted.    b 38 Or presence. Therefore do what you have heard from the Father.    c 39  Some early manuscripts “If you are Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then   

8:33 never been slaves of anyone. Because the Jews had often been in political subjection to many nations (Egypt, Assyria, Bab­ ylon, Greece, Syria, and Rome), they must have been referring to their inward sense of freedom. 8:34 Very truly. See note on 1:51. everyone who sins. The kind of slavery that ­Jesus had in mind was not physical slavery but slavery to sin (cf. Ro 6:17, 18). The ultimate bondage is not political or economic enslavement but spiritual bondage to sin and rebellion against God. Christ did not allow Himself to be embraced as merely a political deliverer. 8:35, 36 The notion of slavery in v. 34 moves to the status of slaves. While the Jews thought of themselves only as free sons of Abraham, in reality, they were slaves of sin. The genuine son in the context is Christ Himself, who sets the slaves free from sin. Those whom ­Jesus Christ liberates from the tyranny of sin and the bondage of legalism are really free (Ro 8:2; Gal 5:1). 8:39 If you were Abraham’s children. The construction of this phrase indicates that J­esus was denying that mere physical lineage was sufficient for salvation (see Php 3:4–​9). The sense would be “if you are Abraham’s children, but you are not, then you would act like Abraham did.” Just as children inherit genetic characteristics from their parents, so also those who are truly Abraham’s offspring will act like Abraham, i.e., imitate Abraham’s faith and obedience (see Ro 4:16; Gal 3:6–​9; Heb 11:8–​19; Jas 2:21–​24). what Abraham did. Abraham’s faith was demonstrated through his obedience to God (Jas 2:21–​24). J­esus’ point was that the conduct of the unbelieving Jews was diametrically opposed by the conduct of Abraham, who lived a life of obedience to all that God had commanded. Their conduct toward ­Jesus demonstrated that their real father was Satan (vv. 41, 44). 8:41 We are not illegitimate children. The Jews may well have been referring to the controversy surrounding J­esus’ birth. The Jews knew the story about Mary’s betrothal and that Joseph was not ­Jesus’ real father; thus they implied that J­esus’ birth was illegitimate (see Mt 1:18–​25; Lk 1:26–​38). 8:42 If God were your Father, you would love me. The con-

4/19/13 9:31 AM




God. c I have not come on my own; d God sent me. e 43 Why is my lan­guage not c­ lear to you? Be­ cause you are un­able to hear what I say. 44 You be­long to your fa­ther, the dev­il, f and you want to car­ry out your fa­ther’s de­sires. g He was a mur­der­er from the be­gin­ning, not hold­ing to the t­ ruth, for ­there is no ­truth in him. When he lies, he s­ peaks his na­tive lan­guage, for he is a liar and the fa­ther of lies. h 45 Yet be­cause I tell the ­truth, i you do not be­lieve me! 46 Can any of you p­ rove me g­ uilty of sin? If I am tell­ing the ­truth, why ­don’t you be­ ­ ears what lieve me? 47 Who­ev­er be­longs to God h God says. j The rea­son you do not hear is that you do not be­long to God.”

8:42 c Jn 16:27; 17:8 d Jn 7:28 e Jn 3:17 8:44 f 1Jn 3:8 g ver 38, ​41 h Ge 3:4 8:45 i Jn 18:37 8:47 j Jn 18:37; 1Jn 4:6 8:48 k Mt 10:5 l ver 52; Jn 7:20 8:50 m ver 54; Jn 5:41 8:51 n Jn 11:26

//Jesus’ Claims About Himself

8:53 o Jn 4:12 8:54 p ver 50

48 The

Jews an­swered him, “Aren’t we ­right in say­ing that you are a Sa­mar­i­tan k and de­mon-pos­ sessed?” l 49 “I am not pos­sessed by a de­mon,” said J­ esus, “but I hon­or my Fa­ther and you dis­hon­or me. 50 I am not seek­ing glo­ry for my­self; m but ­there is one who ­seeks it, and he is the ­judge. 51 Very tru­ly I tell you, who­ev­er ­obeys my word will nev­er see death.” n 52 At this they ex­claimed, “Now we know that

q Jn 16:14;

s Jn 7:28, ​29 t Jn 15:10

8:56 u ver 37, ​

39 v Mt 13:17; Heb 11:13

8:58 w Jn 1:2; 17:5, ​

24 x Ex 3:14 8:59 y Lev 24:16; Jn 10:31; 11:8 z Jn 12:36 9:2 a Mt 23:7 b ver 34; Lk 13:2; Ac 28:4 c Eze 18:20 d Ex 20:5; Job 21:19

struction here (as in v. 39) denies that God is truly their Father. Although the OT calls Israel His “firstborn son” (Ex 4:22) and affirms that God is Israel’s father by creation and separation (Jer 31:9), the unbelief of the Jews toward J­esus demonstrated that God was not their Father spiritually. ­Jesus stressed that the explicit criterion verifying the claim to be a child of God is love for His Son, ­Jesus. Since God is love, those who love His Son also demonstrate His nature (1Jn 4:7–​11; 5:1). 8:44 your father, the devil. Sonship is predicated on conduct. A son will manifest his father’s characteristics (cf. Eph 5:1, 2). Since the Jews exhibited the patterns of Satan in their hostility toward ­Jesus and their failure to believe in Him as Messiah, their paternity was the exact opposite of their claims, i.e., they belonged to Satan. He was a murderer from the beginning. ­Jesus’ words refer to the fall when Satan tempted Adam and Eve and successfully killed their spiritual life (Ge 2:17; 3:17–​24; Ro 5:12; Heb 2:14). Some think that the reference may also refer to Cain’s murder of Abel (Ge 4:1–​9; 1Jn 3:12). 8:46 prove me guilty of sin. Only a perfectly holy One who has the closest and most intimate communion with the Father could speak such words. The Jews arguing against ­Jesus could marshal no genuine evidence that He had ever sinned against God. 8:48 you are a Samaritan. Since the Jews could not attack J­esus’ personal life and conduct (v. 46), they tried an ad hominem attack of personal abuse toward Him. The reference to ­Jesus as a “Samaritan” probably centers in the fact that the Samaritans, like ­Jesus, questioned the Jews’ exclusive right to be called Abraham’s children (see vv. 33, 39). 8:51 never see death. Heeding ­Jesus’ teaching and following Him results in eternal life (6:63, 68). Physical death cannot extinguish such life (see 5:24; 6:40, 47; 11:25, 26).

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17:1, ​5

8:55 r ver 19

John 9:2

you are de­mon-pos­sessed! Abra­ham died and so did the proph­ets, yet you say that who­ev­er o­ beys your word will nev­er ­taste ­death. 53 Are you great­ er than our fa­ther Abra­ham? o He died, and so did the proph­ets. Who do you ­think you are?” 54 Jesus re­plied, “If I glo­ri­fy my­self, p my glo­ry ­means noth­ing. My Fa­ther, whom you c­ laim as your God, is the one who glo­ri­fies me. q 55 Though you do not know him, r I know him. s If I said I did not, I w ­ ould be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. t 56  Your fa­ther Abra­ham  u re­joiced at the ­thought of see­ing my day; he saw it v and was glad.” 57 “You are not yet fif­ty ­years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abra­ham!” 58 “Very tru­ly I tell you,” J­ esus an­swered, “be­ fore Abra­ham was born, w I am!” x 59 At this, they ­picked up ­stones to ­stone him, y but ­Jesus hid him­self,  z slip­ping away from the tem­ple grounds.

//Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind


As he went a­ long, he saw a man b­ lind from ­birth. 2  His dis­ci­ples ­asked him, “Rab­bi,  a who ­sinned,  b this man c or his par­ents, d that he was born blind?”

8:52 Abraham died. J­esus’ assertion that anyone who keeps His word will never die (v. 51) prompted the Jews to offer a retort that once again revealed their thinking on strictly a literal and earthly level (see 3:4; 4:15). 8:56 Hebrews 11:13 indicates that Abraham saw Christ’s day (“saw them . . . from a distance”; see note there). Abraham particularly saw in the continuing seed of Isaac the beginning of God’s fulfilling the covenant (Ge 12:1–​3; 15:1–​21; 17:1–​8; cf. 22:8) that would culminate in Christ. 8:58 Very truly. See note on 1:51. I am. See note on 6:22–​58. Here ­Jesus declares Himself to be Yahweh, i.e., the Lord of the OT. Basic to the expression are such passages as Ex 3:14; Dt 32:39; Isa 41:4; 43:10 where God declared Himself to be the eternally preexistent God who revealed Himself in the OT to the Jews. See also notes on vv. 24, 28. 8:59 they picked up stones. The Jews understood J­esus’ claim and followed Lev 24:16, which indicates that any man who falsely claims to be God should be stoned. hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds. J­esus repeatedly escaped arrest and death because His hour had not yet come (see notes on 7:8, 30). The verse most likely indicates escape by miraculous means. 9:1–​13 ­Jesus performed a miracle by re-creating the eyes of a man who was born with congenital blindness (v. 1). Four features highlight this healing: 1) the problem that precipitated the healing (v. 1); 2) the purpose for the man’s being born blind (vv. 2–​5); 3) the power that healed him (vv. 6, 7); and 4) the perplexity of the people who saw the healing (vv. 8–​13). 9:2 who sinned. While sin may be a cause of suffering, as clearly indicated in Scripture (see 5:14; Nu 12; 1Co 11:30; Jas 5:15), it is not always the case necessarily (see Job; 2Co 12:7; Gal 4:13). Like most first-century Jews, the disciples thought that sin was the

4/19/13 9:31 AM

John 9:3 3 “Nei­ ther this man nor his par­ents s­inned,” said ­Jesus, “but this hap­pened so that the ­works of God m ­ ight be dis­played in him. e 4 As long as it f is day,  we must do the w ­ orks of him who sent me. ­Night is com­ing, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the ­world, I am the l­ight of the world.” g 6 After say­ing this, he spit h on the ­ground, made some mud with the sa­li­va, and put it on the ­man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Si­lo­am”  i (this word m ­ eans “Sent”). So the man went and ­washed, and came home see­ing. j 8 His neigh­ bors and ­those who had for­mer­ly seen him beg­ging ­asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” k 9 Some ­claimed that he was. Oth­ers said, “No, he only ­looks like him.” But he him­self in­sist­ed, “I am the man.” 10 “How then were your eyes ­ opened?” they asked. 11 He re­plied, “The man they call J­ esus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Si­lo­am and wash. So I went and w ­ ashed, and then I ­could see.” l


9:3 e Jn 11:4 9:4 f Jn 11:9; 12:35 9:5 g Jn 1:4; 8:12;

12:46 9:6 h Mk 7:33; 8:23 9:7 i ver 11; 2Ki 5:10; Lk 13:4 j Isa 35:5; Jn 11:37 9:8 k Ac 3:2, ​10 9:11 l ver 7

9:14 m Jn 5:9 9:15 n ver 10 9:16 o Mt 12:2

p Jn 6:52; 7:43; 10:19 9:17 q Mt 21:11 9:18 r Jn 1:19

primary, if not exclusive, cause of all suffering. In this instance, however, J­esus made it clear that personal sin was not the reason for the blindness (see v. 3). 9:3 ­Jesus did not deny the general connection between sin and suffering, but refuted the idea that personal acts of sin were the direct cause. God’s sovereignty and purposes play a part in such matters, as is clear from Job 1, 2. 9:4 As long as it is day. ­Jesus meant as long as He was still on earth with His disciples. The phrase does not imply that Christ somehow ceased to be the light of the world once He ascended, but that the light shone most brightly among men when He was on the earth doing the Father’s will (cf. 8:12). Night is coming. See notes on 1:4, 5; 1Jn 1:5–​7. The darkness has special reference to the period when ­Jesus was taken from His disciples during His crucifixion (v. 5). 9:5 I am the light of the world. See note on 8:12; cf. 1:5, 9; 3:19; 12:35, 46. Not only was ­Jesus spiritually the light of the world, but He would also provide the means of physical light for this blind man. 9:6 made some mud with the saliva. As He had done when He originally made human beings out of the dust of the ground (Ge 2:7), J­esus may have used the clay to fashion a new pair of eyes. 9:7 wash in the Pool of Siloam. The term “Siloam” is Heb. for “Sent.” The Pool of Siloam was SE of the original City of David. Water flowed into it from the spring of Gihon in the Kidron Valley by way of Hezekiah’s tunnel. It may be identified with the “lower pool” or “old pool” mentioned in Isa 22:9, 11. Water for the waterpouring rites at the Festival of Tabernacles, or Booths, was drawn from this pool (see notes on 7:37–​39). 9:8, 9 In ancient times, such severe physical deformities as congenital blindness sentenced a person to begging as the only means of support (see Ac 3:1–​7). The drastic change in the healed man caused many to faithlessly believe that he was not the person born blind.

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12 “Where

is this man?” they a­ sked him. “I ­don’t know,” he said.

//The Pharisees Investigate the Healing

13 They ­brought to the Phar­i­sees the man who had been b­ lind. 14 Now the day on w ­ hich J­esus had made the mud and ­opened the ­man’s eyes was a Sab­bath. m 15  There­fore the Phar­i­sees also ­asked him how he had re­ceived his s­ ight. n “He put mud on my eyes,” the man re­plied, “and I ­washed, and now I see.” 16 Some of the Phar­i­sees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sab­bath.” o But oth­ers ­asked, “How can a sin­ner per­form such s­ igns?” So they were di­vid­ed. p 17 Then they ­turned ­again to the ­blind man, “What have you to say ­about him? It was your eyes he opened.” The man re­plied, “He is a proph­et.” q 18 They r ­still did not be­lieve that he had been ­blind and had re­ceived his ­sight un­til they sent for the ­man’s par­ents. 19 “Is this your son?” they

9:13–​34 This section in the story of the healing of the blind man reveals some key characteristics of willful unbelief: 1) unbelief sets false standards; 2) unbelief always wants more evidence but never has enough; 3) unbelief does biased research on a purely subjective basis; 4) unbelief rejects the facts; and 5) unbelief is self-centered. John included this section on the dialogue of the Pharisees with the blind man most likely for two reasons: 1) the dialogue carefully demonstrates the character of willful and fixed unbelief, and 2) the story confirms the first great schism between the synagogue and Christ’s new followers. The blind man was the first known person thrown out of the synagogue because he chose to follow Christ (see 16:1–​3). 9:13 They. This has reference to the blind man’s “neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging” (v. 8). to the Pharisees. The people brought the blind man to the Pharisees most likely because the miracle had happened on the Sabbath (v. 14), and they were aware that the Pharisees reacted negatively to those who violated the Sabbath (cf. 5:1–​15). The people also wanted advice from their local synagogue and religious leaders. 9:16 not from God. The reasoning may have been that since J­esus violated their interpretation of the Sabbath law, He could not be the promised Prophet of God (Dt 13:1–​5). divided. Earlier the crowds were divided in opinion regarding ­Jesus (7:40–​43); here the authorities also became divided. 9:17 He is a prophet. While the blind man saw clearly that ­Jesus was more than a mere man, the sighted but obstinate Pharisees were spiritually blind to that truth (see v. 39). Blindness in the Bible is a metaphor for spiritual darkness, i.e., inability to discern God or His truth (2Co 4:3–​6; Col 1:12–​14). 9:18 sent for the man’s parents. While neighbors may have been mistaken about the man’s identity, the parents would know if this was their own son. The authorities considered the witness of the healed man worthless.

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a­ sked. “Is this the one you say was born b­ lind? How is it that now he can see?” 20 “We know he is our son,” the par­ ents an­ swered, “and we know he was born ­blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who ­opened his eyes, we ­don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will s­ peak for him­self.” 22 His par­ents said this be­cause they were ­afraid of the Jew­ish lead­ers, s who al­ready had de­cid­ed that any­one who ac­knowl­edged that ­Jesus was the Mes­si­ah ­would be put out t of the syn­a­gogue.  u 23 That was why his par­ents said, “He is of age; ask him.” v 24 A sec­ond time they sum­moned the man who had been ­blind. “Give glo­ry to God by tell­ing the ­truth,” w they said. “We know this man is a sin­ner.” x 25 He re­plied, “Wheth­er he is a sin­ner or not, I ­don’t know. One ­thing I do know. I was ­blind but now I see!” 26 Then they ­asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27 He an­swered, “I have told you al­ready y and you did not lis­ten. Why do you want to hear it ­again? Do you want to be­come his dis­ci­ples too?” 28 Then they ­ hurled in­sults at him and said, “You are this fel­low’s dis­ci­ple! We are dis­ci­ples of Mo­ses!  z 29 We know that God ­spoke to Mo­ses, but as for this fel­low, we ­don’t even know ­where he ­comes from.” a

9:22 s Jn 7:13 t ver 34;

Lk 6:22 16:2 9:23 v ver 21 9:24 w Jos 7:19 x ver 16 9:27 y ver 15 9:28 z Jn 5:45 9:29 a Jn 8:14 u Jn 12:42;

30 The man an­ swered, “Now that is re­mark­ able! You d­ on’t know ­where he ­comes from, yet he o­ pened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not lis­ten to sin­ners. He lis­tens to the god­ly per­ son who does his will. b 32 No­body has ever ­heard of open­ing the eyes of a man born b­ lind. 33 If this man were not from God, c he ­could do noth­ing.” 34 To this they re­ plied, “You were ­steeped in sin at ­birth; d how dare you lec­ture us!” And they ­threw him out. e

//Spiritual Blindness

9:31 b Ge 18:23‑32;

Ps 34:15, ​16; 66:18; 145:19, ​20; Pr 15:29; Isa 1:15; 59:1, ​2; Jn 15:7; Jas 5:16‑18; 1Jn 5:14, ​15 9:33 c ver 16; Jn 3:2 9:34 d ver 2 e ver 22, ​ 35; Isa 66:5 9:36 f Ro 10:14 9:37 g Jn 4:26 9:38 h Mt 28:9 9:39 i Jn 5:22 j Jn 3:19 k Lk 4:18 l Mt 13:13 9:40 m Ro 2:19

9:24 Give glory to God. This means that the authorities wanted the man to own up and admit the truth that ­Jesus was a sinner because He violated their traditions and threatened their influence (cf. Jos 7:19). We know this man is a sinner. Enough unanimity existed among the religious authorities to conclude that ­Jesus was a sinner (cf. 8:46). Because of this already predetermined opinion, they refused to accept any of the testimony that a miracle had actually taken place. 9:27 In order to forcefully emphasize their hypocrisy, the healed man resorted to biting sarcasm when he suggested they desired to be ­Jesus’ disciples. 9:28 You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! At this point, the meeting degenerated into a shouting match of insults. The healed man’s wit had exposed the bias of his inquisitors. As far as the authorities were concerned, the conflict between J­esus and Moses was irreconcilable. If the healed man defended J­esus, then such defense could only mean that he was ­Jesus’ disciple. 9:30 The healed man demonstrated more spiritual insight and common sense than all of the religious authorities combined who sat in judgment of J­ esus and him. His penetrating wit focused in on their intractable unbelief. His logic was that such an extraordinary miracle could only indicate that ­Jesus was from God, for the Jews believed that God responds in proportion to the righteousness of the one praying (see Job 27:9; 35:13; Pss 66:18; 109:7; Pr 15:29; Isa 1:15; cf. 14:13, 14; 16:23–​27; 1Jn 3:21, 22). The greatness of the miracle could only indicate that ­Jesus was actually from God. 9:34 how dare you lecture us! The Pharisees were incensed with the man, and their anger prevented them from seeing the penetrating insight that the uneducated, healed man had demonstrated.

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John 9:40

35 Jesus h ­ eard that they had t­hrown him out, and when he ­found him, he said, “Do you be­lieve in the Son of Man?” 36 “Who is he, sir?” the man a ­ sked. “Tell me so that I may be­lieve in him.” f 37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speak­ing with you.” g 38 Then the man said, “Lord, I be­lieve,” and he wor­shiped him.  h 39 Jesus said, a “For judg­ment i I have come into this ­world,  j so that the ­blind will see k and ­those who see will be­come blind.” l 40 Some Phar­i­sees who were with him ­heard him say this and ­asked, “What? Are we ­blind too?” m a 38,39  Some early manuscripts do not have Then the man said . . . 39Jesus said.   

The phrase also revealed their ignorance of Scripture, for the OT indicated that the coming messianic age would be evidenced by restoration of sight to the blind (Isa 29:18; 35:5; 42:7; cf. Mt 11:4, 5; Lk 4:18, 19). 9:35–​41 While vv. 1–​34 dealt with ­Jesus’ restoration of physical sight in the blind man, vv. 35–​41 featured ­Jesus bringing spiritual “sight” to him. 9:35 Do you believe . . . ? ­Jesus invited the man to put his trust in Him as the One who revealed God to man. J­esus placed great emphasis on public acknowledgment of who He was and confession of faith in Him (Mt 10:32; Lk 12:8). Son of Man. Cf. 1:51; 3:13, 14; 5:27; 6:27, 53, 62; 8:28. 9:36 sir. Since the blind man had never seen ­Jesus (v. 7) nor met Him since he went to wash in the pool, he did not recognize J­esus at first as the One who healed him. 9:38 Lord. The Gr. word translated “sir” in v. 36 is the same word translated “Lord” here. At first, the blind man spoke to Christ out of respect; however, in v. 38 he spoke to the “Son of Man” (v. 35) as Messiah. 9:39 For judgment. Not that His purpose was to condemn, but rather to save (12:47; Lk 19:10); saving some, nevertheless, involves condemning others (see notes on 3:16, 18). The last part of this verse is taken from Isa 6:10; 42:19 (cf. Mk 4:12). the blind. Those people who know they are in spiritual darkness. those who see. Refers in an ironic way to those who think they are in the light, but are not (cf. Mk 2:17; Lk 5:31). 9:40 Are we blind too? Apparently J­esus found (v. 35) the man in a public place, where the Pharisees were present listening.

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John 9:41 41 Jesus said, “If you were ­blind, you ­would not be ­guilty of sin; but now that you c­ laim you can see, your ­guilt re­mains. n




9:41 n Jn 15:22, ​24 10:2 o ver 11, ​14 10:3 p ver 4, ​5, ​14, ​ 16, ​27

10:6 q Jn 16:25

//The Good Shepherd and His Sheep


“Very tru­ly I tell you Phar­is­ees, any­one who does not en­ter the s­ heep pen by the gate, but c­ limbs in by some oth­er way, is a t­ hief and a rob­ber. 2 The one who en­ters by the gate is the shep­herd of the ­sheep. o 3  The gate­keep­er ­opens the gate for him, and the s­heep lis­ten to his ­voice.  p He ­calls his own ­sheep by name and ­leads them out. 4 When he has ­brought out all his own, he goes on a­ head of them, and his s­heep fol­low him be­cause they know his ­voice. 5 But they will nev­er fol­low a strang­er; in fact, they will run away from him be­cause they do not rec­ og­nize a strang­er’s ­voice.” 6 ­Jesus used this fig­ure of ­speech,  q but the Phar­i­sees did not un­der­stand what he was tell­ing them.

10:8 r Jer 23:1, ​2 10:11 s ver 14;

Isa 40:11; Eze 34:11‑16, ​23; Heb 13:20; 1Pe 5:4; Rev 7:17 t Jn 15:13; 1Jn 3:16 10:12 u Zec 11:16, ​ 17 10:14 v ver 11 w ver 27

9:41 your guilt remains. J­esus had particular reference to the sin of unbelief and rejection of Him as Messiah and Son of God. If they knew their lostness and darkness and cried out for spiritual light, they would no longer be guilty of the sin of unbelief in Christ. But satisfied that their darkness was light, and continuing in rejection of Christ, their sin remained. See note on Mt 6:22, 23. 10:1–​39 ­Jesus’ discourse on Himself as the “good shepherd” flowed directly from chap. 9, as J­esus continued to talk to the very same people. The problem of chap. 9 was that Israel was led by false shepherds who drew them astray from the true knowledge and kingdom of Messiah (9:39–​41). In chap. 10, ­Jesus declared Himself to be the “good shepherd” who was appointed by His Father as Savior and King, in contrast to the false shepherds of Israel who were self-appointed and self-righteous (Ps 23:1; Isa 40:11; Jer 3:15; cf. Isa 56:9–​12; Jer 23:1–​4; 25:32–​38; Eze 34:1–​ 31; Zec 11:16). 10:1 sheep pen. J­ esus spoke in vv. 1–​30 using a lengthy illustration drawn from the tending of sheep. The sheep were kept in a pen, which had a gate through which the sheep entered and departed. The shepherd engaged a “gatekeeper” (v. 3) or “hired hand” (v. 12) as an undershepherd to guard the gate. But those who wanted to steal or harm the sheep would attempt entrance by another way. The words of Eze 34 most likely form the background to ­Jesus’ teaching since God decried the false shepherds of Israel (i.e., the spiritual leaders of the nation) for not caring properly for the flock of Israel (i.e., the nation). The gospels themselves contain extensive sheep/shepherd imagery (see Mt 9:36; Mk 6:34; 14:27; Lk 15:1–​7). 10:3 The gatekeeper. The gatekeeper was a hired undershepherd who recognized the true shepherd of the flock, opened the gate for Him, assisted the shepherd in caring for the flock, and especially guarded them at night. the sheep listen to his voice. Near Eastern shepherds stand at different locations outside the sheep pen, sounding out their own unique calls that their sheep recognize. As a result, the sheep gather around the shepherd. He calls his own sheep by name. This shepherd goes even further by calling each sheep by its own special name. J­esus’ point is that He comes to the fold of Israel and calls out those who belong to Him. In some way, they are already His sheep before He calls them by name (see vv. 25–​27; 6:37, 39, 44, 64, 65; 17:6, 9, 24; 18:9).

