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Bible Commentaries
John 12

Gaebelein's Annotated BibleGaebelein's Annotated

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Verses 1-50


1. The Feast at Bethany. (John 12:1-8 .)

2. The Entrance into Jerusalem. (John 12:9-19 .)

3. The Inquiring Greeks and His Answer. (John 12:20-33 .)

4. His Final Words. (John 12:34-50 .)

From the close of the previous chapter we learn that the Lord had gone with His disciples to a city called Ephraim. Six days before the Passover He came to Bethany again. They made Him a feast. Lazarus is especially mentioned as well as Martha, who served; Mary also was present with others who were of His disciples. It is a beautiful type of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, when He will have His own with Him. Lazarus represents the Saints risen from the dead, the others represent the Saints who never died, but are changed in a moment. Service is represented in Martha. Fellowship they had together in the feast with the Lord, and worship in Mary, who anointed His feet. The Synoptics record the fact that she also anointed His head; she did both and there is no discrepancy. She was deeply attached to Him and knew of the threatening danger which hung over Him as Man. She did not know the full meaning of her beautiful act, but the Lord knew and said: “Against the day of my burying hath she kept this.” And how He appreciated her love and devotion, though she had not the full intelligence of all it meant. It is devotion to Himself our Lord appreciates most in His people. Well has it been said, “She learned at His feet what she poured out there.”

A large number of Jews came to Bethany to see Him, while others came out of curiosity to see Lazarus. Then the wicked chief priests held a consultation that they might put Lazarus also to death. We do not hear another word about Lazarus after this.

His triumphant entrance into Jerusalem followed. The account of it in John’s Gospel is very brief. The people welcome Him with the Messianic welcome, “Hosanna! (Save now.) Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.” That shout will be heard again in Jerusalem and then it will not be followed by the awful cry, “Crucify Him!” When He comes in power and glory as Israel’s King the believing remnant of His people will welcome Him by the same word. (See Matthew 23:39 .) Zechariah’s prophecy (Zechariah 9:9 ) is quoted in part, and that which was unfulfilled is omitted. But the disciples did not understand it, nor did they know that they were fulfilling prophecy. Only after “Jesus was glorified” (John 12:16 ) did they remember these things. The resurrection of Lazarus played an important part in His triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. Those who stood by and saw the miracle done, bore witness, and others met Him because they heard of the miracle. The testimony of His enemies was: “Behold the world is gone after Him.”

Then Greeks (Gentiles) inquired after Him, “Sir, we would see Jesus.” How great was His triumph! There was no answer to those Greeks. Before the Gentiles could come to Him, He would have to die. The hour then had come when He, the Son of Man, should be glorified. He meant the Cross and that which follows the suffering, His resurrection and ascension. By His death as Son of Man He acquired Glory and receives ultimately the Kingdoms of this world, the nations and the uttermost parts of the earth for His inheritance. He, therefore, speaks of Himself as the grain of wheat. If there is to be fruit from the one grain of wheat it must fall in to the ground and die. The grain of wheat has life in itself and when it is put into the ground that life is carried through death, to be reproduced in the many grains of wheat. The Life had to pass through death so that it might be communicated to others. The fruit springs from His death and resurrection. What a wonderful sacrifice He brought in giving His life! Believers possess the life of the grain of wheat, which passed through death and therefore are to follow Him and manifest it in a practical way. That is why He adds: “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be; if any man serve Me, him will My Father honor.” Giving up, self-denial, the path He went is our path. But how glorious the promised reward!

Then He looked forward to the Cross and His soul was troubled. “Father, save Me from this hour!” This was His prayer, much like that in Gethsemane. But He also adds at once, “for this cause came I unto this hour.” He had come to die. The next request, “Father, glorify Thy Name,” is at once answered by the voice from heaven. The Father’s Name had been glorified by the Son, in a special manner the Father’s Name was glorified in the resurrection of Lazarus. The glorification in the future, “and will glorify it,” took place “when Christ was raised up from the dead through the glory of the Father.” (Romans 6:4 .)

The chapter closes with the final words of our Lord to the people. Many of the chief-rulers believed on Him without making an open confession. The last words He speaks before He gathers His own around Himself are concerning the Father Who sent Him.

Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on John 12". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/john-12.html. 1913-1922.
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