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7 There­fore J­ esus said a ­ gain, “Very tru­ly I tell you, I am the gate for the ­sheep. 8 All who have come be­fore me r are ­thieves and rob­bers, but the ­sheep have not lis­tened to them. 9 I am the gate; who­ev­er en­ters ­through me will be ­saved. a They will come in and go out, and find pas­ture. 10 The ­thief ­comes only to ­steal and kill and de­stroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. 11 “I am the good shep­herd. s The good shep­ herd lays down his life for the ­sheep. t 12 The ­hired hand is not the shep­herd and does not own the ­sheep. So when he sees the wolf com­ing, he aban­dons the s­heep and runs away. u Then the wolf at­tacks the ­flock and scat­ters it. 13 The man runs away be­cause he is a ­hired hand and ­cares noth­ing for the sheep. 14 “I am the good shep­herd; v I know my s­ heep w and my s­heep know me — ​15 just as the Fa­ther a 9 Or kept


10:4, 5 In contrast to Western shepherds who drive their flocks from behind, Near Eastern shepherds lead their sheep, using their voice to prompt the sheep to follow. NT spiritual leadership is always by example, i.e., a call to imitate conduct (cf. 1Ti 4:12; 1Pe 5:1–​3). 10:6 figure of speech. This phrase conveys the idea that something cryptic or enigmatic is intended in it. It occurs again in 16:25, 29 but not in the Synoptics. Having given the illustration (vv. 1–​5), ­Jesus then began to draw salient spiritual truth from it. 10:7–​10 I am the gate. This is the third of seven “I am” statements of ­Jesus (see 6:35; 8:12). Here, He changes the metaphor slightly. While in vv. 1–​5 He was the shepherd, here He is the gate. While in vv. 1–​5, the shepherd led the sheep out of the sheep pen, here He is the entrance to the pen (v. 9) that leads to proper pasture. This section echoes ­Jesus’ words in 14:6 that He is the only way to the Father. His point is that He serves as the sole means to approach the Father and partake of God’s promised salvation. As some Near Eastern shepherds slept in the gateway to guard the sheep, ­Jesus here pictures Himself as the gate. 10:9, 10 These two verses are a proverbial way of insisting that belief in J­esus as the Messiah and Son of God is the only way of being “saved” from sin and hell and receiving eternal life. Only ­Jesus Christ is the one true source for the knowledge of God and the one basis for spiritual security. 10:11–1​ 8 ­Jesus picked up another expression from vv. 1–​5, i.e., He is the “good shepherd” in contrast to the present evil leadership of Israel (9:40, 41). This is the fourth of seven “I am” statements of J­esus (see vv. 7, 9; 6:35; 8:12). The term “good” has the idea of “noble” and stands in contrast to the “hired hand” who cares only for self-interest. 10:11 lays down his life for the sheep. This is a reference to J­ esus’ substitutionary death for sinners on the cross. Cf. v. 15; 6:51; 11:50, 51; 17:19; 18:14. 10:12 sees the wolf coming . . . runs away. The hired hand likely represents religious leaders who pretend to care for the flock in good times but who abandon the sheep when danger comes. They stand in contrast to J­esus, who laid down His life for His flock (see 15:13).

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­knows me and I know the Fa­ther x — ​and I lay down my life for the ­sheep. 16 I have oth­er ­sheep y that are not of this s­ heep pen. I must b­ ring them also. They too will lis­ten to my v­ oice, and t­ here ­shall be one ­flock z and one shep­herd. a 17 The rea­ son my Fa­ther l­oves me is that I lay down my life b — ​only to take it up ­again. 18 No one ­takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own ac­cord. c I have au­thor­it­ y to lay it down and au­thor­i­ty to take it up a­ gain. This com­mand I re­ceived from my Fa­ther.”  d 19 The Jews who h ­ eard t­ hese w ­ ords were a­ gain di­vid­ed.  e 20 Many of them said, “He is de­monpos­sessed  f and rav­ing mad. g Why lis­ten to him?” 21 But oth­ers said, “These are not the say­ings of a man pos­sessed by a de­mon. h Can a de­mon open the eyes of the blind?” i

//Further Conflict Over Jesus’ Claims 22  Then came the Fes­ti­val of Ded­i­ca­tion  a at Je­ru­sa­lem. It was win­ter, 23 and ­Jesus was in the tem­ple ­courts walk­ing in Sol­o­mon’s Col­on­nade.  j 24 The Jews k who were ­ there gath­ered ­around

10:15 x Mt 11:27 10:16 y Isa 56:8 z Jn 11:52;

Eph 2:11‑19 a Eze 37:24; 1Pe 2:25 10:17 b ver 11, ​ 15, ​18 10:18 c Mt 26:53 d Jn 15:10; Php 2:8; Heb 5:8 10:19 e Jn 7:43; 9:16 10:20 f Jn 7:20 g Mk 3:21 10:21 h Mt 4:24 i Ex 4:11; Jn 9:32, ​33 10:23 j Ac 3:11; 5:12 10:24 k Jn 1:19

l Jn 16:25, ​29

10:25 m Jn 8:58 n Jn 5:36

10:26 o Jn 8:47 10:27 p ver 14 q ver 4

10:28 r Jn 6:39 10:29 s Jn 17:2, ​6, ​ 24 t Jn 14:28 10:30 u Jn 17:21‑23 10:31 v Jn 8:59 10:33 w Lev 24:16; Jn 5:18 10:34 x Jn 8:17; Ro 3:19 y Ps 82:6

10:16 not of this sheep pen. This refers to Gentiles who will respond to His voice and become a part of the church (cf. Ro 1:16). ­Jesus’ death was not only for Jews (see notes on vv. 1, 3), but also for non-Jews whom He will make into one new body, the church (see notes on 11:51, 52; cf. Eph 2:11–​22). 10:17, 18 take it up again. ­Jesus repeated this phrase twice in these two verses, indicating that His sacrificial death was not the end. His resurrection followed in demonstration of His messiahship and deity (Ro 1:4). His death and resurrection resulted in His ultimate glorification (12:23; 17:5) and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (7:37–​39; cf. Ac 2:16–​39). 10:19–​21 The Jews once again had a mixed reaction to ­Jesus’ words (see 7:12, 13). While some charged Him with demon possession (see 7:20; 8:48; cf. Mt 12:22–​32), others concluded His works and words were a demonstration of God’s sanction upon Him. 10:22, 23 Festival of Dedication. The Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, which celebrates the Israelite victory over the Syrian leader Antiochus Epiphanes, who persecuted Israel. In ca. 170 b.c. he conquered Jerusalem and desecrated the Jewish temple by setting up a pagan altar to displace the altar of God. Under the leadership of an old priest named Mattathias (his family name was called the Hasmoneans), the Jews fought guerrilla warfare (known as the Maccabean Revolt—​166–​142 b.c.) against Syria and freed the temple and the land from Syrian dominance until 63 b.c. when Rome (Pompey) took control of the region. It was in 164 b.c. on 25 Kislev (Dec. approximately), that the Jews liberated the temple and rededicated it. The celebration is also known as the “Festival of Lights” on account of the lamps and candles lit to commemorate the event in Jewish homes. It was winter. John indicates by this phrase that the cold weather drove ­Jesus to walk on the eastern side of the temple in the sheltered area of Solomon’s porch, which after the resurrection became the regular gathering place of Christians where they would proclaim the gospel (see Ac 3:11; 5:12). 10:24 tell us plainly. In light of the context of vv. 31–​39, the Jews

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John 10:35

him, say­ing, “How long will you keep us in sus­ pense? If you are the Mes­si­ah, tell us plain­ly.” l 25 Jesus an­swered, “I did tell you, m but you do not be­lieve. The ­works I do in my Fa­ther’s name tes­ti­fy ­about me,  n 26 but you do not be­lieve be­ cause you are not my ­sheep. o 27  My ­sheep lis­ten to my v­ oice; I know them, p and they fol­low me. q 28 I give them eter­nal life, and they s­hall nev­er per­ish; no one will ­snatch them out of my hand. r 29 My Fa­ther, who has giv­en them to me, s is great­ er than all b; t no one can ­snatch them out of my Fa­ther’s hand. 30 I and the Fa­ther are one.” u 31 Again his Jew­ish op­po­nents ­picked up s­ tones to ­stone him, v 32 but ­Jesus said to them, “I have ­shown you many good ­works from the Fa­ther. For ­which of t­ hese do you ­stone me?” 33 “We are not ston­ing you for any good work,” they re­plied, “but for blas­phe­my, be­cause you, a mere man, ­claim to be God.” w 34 Jesus an­ swered them, “Is it not writ­ten in your Law, x ‘I have said you are “gods” ’ c ? y 35 If he a 22 That

is, Hanukkah    b 29  Many early manuscripts What my Father has given me is greater than all    c 34 Psalm 82:6   

were not seeking merely for clarity and understanding regarding who J­esus was, but rather wanted Him to declare openly that He was Messiah in order to justify attacking Him. 10:26, 27 This clearly indicates that God has chosen His sheep and it is they who believe and follow (see notes on vv. 3, 16; cf. 6:37–​40, 44, 65). 10:28, 29 J­ esus’ sheep are secure because he is the Good Shepherd, who has . . . them safe. Neither thieves and robbers (vv. 1, 8) nor the wolf (v. 12) can harm them. Verse 29 makes clear that the Father ultimately stands behind the sheep’s security, for no one is able to steal from God, who is in sovereign control of all things (Col 3:3). See notes on Ro 8:31–​39. No stronger passage in the OT or NT exists for the absolute, eternal security of every true Christian. 10:30 I and the Father are one. Both Father and Son are committed to the perfect protection and preservation of ­Jesus’ sheep. The sentence, stressing the united purpose and action of both in the security and safety of the flock, presupposes unity of nature and essence (see 5:17–​23; 17:22). 10:31 For the third time John records that the Jews attempted to stone J­esus (see 5:18; 8:59). ­Jesus’ assertion (v. 30) that He was One with the Father affirmed His claim to deity and caused the Jews to seek His execution (v. 33). Although the OT permitted stoning in certain instances (e.g., Lev 24:16), the Romans reserved the right of capital punishment for themselves (18:31). Nevertheless, out-of-control Jews attempted a mob action in lieu of legal proceedings (see Ac 7:54–​60). 10:33 you . . . claim to be God. There was no doubt in the minds of those Jews that ­Jesus was claiming to be God (cf. 5:18). 10:34–​36 Quoted from Ps 82:6 where God calls some unjust judges “gods” and pronounces calamity against them. J­esus’ argument is that this is an argument from the lesser to the greater. If mere men could, in some sense, be referred to as “gods,” why would anyone object to the Son of God Himself being called by that title?

4/19/13 9:31 AM

John 10:36

c­ alled them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came  — ​ and Scrip­ture can­not be set ­aside  — ​ 36 what ­about the one whom the Fa­ther set ­apart z as his very own a and sent into the ­world? b Why then do you ac­cuse me of blas­phe­my be­cause I said, ‘I am ­God’s Son’? c 37 Do not be­lieve me un­less I do the ­works of my Fa­ther. d 38 But if I do them, even ­though you do not be­lieve me, be­lieve the ­works, that you may know and un­ der­stand that the Fa­ther is in me, and I in the Fa­ther.”  e 39 Again they t­ ried to s­ eize him, f but he es­caped ­their grasp.  g 40 Then ­Jesus went back ­across the Jor­dan h to the ­place ­where John had been bap­tiz­ing in the ear­ly days. There he s­ tayed, 41 and many peo­ple came to him. They said, “Though John nev­er per­formed a sign, i all that John said ­about this man was true.” j 42 And in that p­ lace many be­ lieved in ­Jesus. k




10:36 z Jer 1:5

a Jn 6:69 b Jn 3:17 c Jn 5:17, ​18


d ver 25;

Jn 15:24 10:38 e Jn 14:10, ​ 11, ​20; 17:21 10:39 f Jn 7:30 g Lk 4:30; Jn 8:59 10:40 h Jn 1:28 10:41 i Jn 2:11; 3:30 j Jn 1:26, ​27, ​ 30, ​34 10:42 k Jn 7:31

11:1 l Mt 21:17 m Lk 10:38

11:2 n Mk 14:3; Lk 7:38; Jn 12:3 11:3 o ver 5, ​36 11:4 p ver 40; Jn 9:3 11:7 q Jn 10:40 11:8 r Mt 23:7 s Jn 8:59; 10:31

10:35 Scripture cannot be set aside. An affirmation of the absolute accuracy and authority of Scripture (see notes on Mt 5:17–​19). 10:38 believe the works. ­Jesus did not expect to be believed merely on His own assertions. Since He did the same things that the Father does (see notes on 5:19), His enemies should consider this in their evaluation of Him. The implication is, however, that they were so ignorant of God that they could not recognize the works of the Father or the One whom the Father sent (see also 14:10, 11). 10:40 ­Jesus went back across the Jordan. Because of the increasing hostility (see v. 39), ­Jesus went from the region of Judea into the unpopulated area across the Jordan. to the place where John had been baptizing. Cf. Mt 3:1–​6; Mk 1:2–​6; Lk 3:3–​6. This is probably a reference to either Perea or Batanea, the general area in the tetrarchy of Philip in the E and NE of the Sea of Galilee. The statement is ironic, since the area where John first began became the last area in which J­esus stayed before He left for Jerusalem and crucifixion. The people remembered John’s testimony to Christ and affirmed their faith in Him (vv. 41, 42). 11:1—​12:50 The previous passage (10:40–​42) marked the end of John’s treatment of J­esus’ public ministry. At that point, He began to move into seclusion and minister to His own disciples and those who loved Him as He prepared to face death. Israel had her day of opportunity; the sun was setting and the night was coming. These two chapters form the transition to chaps. 13–​21, which record the passion of Christ, i.e., the events surrounding the cross. 11:1–​57 As chap. 11 begins, ­Jesus stands in the shadow of facing the cross. The little time that He had in the area beyond the Jordan (cf. Mt 19:1—​20:34; Mk 10:1–​52; Lk 17:11—​19:28) would soon come to an end. John picked up the story (vv. 55–​57) after He moved back into the area of Jerusalem, and His death on the cross was only a few days away. In those last few days before His death, the scene in John’s gospel changes from hatred and rejection (10:39) to an unmistakable and blessed witness of the glory of Christ. All the rejection and hatred could not dim His glory as displayed through the resurrection of Lazarus. That miracle evidences His glory in three ways: 1) it pointed to His deity; 2) it strengthened the faith of the disciples; and 3) it led directly to the cross (12:23). The chapter can be divided as follows: 1) the preparation for the miracle (vv. 1–​16); 2) the arrival of J­ esus (vv. 17–​36); 3) the miracle itself (vv. 37–​44); and 4) the results of the miracle (vv. 45–​57).

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//The Death of Lazarus


Now a man n ­ amed Laz­a­rus was sick. He was from Beth­a­ny,  l the vil­lage of Mary and her sis­ter Mar­tha. m 2 (This Mary, ­whose broth­er Laz­a­rus now lay sick, was the same one who ­poured per­fume on the Lord and w ­ iped his feet with her hair.) n 3 So the sis­ters sent word to ­Jesus, “Lord, the one you love o is sick.” 4 When he h ­ eard this, J­esus said, “This sick­ ness will not end in d­ eath. No, it is for G ­ od’s glo­ ry p so that ­God’s Son may be glo­ri­fied ­through it.” 5 Now ­Jesus l­oved Mar­tha and her sis­ter and Laz­a­rus. 6 So when he ­heard that Laz­a­rus was sick, he ­stayed ­where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his dis­ci­ples, “Let us go back to Ju­dea.”  q 8  “But Rab­bi,”  r they said, “a s­ hort w ­ hile ago the Jews ­there ­tried to ­stone you, s and yet you are go­ing back?”

11:1 Lazarus. The resurrection of Lazarus is the climactic and most dramatic sign in this gospel and the capstone of His public ministry. Six miracles have already been presented (water into wine [2:1–​ 11], healing of the royal official’s son [4:46–​54], restoring the lame man [5:1–​15], multiplying the loaves and fishes [6:1–​14], walking on the water [6:15–​21], and curing the man born blind [9:1–​12]). Lazarus’s resurrection is more potent than all those and even more monumental than the raising of the widow’s son in Nain (Lk 7:11–​ 16) or Jairus’s daughter (Lk 8:40–​56) because those two resurrections occurred immediately after death. Lazarus was raised after four days of being in the grave with the process of decomposition already having started (v. 39). Bethany. This Bethany is different from the other “Bethany on the other side of the Jordan” in 1:28 (see note there). It lies on the E side of the Mt. of Olives about two mi. from Jerusalem (v. 18) along the road leading toward Jericho. Mary . . . Martha. This is the first mention of this family in John. John relates the story of Mary’s anointing of ­Jesus in 12:1–​8, but this reference may indicate that the original readers were already familiar with the event. Cf. Lk 10:38–​42. 11:3 sent word to ­Jesus. Since ­Jesus was in the Transjordan and Lazarus was near Jerusalem, the message to ­Jesus would most likely have taken one whole day to reach Him. Surely by omniscience, ­Jesus already knew of Lazarus’s condition (see v. 6; 1:47). He may have died before the messenger reached ­Jesus, since he was dead four days (v. 17) when ­Jesus arrived, after a two-day delay (v. 6) and a one-day journey. the one you love. This phrase is a touching hint at the close friendship ­Jesus had with Lazarus. Cf. 13:1. 11:4 God’s Son may be glorified. This phrase reveals the real purpose behind Lazarus’s sickness, i.e., not death, but that the Son of God might be glorified through his resurrection (cf. v. 4; see note on 9:3). 11:6 he stayed where he was two more days. The decision to delay coming did not bring about Lazarus’s death, since J­esus already supernaturally knew his plight. Most likely by the time the messenger arrived to inform J­esus, Lazarus was already dead. The delay was because He loved the family (v. 5) and that love would be clear as He greatly strengthened their faith by raising Lazarus from the dead. The delay also made certain that no one would wrongly think Lazarus’ resurrection was merely a resuscitation, since he had been dead for so long. 11:7, 8 The disciples realized that the animosity toward ­Jesus was

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9 Jesus an­swered, “Are t­ here not ­twelve ­hours of day­light? Any­one who walks in the day­time will not stum­ble, for they see by this w ­ orld’s ­light.  t 10 It is when a per­son walks at ­night that they stum­ble, for they have no light.” 11 Af­ ter he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our f­ riend u Laz­a­rus has fall­en ­asleep;  v but I am go­ing ­there to wake him up.” 12 His dis­ci­ples re­plied, “Lord, if he s­ leeps, he will get bet­ter.” 13 ­Jesus had been speak­ing of his ­death, but his dis­ci­ples t­ hought he m ­ eant nat­u­ ral sleep. w 14 So then he told them plain­ ly, “Laz­a­rus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not ­there, so that you may be­lieve. But let us go to him.” 16  Then Thom­as  x (also k ­ nown as Did­y­mus a ) said to the rest of the dis­ci­ples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

11:9 t Jn 9:4; 12:35 11:11 u ver 3 v Ac 7:60

11:13 w Mt 9:24 11:16 x Mt 10:3;

Jn 14:5; 20:24‑28; 21:2; Ac 1:13

11:17 y ver 6, ​39 11:18 z ver 1 11:19 a ver 31;

Job 2:11 11:20 b Lk 10:38‑42

//Jesus Comforts the Sisters of Lazarus 17 On

his ar­riv­al, ­Jesus f­ound that Laz­ar­ us had al­ready been in the tomb for four days. y 18 Now Beth­a­ny  z was less than two ­miles b from Je­ru­sa­ lem, 19 and many Jews had come to Mar­tha and Mary to com­fort them in the loss of t­ heir broth­ ­ eard that J­ esus was com­ing, er. a 20 When Mar­tha h she went out to meet him, but Mary s­tayed at home. b

11:21 c ver 32, ​37 11:22 d ver 41, ​42; Jn 9:31

11:24 e Da 12:2;

Jn 5:28, ​29; Ac 24:15 11:25 f Jn 1:4 11:27 g Lk 2:11 h Mt 16:16 i Jn 6:14 11:28 j Mt 26:18; Jn 13:13 11:30 k ver 20 11:31 l ver 19

so great that His return could result in His death because of the murderous Jews (cf. 8:59; 10:31). 11:9, 10 During the light of the sun, most people did their work safely. When darkness came, they stopped. The proverbial saying, however, had a deeper meaning. As long as the Son performed His Father’s will (i.e., during the daylight period of His ministry when He is able to work), He was safe. The time would soon come (nighttime) when, by God’s design, His earthly work would end and He would “stumble” in death. J­esus was stressing that as long as He was on earth doing God’s will, even at this late time in His ministry, He would safely complete God’s purposes. 11:11–​13 fallen asleep. A euphemistic term used in the NT to refer to death, particularly with reference to believers who will be physically raised to eternal life (cf. 1Co 11:30; 15:51; 1Th 4:13). 11:14, 15 The resurrection of Lazarus was designed to strengthen His disciples’ faith in Him as the Messiah and Son of God in the face of the strong Jewish rejection of Him. 11:16 Thomas’s words reflect loyal devotion and, at the same time, pessimism over the fact that they would probably all die. His fears were not unrealistic in the face of bitter hostility toward ­Jesus, and had not the Lord protected them in the garden (18:1–​11), they may also have been arrested and executed. Cf. 20:24–​29. 11:17 in the tomb. The term “tomb” means a stone sepulcher. In the eastern Mediterranean basin, such a grave was common. Either a cave or rock area would be hewn out, the floor inside leveled and graded to make a shallow descent. Shelves were cut out or constructed inside the area in order to bury additional family members.

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John 11:31 21  “Lord,” Mar­tha said to J­esus, “if you had been here, my broth­er ­would not have died. c 22 But I know that even now God will give you what­ev­er you ask.”  d 23  Jesus said to her, “Your broth­er will rise again.” 24 Mar­tha an­swered, “I know he will rise a ­ gain in the res­ur­rec­tion  e at the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the res­ur­rec­tion and the life. f The one who be­lieves in me will live, even t­hough they die; 26  and who­ev­er ­lives by be­liev­ing in me will nev­er die. Do you be­lieve this?” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she re­plied, “I be­lieve that you are the Mes­si­ah,  g the Son of God, h who is to come into the world.” i 28 Af­ter she had said this, she went back and ­called her sis­ter Mary ­aside. “The Teach­er j is here,” she said, “and is ask­ing for you.” 29 When Mary ­heard this, she got up quick­ly and went to him. 30 Now ­Jesus had not yet en­tered the vil­lage, but was ­still at the ­place ­where Mar­tha had met him. k 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the ­house, com­fort­ing her, l no­ticed how quick­ ly she got up and went out, they fol­lowed her, sup­pos­ing she was go­ing to the tomb to ­mourn there. a 16 

Thomas (Aramaic) and Didymus (Greek) both mean twin.    3 kilometers   

b 18 Or about

A rock was rolled in front to prevent wild animals or grave robbers from entering (see also v. 38). The evangelist made special mention of the fourth day (see note on v. 3) in order to stress the magnitude of the miracle, for the Jews did not embalm and by then the body would have been in a state of rapid decomposition. 11:18, 19 The point is that the family was well-known in that area. The mention of the Jews also indicates the great risk that ­Jesus faced by travelling so close to Jerusalem, which was seething with the leaders’ hatred for Him. 11:21 if you had been here. Cf. v. 32. Not a rebuke of ­Jesus but a testimony of her trust in His healing power. 11:22 whatever you ask. Based on her statement in v. 39, Martha was not saying she believed J­esus could raise Lazarus from the dead, but that she knew He had a special relationship to God so that His prayers could bring some good from this sad event. 11:25, 26 This is the fifth in a series of seven great “I am” statements of ­Jesus (see 6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 9; 10:11, 14). With this statement, ­Jesus moved Martha from an abstract belief in the resurrection that will take place “on the last day” (cf. 5:28, 29) to a personalized trust in Him who alone can raise the dead. No resurrection or eternal life exists outside of the Son of God. Time (“on the last day”) is no barrier to the One who has the power of resurrection and life (1:4) for He can give life at any time. 11:27 she replied. Martha’s confession is representative of the very reason John wrote this inspired gospel (cf. 20:30, 31). See Peter’s confession in Mt 16:16.

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John 11:32 32 When Mary ­reached the ­place ­where ­Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my broth­er ­would not have died.” m 33 When ­Jesus saw her weep­ing, and the Jews who had come a­ long with her also weep­ing, he was deep­ly m ­ oved n in spir­it and trou­bled. o 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they re­plied. 35 Jesus wept. p 36  Then the Jews said, “See how he l­oved him!” q 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who ­opened the eyes of the b­ lind man r have kept this man from dy­ing?” s

//Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead 38 Jesus,

once more deep­ly m ­ oved, t came to the tomb. It was a cave with a s­ tone laid a­ cross the en­trance.  u 39 “Take away the s­ tone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Mar­tha, the sis­ter of the dead man, “by this time t­ here is a bad odor, for he has been ­there four days.” v 40 Then ­Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you be­lieve,  w you will see the glo­ry of God?” x 41 So they took away the ­ stone. Then ­Jesus


11:32 m ver 21 11:33 n ver 38 o Jn 12:27

11:35 p Lk 19:41 11:36 q ver 3 11:37 r Jn 9:6, ​7 s ver 21, ​32

11:38 t ver 33 u Mt 27:60; Lk 24:2; Jn 20:1 11:39 v ver 17 11:40 w ver 23‑25 x ver 4

­looked up  y and said, “Fa­ther, z I ­thank you that you have h ­ eard me. 42 I knew that you al­ways hear me, but I said this for the ben­e­fit of the peo­ ple stand­ing here, a that they may be­lieve that you sent me.” b 43 When he had said this, ­Jesus c ­ alled in a loud ­voice, “Laz­a­rus, come out!”  c 44 The dead man came out, his h ­ ands and feet w ­ rapped with ­strips of lin­en,  d and a ­cloth ­around his face. e Jesus said to them, “Take off the ­grave ­clothes and let him go.”

//The Plot to Kill Jesus

11:41 y Jn 17:1 z Mt 11:25

11:42 a Jn 12:30 b Jn 3:17

11:43 c Lk 7:14 11:44 d Jn 19:40 e Jn 20:7

11:45 f ver 19

g Jn 2:23 h Ex 14:31; Jn 7:31 11:47 i ver 57 j Mt 26:3 k Mt 5:22 l Jn 2:11 11:49 m Mt 26:3 n ver 51; Jn 18:13, ​ 14

11:32 See note on v. 21. 11:33 saw . . . the Jews . . . weeping. According to Jewish custom, a poor family must pay for at least a couple of flute players and a professional mourner to weep for the dead. Because the family may have been well-to-do, a rather large group appears present. he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. The phrase here does not mean merely that ­Jesus was deeply touched or moved with sympathy at the sight. The Gr. term “deeply moved” points to personal indignation (see v. 38; cf. Mt 9:30; Mk 1:43; 14:5). Most likely J­esus was angered at the emotional grief of the people because it implicitly revealed unbelief in the resurrection and the temporary nature of death. The group was acting like pagans who had no hope (1Th 4:13). While grief is understandable, the group was acting in despair, thus indicating a tacit denial of the resurrection and the Scripture that promised it. ­Jesus may also have been angered because He was indignant at the pain and sorrow in death that sin brought into the human condition. 11:35 ­Jesus wept. The Gr. word here has the connotation of silently bursting into tears in contrast to the loud lament of the group (see v. 33). His tears here were not generated out of mourning, since He was to raise Lazarus, but out of grief for a fallen world entangled in sin-caused sorrow and death. He was “a man of suffering, and familiar with pain” (Isa 53:3). 11:39 bad odor. Although Jews used aromatic spices, their custom was not to embalm the body but to use the spices to counteract the repulsive odors from decomposition. They would wrap the body in linen cloth, adding spice in the layers and folds. The Jews did not wrap the body tightly like Egyptian mummies, but rather loosely with the head wrapped separately. This is indicated by the fact that Lazarus could move out of the tomb before he was unwrapped (v. 44; cf. 20:7). 11:41, 42 ­Jesus’ prayer was not really a petition, but thanksgiving

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45 There­fore many of the Jews who had come to vis­it Mary, f and had seen what ­Jesus did, g be­ lieved in him. h 46 But some of them went to the Phar­i­sees and told them what ­Jesus had done. 47 Then the ­chief p ­ riests and the Phar­i­sees i ­called j a meet­ing  of the San­he­drin. k “What are we ac­com­plish­ing?” they a­ sked. “Here is this man per­form­ing many s­ igns. l 48 If we let him go on like this, ev­ery­one will be­lieve in him, and then the Ro­mans will come and take away both our tem­ple and our na­tion.” 49 Then one of them, n ­ amed Ca­ia­phas, m who was high ­priest that year, n ­spoke up, “You know

to the Father. The reason for the miracle was to authenticate His claims to be the Messiah and Son of God. 11:43 This was a preview of the power to be fully displayed in the final resurrection when all the dead hear the voice of the Son of God and live (5:25, 28, 29). 11:45, 46 ­Jesus’ teaching and actions often divided the Jews (e.g., 6:14, 15; 7:10–​13, 45–​52). While some believed (cf. v. 40), others, apparently with malicious intent, informed the Pharisees of ­Jesus’ action. 11:47 called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. Alerted by the Pharisees, a Sanhedrin committee consisting of chief priests (former high priests and members of high priestly families) and Pharisees, called the Sanhedrin to session. The Pharisees could not by themselves take any judicial action against J­esus. Though subject to Roman control, the Sanhedrin was the most powerful judicial body in Israel and exercised judicial, legislative, and executive powers at that time. In ­Jesus’ day, the Sanhedrin was predominantly Sadducees, including the chief priests. The Pharisees made up a vocal minority. While the Pharisees and Sadducees were often in conflict, their mutual hatred of ­Jesus united them into action. 11:48 the Romans will come. The Jews were not willing to believe in ­Jesus as the Son of God even though Lazarus had been raised. They feared that escalating messianic expectations could start a movement against Roman oppression and occupation that would cause the Romans to come and take away all their rights and freedoms. 11:49 Caiaphas. Caiaphas became high priest ca. a.d. 18, being appointed by the Roman prefect, Valerius Gratus. He was the sonin-law of Annas, who had previously functioned in that same position from ca. a.d. 7–​14 and who exercised great influence over the office even after his tenure (see 18:12–​14). Caiaphas retained his position until a.d. 36 when, along with Pontius Pilate, he was removed by the Romans. He took a leading part in the trial and

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noth­ing at all! 50 You do not re­al­ize that it is bet­ ter for you that one man die for the peo­ple than that the ­whole na­tion per­ish.” o 51 He did not say this on his own, but as high ­priest that year he proph­e­sied that ­Jesus ­would die for the Jew­ish na­tion, 52 and not only for that na­tion but also for the scat­tered chil­dren of God, to ­bring them to­geth­er and make them one. p 53 So from that day on they plot­ted to take his life. q 54  T here­f ore ­J esus no lon­g er ­m oved ­a bout pub­lic­ly ­among the peo­ple of Ju­dea.  r In­stead he with­drew to a re­gion near the wil­der­ness, to a vil­lage ­called Ephra­im, w ­ here he ­stayed with his dis­ci­ples. 55 When it was al­most time for the Jew­ish Pass­ over, s many went up from the coun­try to Je­ru­ sa­lem for ­their cer­e­mo­ni­al cleans­ing  t be­fore the Pass­over. 56 They kept look­ing for J­ esus, u and as they ­stood in the tem­ple ­courts they ­asked one an­oth­er, “What do you ­think? ­Isn’t he com­ing to the fes­ti­val at all?” 57 But the ­chief p­ riests and the Phar­i­sees had giv­en or­ders that any­one who ­found out ­where ­Jesus was ­should re­port it so that they ­might ar­rest him.

11:50 o Jn 18:14 11:52 p Isa 49:6;

Jn 10:16 11:53 q Mt 12:14 11:54 r Jn 7:1 11:55 s Ex 12:13, ​ 23, ​27; Mt 26:1, ​2; Mk 14:1; Jn 13:1 t 2Ch 30:17, ​18 11:56 u Jn 7:11

12:1 v Jn 11:55 w Mt 21:17

12:2 x Lk 10:38‑42 12:3 y Mk 14:3 z Jn 11:2

12:4 a Mt 10:4 12:6 b Jn 13:29

condemnation of J­esus. In his court or palace, the chief priests (Sadducees) and Pharisees assembled and “schemed to arrest ­Jesus secretly and kill him” (see Mt 26:3, 4). 11:50 one man die for the people. He only meant that J­esus should be executed in order to spare their own positions and nation from Roman reprisals, but Caiaphas unwittingly used sacrificial, substitutionary language and prophesied the death of Christ for sinners. Cf. 2Co 5:21; 1Pe 2:24. 11:51 he prophesied. Caiaphas did not realize the implications of what he spoke. While he uttered blasphemy against Christ, God parodied his statement into truth (cf. Ps 76:10). The responsibility for the wicked meaning of his words belonged to Caiaphas, but God’s providence directed the choice of words so as to express the heart of God’s glorious plan of salvation (Ac 4:27, 28). He actually was used by God as a prophet because he was the high priest and originally the high priest was the means of God’s will being revealed (2Sa 15:27). 11:52 bring them together and make them one. In context, this had reference to believing Jews of the dispersion who would be regathered in Israel to share in the messianic kingdom (Isa 43:5; Eze 34:12). In a wider sense, this also anticipated the Gentile mission (see 12:32). As a result of Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection, both Jew and Gentile have been made into one group, the church (Eph 2:11–​18). 11:53 from that day on. The phrase indicates that their course of action toward J­ esus was then fixed. It remained only to accomplish it. Notice that J­esus was not arrested to be tried. He had already been judged guilty of blasphemy. The trial was a mere formality for a sentence already passed (Mk 14:1, 2). 11:54 Ephraim. This probably refers to the OT city of Ephron (see 2Ch 13:19). Its modern village name is Et-Taiyibeh, and it is located 4 mi. NE of Bethel and about 12 mi. from Jerusalem. The location was far enough away for temporary safety until the time of Passover (v. 55).

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John 12:7

//Jesus Anointed at Bethany 12:1-8Ref —​Mt 26:6-13; Mk 14:3-9; Lk 7:37-39


Six days be­fore the Pass­over, v ­Jesus came to Beth­a­ny,  w ­where Laz­a­rus ­lived, whom ­Jesus had r­aised from the dead. 2 Here a din­ner was giv­en in ­Jesus’ hon­or. Mar­tha ­served, x ­while Laz­a­rus was ­among ­those re­clin­ing at the ta­ble with him. 3 Then Mary took ­about a pint a of pure nard, an ex­pen­sive per­fume;  y she ­poured it on ­Jesus’ feet and ­wiped his feet with her hair. z And the ­house was ­filled with the fra­grance of the per­ fume. 4 But one of his dis­ci­ples, Ju­das Is­car­io ­ t, who was lat­er to be­tray him, a ob­ject­ed, 5  “Why ­wasn’t this per­fume sold and the mon­ey giv­en to the poor? It was ­worth a ­year’s wag­es. b ” 6 He did not say this be­cause he c­ ared a­ bout the poor but be­cause he was a t­ hief; as keep­er of the mon­ey bag, b he used to help him­self to what was put into it. 7 “Leave her a ­ lone,” ­Jesus re­plied. “It was in­ tend­ed that she ­should save this per­fume for a 3 Or about

0.5 liter    b 5 Greek three hundred denarii   

11:55 Passover. This is the third Passover mentioned in John (see 2:13; 6:4) and the last in ­Jesus’ earthly ministry at which His sacrificial death occurred. For the chronology of the Passover Week, see Introduction to Luke: Outline. 11:56 They kept looking for ­Jesus. The Jews who filled Jerusalem for Passover were wondering if J­esus would show Himself at this time and were actively seeking to find Him. The plot of the chief priests and Pharisees (see v. 47; 7:12) was known widely enough to pique their curiosity as to whether ­Jesus would dare show Himself in Jerusalem. 11:57 anyone who found out. The plotters ensured that the whole city was filled with potential informants. 12:1–​50 This chapter focuses on the reactions of love and hate, belief and rejection toward Christ, leading to the cross. 12:1 Six days before the Passover. This most likely was the previous Saturday with Passover coming six days later on Thursday evening through sunset Friday. See Introduction: Interpretive Challenges. 12:3 a pint of pure nard. “Nard” was an oil extracted from the root of a plant grown in India. poured it on ­Jesus’ feet. The dinner guests were reclined at the table with their feet extended away from it, making it possible for Mary to anoint the feet of J­esus. The act symbolized Mary’s humble devotion and love for Him. 12:5 a year’s wages. See NIV footnote. Since one denarius was a day’s wage given to common laborers, 300 was equivalent to a year’s wages (no money was earned on the Sabbath or other holy days). 12:6 a thief. Judas’s altruism was really a front for his own personal avarice. Because he was the apostolic band’s treasurer, he was able to secretly pilfer the group treasury for his own desires. 12:7 save . . . for the day of my burial. Mary performed this act to signal her devotion but, as in the case of Caiaphas (11:49–​52), her act revealed more than she realized at the time. During the first

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John 12:8

the day of my buri­al. c 8 You will al­ways have the poor a­ mong you, a d but you will not al­ways have me.” 9 Mean­while a l­arge ­crowd of Jews f­ound out that ­Jesus was ­there and came, not only be­cause of him but also to see Laz­a­rus, whom he had ­raised from the dead. e 10 So the c­ hief p­ riests made ­plans to kill Laz­a­rus as well, 11 for on ac­count of him f many of the Jews were go­ing over to ­Jesus and be­liev­ing in him. g




12:7 c Jn 19:40 12:8 d Dt 15:11 12:9 e Jn 11:43, ​44 12:11 f ver 17, ​18; Jn 11:45 g Jn 7:31

12:13 h Ps 118:25, ​

26 i Jn 1:49

//Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King 12:12-15pp —​Mt 21:4-9; Mk 11:7-10; Lk 19:35-38 12 The next day the g ­ reat c­ rowd that had come for the fes­ti­val h ­ eard that J­ esus was on his way to Je­ru­sa­lem. 13 They took palm branch­es and went out to meet him, shout­ing,

“Hosanna! b ” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” c h “Blessed is the king of Israel!” i 14 Jesus

­found a y­ oung don­key and sat on it, as it is writ­ten:

12:15 j Zec 9:9 12:16 k Mk 9:32 l Jn 2:22;


12:17 m Jn 11:42 12:18 n ver 11 12:19 o Jn 11:47, ​48 12:20 p Jn 7:35;

16 At ­first his dis­ci­ples did not un­der­stand all this. k Only af­ter J­ esus was glo­ri­fied l did they re­ al­ize that t­ hese t­ hings had been writ­ten ­about him and that ­these ­things had been done to him. 17 Now the ­crowd that was with him m when he ­called Laz­a­rus from the tomb and r­ aised him from the dead con­tin­ued to ­spread the word. 18 Many peo­ple, be­cause they had h ­ eard that he had per­ formed this sign, n went out to meet him. 19 So the Phar­is­ ees said to one an­oth­er, “See, this is get­ting us no­where. Look how the w ­ hole ­world has gone af­ter him!”  o

//Jesus Predicts His Death 20 Now

t­ here were some ­Greeks p ­among ­those who went up to wor­ship at the fes­ti­val. 21 They came to Phil­ip, who was from Beth­sa­id­ a q in Gal­ i­lee, with a re­quest. “Sir,” they said, “we w ­ ould

Ac 11:20

a 8 See

Jn 1:44

d 15 Zech. 9:9   

12:21 q Mt 11:21;

century, lavish sums were spent on funerals, which included costly perfumes to cover the smell of decay (see note on 11:39). 12:8 This does not mean that alms should not be distributed to the poor (Dt 15:11) but was a reminder that, while the poor would remain, J­esus would not always be with them. See Mt 26:11; Mk 14:7. 12:11 going over to . . . believing. This phrase signaled both a conscious, deliberate move away from the religion of the authorities and a move toward genuine faith in J­esus as Messiah and Son of God. 12:12–1​ 9 This section marks ­Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It is one of the few incidents in ­Jesus’ life reported in all four gospels (Mt 21:1–​11; Mk 11:1–​11; Lk 19:29–​38). By this action, He presented Himself officially to the nation as the Messiah and Son of God. The Sanhedrin and other Jewish leaders wanted Him dead but did not want Him killed during the Passover time because they feared stirring up the multitudes with whom He was popular (Mt 26:5; Mk 14:2; Lk 22:2). ­Jesus entered the city, however, on His own time and forced the whole issue in order that it might happen exactly on the Passover day when the lambs were being sacrificed. As the Scripture says, “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1Co 5:7). In God’s perfect timing (see 7:30; 8:20), at the precise time foreordained from eternity, He presented Himself to die (v. 23; 10:17, 18; 17:1; 19:10, 11; cf. Ac 2:23; 4:27, 28; Gal 4:4). 12:12 The next day. The day after the crowds came to visit Him and Lazarus in Bethany (cf. 12:9). J­esus arrived in Bethany on Saturday (see note on 12:1). Then on Sunday a great number of Jews visited Him, angering the Jewish leaders (12:9–​11). It would not have been until the following day (Monday) that J­esus prepared to enter Jerusalem through the East Gate of the city. 12:13 took palm branches. The supply of date palms was plentiful; they still grow in Jerusalem today. The waving of palm branches

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15 “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” d j

Deut. 15:11.    b 13  A Hebrew expression meaning “Save!” which became an exclamation of praise    c 13 Psalm 118:25,26   

had become a symbol of the fervent hope that the Messiah had come (6:14, 15). Hosanna! The term “hosanna” is a transliteration of a Heb. word that means “give salvation now.” It was a term of acclamation or praise occurring in Ps 118:25 that was familiar to every Jew, since that psalm was part of the Hallel (Pss 113–​118) sung each morning by the temple choir during the Festival of Tabernacles (7:37) and associated with the Festival of Dedication (10:22) and especially the Passover. After shouting out the “Hosanna,” the crowds shouted Ps 118:26; significantly, the original context of Ps 118 may well have been the pronouncement of blessing upon a Messianic leader. Jewish commentaries have understood the verse to bear messianic implications. “He who comes in the name of the Lord” refers to Messiah, especially in context with the phrase “the king of Israel,” though that messianic title is not from Ps 118. 12:14, 15 The Synoptic Gospels give more information here regarding ­Jesus’ selection of a young donkey (see Mt 21:1–​9; Mk 11:1–​10; Lk 19:29–​38). They convey the fact that ­Jesus deliberately planned to present Himself to the nation in this manner as a conscious fulfillment of the messianic prophecy of Zec 9:9 (quoted here). The words “Do not be afraid” are not found in the Zechariah passage but were added from Isa 40:9. Only after His ascension did the disciples grasp the meaning of the triumphal entry (cf. 14:26). 12:19 the whole world has gone after him. “The whole world” means the people in general, as opposed to everyone in particular. Clearly, most people in the world did not even know of J­esus at that time, and many in Israel did not believe in Him. Often, “world” is used in this general sense (v. 47; 1:29; 3:17; 4:42; 14:22; 17:9, 21). 12:20, 21 Most likely Gentile proselytes to Judaism who had come up for the Passover and who, in their desire to see ­Jesus, stood in direct antithesis to the attitude of the national leaders who desired to kill Him. At the very moment when the Jewish authorities plotted virulently to kill Him, Gentiles began to desire His attention.

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like to see J­ esus.” 22 Phil­ip went to tell An­drew; An­drew and Phil­ip in turn told J­ esus. 23 Jesus re­ plied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glo­ri­fied. r 24 Very tru­ly I tell you, un­less a ker­nel of w ­ heat f­alls to the ­ground and dies, s it re­mains only a sin­gle seed. But if it dies, it pro­duc­es many ­seeds. 25  Any­one who loves ­their life will lose it, ­while any­one who hates ­their life in this ­world will keep it t for eter­ nal life. 26 Who­ev­er ­serves me must fol­low me; and ­where I am, my ser­vant also will be. u My Fa­ ther will hon­or the one who s­ erves me. 27 “Now my soul is trou­bled, v and what ­shall I say? ‘Fa­ther,  w save me from this hour’? x No, it was for this very rea­son I came to this hour. 28  Fa­ther, glo­ri­fy your name!” Then a ­voice came from heav­en, y “I have glo­ ri­fied it, and will glo­ri­fy it a­ gain.” 29  The ­crowd that was ­there and ­heard it said it had thun­dered; oth­ers said an an­gel had spo­ken to him. 30 Jesus said, “This ­voice was for your ben­ef­it, z not mine. 31 Now is the time for judg­ment on ­ orld b will be this ­world;  a now the p­ rince of this w driv­en out. 32 And I, when I am lift­ed up a from the ­earth,  c will draw all peo­ple to my­self.” d 33 He said this to show the kind of d­ eath he was go­ing to die. e 34 The ­crowd ­spoke up, “We have ­heard from the Law that the Mes­si­ah will re­main for­ev­er, f so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man g must be lift­ed up’? h Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”

12:23 r Jn 13:32; 17:1

12:24 s 1Co 15:36 12:25 t Mt 10:39; Mk 8:35; Lk 14:26

12:26 u Jn 14:3; 17:24; 2Co 5:8; 1Th 4:17

12:27 v Mt 26:38, ​ 39; Jn 11:33, ​38; 13:21 w Mt 11:25

x ver 23

12:28 y Mt 3:17 12:30 z Jn 11:42 12:31 a Jn 16:11

b Jn 14:30; 16:11; 2Co 4:4; Eph 2:2; 1Jn 4:4 12:32 c ver 34; Jn 3:14; 8:28 d Jn 6:44 12:33 e Jn 18:32 12:34 f Ps 110:4; Isa 9:7; Eze 37:25; Da 7:14 g Mt 8:20 h Jn 3:14

John 12:42 35 Then ­Jesus told them, “You are go­ing to have the ­light  i just a lit­tle ­while lon­ger. Walk w ­ hile you have the ­light, j be­fore dark­ness over­takes you. k Who­ever walks in the dark does not know ­where they are go­ing. 36 Be­lieve in the ­light ­while you have the l­ ight, so that you may be­come chil­ dren of ­light.” l When he had fin­ished speak­ing, ­Jesus left and hid him­self from them. m

//Belief and Unbelief Among the Jews 37  Even af­ter ­Jesus had per­formed so many s­ igns  n in t­ heir pres­ence, they s­ till w ­ ould not be­ lieve in him. 38 This was to ful­fill the word of Isa­ iah the proph­et:

“Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” b o 39 For this rea­son they c ­ ould not be­lieve, be­ cause, as Isa­iah says else­where:

j Eph 5:8 k 1Jn 2:11

40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn — ​and I would heal them.” c p

m Jn 8:59

41 Isa­iah

12:35 i ver 46

12:36 l Lk 16:8

12:37 n Jn 2:11 12:38 o Isa 53:1; Ro 10:16

12:40 p Isa 6:10; Mt 13:13, ​15

12:41 q Isa 6:1‑4 r Lk 24:27

12:23 hour. Refers to the time of J­esus’ death, resurrection, and exaltation (v. 27; 13:1; 17:1). Up to this point, ­Jesus’ hour had always been future (2:4; 4:21, 23; 7:30; 8:20). Son of Man. See note on 1:51. 12:24 As the sown kernel dies to bring forth a rich harvest, so also the death of the Son of God will result in the salvation of many. 12:25, 26 Not only is the principle of death applicable to J­ esus (see v. 24) but it is also applicable to His followers. They, too, as His disciples may have to lose their life in service and witness for Him (see Mt 10:37–​39; 16:24, 25). 12:27 my soul is troubled. The term used here is strong and signifies horror, anxiety, and agitation. ­Jesus’ contemplation of taking on the wrath of God for the sins of the world caused revulsion in the sinless Savior (cf. 2Co 5:21). 12:28 glorify your name. This request embodied the principle that ­Jesus lived by and would die by. See 7:18; 8:29, 50. I have . . . and will glorify. The Father answered the Son in an audible voice. This is only one of three instances during ­Jesus’ ministry when this took place (cf. Mt 3:17—​His baptism; 17:5—​His transfiguration).

said this be­cause he saw J­ esus’ glo­ry q and ­spoke ­about him.  r 42  Yet at the same time many even a­mong

a 32 

The Greek for lifted up also means exalted.    b 38 Isaiah 53:1   

c 40 Isaiah 6:10   

12:34 remain forever. The term “Law” was used broadly enough to include not only the five books of Moses but also the whole of the OT (see Ro 10:4). Perhaps they had in mind Isa 9:7, which promised that Messiah’s kingdom would last forever, or Eze 37:25 where God promised that the final David would be Israel’s prince forever (see also Ps 89:35–​37). 12:35, 36 ­Jesus told them. A final invitation from ­Jesus was recorded by John to focus on his theme of believing in the Messiah and Son of God (see 20:30, 31). 12:37–​40 In these verses, John gives the scriptural explanation for such large-scale, catastrophic unbelief on the part of the Jewish nation. The explanation was that the unbelief was not only foreseen in Scripture but necessitated by it. In v. 38, John quotes Isa 53:1 and in v. 40 he quotes Isa 6:10 (see Ro 10:16), both of which stress the sovereign plan of God in His judicial hardening of Israel (cf. Paul’s argument in Ro 9–​11). Although God predestined such judgment, it was not apart from human responsibility and culpability (see 8:24).

12:31 the prince of this world. A reference to Satan (see 14:30; 16:11; cf. Mt 4:8, 9; Lk 4:6, 7; 2Co 4:4; Eph 2:2; 6:12). Although the cross might have appeared to signal Satan’s victory over God, in reality it marked Satan’s defeat (cf. Ro 16:20; Heb 2:14).

12:41 Isaiah . . . saw ­Jesus’ glory and spoke about him. This is a reference to Isaiah 6:1 (see notes there). John unambiguously ties ­Jesus to God or Yahweh of the OT (see note on 8:58). Therefore, since v. 41 refers to ­Jesus, it makes Him the author of the judicial hardening of Israel. That fits His role as Judge (see 5:22, 23, 27, 30; 9:39).

12:32 lifted up from the earth. This refers to His crucifixion (v. 33; 18:32). See note on 3:14.

12:42, 43 The indictment of vv. 37–​41 is followed by the exceptions of vv. 42, 43 (see 1:10, 11 vs. 1:12, 13). While the people

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John 12:43

the lead­ers be­lieved in him. s But be­cause of the Phar­i­sees  t they w ­ ould not open­ly ac­knowl­edge ­their ­faith for fear they ­would be put out of the syn­a­gogue;  u 43 for they l­oved hu­man ­praise more than ­praise from ­God. v 44 Then J­ esus c ­ ried out, “Who­ever be­lieves in me does not be­lieve in me only, but in the one who sent me. w 45 The one who looks at me is see­ ing the one who sent me. x 46 I have come into the ­world as a l­ight, y so that no one who be­lieves in me ­should stay in dark­ness. 47 “If any­one ­hears my w ­ ords but does not keep them, I do not j­udge that per­son. For I did not come to ­judge the ­world, but to save the ­world. z 48 There is a ­judge for the one who re­jects me and does not ac­cept my w ­ ords; the very w ­ ords I have spo­ken will con­demn them a at the last day. 49 For I did not s­ peak on my own, but the Fa­ther who sent me com­mand­ed me b to say all that I have spo­ken. 50 I know that his com­mand ­leads to eter­ nal life. So what­ev­er I say is just what the Fa­ther has told me to say.”

//Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet


It was just be­fore the Pass­over Fes­ti­val. c ­Jesus knew that the hour had come d for him to l­eave this w ­ orld and go to the Fa­ther. e


12:42 s ver 11; Jn 7:48 t Jn 7:13 u Jn 9:22 12:43 v Jn 5:44 12:44 w Mt 10:40; Jn 5:24 12:45 x Jn 14:9 12:46 y Jn 1:4; 3:19; 8:12; 9:5 12:47 z Jn 3:17 12:48 a Jn 5:45 12:49 b Jn 14:31 13:1 c Jn 11:55 d Jn 12:23 e Jn 16:28

13:3 f Mt 28:18 g Jn 8:42; 16:27, ​ 28, ​30 13:5 h Lk 7:44 13:7 i ver 12 13:10 j Jn 15:3

seemed to trust ­Jesus with much more candor and fervency, the leaders of Israel who believed in Him demonstrated inadequate, irresolute, even spurious faith (see note on 2:23–​25). The faith of the latter was so weak that they refused to take any position that would threaten their position in the synagogue. This is one of the saddest statements about spiritual leadership, for they preferred the praises of men above the praises of God in their refusal to publicly acknowledge J­esus as Messiah and Son of God. 13:1—​17:16 In these remaining chapters before His crucifixion, the record looks at ­Jesus’ devoting Himself to His own disciples. While chaps. 1–​12 center on the rejection of ­Jesus by the nation (cf. 1:11), chaps. 13–​17 center on those who did receive Him (see 1:12). Beginning in chap. 13, ­Jesus moved completely away from public ministry to private ministry with those who had received Him. Chapters 13–​17 were spoken by J­esus as a farewell on the night of His betrayal and arrest to communicate His coming legacy to His followers (chaps. 13–​16) and pray for them (chap. 17). The cross was only one day away. 13:1 to the end. Meaning “to perfection” with perfect love. God loves the world (3:16) and sinners (3:16; Mt 5:44, 45; Titus 3:4) with compassion and common grace, but loves His own with perfect, saving, eternal love. 13:2 evening meal. Passover on Thursday night after sunset. See Introduction: Interpretive Challenges. the devil .  .  . prompted Judas. This does not exonerate Judas, because his wicked heart desired exactly what the devil desired, the death of J­esus. The devil and Judas were in accord. 13:3 returning to God. J­esus faced the betrayal, agony, and death because He knew He would be exalted to the Father afterward, where He would receive the glory and fellowship He had eternally

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Hav­ing ­loved his own who were in the ­world, he l­oved them to the end. 2 The eve­ning meal was in prog­ ress, and the dev­il had al­ready prompt­ed Ju­das, the son of Si­ mon Is­car­i­ot, to be­tray ­Jesus. 3 ­Jesus knew that the Fa­ther had put all t­hings un­der his pow­er, f and that he had come from God g and was re­turn­ ing to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his out­er cloth­ing, and ­wrapped a tow­el ­around his ­waist. 5 Af­ter that, he ­poured wa­ter into a ba­ sin and be­gan to wash his dis­ci­ples’ feet, h dry­ing them with the tow­el that was ­wrapped ­around him. 6 He came to Si­mon Pe­ter, who said to him, “Lord, are you go­ing to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus re­plied, “You do not re­al­ize now what I am do­ing, but lat­er you will un­der­stand.” i 8 “No,” said Pe­ ter, “you s­hall nev­er wash my feet.” Jesus an­swered, “Un­less I wash you, you have no part with me.” 9 “Then, Lord,” Si­mon Pe­ter re­plied, “not just my feet but my ­hands and my head as well!” 10 Jesus an­swered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash ­their feet; ­their w ­ hole body is ­clean. And you are c­ lean, j ­though not ev­ery one of you.” 11 For he knew who was go­ing to be­tray

enjoyed within the Trinity (see 17:4, 5). This was the “joy set before him” that enabled Him to “endure the cross” (Heb 12:2). 13:4, 5 The dusty and dirty conditions of the region necessitated the need for footwashing. Although the disciples would have likely been willing to wash ­Jesus’ feet, they would not consider washing each other’s feet. In their society, footwashing was a task assigned to the lowest-ranking household slaves. It was not an action performed by a peer, except possibly as a rare expression of profound love. Luke points out (22:24) that they were arguing about who was the greatest of them, so that none was willing to stoop to wash feet. When ­Jesus moved to wash their feet, they were shocked. His actions serve also as symbolic of spiritual cleansing (vv. 6–​9) and a model of Christian humility (vv. 12–​17). Through this action ­Jesus taught the lesson of selfless service that was supremely exemplified by His death on the cross. 13:6–1​ 0 These proceedings embarrassed all of the disciples. While others remained silent, Peter, perhaps on behalf of others (see Mt 16:13–​23), spoke up in indignation that ­Jesus would stoop so low as to wash his feet. He failed to see beyond the humble service itself to the symbolism of spiritual cleansing involved (v. 7; cf. 1Jn 1:7–​9). ­Jesus’ response made the real point of His actions clear: Unless the Lamb of God cleanses a person’s sin (i.e., as portrayed in the symbolism of washing), one can have no part with Him. 13:10 need only to wash their feet. The cleansing that Christ does at salvation never needs to be repeated—​atonement is complete at that point. But all who have been cleansed by God’s gracious justification need constant washing in the experiential sense as they battle sin in the flesh. Believers are justified and granted imputed righteousness (Php 3:8, 9), but still need sanctification and personal righteousness (Php 3:12–​14).

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him, and that was why he said not ev­ery one was clean. 12 When he had fin­ished wash­ing ­their feet, he put on his ­clothes and re­turned to his ­place. “Do you un­der­stand what I have done for you?” he ­asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teach­er’ k and ‘Lord,’ l and right­ly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teach­er, have ­washed your feet, you also ­should wash one an­oth­er’s feet. m 15 I have set you an ex­am­ple that you ­should do as I have done for you. n 16 Very tru­ly I tell you, no ser­vant is great­er than his mas­ter, o nor is a mes­sen­ger great­er than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know ­these ­things, you will be b­ lessed if you do them. p

13:13 k Jn 11:28 l Lk 6:46; 1Co 12:3; Php 2:11 13:14 m 1Pe 5:5 13:15 n Mt 11:29 13:16 o Mt 10:24; Lk 6:40; Jn 15:20 13:17 p Mt 7:24, ​25; Lk 11:28; Jas 1:25 13:18 q ver 10 r Jn 15:16, ​19 s Mt 26:23 t Jn 6:70 u Ps 41:9 13:19 v Jn 14:29; 16:4 w Jn 8:24 13:20 x Mt 10:40; Lk 10:16 13:21 y Jn 12:27 z Mt 26:21 13:23 a Jn 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, ​20

//Jesus Predicts His Betrayal 18 “I am not re­ fer­ring to all of you; q I know t­ hose I have cho­sen. r But this is to ful­fill this pas­ sage of Scrip­ture: ‘He who s­ hared my b­ read s has ­turned  a t ­against me.’ b u 19 “I am tell­ing you now be­fore it hap­pens, so that when it does hap­pen you will be­lieve v that I am who I am. w 20 Very tru­ly I tell you, who­ev­er ac­cepts any­one I send ac­cepts me; and who­ev­er ac­cepts me ac­cepts the one who sent me.” x 21 Af­ter he had said this, J­ esus was trou­bled in spir­it  y and tes­ti­fied, “Very tru­ly I tell you, one of you is go­ing to be­tray me.” z 22 His dis­ci­ples s­ tared at one an­oth­er, at a loss to know w ­ hich of them he m ­ eant. 23 One of them, the dis­ci­ple whom J­esus ­loved, a was re­ clin­ing next to him. 24  Si­mon Pe­ter mo­tioned to

John 13:34

this dis­ci­ple and said, “Ask him ­which one he means.” 25 Lean­ ing back ­against ­Jesus, he ­asked him, “Lord, who is it?” b 26 Jesus an­swered, “It is the one to whom I will give this ­piece of ­bread when I have d­ ipped it in the dish.” Then, dip­ping the ­piece of b­ read, he gave it to Ju­das, the son of Si­mon Is­car­io­ t. 27 As soon as Ju­das took the b­ read, Sa­tan en­tered into him. c So ­Jesus told him, “What you are ­about to do, do quick­ly.” 28 But no one at the meal un­der­stood why ­Jesus said this to him. 29 Since Ju­das had c­ harge of the mon­ey, d some t­hought J­esus was tell­ing him to buy what was need­ed for the fes­ti­val, or to give some­thing to the poor. 30 As soon as Ju­das had tak­ en the ­bread, he went out. And it was night. e

//Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial 13:37,38pp —​Mt 26:33-35; Mk 14:29-31; Lk 22:33,34

13:25 b Jn 21:20 13:27 c Lk 22:3 13:29 d Jn 12:6 13:30 e Lk 22:53 13:31 f Jn 7:39

g Jn 14:13; 17:4; 1Pe 4:11 13:32 h Jn 17:1 13:33 i Jn 7:33, ​34 13:34 j 1Jn 2:7‑11; 3:11 k Lev 19:18; 1Th 4:9; 1Pe 1:22

31 When he was gone, ­Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glo­ri­fied f and God is glo­ri­fied in him. g 32 If God is glo­ri­fied in him, c God will glo­ri­fy the Son in him­self, h and will glo­ri­fy him at once. 33 “My chil­dren, I will be with you only a lit­tle lon­ger. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: W ­ here I am go­ing, you can­not come.  i 34 “A new com­mand j I give you: Love one an­ oth­er.  k As I have ­loved you, so you must love one a 18 Greek has lifted up his heel    b 18 Psalm 41:9    c 32  Many early manuscripts do not have If God is glorified in him.   

13:11, 12 not every one was clean. This verse refers to Judas (6:70), who was soon to lead the mob to capture ­Jesus (18:3).

13:27 Satan entered into him. Judas was personally possessed by Satan himself in his betrayal of ­Jesus. See note on v. 2.

13:15 an example. The word used here suggests both “example” and “pattern” (Heb 4:11; 8:5; 9:25; Jas 5:10; 2Pe 2:6). J­esus’ purpose in this action was to establish the model of loving humility.

13:30 it was night. Although this was a historical reminiscence of John, the phrase may also be imbued with profound theological implications. It was the hour for Judas to be handed over completely to the power of darkness (Satan; cf. Lk 22:53).

13:17 you will be blessed if you do them. Joy is always tied to obedience to God’s revealed Word (see 15:14). 13:18 those I have chosen. A reference to the 12 disciples whom the Lord had selected (see 15:16), whom the Lord knew perfectly, including Judas, who was chosen that the prophecy of Ps 41:9 would be fulfilled. 13:21 troubled. For the meaning of this word, see note on 12:27. 13:23 One of them, the disciple whom ­Jesus loved. This is the first reference to John the apostle, the author of the gospel (see Introduction: Author and Date). He specifically mentions himself at the cross (19:26, 27), at the empty tomb (20:2–​9), by the Sea of Tiberias (21:1, 20–​23), and in the next to last verse where he is referenced as the author of the gospel (21:24). 13:26 he gave it to Judas. It was not uncommon for the host of a banquet to pass a choice morsel of food to a guest as a gesture marking honor and camaraderie. Here, ­Jesus demonstrates a final gesture of friendship to Judas, even as Judas is about to betray Him. ­Jesus was demonstrating a final gesture of His love for Judas even though he would betray Him.

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13:31–​33 glorified. With Judas gone, the final events were set in motion. Rather than looking at the agony of the cross, J­esus looked past the cross, anticipating the glory that He would have with the Father when it was over (see 17:4, 5; Heb 12:2). 13:33 as I told the Jews. That statement is recorded in 8:21. 13:34, 35 After indicating He was about to leave, ­Jesus specified what He expected of the disciples after His departure. Love is to serve as the distinguishing characteristic of discipleship (v. 35; cf. 1Jn 2:7–​11; 3:10–​12; 4:7–​10, 20, 21). 13:34 A new command . . . . As I have loved you. The commandment to love was not new. Deuteronomy 6:5 commands love for God, and Lev 19:18 commands loving one’s neighbor as oneself (cf. Mt 22:34–​40; Ro 13:8–​10; Gal 5:14; Jas 2:8). However, ­Jesus’ command regarding love presented a distinctly new standard for two reasons: 1) it was sacrificial love modeled after His love (“as I have loved you”; cf. 15:13), and 2) it is produced through the new covenant by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jer 31:29–​34; Eze 36:24–​26; Gal 5:22).

4/19/13 9:31 AM




John 13:35

an­oth­er.  l 35 By this ev­ery­one will know that you are my dis­ci­ples, if you love one an­oth­er.” m 36 Si­mon Pe­ter a ­ sked him, “Lord, w ­ here are you go­ing?” Jesus re­plied, “Where I am go­ing, you can­not fol­low now,  n but you will fol­low lat­er.” o 37 Pe­ ter ­asked, “Lord, why c­ an’t I fol­low you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Then ­ Jesus an­swered, “Will you real­ly lay down your life for me? Very tru­ly I tell you, be­ fore the roost­er c­ rows, you will dis­own me ­three times! p

14:11 a Jn 5:36;

­ here you are go­ing, so how can we know the w way?” 6 Jesus an­swered, “I am the way u and the t­ ruth and the life. v No one ­comes to the Fa­ther ex­ cept t­ hrough me. 7 If you real­ly know me, you will know b my Fa­ther as well. w From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” 8 Phil­ ip said, “Lord, show us the Fa­ther and that will be ­enough for us.” 9 Jesus an­swered: “Don’t you know me, Phil­ip, even af­ter I have been a­ mong you such a long time? Any­one who has seen me has seen the Fa­ ther. x How can you say, ‘Show us the Fa­ther’? 10 Don’t you be­lieve that I am in the Fa­ther, and ­ ords I say to you that the Fa­ther is in me? y The w I do not s­ peak on my own au­thor­i­ty. z Rath­er, it is the Fa­ther, liv­ing in me, who is do­ing his work. 11 Be­lieve me when I say that I am in the Fa­ther and the Fa­ther is in me; or at ­least be­lieve on the ev­i­dence of the ­works them­selves.  a 12  Very tru­ly I tell you, who­ever be­lieves b in me will do the ­works I have been do­ing, c and they will do even great­er t­ hings than t­ hese, be­cause I am go­ing to

14:12 b Mt 21:21

a 1 Or Believe

13:34 l Jn 15:12;

Eph 5:2; 1Jn 4:10, ​ 11 13:35 m 1Jn 3:14; 4:20 13:36 n ver 33; Jn 14:2 o Jn 21:18, ​ 19; 2Pe 1:14 13:38 p Jn 18:27 14:1 q ver 27 14:2 r Jn 13:33, ​36 14:3 s Jn 12:26 14:5 t Jn 11:16

//Jesus Comforts His Disciples


“Do not let your h ­ earts be trou­bled. q You a be­lieve in God  ; be­lieve also in me. 2 My Fa­ther’s h ­ ouse has ­many rooms; if that were not so, ­would I have told you that I am go­ing t­ here r to pre­pare a ­place for you? 3 And if I go and pre­pare a ­place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be w ­ here I am. s 4 You know the way to the ­place w ­ here I am go­ing.”

//Jesus the Way to the Father 5  Thom­as  t

said to him, “Lord, we d­ on’t know

14:6 u Jn 10:9 v Jn 11:25

14:7 w Jn 8:19 14:9 x Jn 12:45;

Col 1:15; Heb 1:3

14:10 y Jn 10:38 z Jn 5:19


c Lk 10:17

13:36 you cannot follow. His work was nearly finished; theirs was just beginning (Mt 28:16–​20; Mk 16:15; Lk 24:47). Particularly, Peter had a work to do (see notes on 21:15–​19). Only ­Jesus, as the sinless sacrifice for the trespasses of the world, could go to the cross and die (1Pe 2:22–​24). Also, only He could be glorified in the presence of the Father with the glory that He possessed before His incarnation (see 12:41; 17:1–​5). 13:38 See 18:25–​27; cf. Mt 26:71–​75; Mk 14:69–​72; Lk 22:54–​62. 14:1–​31 This whole chapter centers in the promise that Christ is the One who gives the believer comfort, not only in His future return but also in the present with the ministry of the Holy Spirit (v. 26). The scene continues to the upper room where the disciples had gathered with ­Jesus before He was arrested. Judas had been dismissed (13:30) and ­Jesus had begun His valedictory address to the remaining 11. The world of the disciples was about to be shattered; they would be bewildered, confused, and ridden with anxiety because of the events that would soon transpire. Anticipating their devastation, ­Jesus spoke to comfort their hearts. 14:1 Instead of the disciples lending support to J­esus in the hours before His cross, He had to support them spiritually as well as emotionally. This reveals His heart of serving love (cf. Mt 20:26–​28). troubled. Faith in Him can stop the heart from being agitated. See note on 12:27. 14:2 rooms. Or even apartments (in modern terms). All are in the large “Father’s house.” 14:2, 3 I am going there to prepare. His departure would be for their advantage since He was going away to prepare a heavenly home for them and will return to take them so that they may be with Him. This is one of the passages that refers to the rapture of the saints at the end of the age when Christ returns. The features in this description do not describe Christ coming to earth with His saints to establish His kingdom (Rev 19:11–​15), but taking believers from earth to live in heaven. Since no judgment on the unsaved

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in God    b 7  Some manuscripts If you really knew me, you would know   

is described here, this is not the event of His return in glory and power to destroy the wicked (cf. Mt 13:36–​43, 47–​50). Rather, this describes His coming to gather His own who are alive and raise the bodies of those who have died to take them all to heaven. This rapture event is also described in 1Co 15:51–​54; 1Th 4:13–​18. After being raptured, the church will celebrate the marriage supper (Rev 19:7–​10), be rewarded (1Co 3:10–​15; 4:5; 2Co 5:9, 10), and later return to earth with Christ when He comes again to set up His kingdom (Rev 19:11—​20:6). 14:6 This is the sixth “I am” statement of ­Jesus in John (see 6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 9; 10:11, 14; 11:25; 15:1, 5). In response to Thomas’s query (v. 4), ­Jesus declared that He is the way to God because He is the truth of God (1:14) and the life of God (1:4; 3:15; 11:25). In this verse, the exclusiveness of J­esus as the only approach to the Father is emphatic. Only one way, not many ways, exist to God, i.e., ­Jesus Christ (10:7–​9; cf. Mt 7:13, 14; Lk 13:24; Ac 4:12). 14:7–​11 From now on, you do know him. They know God because they had come to know Christ in His ministry and soon in His death and resurrection. To know Him is to know God. This constant emphasis on J­ esus as God incarnate is unmistakably clear in this gospel (v. 11; 1:1–​3, 14, 17, 18; 5:10–​23, 26; 8:58; 9:35; 10:30, 38; 12:41; 17:1–​5; 20:28). 14:12 they will do even greater things than these. ­Jesus did not mean greater works in power, but in extent. They would become witnesses to all the world through the power of the indwelling and infilling of the Holy Spirit (Ac 1:8) and would bring many to salvation because of the Comforter dwelling in them. The focus is on spiritual rather than physical miracles. The book of Acts constitutes the beginning historical record of the impact that the Spiritempowered disciples had on the world (cf. Ac 17:6). because I am going to the Father. The only way J­esus’ disciples would be able to be used to do those greater works was through the power of the Holy Spirit, and He could not be sent as the Comforter until J­esus returned to the Father (v. 26; 7:39).

4/19/13 9:31 AM




the Fa­ther. 13 And I will do what­ev­er you ask d in my name, so that the Fa­ther may be glo­ri­fied in the Son. 14 You may ask me for any­thing in my name, and I will do it.

//Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit 15 “If you love me, keep my com­mands. e 16 And I will ask the Fa­ther, and he will give you an­oth­er ad­vo­cate  f to help you and be with you for­ev­er — ​ 17 the Spir­it of ­truth. g The ­world can­not ac­cept him, h be­cause it nei­ther sees him nor ­knows him. But you know him, for he ­lives with you and will be a in you. 18 I will not l­eave you as or­phans; I will come to you. i 19 Be­fore long, the ­world will not see me any­more, but you will see me. j Be­ cause I live, you also will live. k 20 On that day you will re­al­ize that I am in my Fa­ther, l and you are in me, and I am in you. 21  Who­ev­er has my

14:13 d Mt 7:7 14:15 e ver 21, ​23; Jn 15:10; 1Jn 5:3 14:16 f Jn 15:26; 16:7 14:17 g Jn 15:26; 16:13; 1Jn 4:6 h 1Co 2:14 14:18 i ver 3, ​28 14:19 j Jn 7:33, ​34; 16:16 k Jn 6:57 14:20 l Jn 10:38

14:21 m 1Jn 5:3 n 1Jn 2:5

14:22 o Lk 6:16;

Ac 1:13 p Ac 10:41

14:23 q ver 15 r 1Jn 2:24;

Rev 3:20

14:24 s Jn 7:16 14:26 t Jn 15:26;

16:7 u Ac 2:33 1Jn 2:20, ​ 27

v Jn 16:13;

John 14:26

com­mands and ­keeps them is the one who ­loves me. m The one who ­loves me will be ­loved by my Fa­ther,  n and I too will love them and show my­ self to them.” 22  Then Ju­das  o (not Ju­das Is­car­i­ot) said, “But, Lord, why do you in­tend to show your­self to us and not to the world?” p 23 Jesus re­ plied, “Any­one who ­loves me will obey my teach­ing. q My Fa­ther will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. r 24 Any­one who does not love me will not obey my teach­ing. ­These w ­ ords you hear are not my own; they be­long to the Fa­ther who sent me. s 25 “All this I have spo­ken ­while ­still with you. 26  But the Ad­vo­cate,  t the Holy Spir­it, whom the Fa­ther will send in my name, u will ­teach you all ­things  v and will re­mind you of ev­ery­thing I have a 17 

Some early manuscripts and is   

14:13, 14 In their hour of loss at the departure of J­esus, He comforted them with the means that would provide them with the necessary resources to accomplish their task without His immediate presence that they had come to depend upon. To ask in ­Jesus’ “name” does not mean to tack such an expression on the end of a prayer as a mere formula. It means: 1) the believer’s prayer should be for His purposes and kingdom and not selfish reasons; 2) the believer’s prayer should be on the basis of His merits and not any personal merit or worthiness; and 3) the believer’s prayer should be in pursuit of His glory alone. See note on 16:26–​28; on the disciples’ prayer, see notes on Mt 6:9, 10.

indicates some distinction between the ministry of the Holy Spirit to believers before and after Pentecost. While clearly the Holy Spirit has been with all who have ever believed throughout redemptive history as the source of truth, faith, and life, ­Jesus is saying something new is coming in His ministry. John 7:37–​39 indicates this unique ministry would be like “rivers of living water.” Acts 19:1–​7 introduces some old covenant believers who had not received the Holy Spirit in this unique fullness and intimacy. Cf. Ac 1:8; 2:1–​4; 1Co 12:11–​13.

14:15–​31 In these verses, ­Jesus promises believers comfort from five supernatural blessings that the world does not enjoy: 1) a supernatural Helper (vv. 15–​17); 2) a supernatural life (vv. 18, 19); 3) a supernatural union (vv. 20–​25), 4) a supernatural teacher (v. 26); and 5) a supernatural peace (vv. 27–​31). The key to all of this is v. 15, which relates that these supernatural promises are for those who love ­Jesus Christ, whose love is evidenced by obedience.

14:18, 19 I will come to you .  .  . you will see me. First, He was referring to His resurrection, after which they would see Him (20:19–​29). There is no record that any unbelievers saw Him after He rose (see 1Co 15:1–​9). In another sense, this has reference to the mystery of the Trinity. Through the coming and indwelling of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, ­Jesus would be back with His children (16:16; cf. Mt 28:20; Ro 8:9; 1Jn 4:13).

14:15 If you love me, keep my commands. Cf. vv. 21–​24. Love for Christ is inseparable from obedience (see Lk 6:46; 1Jn 5:2, 3). “My commands” are not only ­Jesus’ ethical commandments in context (vv. 23, 24), but the entire revelation from the Father (see 3:31, 32; 12:47–​49; 17:6). 14:16 ask the Father. The priestly and intercessory work of Christ began with the request that the Father send the Holy Spirit to indwell in the people of faith (7:39; 15:26; 16:7; see note on 20:22; cf. Ac 1:8; 2:4, 33). another. The Gr. word specifically means another of the same kind, i.e., someone like J­esus Himself who will take His place and do His work. The Spirit of Christ is the Third Person of the Trinity, having the same essence of deity as ­Jesus and as perfectly one with Him as He is with the Father. advocate. The Gr. term here lit. means “one called alongside to help” and has the idea of someone who encourages and exhorts (see note on 16:7). “Be with you” has to do with His permanent residence in believers (Ro 8:9; 1Co 6:19, 20; 12:13). 14:17 Spirit of truth. He is the Spirit of truth in that He is the source of truth and communicates the truth to His own (v. 26; 16:12–​15). Apart from Him, people cannot know God’s truth (1Co 2:12–​16; 1Jn 2:20, 27). lives with you and will be in you. This

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14:18 orphans. In this veiled reference to His death, ­Jesus promised not to leave them alone (Ro 8:9).

14:19 you also will live. Because of His resurrection and by the indwelling life of the Spirit of Christ, believers possess eternal life (see Ro 6:1–​11; Col 3:1–​4). 14:20 On that day. This refers to His resurrection when He returns to them alive. 14:21–​24 Once again, ­Jesus emphasized the need for the habitual practice of obedience to His commands as evidence of the believer’s love for Him and the Father (see note on v. 15). This is consistent with the teaching of Jas 2:14–​26 that true saving faith is manifest by works produced by God in the transforming, regenerating power of the Spirit. Those works are expressions of the love that the Spirit pours into the believer’s heart (Ro 5:5; Gal 5:22). 14:23 them . . . them . . . them. Lit. him . . . him . . . him. 14:26 will teach you all things. The Holy Spirit energized the hearts and minds of the apostles in their ministry, helping them to produce the NT Scripture. The disciples had failed to understand many things about ­Jesus and what He taught; but because of this supernatural work, they came to an inerrant and accurate understanding of the Lord and His work, and recorded it in the Gospels and the rest of the NT Scriptures (2Ti 3:16; 2Pe 1:20, 21). See note on 16:7.

4/19/13 9:31 AM

John 14:27

said to you. w 27 Peace I ­leave with you; my ­peace I ­ orld g­ ives. give you. x I do not give to you as the w Do not let your ­hearts be trou­bled and do not be afraid. 28 “You h ­ eard me say, ‘I am go­ing away and I am ­ ould com­ing back to you.’ y If you l­ oved me, you w be glad that I am go­ing to the Fa­ther, z for the Fa­ ther is great­er than I. a 29 I have told you now be­ fore it hap­pens, so that when it does hap­pen you will be­lieve.  b 30 I will not say much more to you, for the ­prince of this ­world c is com­ing. He has no ­ orld hold over me, 31 but he c­ omes so that the w may l­earn that I love the Fa­ther and do ex­act­ly what my Fa­ther has com­mand­ed me. d “Come now; let us leave.

//The Vine and the Branches


“I am the true vine, e and my Fa­ther is the gar­den­er. 2 He cuts off ev­ery ­branch in me that ­bears no ­fruit, ­while ev­ery ­branch that


14:26 w Jn 2:22 14:27 x Jn 16:33;

Php 4:7; Col 3:15 14:28 y ver 2‑4, ​18 z Jn 5:18 a Jn 10:29; Php 2:6 14:29 b Jn 13:19; 16:4 14:30 c Jn 12:31 14:31 d Jn 10:18; 12:49 15:1 e Isa 5:1‑7

15:3 f Jn 13:10; 17:17; Eph 5:26 15:4 g Jn 6:56; 1Jn 2:6 15:5 h ver 16 15:6 i ver 2 15:7 j Mt 7:7 15:8 k Mt 5:16 l Jn 8:31 15:9 m Jn 17:23, ​ 24, ​26

14:27 Peace I leave . . . not . . . as the world gives. The word “peace” reflects the Heb. “shalom,” which became a greeting to His disciples after the resurrection (20:19–​26). On a personal level this peace, unknown to the unsaved, provides supernatural calm and comfort in the midst of trials (Php 4:7), and enables God’s people to respond to others in harmony (Col 3:15). The greatest reality of this peace will be in the messianic kingdom (Nu 6:26; Ps 29:11; Isa 9:6, 7; 52:7; 54:13; 57:19; Eze 37:26; Hag 2:9; cf. Ac 10:36; Ro 1:7; 5:1; 14:17). 14:28 greater than I. ­Jesus was not admitting inferiority to the Father (after claiming equality repeatedly, see note on vv. 7–​11), but was saying that if the disciples loved Him, they would not be reluctant to let Him go to the Father because He was returning to the realm where He belonged and to the full glory He gave up (17:5). He was going back to share equal glory with the Father, which would be greater than what He had experienced in His incarnation. He will in no way be inferior in that glory, because His humiliation was over. 14:30 the prince of this world. Judas was only a tool of the “prince” who rules the system of darkness—​Satan (6:70; 13:21, 27). no hold over me. The Heb. idiom means that Satan had nothing on J­esus, could make no claim on Him, nor charge Him with any sin. Therefore, Satan could not hold Him in death. Christ would triumph and destroy Satan (Heb 2:14). His death was no sign that Satan won, but that God’s will was being done. (v. 31). 15:1–​17 Through this extended metaphor of the vine and branches, ­Jesus set forth the basis of Christian living. ­Jesus used the imagery of agricultural life at the time; i.e., vines and vine crops (see also Mt 20:1–​16; 21:23–​41; Mk 12:1–​9; Lk 13:6–​9; 20:9–​16). In the OT, the vine is used commonly as a symbol for Israel (Ps 80:9–​16; Isa 5:1–​7; 27:2–​6; Jer 2:21; 12:10; Eze 15:1–​8; 17:1–​21; 19:10–​14; Hos 10:1, 2). He specifically identified Himself as the “true vine” and the Father as the “gardener” or caretaker of the vine. The vine has two types of branches: 1) branches that bear fruit (vv. 2, 8), and 2) branches that do not (vv. 2, 6). The branches that bear fruit are genuine believers. Though in immediate context the focus is upon the 11 faithful disciples, the imagery also encompasses all believers down through the ages. The branches that do not bear fruit are those who profess to believe, but their lack of fruit indicates genuine salvation has never taken place and they have no

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does bear ­fruit he p­ runes a so that it will be even more fruit­ful. 3 You are al­ready ­clean be­cause of the word I have spo­ken to you. f 4 Re­main in me, as I also re­main in you. g No ­branch can bear ­fruit by it­self; it must re­main in the vine. Nei­ther can you bear ­fruit un­less you re­main in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branch­es. If you re­main in me and I in you, you will bear much ­fruit;  h ­apart from me you can do noth­ing. 6 If you do not re­main in me, you are like a ­branch that is ­thrown away and with­ers; such branch­es are ­picked up, ­thrown into the fire and ­burned. i 7 If you re­main in me and my ­words re­main in you, ask what­ev­er you wish, and it will be done for you. j 8 This is to my Fa­ther’s glo­ry, k that you bear much ­fruit, show­ing your­selves to be my dis­ci­ples. l 9 “As the Fa­ther has ­loved me, m so have I ­loved you. Now re­main in my love. 10 If you keep my a 2 

The Greek for he prunes also means he cleans.   

life from the vine. Especially in the immediate context, Judas was in view, but the imagery extends from him to all those who make a profession of faith in Christ but do not actually possess salvation. The image of non-fruit-bearing branches being burned pictures eschatological judgment and eternal rejection (see Eze 15:6–​8). 15:1 I am the true vine. This is the last of seven claims to deity in the form of “I am” statements by ­Jesus in the gospel of John (see 6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 9; 10:11, 14; 11:25; 14:6). 15:2 He cuts off. The picture is of the gardener (i.e., the Father) getting rid of dead wood while preserving the living, fruit bearing branches. The dead branches picture apostate Christians who never genuinely believed and will be taken away in judgment (v. 6; Mt 7:16; Eph 2:10). They have never truly experienced the life of Christ within them (8:31, 32; cf. Mt 13:18–​23; 24:12; Heb 3:14–​ 19; 6:4–​8; 10:27–​31; 1Jn 2:19; 2Jn 9). he prunes. God removes all things in the believer’s life that would hinder fruit-bearing, i.e., He chastises to cut away sin and hindrances that would drain spiritual life just as the farmer removes anything on the branches that keep them from bearing maximum fruit (Heb 12:3–​11). 15:4–​6 Remain in me. The “remaining” is evidence that salvation has already taken place (1Jn 2:19) and not vice versa. The fruit or evidence of salvation is continuance in service to Him and in His teaching (8:31; Col 1:23; 1Jn 2:24). The remaining, or abiding, believer is the only legitimate believer. Abiding and believing actually are addressing the same issue of genuine salvation (Heb 3:6–​19). For a discussion of the perseverance of the saints, see note on Mt 24:13. 15:6 The imagery here is one of destruction (cf. Mt 3:10–​12; 5:22; 13:40–​42, 50; 25:41; Mk 9:43–​49; Lk 3:17; 2Th 1:7–​9; Rev 20:10–​ 15). It pictures the judgment awaiting all those who were never saved. you . . . you. Lit. anyone . . . he. 15:7–​10 True believers obey the Lord’s commands, submitting to His Word (14:21, 23). Because of their commitment to God’s Word, they are devoted to His will, thus their prayers are fruitful (14:13, 14), which puts God’s glory on display as He answers. 15:9, 10 remain in my love. Cf. Jude 21. This is not emotional or mystical, but defined in v. 10 as obedience. ­Jesus set the model by His perfect obedience to the Father, which we are to use as the pattern for our obedience to Him.

4/19/13 9:31 AM




com­mands,  n you will re­main in my love, just as I have kept my Fa­ther’s com­mands and re­main in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be com­plete. o 12 My com­mand is this: Love each oth­er as I have ­loved you.  p 13 Great­er love has no one than this: to lay down ­one’s life for ­one’s ­friends. q 14 You are my ­friends  r if you do what I com­mand. s 15 I no lon­ger call you ser­vants, be­cause a ser­vant does not know his mas­ter’s busi­ness. In­stead, I have ­called you ­friends, for ev­ery­thing that I ­learned from my Fa­ther I have made k­ nown to you. t 16 You did not ­ choose me, but I ­chose you and ap­point­ed you  u so that you ­might go and bear ­fruit — ​­fruit that will last — ​and so that what­ev­ er you ask in my name the Fa­ther will give you. 17 This is my com­mand: Love each oth­er. v

//The World Hates the Disciples 18 “If

the w ­ orld h ­ ates you, w keep in mind that it hat­ed me ­first. 19 If you be­longed to the ­world, it ­would love you as its own. As it is, you do not be­long to the ­world, but I have cho­sen you x out of the ­world. That is why the ­world ­hates you. y 20 Re­

15:10 n Jn 14:15 15:11 o Jn 17:13 15:12 p Jn 13:34 15:13 q Jn 10:11; Ro 5:7, ​8

15:14 r Lk 12:4 s Mt 12:50

15:15 t Jn 8:26 15:16 u Jn 6:70; 13:18

15:17 v ver 12 15:18 w 1Jn 3:13 15:19 x ver 16 y Jn 17:14

15:20 z Jn 13:16 a 2Ti 3:12

15:21 b Mt 10:22 c Jn 16:3


d Jn 9:41;

Ro 1:20

15:24 15:25 f Ps 35:19; e Jn 5:36


15:26 g Jn 14:16

h Jn 14:26 i Jn 14:17 j 1Jn 5:7

15:27 k Lk 24:48; 1Jn 1:2; 4:14 l Lk 1:2 16:1 m Jn 15:18‑27 n Mt 11:6

15:11 your joy may be complete. Just as ­Jesus maintained that His obedience to the Father was the basis of His joy, so also the believers who are obedient to His commandments will experience the same joy (17:13; cf. 16:24). 15:12 Cf. 13:34, 35. See note on 1Jn 2:7–​11. 15:13 This is a reference to the supreme evidence and expression of ­Jesus’ love (v. 12), His sacrificial death upon the cross. Christians are called to exemplify the same kind of sacrificial giving toward one another, even if such sacrifice involves the laying down of one’s own life in imitation of Christ’s example (cf. 1Jn 3:16). 15:14, 15 friends. Just as Abraham was called “God’s friend” (Jas 2:23; 2Ch 20:7) through God’s revelation to him which he believed, so also those who follow Christ are privileged with extraordinary revelation through the Messiah and Son of God and, believing, become “friends” of God also. It was for His “friends” that the Lord laid down His life (v. 13; 10:11, 15, 17). 15:16 I chose you. Cf. v. 19. In case any pretense might exist among the disciples in terms of spiritual pride because of the privileges they enjoyed, J­esus made it clear that such privilege rested not in their own merit, but on His sovereign choice of them. God chose Israel (Isa 45:4; Am 3:2), but not for any merit (Dt 7:7; 9:4–​6). God elected angels to be forever holy (1Ti 5:21). He elected believers to salvation apart from any merit (Mt 24:24, 31; see notes on Ro 8:29–​ 33; Eph 1:3–​6; Col 3:12; Titus 1:1; 1Pe 1:2). bear fruit. One purpose of God’s sovereign election is that believers should produce spiritual fruit. The NT describes fruit as godly attitudes (Gal 5:22, 23), righteous behavior (Php 1:11), praise (Heb 13:15), and especially leading others to faith in J­esus as Messiah and Son of God (Ro 1:13–​16). 15:18, 19 Since Satan is the one who dominates the evil world system in rebellion against God (14:30), the result is that the world hates not only J­esus but also those who follow Him (2Ti 3:12). Hatred toward J­ esus means also hatred toward the Father who sent Him (v. 23).

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John 16:2

mem­ber what I told you: ‘A ser­vant is not great­er than his mas­ter.’ a z If they per­se­cut­ed me, they will per­se­cute you also.  a If they ­obeyed my teach­ing, they will obey y­ ours also. 21 They will t­reat you this way be­cause of my name, b for they do not know the one who sent me. c 22 If I had not come and spo­ken to them, they w ­ ould not be ­guilty of sin; but now they have no ex­cuse for ­their sin. d 23 Who­ever hates me hates my Fa­ther as well. 24 If I had not done ­among them the ­works no one else did, e they ­would not be g­ uilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hat­ed both me and my Fa­ther. 25 But this is to ful­fill what is writ­ten in ­their Law: ‘They hat­ed me with­out rea­son.’ b f

//The Work of the Holy Spirit 26  “When the Ad­vo­cate  g ­comes, whom I will send to you from the Fa­ther h — ​the Spir­it of ­truth  i who goes out from the Fa­ther — ​he will tes­ti­fy ­about me.  j 27 And you also must tes­ti­fy, k for you have been with me from the be­gin­ning. l “All this m I have told you so that you will not fall away. n 2 They will put you out of

16 a 20 John

13:16    b 25 Psalms 35:19; 69:4   

15:20 servant .  .  . master. That axiom, spoken also in 13:16, reflects the obvious truth that led J­esus to inform His disciples. They could expect to be treated like He was treated because those who hated Him don’t know God (v. 21) and would hate them also; and conversely, those who listened with faith to Him, would hear them also. 15:22–​24 they would not be guilty of sin. ­Jesus did not mean that if He had not come, they would have been sinless. But His coming incited the severest and most deadly sin, that of rejecting and rebelling against God and His truth. It was the decisive sin of rejection, the deliberate and fatal choice of darkness over light and death over life of which He spoke. He had done so many miracles and spoken innumerable words to prove He was Messiah and Son of God, but they were belligerent in their love of sin and rejection of the Savior. See Heb 4:2–​5; 6:4–​6; 10:29–​31. 15:25 ­Jesus quotes Pss 35:19; 69:4. The logic here is that if David, a mere man, could have been hated in such a terrible manner by the enemies of God, how much more would the wicked hate David’s perfect, divine Son who was the promised king who would confront sin and reign forever over His kingdom of righteousness (see 2Sa 7:16). 15:26, 27 When the Advocate comes. Again, ­Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit (7:39; 14:16, 17, 26; 16:7, 13, 14). This time He emphasizes the Spirit’s help for witnessing—​proclaiming the gospel. See note on 16:7. 16:1–​15 ­Jesus continued the thoughts of 15:18–​25 regarding the world’s hatred of His disciples and its opposition to the testimony of the Holy Spirit regarding Him as Messiah and Son of God. In this section, He specified in greater detail how the Spirit confronts the world, i.e., not only does He testify about ­Jesus but He convicts men of sin. Through conviction of sin and testimony of the gospel, the Spirit turns the hostile hearts of men away from rebellion against God into belief regarding J­esus as Savior and Lord. This section may

4/19/13 9:31 AM

John 16:3

the syn­a­gogue;  o in fact, the time is com­ing when any­one who kills you will ­think they are of­fer­ing a ser­vice to God. p 3 They will do such t­ hings be­ cause they have not ­known the Fa­ther or me. q 4 I have told you this, so that when t­ heir time c­ omes you will re­mem­ber  r that I ­warned you a­ bout them. I did not tell you this from the be­gin­ning be­cause I was with you, 5 but now I am go­ing to him who sent me. s None of you asks me, ‘Where are you go­ing?’ t 6 Rath­er, you are f­illed with g­ rief be­cause I have said t­ hese t­ hings. 7 But very tru­ly I tell you, it is for your good that I am go­ing away. Un­less I go away, the Ad­vo­cate u will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. v 8 When he ­comes, he will ­prove the ­world to be in the ­wrong ­about sin and righ­teous­ness and judg­ment: 9 about sin, w be­cause peo­ple do not be­lieve in me; 10  about righ­teous­ness,  x be­cause I am go­ing to the


16:2 o Jn 9:22 p Isa 66:5; Ac 26:9, ​ 10; Rev 6:9 16:3 q Jn 15:21; 17:25; 1Jn 3:1 16:4 r Jn 13:19 16:5 s Jn 7:33 t Jn 13:36; 14:5 16:7 u Jn 14:16, ​26; 15:26 v Jn 7:39 16:9 w Jn 15:22 16:10 x Ac 3:14; 7:52; 1Pe 3:18

Fa­ther, w ­ here you can see me no lon­ger; 11 and a­ bout judg­ment, be­cause the ­prince of this ­world y now ­stands con­demned. 12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. z 13 But when he, the Spir­it of ­truth,  a ­comes, he will ­guide you into all the ­truth.  b He will not ­speak on his own; he will ­speak only what he ­hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glo­ri­fy me be­cause it is from me that he will re­ceive what he will make ­known to you. 15 All that be­longs to the Fa­ ther is mine. c That is why I said the Spir­it will re­ ceive from me what he will make ­known to you.”

16:11 y Jn 12:31 16:12 z Mk 4:33 16:13 a Jn 14:17

//The Disciples’ Grief Will Turn to Joy

b Jn 14:26

16:15 c Jn 17:10 16:16 d Jn 7:33 e Jn 14:18‑24

be divided into four parts: 1) the killing of the disciples by the world (vv. 1–​4); 2) the comforting of the disciples by the Lord (vv. 5–​7); 3) the conviction of men by the Holy Spirit (vv. 8–​12); and 4) the guidance of the believer into all truth by the Holy Spirit (vv. 13–​15). 16:1 All this. This is what He had just said in 15:18–​25. fall away. The connotation of this word has the idea of setting a trap. The hatred of the world was such that it would seek to trap and destroy the disciples in an effort to prevent their witness to ­Jesus as Messiah and Son of God. J­esus did not want them to be caught unaware (v. 4). 16:2 they are offering a service to God. Paul, before he was saved, personified this attitude as he persecuted the church while thinking he was doing service for God (Ac 22:4, 5; 26:9–​11; Gal 1:13–​17; Php 3:6; 1Ti 1:12–​17). After Paul’s conversion, the persecutor became the persecuted because of the hatred of the world (2Co 11:22–​27; cf. Stephen in Ac 7:54—​8:3). 16:4 I was with you. ­Jesus didn’t need to warn them because He was there to protect them. 16:5 None of you asks. Earlier they had done so (13:36; 14:5), but they were then so absorbed in their own sorrow and confusion that they lost interest in where He was going. They were apparently consumed with what would happen to them (v. 6). 16:7 the Advocate will not come. Again, the promise of the Holy Spirit being sent is given to comfort the disciples. See note on 15:26, 27. The first emphasis was on His life-giving power (7:37–​ 39). The next featured His indwelling presence (14:16, 17). The next marked His teaching ministry (14:26). His ministry of empowering for witness is marked in 15:26. 16:8 When he comes. The coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was approximately 40 or more days away at this point (see Ac 2:1–​13). prove. This word has two meanings: 1) the judicial act of conviction with a view toward sentencing (i.e., a courtroom term—​conviction of sin) or 2) the act of convincing. Here the second idea is best, since the purpose of the Holy Spirit is not condemnation but conviction of the need for the Savior. The Son does the judgment, with the Father (5:22, 27, 30). In v. 14, it is said that He will reveal the glories of Christ to His people. He will also inspire the writing of the NT, guiding the apostles to write it (v. 13), and He will reveal “what is yet to come,” through the NT prophecies (v. 13).

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16 Jesus went on to say, “In a lit­tle w ­ hile d you will see me no more, and then af­ter a lit­tle w ­ hile you will see me.” e

16:9 sin. The singular indicates that a specific sin is in view; i.e., that of not believing in ­Jesus as Messiah and Son of God. This is the only sin, ultimately, that damns people to hell (see note on 8:24). Though all men are depraved, cursed by their violation of God’s law and sinful by nature, what ultimately damns them to hell is their unwillingness to believe in the Lord J­esus Christ as Savior (cf. 8:24). 16:10 righteousness. The Holy Spirit’s purpose here is to shatter the pretensions of self-righteousness (hypocrisy), exposing the darkness of the heart (3:19–​21; 7:7; 15:22, 24). While J­esus was on the earth, He performed this task especially toward the shallowness and emptiness of Judaism that had degenerated into legalistic modes without life-giving reality (e.g., 2:13–​22; 5:10–​16; 7:24; Isa 64:5, 6). With ­Jesus gone to the Father, the Holy Spirit continues His convicting role. 16:11 judgment. The judgment here in context is that of the world under Satan’s control. Its judgments are blind, faulty, and evil as evidenced in their verdict on Christ. The world can’t make righteous judgments (7:24), but the Spirit of Christ does (8:16). All Satan’s adjudications are lies (8:44–​47), so the Spirit convicts men of their false judgment of Christ. Satan, the ruler of the world (14:30; Eph 2:1–​3) who, as the god of this world, has perverted the world’s judgment and turned people from believing in ­Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God (2Co 4:4), was defeated at the cross. While Christ’s death looked like Satan’s greatest victory, it actually was Satan’s destruction (cf. Col 2:15; Heb 2:14, 15; Rev 20:10). The Spirit will lead sinners to true judgment. 16:13 all the truth. This verse, like 14:26, points to the supernatural revelation of all truth by which God has revealed Himself in Christ (vv. 14, 15), particularly. This is the subject of the inspired NT writings. See note on v. 7. 16:14 He will glorify me. This is really the same as v. 13, in that all NT truth revealed by God centers in Christ (Heb 1:1, 2). Christ was the theme of the OT, as the NT claims (1:45; 5:37; Lk 24:27, 44; Ac 10:43; 18:28; Ro 1:1, 2; 1Co 15:3; 1Pe 1:10, 11; Rev 19:10). 16:16–​19 J­esus was referring to His ascension (“you will see me no more”) and the coming of the Holy Spirit (“you will see me”), emphatically claiming that the Spirit and He are one (Ro 8:9; Php 1:19; 1Pe 1:11; Rev 19:10). Christ dwells in believers through the Holy Spirit—​in that sense they see Him. See notes on 14:16–​18.

4/19/13 9:31 AM




17 At this, some of his dis­ci­ples said to one an­ oth­er, “What does he mean by say­ing, ‘In a lit­tle ­while you will see me no more, and then af­ter a lit­tle ­while you will see me,’ f and ‘Be­cause I am go­ing to the Fa­ther’?” g 18 They kept ask­ing, “What does he mean by ‘a lit­tle ­while’? We ­don’t un­der­stand what he is say­ing.” 19 Jesus saw that they want­ed to ask him a ­ bout this, so he said to them, “Are you ask­ing one an­ oth­er what I ­meant when I said, ‘In a lit­tle ­while you will see me no more, and then af­ter a lit­tle ­while you will see me’? 20 Very tru­ly I tell you, you will weep and ­mourn h ­while the ­world re­ joic­es. You will g­ rieve, but your g­ rief will turn to joy. i 21 A wom­an giv­ing ­birth to a ­child has pain j be­cause her time has come; but when her baby is born she for­gets the an­guish be­cause of her joy that a c­ hild is born into the w ­ orld. 22 So with you: Now is your time of ­grief, k but I will see you a­ gain l and you will re­joice, and no one will take away your joy. 23 In that day you will no lon­ger ask me any­thing. Very tru­ly I tell you, my Fa­ther will give you what­ev­er you ask in my name. m 24 Un­til now you have not a­ sked for any­ thing in my name. Ask and you will re­ceive, and your joy will be com­plete. n 25 “Though I have been speak­ ing fig­u­ra­tive­

16:17 f ver 16 g ver 5

16:20 h Lk 23:27 i Jn 20:20

16:21 j Isa 26:17; 1Th 5:3

16:22 k ver 6 l ver 16

16:23 m Mt 7:7; Jn 15:16 16:24 n Jn 3:29; 15:11

16:25 o Mt 13:34; Jn 10:6 p ver 2

16:26 q ver 23, ​24 16:27 r Jn 14:21, ​23 16:28 s Jn 13:3 16:29 t ver 25 16:32 u ver 2, ​ 25 v Mt 26:31

w Jn 8:16, ​29

16:33 x Jn 14:27 y Jn 15:18‑21 z Ro 8:37;

16:20 grief will turn to joy. The very event that made the hateful realm of mankind (“world”) rejoice and cause grief to ­Jesus’ disciples, will be the same event that will lead to the world’s sorrow and the believer’s joy. The disciples would soon realize the marvelous nature of God’s gift of salvation and the Spirit through what He accomplished, and the blessing of answered prayer (v. 24). Acts records the coming of the Holy Spirit and the power and joy (Ac 2:4–​47; 13:52) of the early church. 16:22 I will see you. After the resurrection, ­Jesus did see His disciples (20:19–​29; 21:1–​23; cf. 1Co 15:1–​8). Beyond that brief time of personal fellowship (Ac 1:1–​3), He would be with them permanently in His Spirit (see notes on vv. 16–​19; 14:16–​19). 16:23 In that day. This is a reference to Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came (Ac 2:1–​13) and sorrow turned to joy. This is a reference also to the “last days” that were inaugurated after His resurrection and the Spirit’s coming (Ac 2:17; 2Ti 3:1; Heb 1:2; Jas 5:3; 2Pe 3:3; 1Jn 2:18). no longer ask me. After His departure and sending of the Spirit, believers will no longer ask Him since He is not present. Instead, they will ask the Father in His name (see notes on vv. 26–​28; 14:13, 14). 16:24 joy will be complete. In this case, the believer’s joy will be related to answered prayer and a full supply of heavenly blessing for everything consistent with the purpose of the Lord in one’s life. See note on 15:11. 16:25 speaking figuratively. The Gr. used here refers to a “veiled, pointed statement” that is pregnant with meaning, i.e., something that is obscure. What seemed hard to understand for the disciples during the life of ­Jesus would become clear after His death, His resurrection, and the coming of the Holy Spirit (see vv. 13, 14; 14:26; 15:26, 27). They would actually understand the ministry of

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1Jn 4:4

17:1 a Jn 11:41

John 17:1

ly, o a time is com­ing p when I will no lon­ger use this kind of lan­guage but will tell you plain­ly ­about my Fa­ther. 26 In that day you will ask in my name. q I am not say­ing that I will ask the Fa­ther on your be­half. 27 No, the Fa­ther him­self ­loves you be­cause you have ­loved me r and have be­lieved that I came from God. 28 I came from the Fa­ther and en­tered the w ­ orld; now I am leav­ing the ­world and go­ing back to the Fa­ther.” s 29  Then ­Jesus’ dis­ci­ples said, “Now you are speak­ing clear­ly and with­out fig­ures of ­speech. t 30 Now we can see that you know all ­things and that you do not even need to have any­one ask you ques­tions. This m ­ akes us be­lieve that you came from God.” 31 “Do you now be­ lieve?” ­Jesus re­plied. 32 “A time is com­ing u and in fact has come when you will be scat­tered, v each to your own home. You will l­ eave me all ­alone. Yet I am not a­ lone, for my Fa­ther is with me. w 33 “I have told you t­ hese t­ hings, so that in me you may have p­ eace. x In this w ­ orld you will have trou­ ble. y But take h ­ eart! I have over­come z the world.”

//Jesus Prays to Be Glorified


Af­ter ­Jesus said this, he l­ooked to­ward heav­en  a and prayed:

Christ better than they had while they were with Him, as the Spirit inspired them to write the Gospels and epistles and ministered in and through them. 16:26–​28 I am not saying. Christ was clarifying what He meant by praying in His name. He did not mean asking Him to ask the Father, as if the Father was indifferent to believers, but not to His Son. On the contrary, the Father loves Christ’s own. In fact, the Father sent the Son to redeem them and then return. Asking in ­Jesus’ name means simply asking on the basis of His merit, His righteousness, and for whatever would honor and glorify Him so as to build His kingdom. 16:33 in me you may have peace. See note on 14:27. trouble. This word often refers to eschatological woes (Mk 13:9; Ro 2:9) and to persecution of believers because of their testimony for Christ (cf. 15:18—​16:4; Ac 11:19; Eph 3:13). overcome. The fundamental ground for endurance in persecution is the victory of ­Jesus over the world (12:31; 1Co 15:57). Through His impending death, He rendered the world’s opposition null and void. While the world continues to attack His people, such attacks fall harmlessly, for Christ’s victory has already accomplished a smashing defeat of the whole evil rebellious system. See notes on Ro 8:35–​39. 17:1–​26 Although Mt 6:9–​13 and Lk 11:2–​4 have become known popularly as the “Lord’s Prayer,” that prayer was actually a prayer ­Jesus taught to the disciples as a pattern for their prayers. The prayer recorded here is truly the Lord’s Prayer, exhibiting the faceto-face communion the Son had with the Father. Very little is recorded of the content of J­esus’ frequent prayers to the Father (Mt 14:23; Lk 5:16), so this prayer reveals some of the precious content of the Son’s communion and intercession with Him. This chapter is a transitional chapter, marking the end of J­esus’ earthly ministry and the beginning of His intercessory ministry for believ-

4/19/13 9:31 AM

John 17:2

“Fa­ther, the hour has come. Glo­ri­fy your Son, that your Son may glo­ri­fy you. b 2 For you grant­ed him au­thor­i­ty over all peo­ple that he ­might give eter­nal life to all ­those you have giv­en him. c 3 Now this is eter­nal life: that they know you, the only true God, and J­ esus C ­ hrist, whom you have sent. d 4 I have ­brought you glo­ry e on ­earth by fin­ish­ ing the work you gave me to do. f 5 And now, Fa­ther, glo­ri­fy me in your pres­ence with the glo­ry I had with you g be­fore the ­world be­ gan. h




17:1 b Jn 12:23; 13:31, ​32

17:2 c ver 6, ​9, ​24;

Da 7:14; Jn 6:37, ​39 17:3 d ver 8, ​18, ​21, ​ 23, ​25; Jn 3:17 17:4 e Jn 13:31 f Jn 4:34 17:5 g Php 2:6 h Jn 1:2 17:6 i ver 26 j ver 2; Jn 6:37, ​39 17:8 k ver 14, ​26 l Jn 16:27 m ver 3, ​ 18, ​21, ​23, ​25; Jn 3:17 17:9 n Lk 22:32

//Jesus Prays for His Disciples 6 “I have re­ vealed you a i to t­hose whom you gave me j out of the ­world. They were ­yours; you gave them to me and they have ­obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that ev­ery­thing you have giv­en me c­ omes from you. 8 For I gave them the ­words you gave me k and they ac­cept­ed them. They knew with cer­tain­ty that I came from you, l and they be­lieved that you sent me. m 9 I pray for ­ orld, but them. n I am not pray­ing for the w

17:10 o Jn 16:15 17:11 p Jn 13:1

q Jn 7:33 r ver 21‑23 s Jn 10:30

17:12 t Jn 6:39 u Jn 6:70

17:13 v Jn 3:29 17:14 w Jn 15:19 x Jn 8:23

17:15 y Mt 5:37

ers (Heb 7:25). The prayer summarizes key themes from John’s gospel. These include: 1) ­Jesus’ faithful submission to the Father; 2) the Son’s commitment to glorify the Father; 3) the election and protection of His disciples; 4) their witness to a hostile world; 5) their unity with Christ and with one another; and 6) the glorious future that awaits them. The chapter divides into three parts: 1) ­Jesus’ prayer for Himself (vv. 1–​5); 2) ­Jesus’ prayer for the apostles (vv. 6–​19); and 3) ­Jesus’ prayer for all NT believers who will form the church (vv. 20–​26). 17:1 the hour has come. The time of His death. See note on 12:23. Glorify your Son. The very event that would glorify the Son was His death. By it, He has received the adoration, worship, and love of millions whose sins He bore. He accepted this path to glory, knowing that by it He would be exalted to the Father. The goal is that the Father may be glorified for His redemptive plan in the Son. So He sought by His own glory the glory of His Father (13:31, 32). 17:2 authority over all people. Cf. 5:27; see note on Mt 28:18. to all those you have given him. A reference to God’s choosing of those who will come to Christ (see notes on 6:37, 44). The biblical doctrine of election or predestination is presented throughout the NT (15:16, 19; Ac 13:48; Ro 8:29–​33; Eph 1:3–​6; 2Th 2:13; Titus 1:1; 1Pe 1:2). 17:3 eternal life. See notes on 3:15, 16; 5:24; cf. 1Jn 5:20. 17:5 glorify me in your presence. Having completed His work (v. 4), J­esus looked past the cross and asked to be returned to the glory that He shared with the Father before the world began (see notes on 1:1; 8:58; 12:41). The actual completion of bearing judgment wrath for sinners was declared by Christ in the cry, “It is finished” (19:30). 17:6–​10 They were yours. Again, the Son emphasized that those who believed in Him were given by the Father (see note on v. 2). “They were yours” (cf. v. 9) is a potent assertion that before conversion, they belonged to God (cf. 6:37). That is true because of

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for t­hose you have giv­en me, for they are ­yours. 10 All I have is ­yours, and all you have is mine. o And glo­ry has come to me t­ hrough them. 11 I will re­main in the ­world no lon­ ger, but they are ­still in the ­world, p and I am com­ing to you. q Holy Fa­ther, pro­tect them by the pow­er of b your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one r as we are one. s 12 While I was with them, I pro­tect­ ed them and kept them safe by c that name you gave me. None has been lost t ex­cept the one ­doomed to de­struc­tion  u so that Scrip­ ture w ­ ould be ful­filled. 13  “I am com­ing to you now, but I say ­these ­things ­while I am ­still in the ­world, so that they may have the full mea­sure of my joy v with­in them. 14 I have giv­en them your word and the w ­ orld has hat­ed them, w for they are not of the ­world any more than I am of the w ­ orld. x 15 My p­ rayer is not that you take them out of the w ­ orld but that you pro­tect them from the evil one. y 16 They are a 6 Greek

your name    b 11 Or Father, keep them faithful to    them faithful to   

c 12 Or kept

God’s election. They were chosen before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4), when their names were written in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev 17:8). Cf. Ac 18:10, where God says He has many people in Corinth who belong to Him but are not yet saved. See notes on 10:1–​5, 16. 17:8 they believed. The Son of God affirmed the genuine saving faith of His disciples. 17:11 I will remain in the world no longer. So sure was His death and departure back to the Father that J­esus treated His departure as an already accomplished fact. He prayed here for His disciples because they would be exposed to the world’s snares and hatred, while He would no longer be with them physically (15:18—​16:4). Based on the eternal nature of immutable God (“name”), He prayed for the eternal security of those who believed. He prayed that as the Trinity experiences eternal unity, so may believers. See Ro 8:31–​39. 17:12 I . . . kept them safe by that name you gave me. ­Jesus protected them and kept them safe from the world as He said in 6:37–​40, 44. One illustration of that can be seen in 18:1–​11. Believers are secure forever because they are held by Christ and by God. See note on 10:28, 29. the one doomed to destruction. This identifies Judas by pointing to his destiny, i.e., eternal damnation (Mt 7:13; Ac 8:20; Ro 9:22; Php 1:28; 3:19; 1Ti 6:9; Heb 10:39; 2Pe 2:1; 3:7; Rev 17:8, 11). The defection of Judas was not a failure on ­Jesus’ part, but was foreseen and foreordained in Scripture (Pss 41:9; 109:8; cf. 13:18). 17:15 protect them from the evil one. The reference here refers to protection from Satan and all the wicked forces following him (Mt 6:13; 1Jn 2:13, 14; 3:12; 5:18, 19). Though ­Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was the defeat of Satan, he is still loose and orchestrating his evil system against believers. He seeks to destroy believers (1Pe 5:8), as with Job and Peter (Lk 22:31, 32), and in general (Eph 6:12), but God is their strong protector (12:31; 16:11; cf. Ps 27:1–​3; 2Co 4:4; Jude 24, 25).

4/19/13 9:31 AM




not of the ­world, even as I am not of it. z 17  Sanc­ti­fy them by  a the ­truth; your word is ­truth.  a 18 As you sent me into the ­world, b I have sent them into the w ­ orld. c 19 For them I sanc­ti­fy my­self, that they too may be tru­ly sanc­ti­fied.

//Jesus Prays for All Believers 20  “My ­prayer is not for them a­ lone. I pray also for ­those who will be­lieve in me ­through ­their mes­sage, 21 that all of them may be one, Fa­ther, just as you are in me and I am in you. d May they also be in us so that the w ­ orld may be­lieve that you have sent me. e 22 I have giv­en them the glo­ry that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one f — ​ 23 I in them and you in me — ​so that they may be ­brought to com­plete uni­ ty. Then the w ­ orld will know that you sent me g and have ­loved them h even as you have ­loved me. 24 “Fa­ ther, I want ­those you have giv­en me to be with me w ­ here I am, i and to see j my glo­ry,  the glo­ry you have giv­en me be­

17:16 z ver 14 17:17 a Jn 15:3 17:18 b ver 3, ​8, ​21, ​

23, ​25

c Jn 20:21

17:21 d Jn 10:38

e ver 3, ​8, ​18, ​23, ​25;

Jn 3:17

17:22 f Jn 14:20 17:23 g Jn 3:17 h Jn 16:27

17:24 i Jn 12:26 j Jn 1:14

cause you ­loved me be­fore the cre­at­ion of the world. k 25  “Righ­teous Fa­ther, ­though the ­world does not know you, l I know you, and they know that you have sent me. m 26 I have made you b ­known to them, n and will con­ tin­ue to make you ­known in or­der that the love you have for me may be in them o and that I my­self may be in them.”

//Jesus Arrested 18:3-11pp —​Mt 26:47-56; Mk 14:43-50; Lk 22:47-53

18 k ver 5;

Mt 25:34

17:25 l Jn 15:21;

16:3 m ver 3, ​8, ​18, ​ 21, ​23; Jn 3:17; 7:29; 16:27 17:26 n ver 6 o Jn 15:9 18:1 p 2Sa 15:23 q ver 26 r Mt 26:36 18:2 s Lk 21:37; 22:39 18:3 t Ac 1:16 u ver 12

17:17 Sanctify. This verb also occurs in John’s gospel at v. 19; 10:36. The idea of sanctification is the setting apart of something for a particular use. Accordingly, believers are set apart to serve the Lord exclusively so that the believer desires to obey God’s commands and walk in holiness (Lev 11:44, 45; 1Pe 1:16). Sanctification is accomplished by means of the truth, which is the revelation that the Son gave regarding all the Father commanded Him to communicate and is now contained in the Scriptures left by the apostles. Cf. Eph 5:26; 2Th 2:13; Jas 1:21; 1Pe 1:22, 23. 17:19 I sanctify myself. Meaning only that He was totally set apart for the Father’s will (cf. 4:34; 5:19; 6:38; 7:16; 9:4). He did that in order that believers might be set apart to God by the truth He brought. 17:21 all of them may be one. The basis of this unity is founded in obedience to the revelation of God given through Christ. Believers are also to be united in the common belief of the truth that was received in the Word of God (Php 2:2). This is not still a wish, but it became a reality when the Spirit came (cf. Ac 2:4; 1Co 12:13). It is not experiential unity, but the unity of common eternal life shared by all who believe the truth, and it results in the one body of Christ all sharing His life. See notes on Eph 4:4–​6. 17:22 the glory that you gave me. This refers to the believer’s participation in all of the attributes and essence of God through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (v. 10; cf. Col 1:27; 2Pe 1:4), as v. 23 makes clear (“I in them”). 17:23 complete unity. The idea here is that they may be brought together in the same spiritual life around the truth that saves. That prayer was answered by the reality of 1Co 12:12, 13; Eph 2:14–​22. 17:24 be with me. This will be in heaven, where one can see the full glory that is His (cf. v. 5). Someday believers will not only see His glory, but share it (Php 3:20, 21; 1Jn 3:2). Until then, we participate in it spiritually (2Co 3:18).

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John 18:3

When he had fin­ished pray­ing, ­Jesus left with his dis­ci­ples and ­crossed the Kid­ron Val­ley.  p On the oth­er side ­there was a gar­den, q and he and his dis­ci­ples went into it. r 2  Now Ju­das, who be­trayed him, knew the ­place, be­cause ­Jesus had of­ten met ­there with his dis­ci­ples.  s 3 So Ju­das came to the gar­den, guid­ing t a de­tach­ment of sol­diers and some of­fi­cials from the ­chief ­priests and the Phar­i­sees. u They were car­ry­ing torch­es, lan­terns and weap­ons. a 17 Or them

to live in accordance with    b 26 Greek your name   

17:25, 26 This summarizes the prayer of this chapter and promises the continuing indwelling Christ and His love. Cf. Ro 5:5. 18:1–​40 The events of J­esus’ arrest and trial receive emphasis in this chapter. Since John’s purpose was to present J­esus as the Messiah and Son of God, he produced evidence to substantiate this purpose throughout his account of ­Jesus’ passion. Through all of the debasing, shameful acts that were directed toward J­esus, John skillfully shows that these events, rather than detracting from His person and mission, actually constitute decisive evidence confirming who He was and the reason for which He came (1:29; cf. 2Co 5:21). 18:1 ­Jesus left. ­Jesus’ supreme courage is seen in His determination to go to the cross, where His purity and sinlessness would be violated as He bore the wrath of God for the sins of the world (3:16; see note on 12:27). The time “when darkness reigns” had come (Lk 22:53; see notes on 1:5; 9:4; 13:30). the Kidron Valley. The Kidron Valley was between the temple mount on the E of Jerusalem and the Mt. of Olives further to the E. a garden. On the slopes of the Mt. of Olives, named for ever present olive groves, were many gardens. Matthew 26:36 and Mk 14:32 call this particular garden “Gethsemane,” which means “oil press.” went into. The wording here suggests a walled enclosure around the garden. 18:3 a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. A full cohort could have as many as one thousand men. Normally, however, a cohort consisted of six hundred men, but could sometimes refer to as little as two hundred. Though they were regularly kept at Caesarea, Roman auxiliary troops were brought into Jerusalem (to the Antonia Fortress near the temple) during festival days for added security (in order to ensure against mob violence or rebellion because of the large population that filled Jerusalem). The second group designated as “officials” refers to temple police who were the primary arresting officers since ­Jesus’ destination after the arrest was to be brought before the high priest (vv. 12–​14). They came ready for resistance from ­Jesus and His followers (“weapons”).

4/19/13 9:31 AM

John 18:4 4 Jesus, know­ing all that was go­ing to hap­pen to him, v went out and ­asked them, “Who is it you want?” w 5 “Jesus of Naz­ar­ eth,” they re­plied. “I am he,” J­esus said. (And Ju­das the trai­tor was stand­ing ­there with them.) 6  When ­Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 Again he ­asked them, “Who is it you want?” x “Jesus of Naz­a­reth,” they said. 8 Jesus an­swered, “I told you that I am he. If you are look­ing for me, then let t­ hese men go.” 9 This hap­pened so that the w ­ ords he had spo­ken ­would be ful­filled: “I have not lost one of ­those you gave me.” a y 10 Then Si­mon Pe­ter, who had a ­sword, drew it and ­struck the high ­priest’s ser­vant, cut­ting off his ­right ear. (The ser­vant’s name was Mal­chus.) 11  Jesus com­mand­ed Pe­ter, “Put your ­sword away! ­Shall I not ­drink the cup z the Fa­ther has giv­en me?” 12 Then the de­ tach­ment of sol­diers with its com­mand­er and the Jew­ish of­fi­cials  a ar­rest­ed ­Jesus. They ­bound him 13 and ­brought him ­first to An­nas, who was the fa­ther-in-law of Ca­ia­phas, b the high ­priest that year. 14 Ca­ia­phas was the one


18:4 v Jn 6:64; 13:1, ​ 11 w ver 7

18:7 x ver 4 18:9 y Jn 17:12 18:11 z Mt 20:22 18:12 a ver 3 18:13 b ver 24; Mt 26:3

who had ad­vised the Jew­ish lead­ers that it ­would be good if one man died for the peo­ple. c

//Peter’s First Denial 18:16-18pp —​Mt 26:69,70; Mk 14:66-68; Lk 22:55-57 15  Si­mon

Pe­ter and an­oth­er dis­ci­ple were fol­ low­ing ­Jesus. Be­cause this dis­ci­ple was ­known to the high ­priest, d he went with ­Jesus into the high ­priest’s court­yard,  e 16 but Pe­ter had to wait out­side at the door. The oth­er dis­ci­ple, who was k­ nown to the high p­ riest, came back, s­ poke to the ser­ vant girl on duty ­there and b­ rought Pe­ter in. 17 “You a ­ ren’t one of this m ­ an’s dis­ci­ples too, are you?” she ­asked Pe­ter. He re­plied, “I am not.” f 18 It was cold, and the ser­ vants and of­fi­cials ­stood ­around a fire g they had made to keep warm. Pe­ter also was stand­ing with them, warm­ing him­ self. h

//The High Priest Questions Jesus 18:14 c Jn 11:49‑51 18:15 d Mt 26:3 e Mt 26:58;

Mk 14:54; Lk 22:54 18:17 f ver 25 18:18 g Jn 21:9 h Mk 14:54, ​67

18:4 knowing all that was going to happen. John, in a matter-offact way, states that ­Jesus was omniscient, thus God. 18:4–​8 Who is it you want? By twice asking that question (vv. 4, 7), to which they replied, “­Jesus of Nazareth” (vv. 5, 7), ­Jesus was forcing them to acknowledge that they had no authority to take His disciples. In fact, He demanded that they let the disciples go (v. 8). The force of His demand was established by the power of His words. When He spoke, “I am he” (v. 6), a designation He had used before to declare Himself God (8:28, 58; cf. 6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 9, 11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1, 5), they were jolted backward and to the ground (v. 6). This power display and the authoritative demand not to take the disciples were of immense significance, as the next verse indicates. 18:9 I have not lost one. J­esus is saying that He protected the disciples from being arrested, so He would not lose any of them, thus fulfilling the promises He made earlier (6:39, 40, 44; 10:28; 17:12). He knew that being arrested and perhaps imprisoned or executed was more than they could bear, and it could shatter their faith. So He made sure it did not happen. All believers are weak and vulnerable if not protected by the Lord. But He will never let them be tempted beyond what they can bear (1Co 10:13), as evidenced here. Believers are eternally secure, not in their own strength, but by the gracious and constant protection of the Savior (cf. Ro 8:35–​39). 18:10 Simon Peter. He surely aimed for Malchus’s head, ready to start the battle in defense of his Lord, but his was an ignorant love and courage. Christ healed Malchus’s ear (Lk 22:51). 18:11 not drink the cup . . . given me? Peter’s impetuous bravery in v. 10 not only was misguided, but exhibited failure to understand the centrality of the death that ­Jesus came to die. The “cup” in the OT is associated with suffering and especially judgment, i.e., the cup of God’s wrath (Ps 75:8; Isa 51:17, 22; Jer 25:15; Eze 23:31–​34; see notes on Mt 26:39; Mk 14:36; Lk 22:42; cf. Rev 14:10; 16:19).

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18:19-24pp —​Mt 26:59-68; Mk 14:55-65; Lk 22:63-71 19 Mean­while, the high p ­ riest ques­tioned ­Jesus ­about his dis­ci­ples and his teach­ing. a 9 John


18:13 first to Annas. Annas held the high priesthood office from a.d. 6–​15 when Valerius Gratus, Pilate’s predecessor, removed him from office. In spite of this, Annas continued to wield influence over the office, most likely because he was still regarded as the true high priest and, also, because five of his sons, and his son-inlaw Caiaphas, each held the position at different times. Two trials occurred: one Jewish and one Roman. The Jewish phase began with the informal examination by Annas (vv. 12–​14, 19–​23), probably giving time for the members of the Sanhedrin to hurriedly gather together. A session before the Sanhedrin was next (Mt 26:57–​68), at which consensus was reached to send J­esus to Pilate (Mt 27:1, 2). The Roman phase began with a first examination before Pilate (vv. 28–​38a; Mt 27:11–​14), and then Herod ­Antipas (“that fox”—​Lk 13:32) interrogated Him (Lk 23:6–​12). Lastly, ­Jesus appeared again before Pilate (vv. 38b—​19:16; Mt 27:15–​31). 18:13, 14 Caiaphas. See notes on 11:49. The examination under Caiaphas was not reported by John (see Mt 26:57–​68). 18:15 another disciple . . . this disciple. Traditionally this person has been identified with the “disciple whom J­esus loved” (13:23, 24), i.e., John the apostle who authored this gospel, but he never mentions his own name (see Introduction: Author and Date). 18:16–​18 Peter. Here is the record of the first of Peter’s predicted three denials (see note on 18:25–​27). 18:16 known to the high priest. Apparently, John was more than just an acquaintance, because the term for “known” can mean a friend (Lk 2:44). The fact that he mentions Nicodemus (3:1) and Joseph (19:38) may indicate his knowledge of other prominent Jews. 18:19 Their main objection was J­esus’ claim that He was the Son of God (19:7). According to Jewish law, a case had to be built upon the testimony of multiple witnesses. If this was an informal proceeding, Annas may have justified his actions on the premise

4/19/13 9:31 AM

N 20 “I have spo­ken open­ly to the ­world,” ­Jesus re­plied. “I al­ways ­taught in syn­a­gogues  i or at the tem­ple,  j ­where all the Jews come to­geth­er. I said noth­ing in se­cret. k 21 Why ques­tion me? Ask t­ hose who ­heard me. Sure­ly they know what I said.” 22 When J­esus said this, one of the of­ fi­cials l near­by ­slapped him in the face. m “Is this the way you an­swer the high p­ riest?” he de­mand­ed. 23 “If I said some­thing ­wrong,” ­Jesus re­plied, “tes­ti­fy as to what is ­wrong. But if I ­spoke the ­truth, why did you ­strike me?” n 24  Then An­nas sent him ­bound to Ca­ia­phas o the high priest.



John 18:37

18:20 i Mt 4:23

ia­phas to the pal­ace of the Ro­man gov­er­nor. u By now it was ear­ly morn­ing, and to a­ void cer­e­mo­ ni­al un­clean­ness they did not en­ter the pal­ace, v be­cause they want­ed to be able to eat the Pass­ over. w 29 So Pi­late came out to them and a­ sked, “What charg­es are you bring­ing ­against this man?” 30 “If he were not a crim­i­nal,” they re­plied, “we ­would not have hand­ed him over to you.” 31 Pi­late said, “Take him your­selves and ­judge him by your own law.” “But we have no ­right to ex­e­cute any­one,” they ob­ject­ed. 32 This took ­place to ful­fill what ­Jesus had said ­about the kind of ­death he was go­ing to die. x 33 Pi­ late then went back in­side the pal­ace, y sum­moned ­Jesus and ­asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” z 34 “Is that your own idea,” ­Jesus a ­ sked, “or did oth­ers talk to you ­about me?” 35  “Am  I a Jew?” Pi­late re­plied. “Your own peo­ple and ­chief p­ riests hand­ed you over to me. What is it you have done?” 36 Jesus said, “My king­dom a is not of this ­world. If it were, my ser­vants w ­ ould ­fight to pre­vent my ar­rest by the Jew­ish lead­ers. b But now my king­ dom is from an­oth­er place.” c 37 “You are a king, then!” said Pi­late.

j Mt 26:55 k Jn 7:26

18:22 l ver 3 m Mt 16:21;

Jn 19:3 18:23 n Mt 5:39; Ac 23:2‑5 18:24 o ver 13; Mt 26:3 18:25 p ver 18 q ver 17 18:26 r ver 10 s ver 1 18:27 t Jn 13:38

//Peter’s Second and Third Denials 18:25-27pp —​Mt 26:71-75; Mk 14:69-72; Lk 22:58-62 25  Mean­while,

Si­mon Pe­ter was ­still stand­ing ­there warm­ing him­self.  p So they ­asked him, “You ­aren’t one of his dis­ci­ples too, are you?” He de­nied it, say­ing, “I am not.” q 26 One of the high ­priest’s ser­vants, a rel­a­tive of the man ­whose ear Pe­ter had cut off, r chal­lenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the gar­den?” s 27 Again Pe­ter de­nied it, and at that mo­ment a roost­er be­gan to crow. t

//Jesus Before Pilate 18:29-40pp —​Mt 27:11-18,20-23; Mk 15:2-15; Lk 23:2,3,18-25 28 Then

the Jew­ish lead­ers took ­Jesus from Ca­

18:28 u Mt 27:2;

Mk 15:1; Lk 23:1 Jn 19:9

v ver 33;

w Jn 11:55

18:32 x Mt 20:19;

26:2; Jn 3:14; 8:28; 12:32, ​33

18:33 y ver 28, ​29;

Jn 19:9 z Lk 23:3; Mt 2:2 18:36 a Mt 3:2 b Mt 26:53 c Lk 17:21; Jn 6:15

that such rules did not apply in this case. J­ esus, however, knew the law and demanded that witnesses be called (vv. 20, 21). An official knew J­esus was rebuking Annas and retaliated (v. 22). 18:23 In essence, ­Jesus was asking for a fair trial, while His opponents, who had already decided on the sentence (see 11:47–​57), had no intention of providing one. 18:24 Annas recognized that he was not getting anywhere with ­Jesus and sent Him to Caiaphas because, if ­Jesus was taken to Pilate for execution, an official charge had to be presented by the current high priest (i.e. Caiaphas) on behalf of the Sanhedrin. See note on v. 13. 18:25–​27 Simon Peter. Here was the final fulfillment of ­Jesus’ prediction that Peter would deny Him three times (cf. Mt 26:34). 18:28—​19:16 This section deals with ­Jesus’ trial before Pilate. Although Pilate appears in every scene here, ­Jesus Himself and the nature of His kingdom occupy center stage. 18:28 palace of the Roman governor. The headquarters of the Roman military commander or governor (i.e., Pilate), who was normally in Caesarea, but made sure to be in Jerusalem during the festivals in order to quell any riots. Jerusalem became his headquarters. early. The word is ambiguous. Most likely, it refers to around 6:00 a.m. since many Roman officials began their day very early and finished by 10:00 or 11:00 a.m. to avoid ceremonial uncleanness. Jewish oral law indicated that a Jew who went into a Gentile house or dwelling was considered ceremonially unclean. They stayed outside in the colonnade to avoid being tainted. John loads this statement with great irony by noting the chief priests’ scrupulousness in the matter of ceremonial cleansing, when all the

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time they were incurring incomparably greater moral defilement by their proceedings against ­Jesus. 18:29 What charges .  .  .  ? This question formally opened the Roman civil phase of proceedings against ­Jesus (in contrast to the religious phase before the Jews in v. 24). 18:31 we have no right. When Rome began to rule Judea through a governor, starting in a.d. 6, the Jews lost the right to administer capital punishment. Thus, the Jewish leaders were forced to ask Pilate to authorize the crucifixion of ­Jesus. 18:32 to fulfill what ­Jesus had said. J­esus had said that He would die by being “lifted up” (3:14; 8:28; 12:32, 33). If the Jews had executed Him, it would have been by throwing Him down and stoning Him. But God providentially controlled all the political procedures to assure that when sentence was finally passed, He would be crucified by the Romans and not stoned by the Jews, as was Stephen (Ac 7:59). The Jews may have preferred this form of execution based on Dt 21:23. 18:34 others. Again (cf. vv. 20, 21), ­Jesus demanded witnesses. 18:36 My kingdom is not of this world. By this phrase, ­Jesus means that His kingdom is not connected to earthly political and national entities, nor does it have its origin in the evil world system that is in rebellion against God. If His kingdom was of this world, He would have fought. The governments of this world protect their interests by fighting with force. Messiah’s kingdom does not originate in the efforts of man but with the Son of Man forcefully and decisively conquering sin in the lives of His people and someday conquering the evil world system at His second coming when He establishes the earthly form of His kingdom. His kingdom was no

4/19/13 9:31 AM

John 18:38

Jesus an­swered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the rea­son I was born and came into the ­world is to tes­ti­fy to the t­ ruth. d Ev­ery­one on the side of ­truth lis­tens to me.” e 38 “What is ­truth?” re­tort­ed Pi­late. With this he went out a­ gain to the Jews gath­ered t­ here and said, “I find no ba­sis for a ­charge ­against him. f 39 But it is your cus­tom for me to re­lease to you one pris­on­er at the time of the Pass­over. Do you want me to re­lease ‘the king of the Jews’?” 40 They shout­ed back, “No, not him! Give us Bar­ab­bas!” Now Bar­ab­bas had tak­en part in an up­ris­ing.  g




18:37 d Jn 3:32 e Jn 8:47;

1Jn 4:6

18:38 f Lk 23:4; Jn 19:4, ​6

18:40 g Ac 3:14 19:1 h Dt 25:3;

Isa 50:6; 53:5; Mt 27:26 19:3 i Mt 27:29 j Jn 18:22

//Jesus Sentenced to Be Crucified 19:1-16pp —​Mt 27:27-31; Mk 15:16-20


Then Pi­late took J­esus and had him ­flogged.  h 2  The sol­diers twist­ed to­geth­er a ­crown of ­thorns and put it on his head. They ­clothed him in a pur­ple robe 3 and went up to him ­again and ­again, say­ing, “Hail, king of the Jews!” i And they ­slapped him in the face. j 4 Once more Pi­late came out and said to the

19:4 k Jn 18:38 l ver 6;

Lk 23:4

o ver 4;

Lk 23:4

19:5 m ver 2 19:6 n Ac 3:13 19:7 p Lev 24:16 q Mt 26:63‑66;

Jn 5:18; 10:33 19:9 r Jn 18:33 s Mk 14:61 19:11 t Ro 13:1 u Jn 18:28‑30; Ac 3:13

threat to the national identity of Israel or the political and military identity of Rome. It exists in the spiritual dimension until the end of the age (Rev 11:15). 18:38 What is truth? In response to J­esus’ mention of “truth” in v. 37, Pilate responds rhetorically with cynicism, convinced that no answer exists to the question. The retort proved that he was not among those whom the Father had given to the Son (“Everyone on the side of truth listens to me”—​v. 37; see notes on 10:1–​5). no basis for a charge. Cf. 19:4. John makes it clear that ­Jesus was not guilty of any sin or crime, thus exhibiting the severe injustice and guilt of both the Jews and Romans who executed Him. 18:40 Barabbas . . . uprising. The Greek word could indicate that Barabbas had been a thief and/or an insurrectionist (cf. Mk 15:7). 19:1 flogged. Pilate appears to have flogged ­Jesus as a strategy to set Him free (see vv. 4–​6). He was hoping that the Jews would be appeased by this action and that sympathy for ­Jesus’ suffering would result in their desire that He be released (see Lk 23:13–​16). Flogging was a horribly cruel act in which the victim was stripped, tied to a post, and beaten by several torturers, i.e., soldiers who alternated when exhausted. For victims who were not Roman citizens, the preferred instrument was a short wooden handle to which several leather thongs were attached. Each leather thong had pieces of bones or metal on the end. The beatings were so savage that sometimes victims died. The body could be torn or lacerated to such an extent that muscles, veins, or bones were exposed. Such flogging often preceded execution in order to weaken and dehumanize the victim (Isa 53:5). Apparently, however, Pilate intended this to create sympathy for J­esus. 19:2 crown of thorns. This “crown” was made from the long spikes (up to 12 inches) of a date palm formed into an imitation of the radiating crowns that oriental kings wore. The long thorns would have cut deeply into ­Jesus’ head, adding to the pain and bleeding. purple robe. The color represented royalty. The robe probably was a military cloak flung around ­Jesus’ shoulders, intended to mock His claim to be King of the Jews.

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Jews gath­ered there, “Look, I am bring­ing him out k to you to let you know that I find no ba­ sis for a ­charge ­against him.” l 5 When ­Jesus came out wear­ing the ­crown of ­thorns and the pur­ple robe, m Pi­late said to them, “Here is the man!” 6 As soon as the c ­ hief ­priests and t­ heir of­fi­cials saw him, they shout­ed, “Cru­ci­fy! Cru­ci­fy!” But Pi­late an­swered, “You take him and cru­ ci­fy him.  n As for me, I find no ba­sis for a c­ harge ­against him.”  o 7 The Jew­ish lead­ers in­sist­ed, “We have a law, and ac­cord­ing to that law he must die, p be­cause he ­claimed to be the Son of God.” q 8 When Pi­ late ­heard this, he was even more ­afraid, 9 and he went back in­side the pal­ace. r “Where do you come from?” he a­ sked ­Jesus, but ­Jesus gave him no an­swer. s 10 “Do you refuse to ­speak to me?” Pi­late said. “Don’t you re­al­ize I have pow­er ei­ther to free you or to cru­ci­fy you?” 11 Jesus an­swered, “You w ­ ould have no pow­er over me if it were not giv­en to you from a­ bove. t There­fore the one who hand­ed me over to you u is ­guilty of a great­er sin.”

19:4 I find no basis for a charge against him. See note on 18:38. 19:5 Here is the man! Pilate dramatically presented ­Jesus after His torturous treatment by the soldiers. ­Jesus would have been swollen, bruised, and bleeding. Pilate displayed ­Jesus as a beaten and pathetic figure hoping to gain the people’s choice of ­Jesus for release. Pilate’s phrase is filled with sarcasm since he was attempting to impress upon the Jewish authorities that J­esus was not the dangerous man they had made Him out to be. 19:6 You take him and crucify him. The pronouns “you” and “him” have an emphatic force indicating Pilate’s disgust and indignation at the Jews for their callousness toward ­Jesus. 19:7 We have a law. This probably refers to Lev 24:16: “anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord is to be put to death.” The charge of blasphemy (5:18; 8:58, 59; 10:33, 36) was central in ­Jesus’ trial before Caiaphas (see Mt 26:57–​68). 19:8 more afraid. Many Roman officials were deeply superstitious. While Jews interpreted ­Jesus’ claims as messianic, to the GrecoRoman person, the title “Son of God” would place J­esus in the category of “divine men” who were gifted with supernatural powers. Pilate was afraid because he had just whipped and tortured someone who, in his mind, could bring down a curse or vengeance upon him. 19:9 Where do you come from? Pilate was concerned about J­ esus’ origins. His superstitious mind was wondering just what kind of person he was dealing with. 19:11 J­esus’ statement here indicates that even the most heinous acts of wickedness cannot circumvent the sovereignty of God. Pilate had no real control (vv. 10, 11), yet he still stood as a responsible moral agent for his actions. When confronted with opposition and evil, ­Jesus often found solace in the sovereignty of His Father (e.g., 6:43, 44, 65; 10:18, 28, 29). the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin. This could refer either to Judas or Caiaphas. Since Caiaphas took such an active part in the plot against ­Jesus (11:49–​53) and presided over the Sanhedrin, the

4/19/13 9:31 AM




12 From then on, Pi­late ­tried to set ­Jesus free, but the Jew­ish lead­ers kept shout­ing, “If you let this man go, you are no ­friend of Cae­sar. Any­one who ­claims to be a king v op­pos­es Cae­sar.” 13 When Pi­ late h ­ eard this, he b­ rought J­esus out and sat down on the ­judge’s seat w at a p­ lace ­known as the ­Stone Pave­ment (which in Ar­am ­ a­ ic x is Gab­ba­tha). 14 It was the day of Prep­ar­ a­tion y of the Pass­over; it was a­ bout noon. z “Here is your king,” a Pi­late said to the Jews. 15 But they shout­ed, “Take him away! Take him away! Cru­ci­fy him!” “Shall I cru­ci­fy your king?” Pi­late asked. “We have no king but Cae­sar,” the ­chief ­priests an­swered. 16 Fi­nal­ly Pi­late hand­ed him over to them to be cru­ci­fied.  b

//The Crucifixion of Jesus 19:17-24pp —​Mt 27:33-44; Mk 15:22-32; Lk 23:33-43

So the sol­diers took ­charge of ­Jesus. 17  Car­ry­ ing his own ­cross, c he went out to the ­place of

19:12 v Lk 23:2 19:13 w Mt 27:19 x Jn 5:2

19:14 y Mt 27:62

z Mk 15:25 a ver 19, ​ 21 19:16 b Mt 27:26; Mk 15:15; Lk 23:25 19:17 c Ge 22:6; Lk 14:27; 23:26

d Lk 23:33 e Jn 5:2

19:18 f Lk 23:32 19:19 g Mk 1:24 h ver 14, ​21

19:20 i Heb 13:12 19:21 j ver 14

reference may center on him (18:30, 35). The critical point is not the identity of the person but guilt because of the deliberate, highhanded, and coldly calculated act of handing ­Jesus over to Pilate, after having seen and heard the overwhelming evidence that He was Messiah and Son of God. Pilate had not been exposed to that. See notes on 9:41; 15:22–​24; Heb 10:26–​31. 19:12 no friend of Caesar. This statement by the Jews was loaded with irony, for the Jews’ hatred of Rome certainly indicated they, too, were no friends of Caesar. But they knew Pilate feared Tiberius Caesar (the Roman emperor at the time of J­esus’ crucifixion) since he had a highly suspicious personality and exacted ruthless punishment. Pilate had already created upheaval in Jerusalem by several foolish acts that had infuriated the Jews, and so was under the scrutiny of Rome to see if his ineptness continued. The Jews were intimidating him by threatening another upheaval that could spell the end of his power in Jerusalem, if he did not execute ­Jesus. 19:13 the judge’s seat. Pilate broke under pressure and prepared to render judgment on the initial accusation of sedition against Rome. This “judge’s seat” was the place Pilate sat to render the official verdict. The seat was placed on an area paved with stones known as “The Pavement.” The irony is that Pilate rendered judgment on the One who would one day render a just condemnation of Pilate (5:22). 19:14 day of Preparation of the Passover. This refers to the day before the Passover (according to the Judean calendar) when preparation for the Passover was done. In God’s timing, J­esus was being sentenced to death around the same time that lambs were being slain for the Passover. For the chronology of the week, see Introduction: Interpretive Challenges. about noon. Lit. about the sixth hour. John is here reckoning time by the Roman method of the day beginning at midnight. See note on Mk 15:25. Here is your king. That was Pilate’s mockery—​that such a brutalized and helpless man was a fitting king for them. This mockery continued in the placard on the cross (vv. 19–​22). 19:17 Carrying his own cross. This refers to the horizontal bar of the cross. Condemned prisoners were required to carry the heavy

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John 19:24

the ­Skull  d (which in Ar­a­ma­ic  e is ­called Gol­go­ tha). 18 There they cru­ci­fied him, and with him two oth­ers  f — ​one on each side and ­Jesus in the mid­dle. 19 Pi­late had a no­tice pre­pared and fas­tened to the ­cross. It read: ­jesus of naz­a­reth, g the king of the jews. h 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the ­place ­where ­Jesus was cru­ci­fied was near the city, i and the sign was writ­ten in Ar­a­ma­ic, Lat­in and ­Greek. 21 The ­chief ­priests of the Jews pro­test­ed to Pi­late, “Do not ­write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man c­ laimed to be king of the Jews.” j 22 Pi­ late an­swered, “What I have writ­ten, I have writ­ten.” 23 When the sol­diers cru­ci­fied ­Jesus, they took his c­ lothes, di­vid­ing them into four s­ hares, one for each of them, with the un­der­gar­ment re­main­ ing. This gar­ment was seam­less, wo­ven in one ­piece from top to bot­tom. 24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one an­oth­er. “Let’s de­cide by lot who will get it.”

crossbeam to the execution site. J­esus carried His cross as far as the city gate, but due to the effects of the previous brutal beating, someone else had to eventually carry it for Him, i.e., Simon of Cyrene (Mt 27:32; Mk 15:21; Lk 23:26). Golgotha. This term is an Eng. transliteration of the Gr. which, in turn, is a translation of the Aram. word meaning “skull.” The place probably derived its name from its appearance. The precise location of the site today is uncertain. 19:18 crucified him. ­Jesus was forced to lie down while His arms were stretched out and nailed to the horizontal beam that He had carried. The beam was raised up and affixed to the vertical post. His feet were then nailed to the vertical beam. Sometimes a small wooden board was added to create a makeshift seat that provided partial support for the victim’s weight. The latter, however, prolonged the agony, not alleviated it. Victims were stripped naked, beaten, and then hung outside where they would be exposed to both the mockery of the crowds and the elements of nature. Breathing was only possible by pushing up with the legs and straining the arms. It caused excruciating pain, but it was necessary to avoid asphyxiation (see note on Mt 27:31). two others. Matthew (27:38) and Luke (23:33) use the same word for these two as John used for Barabbas, i.e., guerrilla fighters. See note on 18:40. 19:19–​22 had a notice prepared. A placard listing his crimes was often placed around the neck of the victim as he was taken to the execution site. The tablet would then be nailed to the victim’s cross (see Mt 27:37; Mk 15:26; Lk 23:38). Pilate used this opportunity for mocking revenge on the Jews who had so intimidated him into this execution (see note on v. 12). 19:23 his clothes . . . with the undergarment. By custom, the clothes of the condemned person were the property of the executioners. The division of the garments suggests that the execution squad was made up of four soldiers (cf. Ac 12:4). The undergarment was worn next to the skin. The plural “clothes” probably implies there were other garments, including an outer garment, belt, sandals, and head covering. 19:24 John cites Ps 22:18. In the psalm, David, beset by physical distress and mockery by his opponents, uses the symbolism of the

4/19/13 9:31 AM

John 19:25

This hap­pened that the scrip­ture m ­ ight be ful­ filled k that said, “They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” a l So this is what the sol­diers did. 25 Near the c ­ ross m of ­Jesus s­ tood his moth­er, n his moth­er’s sis­ter, Mary the wife of Clo­pas, and Mary Mag­da­lene.  o 26 When ­Jesus saw his moth­er p ­there, and the dis­ci­ple whom he ­loved q stand­ ing near­by, he said to her, “Wom­an, b here is your son,” 27 and to the dis­ci­ple, “Here is your moth­er.” From that time on, this dis­ci­ple took her into his home.

//The Death of Jesus 19:29,30pp —​Mt 27:48,50; Mk 15:36,37; Lk 23:36 28 Lat­ er,

know­ing that ev­ery­thing had now ­ ould be been fin­ished,  r and so that Scrip­ture w ful­filled,  s ­Jesus said, “I am t­hirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vin­egar  t was ­there, so they s­ oaked a ­sponge in it, put the ­sponge on a ­stalk of the hys­sop ­plant, and lift­ed it to ­Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had re­ceived the d­ rink, ­Jesus said, “It is fin­ished.” u


19:24 k ver 28, ​ 36, ​37; Mt 1:22 l Ps 22:18 19:25 m Mt 27:55, ​ 56; Mk 15:40, ​41; Lk 23:49 n Mt 12:46 o Lk 24:18 19:26 p Mt 12:46 q Jn 13:23 19:28 r ver 30; Jn 13:1 s ver 24, ​ 36, ​37 19:29 t Ps 69:21 19:30 u Lk 12:50; Jn 17:4

19:31 v ver 14, ​42 w Dt 21:23; Jos 8:29; 10:26, ​27 19:32 x ver 18 19:34 y Zec 12:10 z 1Jn 5:6, ​8 19:35 a Lk 24:48 b Jn 15:27; 21:24 19:36 c ver 24, ​ 28, ​37; Mt 1:22 d Ex 12:46; Nu 9:12; Ps 34:20 19:37 e Zec 12:10; Rev 1:7

common practice in an execution scene in which the executioner divided the victim’s clothes to portray the depth of his trouble. It is notable that David precisely described a form of execution that he had never seen. The passage was typologically prophetic of ­Jesus, David’s heir to the messianic throne (see Mt 27:46; Mk 15:34). 19:25 Although the exact number of women mentioned here is questioned, John probably refers to four women rather than three, i.e., two by name and two without naming them: 1) “his mother” (Mary); 2) “his mother’s sister” (probably Salome [Mk 15:40] the sister of Mary and mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee [Mt 27:56, 57; Mk 15:40]); 3) “Mary the wife of Clopas” (the mother of James the younger and Joseph—​Mt 27:56); and 4) Mary Magdalene (“Magdalene” signifies “Magdala,” a village on the W shore of Galilee, two or three mi. N of Tiberias). Mary Magdalene figures prominently in the resurrection account (see 20:1–​18; cf. Lk 8:2, 3 where J­esus healed her from demon possession). 19:26 the disciple whom he loved. This is a reference to John (see note on 13:23; cf. Introduction: Author and Date). J­esus, as the first-born son of Mary, did not give the responsibility to His brothers because they were not sympathetic to His ministry nor did they believe in Him (7:3–​5) and they likely were not present at the time (i.e., their home was in Capernaum—​see 2:12). 19:29 The drink here is not the same as the “wine . . . mixed with gall” offered to Him as He arrived at Golgotha (Mt 27:34) which was intended to lessen the pain. The purpose of this cheap, sour wine (cf. Mk 15:36) was to prolong life and increase the torture. The term harkens back to Ps 69:21 where the same word is found in the Septuagint. Hyssop is a little plant that is ideal for sprinkling (see Ex12:22). 19:30 It is finished. The verb here carries the idea of fulfilling one’s mission and religious obligations (see 17:4). The entire work of redemption had been brought to completion. The single Gr. word here (translated “it is finished”) has been found in the papyri being placed on receipts for taxes meaning “paid in full” (see Col

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With that, he b­ owed his head and gave up his spir­it. 31 Now it was the day of Prep­ar­ a­tion, v and the next day was to be a spe­cial Sab­bath. Be­cause the Jew­ish lead­ers did not want the bod­ies left on the cross­es  w dur­ing the Sab­bath, they ­asked Pi­ late to have the legs bro­ken and the bod­ies tak­en down. 32 The sol­diers there­fore came and ­broke the legs of the ­first man who had been cru­ci­fied with ­Jesus, and then ­those of the oth­er. x 33 But when they came to ­Jesus and ­found that he was al­ready dead, they did not ­break his legs. 34 In­ stead, one of the sol­diers ­pierced y ­Jesus’ side with a s­ pear, bring­ing a sud­den flow of b­ lood and wa­ ter. z 35 The man who saw it a has giv­en tes­ti­mo­ny, and his tes­ti­mo­ny is true. b He ­knows that he t­ ells the ­truth, and he tes­ti­fies so that you also may be­ lieve. 36 These t­ hings hap­pened so that the scrip­ ture ­would be ful­filled: c “Not one of his b­ ones will be bro­ken,” c d 37 and, as an­oth­er scrip­ture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.” d e a 24 Psalm 22:18    b 26 

The Greek for Woman does not denote any disrespect.    c 36  Exodus 12:46; Num. 9:12; Psalm 34:20   

d 37 Zech. 12:10   

3:13, 14). he . . . gave up his spirit. The sentence signaled that ­Jesus “handed over” His spirit as an act of His will. No one took His life from Him, for He voluntarily and willingly gave it up (see 10:17, 18). 19:31 day of Preparation. This refers to Friday, the day before or the “Preparation” day for the Sabbath. See Introduction: Interpretive Challenges. did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath. Though the Romans had no problem leaving crucified victims hanging on crosses long after they died (allowing their corpses to rot or be eaten by birds), the Jewish leaders insisted that ­Jesus’ body be taken down. The Mosaic law stipulated that a person hanged on a tree should not remain there overnight (Dt 21:22, 23). They would have been especially wary of this in light of the Passover celebration. to have the legs broken. In order to hasten death for certain reasons, soldiers would break the legs of the victim with an iron mallet. Doing so inhibited the dying man’s ability to push up with his legs in order to breath (see note on v. 18). Death by asphyxiation soon followed. 19:34 The soldier’s stabbing of ­Jesus’ side caused significant penetration because of the sudden flow of blood and water. Either the spear pierced ­Jesus’ heart or the chest cavity was pierced at the bottom. In either event, John mentions the outflow of “blood and water” to emphasize that ­Jesus was unquestionably dead. 19:35 The man who saw it. This has reference to John the apostle who was an eyewitness of these events (v. 26; 13:23; 20:2; 21:7, 20; cf. 1Jn 1:1–​4). 19:36, 37 John quoted from either Ex 12:46 or Nu 9:12, since both stipulate that the bones of the Passover lamb must not be broken. Since the NT portrays J­esus as the Passover Lamb that takes away the sins of the world (1:29; cf. 1Co 5:7; 1Pe 1:19), these verses have special typologically prophetic significance for Him. This quote comes from Zec 12:10. The anguish and contrition of the Jews in the Zechariah passage, because of their wounding of God’s Shepherd, is typologically prophetic of the time of the coming of

4/19/13 9:31 AM




//The Burial of Jesus 19:38-42pp —​Mt 27:57-61; Mk 15:42-47; Lk 23:50-56 38 Lat­er, Jo­seph of Ar­i­ma­thea ­asked Pi­late for the body of J­esus. Now Jo­seph was a dis­ci­ple of ­Jesus, but se­cret­ly be­cause he f­eared the Jew­ish lead­ers. With Pi­late’s per­mis­sion, he came and took the body away. 39 He was ac­com­pa­nied by Nic­o­de­mus, f the man who ear­li­er had vis­it­ed ­Jesus at ­night. Nic­o­de­mus ­brought a mix­ture of ­myrrh and al­oes, ­about sev­en­ty-five ­pounds. a 40 Tak­ing ­Jesus’ body, the two of them ­wrapped it, with the spic­es, in ­strips of lin­en. g This was in ac­cor­dance with Jew­ ish buri­al cus­toms. h 41 At the ­place ­where ­Jesus was cru­ci­fied, ­there was a gar­den, and in the gar­den a new tomb, in ­which no one had ever been laid. 42 Be­cause it was the Jew­ish day of Prep­a­ra­tion i and ­since the tomb was near­by, j they laid ­Jesus there.

//The Empty Tomb 20:1-8pp —​Mt 28:1-8; Mk 16:1-8; Lk 24:1-10


Ear­ly on the f­irst day of the week, w ­ hile it was ­still dark, Mary Mag­da­lene k went

19:39 f Jn 3:1; 7:50 19:40 g Lk 24:12; Jn 11:44; 20:5, ​7

h Mt 26:12

19:42 i ver 14, ​31

j ver 20, ​41 20:1 k ver 18; Jn 19:25

l Mt 27:60, ​66

20:2 m Jn 13:23 n ver 13

20:3 o Lk 24:12 20:5 p ver 11 q Jn 19:40

20:7 r Jn 11:44 20:8 s ver 4 20:9 t Mt 22:29;

Jn 2:22 u Lk 24:26, ​ 46

the Son of God, Messiah, when at His return, Israel shall mourn for the rejection and killing of their King (cf. Rev 1:7). 19:38 Joseph of Arimathea. This man appears in all four gospels, only in connection with ­Jesus’ burial. The Synoptics relate that he was a member of the Sanhedrin (Mk 15:43), he was rich (Mt 27:57), and he was looking for the kingdom of God (Lk 23:51). John treats the idea of secret disciples negatively (see 12:42, 43), but since Joseph publicly risked his reputation and even his life in asking for the body of ­Jesus, John pictures him in a more positive light. 19:39 Nicodemus. See notes on 3:1–​10. about seventy-five pounds. Myrrh was a very fragrant gummy resin, which the Jews turned into a powdered form and mixed with aloes, a powder from the aromatic sandalwood. The Jews did not embalm but did this procedure to suppress the odor of decay (see note on 11:39). 19:40 spices, in strips of linen. The spices most likely were spread along the full length of the cloth strips, which were then wrapped around ­Jesus’ body. Additional spices were placed underneath the body and set around it. The sticky resin would help the cloth adhere. 19:41, 42 garden . . . new tomb. Only John relates that the tomb was near the place where ­Jesus was crucified. Since the Sabbath, when no more work was allowed, was nearly upon them (6:00 p.m., sunset), the close proximity of the tomb was helpful (Mt 27:58–​61). For the time of the Lord’s death and burial, see note on Mt 27:45. 20:1–​31 This chapter records the appearances of J­esus to His own followers: 1) the appearance to Mary Magdalene (vv. 1–​18); 2) the appearance to the 10 disciples (vv. 19–​23); and 3) the appearance to Thomas (vv. 24–​29). ­Jesus did not appear to unbelievers (see 14:19; 16:16, 22) because the evidence of His resurrection would not have convinced them as the miracles had not (Lk 16:31). The god of this world had blinded them and prevented their belief (2Co 4:4). J­esus, therefore, appears exclusively to His own in order to confirm their faith in the living Christ. Such appearances were so profound that they transformed the disciples from cowardly men hiding in fear to bold witnesses for ­Jesus (e.g., Peter; see 18:27;

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John 20:9

to the tomb and saw that the ­stone had been re­ moved from the en­trance. l 2 So she came run­ning to Si­mon Pe­ter and the oth­er dis­ci­ple, the one ­Jesus ­loved,  m and said, “They have tak­en the Lord out of the tomb, and we ­don’t know ­where they have put him!” n 3 So Pe­ter and the oth­er dis­ci­ple start­ed for the tomb. o 4 Both were run­ning, but the oth­ er dis­ci­ple out­ran Pe­ter and ­reached the tomb ­first. 5 He bent over and l­ooked in p at the s­ trips of lin­en  q ly­ing ­there but did not go in. 6 Then Si­mon Pe­ter came a­ long be­hind him and went ­straight into the tomb. He saw the ­strips of lin­ en ly­ing ­there, 7 as well as the ­cloth that had been ­wrapped ­around ­Jesus’ head. r The ­cloth was ­still ly­ing in its ­place, sep­a­rate from the lin­ en. 8  Fi­nal­ly the oth­er dis­ci­ple, who had ­reached the tomb ­first, s also went in­side. He saw and be­lieved. 9 (They s­ till did not un­der­stand from Scrip­ture  t that J­ esus had to rise from the dead.) u a 39 Or about

34 kilograms   

cf. Ac 2:14–​39). Once again John’s purpose in recording these resurrection appearances was to demonstrate that ­Jesus’ physical and bodily resurrection was the crowning proof that He truly is the Messiah and Son of God who laid down His life for His own (10:17, 18; 15:13; cf. Ro 1:4). 20:1 first day of the week. A reference to Sunday. From then on, believers set aside Sunday to meet and remember the marvelous resurrection of the Lord (see Ac 20:7; 1Co 16:2). It became known as the Lord’s Day (Rev 1:10). See notes on Lk 24:4, 34. while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb. Perhaps the reason why ­Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene was to demonstrate grace by His personal, loving faithfulness to someone who formerly had a sordid past; but clearly also because she loved Him so dearly and deeply, that she appeared before anyone else at the tomb. Her purpose in coming was to finish the preparation of ­Jesus’ body for burial by bringing more spices to anoint the corpse (Lk 24:1). 20:2 the one J­esus loved. This is the author John. They have taken. Though J­esus had predicted His resurrection numerous times, it was more than she could believe at that point. It would take His showing Himself alive to them by many “convincing proofs” (Ac 1:3) for them to believe. 20:5–​7 looked in at the strips of linen lying there. A contrast existed between the resurrection of Lazarus (11:44) and that of ­Jesus. While Lazarus came forth from the grave wearing his graveclothes, ­Jesus’ body, though physical and material, was glorified and now able to pass through the graveclothes much in the same way that He later appeared in the locked room (see vv. 19, 20; cf. Php 3:21). strips of linen . . . cloth. The state of those items indicates no struggle, no hurried unwrapping of the body by grave robbers, who wouldn’t unwrap the body anyway, since transporting it elsewhere would be easier and more pleasant if it was left in its wrapped and spiced condition. All appearances indicated that no one had taken the body, but that it had moved through the cloth and left it behind in the tomb. 20:8 the other disciple. John saw the graveclothes and was convinced by them that ­Jesus had risen.

4/19/13 9:31 AM

John 20:10 10 Then the dis­ci­ples went back to ­where they were stay­ing.

//Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene 11 Now

Mary ­stood out­side the tomb cry­ing. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb v 12 and saw two an­ gels in ­white, w seat­ed ­where ­Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the oth­er at the foot. 13 They ­asked her, “Wom­an, why are you cry­ ing?” x “They have tak­en my Lord away,” she said, “and I ­don’t know ­where they have put him.” y 14 At this, she ­turned ­around and saw ­Jesus stand­ing ­there, z but she did not re­al­ize that it was J­ esus. a 15 He ­asked her, “Wom­an, why are you cry­ing? b Who is it you are look­ing for?” Think­ing he was the gar­den­er, she said, “Sir, if you have car­ried him away, tell me ­where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She ­turned to­ward him and ­cried out in Ar­ a­ma­ic,  c “Rab­bo­ni!”  d (which ­means “Teach­er”). 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet as­cend­ed to the Fa­ther. Go in­stead to my


20:11 v ver 5 20:12 w Mt 28:2, ​3; Mk 16:5; Lk 24:4; Ac 5:19 20:13 x ver 15 y ver 2 20:14 z Mt 28:9; Mk 16:9 a Lk 24:16; Jn 21:4 20:15 b ver 13 20:16 c Jn 5:2 d Mt 23:7

20:17 e Mt 28:10 f Jn 7:33

20:18 g ver 1

h Lk 24:10, ​22, ​23

20:19 i Jn 7:13

j Jn 14:27 k ver 21, ​ 26; Lk 24:36‑39 20:20 l Lk 24:39, ​ 40; Jn 19:34 m Jn 16:20, ​22 20:21 n ver 19 o Jn 3:17 p Mt 28:19; Jn 17:18 20:22 q Jn 7:39; Ac 2:38; 8:15‑17; 19:2; Gal 3:2 20:23 r Mt 16:19; 18:18 20:24 s Jn 11:16

20:9 did not understand from Scripture. Neither Peter nor John understood that Scripture said ­Jesus would rise (Ps 16:10). This is evident by the reports of Luke (24:25–​27, 32, 44–​47). J­esus had foretold His resurrection (2:19; Mt 16:21; Mk 8:31; 9:31; Lk 9:22), but they would not accept it (Mt 16:22; Lk 9:44, 45). By the time John wrote this gospel, the church had developed an understanding of the OT prediction of Messiah’s resurrection (cf. “still”). 20:11–​13 crying. Mary’s grief may have drawn her back to the tomb. She apparently had not crossed paths with Peter or John and thus did not know of J­esus’ resurrection (see v. 9). 20:12 two angels. Luke (24:4) describes both. Matthew (28:2, 3) and Mk (16:5) report only one. John’s reason for the mention of angels is to demonstrate that no grave robbers took the body. This was an operation of the power of God. 20:14 did not realize that it was J­esus. The reason for Mary’s failure to recognize ­Jesus is uncertain. She may not have recognized Him because her tears blurred her eyes (v. 11). Possibly also, the vivid memories of ­Jesus’ bruised and broken body were still etched in her mind, and ­Jesus’ resurrection appearance was so dramatically different that she failed to recognize Him. Perhaps, however, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, she was supernaturally prevented from recognizing Him until He chose for her to do so (see Lk 24:16). 20:16 Mary. Whatever the reason for her failure to recognize ­Jesus, the moment He spoke the single word, “Mary,” she immediately recognized Him. This is reminiscent of ­Jesus’ words “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (10:27; cf. 10:3, 4). 20:17 Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended. Mary was expressing a desire to hold on to His physical presence for fear that she would once again lose Him. J­esus’ reference to His ascension signifies that He would only be with them temporarily and though she desperately wanted Him to stay, He could not. ­Jesus was with them only for 40 more days and then He ascended (Ac 1:3–​11).

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broth­ers e and tell them, ‘I am as­cend­ing to my Fa­ ther f and your Fa­ther, to my God and your God.’ ” 18  Mary Mag­da­lene  g went to the dis­ci­ples h with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said ­these ­things to her.

//Jesus Appears to His Disciples 19 On the eve­ning of that ­first day of the week, when the dis­ci­ples were to­geth­er, with the ­doors ­locked for fear of the Jew­ish lead­ers, i ­Jesus came and s­ tood ­among them and said, “Peace j be with you!” k 20 Af­ter he said this, he ­showed them his ­hands and side. l The dis­ci­ples were over­joyed m when they saw the Lord. 21 Again ­ Jesus said, “Peace be with you! n As the Fa­ther has sent me, o I am send­ing you.” p 22 And with that he b ­ reathed on them and said, “Re­ceive the Holy Spir­it. q 23 If you for­give any­ one’s sins, ­their sins are for­giv­en; if you do not for­give them, they are not for­giv­en.” r

//Jesus Appears to Thomas 24  Now

Thom­as  s (also ­known as Did­y­mus a ), one of the ­Twelve, was not with the dis­ci­ples a 24 

Thomas (Aramaic) and Didymus (Greek) both mean twin.   

After He went to the Father, He sent the Holy Spirit (“the Advocate”) so that they would not feel abandoned (see note on 14:18, 19). my brothers. Disciples have been called “servants” or “friends” (15:15), but not “brothers,” until here. Because of J­esus’ work on the cross in place of the sinner, this new relationship to Christ was made possible (Ro 8:14–​17; Gal 3:26, 27; Eph 1:5; Heb 2:10–​13). 20:19 of that first day. See note on v. 1. with the doors locked. The Gr. word indicates the doors were locked for fear of the Jews. Since the authorities had executed their leader, they reasonably expected that ­Jesus’ fate could be their own. Peace be with you. See notes on 14:27; 16:33. ­Jesus’ greeting complements His “It is finished,” for His work on the cross accomplished peace between God and His people (Ro 5:1; Eph 2:14–​17). 20:20 ­Jesus proved that He who appeared to them was the same One who was crucified (cf. Lk 24:39). 20:21 This commission builds on 17:18. See Mt 28:19, 20. 20:22 Since the disciples did not actually receive the Holy Spirit until the day of Pentecost, some 40 days in the future (Ac 1:8; 2:1–​3), this statement must be understood as a pledge on Christ’s part that the Holy Spirit would be coming. 20:23 See notes on Mt 16:19; 18:18. This verse does not give authority to Christians to forgive sins. J­esus was saying that the believer can boldly declare the certainty of a sinner’s forgiveness by the Father because of the work of His Son if that sinner has repented and believed the gospel. The believer with certainty can also tell those who do not respond to the message of God’s forgiveness through faith in Christ that their sins, as a result, are not forgiven. 20:24–​26 Thomas has already been portrayed as loyal but pessimistic. ­Jesus did not rebuke Thomas for his failure, but instead compassionately offered him proof of His resurrection. ­Jesus lovingly met him at the point of his weakness. Thomas’s actions indicated that ­Jesus had to convince the disciples rather forcefully of

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when ­Jesus came. 25 So the oth­er dis­ci­ples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Un­less I see the nail ­marks in his ­hands and put my fin­ger w ­ here the ­nails were, and put my hand into his side, t I will not be­lieve.”  u 26 A week lat­er his dis­ci­ples were in the ­house ­again, and Thom­as was with them. ­Though the ­doors were ­locked, ­Jesus came and s­ tood a­ mong them and said, “Peace v be with you!” w 27 Then he said to Thom­as, “Put your fin­ger here; see my ­hands. ­Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubt­ing and be­lieve.” x 28 Thom­as said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then J­ esus told him, “Be­cause you have seen me, you have be­lieved; y ­blessed are ­those who have not seen and yet have be­lieved.” z

20:25 t ver 20 u Mk 16:11

20:26 v Jn 14:27 w ver 21

20:27 x ver 25; Lk 24:40

20:29 y Jn 3:15 z 1Pe 1:8

20:30 a Jn 2:11

b Jn 21:25 20:31 c Jn 3:15; 19:35 d Mt 4:3 e Mt 25:46 21:1 f Jn 20:19, ​26 g Jn 6:1 21:2 h Jn 11:16

//The Purpose of John’s Gospel 30 Jesus per­ formed many oth­er ­signs a in the pres­ence of his dis­ci­ples, ­which are not re­cord­ed in this book. b 31 But ­these are writ­ten that you may be­lieve  a c that J­ esus is the Mes­si­ah, the Son of God, d and that by be­liev­ing you may have life in his name. e

//Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish


Af­ter­ward ­Jesus ap­peared ­again to his dis­ci­ples,  f by the Sea of Gal­i­lee. b g It hap­ pened this way: 2  Si­mon Pe­ter, Thom­as  h (also

i Jn 1:45 j Jn 2:1 k Mt 4:21

21:3 l Lk 5:5 21:4 m Lk 24:16; Jn 20:14

21:6 n Lk 5:4‑7 21:7 o Jn 13:23 21:9 p Jn 18:18 q ver 10, ​13

His resurrection, i.e., they were not gullible people predisposed to believing in resurrection. The point is they would not have fabricated it or hallucinated it, since they were so reluctant to believe even with the evidence they could see. 20:28 My Lord and my God! With these words, Thomas declared his firm belief in the resurrection and, therefore, the deity of J­esus the Messiah and Son of God (Titus 2:13). This is the greatest confession a person can make. Thomas’s confession functions as the fitting capstone of John’s purpose in writing (see vv. 30, 31).

John 21:11

­known as Did­y­mus  c  ), Na­than­a­el  i from Cana in Gal­i­lee,  j the sons of Zeb­e­dee, k and two oth­er dis­ci­ples were to­geth­er. 3 “I’m go­ing out to fish,” Si­mon Pe­ter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that n ­ ight they c­ aught noth­ing. l 4 Ear­ly in the morn­ing, ­Jesus ­stood on the ­shore, but the dis­ci­ples did not re­al­ize that it was ­Jesus. m 5 He ­called out to them, “Friends, h ­ aven’t you any fish?” “No,” they an­swered. 6 He said, “Throw your net on the ­right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were un­able to haul the net in be­cause of the ­large num­ber of fish. n 7 Then the dis­ci­ple whom ­Jesus ­loved o said to Pe­ter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Si­mon Pe­ter ­heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he ­wrapped his out­er gar­ment ­around him (for he had tak­en it off) and ­jumped into the wa­ter. 8 The oth­er dis­ ci­ples fol­lowed in the boat, tow­ing the net full of fish, for they were not far from ­shore, a­ bout a hun­dred ­yards.  d 9 When they land­ed, they saw a fire p of burn­ing ­coals ­there with fish on it, q and some bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11  So Si­mon Pe­ter ­climbed back into the boat and d­ ragged the net ­ashore. It was full of ­large fish, 153, but even with so a 31 Or may continue to believe    b 1 Greek Tiberias    c 2  Thomas (Aramaic) and Didymus (Greek) both mean twin.    d 8  Or about 90 meters   

question is answered in vv. 15–​17. 3) What about the future of the disciples now that they are without their Master? This question is answered in vv. 18, 19. 4) Was John going to die? J­esus answers this question in vv. 20–​23. 5) Why weren’t other things that ­Jesus did recorded by John? John gives the answer to that in vv. 24, 25. 21:1 Sea of Galilee. An alternate name for the Sea of Tiberias, found only in John (see 6:1). 21:2 Simon Peter. In all lists of the apostles, he is named first, indicating his general leadership of the group (e.g., Mt 10:2).

20:29 ­Jesus looked ahead to a time when such physical evidence as Thomas received would not be available. When ­Jesus ascended permanently to the Father, believers would come to saving faith without the privilege of seeing the resurrected Lord. J­esus pronounced a special blessing on those who believe without having Thomas’s privilege (1Pe 1:8, 9).

21:3 I’m going out to fish. The most reasonable explanation for Peter and the others to go to Galilee in order to fish was that they went in obedience to the Lord’s command to meet Him in Galilee (Mt 28:16). Peter and the others occupied themselves with fishing, which was their former livelihood, while they awaited ­Jesus’ appearance.

20:30, 31 These verses constitute the goal and purpose for which John wrote the gospel (see Introduction: Background and Setting).

21:4 This could be another instance in which the Lord kept His disciples from recognizing Him (20:14, 15; cf. Lk 24:16).

21:1–​25 John 21:1–​25 constitutes the epilogue or appendix of John’s gospel. While 20:30–​31 constitute the conclusion of the main body of the work, the information here at the end provides a balance to his prologue in 1:1–​18. The epilogue essentially answers five lingering questions. 1) Will ­Jesus no longer directly provide for His own (cf. 20:17)? This question is answered in vv. 1–​14. 2) What happened to Peter? Peter had denied Christ three times and fled. The last time Peter was seen was in 20:6–​8 where both he and John saw the empty tomb but only John believed (20:8). This

21:7 the disciple whom ­Jesus loved. John immediately recognized that the stranger was the risen Lord, for only He had such supernatural knowledge and power (v. 6). Peter impulsively jumped in and headed to see the Lord.

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21:9 fish . . . and some bread. Apparently, the Lord created this breakfast as He had created food for the multitudes (6:1–​13). 21:11 153. John’s recording of the precise number reinforces the fact that he was an eyewitness author of the events he recorded

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John 21:12

many the net was not torn. 12 ­Jesus said to them, “Come and have break­fast.” None of the dis­ci­ ples ­dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 ­Jesus came, took the ­bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. r 14 This was now the ­third time ­Jesus ap­ peared to his dis­ci­ples s af­ter he was r­ aised from the dead.




21:13 r ver 9 21:14 s Jn 20:19, ​26 21:15 t Mt 26:33, ​ 35; Jn 13:37

u Lk 12:32

21:16 v Mt 2:6;

Ac 20:28; 1Pe 5:2, ​3

//Jesus Reinstates Peter 15 When

they had fin­ished eat­ing, ­Jesus said to Si­mon Pe­ter, “Si­mon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” t Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” u 16 Again J­ esus said, “Si­mon son of John, do you love me?” He an­swered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” v 17 The ­third time he said to him, “Si­mon son of John, do you love me?” Pe­ter was hurt be­cause ­Jesus ­asked him the

21:17 w Jn 13:38

x Jn 16:30 y ver 16

21:19 z Jn 12:33; 18:32 a 2Pe 1:14

21:20 b ver 7;

Jn 13:23 c Jn 13:25

21:22 d Mt 16:27; 1Co 4:5; Rev 2:25

e ver 19

21:23 f Ac 1:16

t­ hird time, “Do you love me?” w He said, “Lord, you know all ­things; x you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my ­sheep. y 18 Very tru­ly I tell you, when you were youn­ger you ­dressed your­self and went w ­ here you want­ed; but when you are old you will s­tretch out your h ­ ands, and some­ one else will ­dress you and lead you ­where you do not want to go.” 19 ­Jesus said this to in­di­cate the kind of ­death z by ­which Pe­ter ­would glo­ri­fy God. a Then he said to him, “Fol­low me!” 20 Pe­ter ­turned and saw that the dis­ci­ple whom ­Jesus ­loved  b was fol­low­ing them. (This was the one who had l­eaned back a­ gainst J­esus at the sup­per and had said, “Lord, who is go­ing to be­ tray you?”) c 21 When Pe­ter saw him, he ­asked, “Lord, what ­about him?” 22 Jesus an­ swered, “If I want him to re­main ­alive un­til I re­turn,  d what is that to you? You must fol­low me.”  e 23 Be­cause of this, the ru­mor s­ pread ­among the be­liev­ers  f that this dis­ci­ple ­would not die. But J­ esus did not say that he ­would not die; he only said, “If I want him to re­main ­alive un­til I re­turn, what is that to you?” 24 This is the dis­ ci­ple who tes­ti­fies to ­these

(1Jn 1:1–​4). ­Jesus’ action here in providing the fish also indicated that He would still provide for His disciples’ needs (see Php 4:19; Mt 6:25–​33).

nourishing the sheep. This served as a reminder that the primary duty of the messenger of ­Jesus Christ is to teach the Word of God (2Ti 4:2). Acts 1–​12 records Peter’s obedience to this commission.

21:14 the third time. The reference to the “third time” refers only to the appearances reported in John’s gospel, i.e., the first being in 20:19–​23 and the second in 20:26–​29.

21:17 Peter was hurt. The third time ­Jesus asked Peter, He used Peter’s word for love that signified something less than total devotion, questioning even that level of love Peter thought he was safe in claiming (see note on vv. 15–​17). The lessons driven home to Peter grieved his heart, so that he sought for a proper understanding of his heart, not by what he said or had done, but based on the Lord’s omniscience (cf. 2:24, 25).

21:15–​17 The meaning of this section hinges upon the usage of two synonyms for love. In terms of interpretation, when two synonyms are placed in close proximity in context, a difference in meaning, however slight, is emphasized. When J­esus asked Peter if he loved Him, He used a word for love that signified total commitment. Peter responded with a word for love that signified his love for ­Jesus, but not necessarily his total commitment. This was not because he was reluctant to express that greater love, but because he had been disobedient and denied the Lord in the past. He was, perhaps, now reluctant to make a claim of supreme devotion when, in the past, his life did not support such a claim. ­Jesus pressed home to Peter the need for unswerving devotion by repeatedly asking Peter if he loved Him supremely. The essential message here is that J­esus demands total commitment from His followers. Their love for Him must place Him above their love for all else. J­esus confronted Peter with love because He wanted Peter to lead the apostles (Mt 16:18), but in order for Peter to be an effective shepherd, his overwhelming drive must exemplify supreme love for his Lord. 21:15, 16 more than these? This probably refers to the fish (v. 11) representing Peter’s profession as a fisherman, for he had gone back to it while waiting for J­esus (see v. 3). ­Jesus wanted Peter to love Him so supremely as to forsake all that he was familiar with and be exclusively devoted to being a fisher of men (Mt 4:19). The phrase may refer to the other disciples, since Peter had claimed he would be more devoted than all the others (Mt 26:33). Feed my lambs. The word “feed” conveys the idea of being devoted to the Lord’s service as an undershepherd who cares for His flock (see 1Pe 5:1–​4). The word has the idea of constantly feeding and

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21:18, 19 A prophecy of Peter’s martyrdom. ­Jesus’ call of devotion to Him would also mean that Peter’s devotion would entail his own death (Mt 10:37–​39). Whenever any Christian follows Christ, he must be prepared to suffer and die (Mt 16:24–​26). Peter lived three decades serving the Lord and anticipating the death that was before him (2Pe 1:12–​15), but he wrote that such suffering and death for the Lord brings praise to God (1Pe 4:14–​16). Church tradition records that Peter suffered martyrdom under Nero (ca. a.d. 67–​68), being crucified upside down, because he refused to be crucified like his Lord. 21:20–​22 J­esus’ prophecy regarding Peter’s martyrdom prompted Peter to ask what would happen to John (“the disciple whom J­esus loved”—​see 13:23). He may have asked this because of his deep concern for John’s future, since he was an intimate friend. ­Jesus’ reply, “You must follow me,” signified that Peter’s primary concern must not be John but his continued devotion to the Lord and His service, i.e., Christ’s service must be his all-consuming passion and nothing must detract from it. 21:22, 23 until I return. J­esus’ hypothetical statement for emphasis was that, if John lived until His second coming, it was none of Peter’s concern. He needed to live his own life in faithfulness, not compare it with any other. 21:24 the disciple who testifies. John is a personal witness of

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N ­things  g and who ­wrote them down. We know that his tes­ti­mo­ny is true. h 25 Jesus did many oth­er t­ hings as well. i If ev­ery

John 21:25

21:24 g Jn 15:27

one of them were writ­ten down, I sup­pose that even the ­whole ­world ­would not have room for the ­books that w ­ ould be writ­ten.

h Jn 19:35

21:25 i Jn 20:30

the truth of the events that he recorded. The “we” most likely is an editorial device referring only to John (see 1:14; 1Jn 1:1–​4; 3Jn 12), or it may include the collective witness of his apostolic colleagues.

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21:25 John explains that he had been selective rather than exhaustive in his testimony. Although selective, the truth revealed in John’s gospel is sufficient to bring anyone to faith in the Messiah and Son of God (14:26; 16:13).

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