Bible Commentaries
John 12

Gann's Commentary on the BibleGann on the Bible

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Verse 1

John 12:1

// Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9

Lazarus was with Jesus after his resurrection, we should also be with Jesus after our resurrection Romans 6:1-4

McGarvey - Jesus arrived in Bethany Friday afternoon, Mar 31, AD 30.

Verse 2

John 12:2

supper ... At the home of Simon the leper. (Jesus rejoiced; attended social events; wept; John 11:35 ; Romans 12:15 )

Verse 3

John 12:3

The Anointing

1. A work of Originality

a) Done for his burial before time - Matthew 26:12

2. A work of Gratitude

a) Jesus had raised her brother

3. An expensive Work - (Matthew 20:2; John 12:5)

a) But worth it

4. A Fearless work

a) Judas and others criticized her - Matthew 26:8-9

5. It was a Timely work - Mark 14:8

a) Done "aforetime"; Nicodemus brought his spice after Jesus was dead.

6. An Abundant work

a) His head - Mark 14:3

b) His feet - John 12:3

c) His body - Matthew 26:12

Verse 4

John 12:4

Lesson: Warning aginst followng an evil leader - Matthew 26:8-10; J 12:6

Verse 5

John 12:5

pence ... denarii; about a year’s wage for a rural worker. Matthew 20:2

Verse 6

John 12:6

The poor -- Judas was the one in the group of the apostles who kept the money bag from whence dispense was made to the poor and needy. John 12:6; John 13:29; Acts 3:6; These funds probably came from those who supported Jesus’ ministry Luke 8:3; Luke 24:10; and some were wealthy women like Joanna the wife of Chuza who was Herod’s steward.

Verse 7

John 12:7

cf John 19:40

12:7 kept this for the day of My burial. Mary performed this act to signal her devotion but, as in the case of Caiaphas (John 11:49-52), her act revealed more than she realized at the time.

Mary may have been aware of the Council’s plan to arrest and put Jesus to death. The Question is what was it Mary was to "keep"? 1) the "memory" of doing this toward the day of Jesus’ death; or 2) keep the rest of the spice for the day of his death? or 3) something else.

Some writers infer that Mary had not poured the whole ointment over Jesus, and Jesus intimates His approaching burial, for which the rest might be kept (Rup., Tuit). Others propose to read “that she may have kept it against the day of My burial;” but the Greek text hardly admits such a rendering. Others, again, interpret: “Let her alone, that she may keep this day as the day of My burial” (whether she prepares Me for it intentionally or unintentionally) (Thom. Aq., etc.).

Verse 8

John 12:8

You will always have the poor -- Seems to be Jesus’ reference back to Deuteronomy 15:11. It was not a disparaging remark concerning the poor but an emphasis on the Messiah’s presence of Jesus

Verse 9

John 12:9

Vs 9-11 Here we see friends and enemies of the Lord. Much like today. Which are we?

A new surge of excitement, new wave of faith, but at that moment enemies grown more bold and determined.

Psalms 23:5

Verse 10

John 12:10

Now they wanted two men dead!

Verse 11

John 12:11

Went away implies that these individuals were withdrawing from the Jewish leaders.

many -- believed --

Verse 12

John 12:12

Vs. 12-14 Triumphal Entry

(Recorded in all four gospels)

Verse 13

John 12:13

They did not understand His kingdom. John 18:36; cf Revelation 7:9

Hosanna -- "save us now" An exclamanation of praise.

Jesus is on His throne now!

Verse 14

John 12:14

Found ... Jesus borrowed a boat for his pulpit on one occasion; a manger for his bed; a room for the passover; a grave temporarily for his body.

Jesus may have made previous arrangements for the loan of the animal. Matthew 21:1-3; Mark 11:1-6; Luke 19:29-34; It certainly appears the ower knew whom the "Master" was whom the disciples referred to in their request to use the animal.

The issue here is the miracle of the Lord’s foreknowledge about the location of the animal and info about its owner.

young donkey ... The horse was a symbol of war, the donkey a symbol of peace.

Sat theron ... His saddle was garments. Matthew 21:7; Mark 11:7-8

Verse 15

John 12:15

Zechariah 9:9;

1 Kings 1:33 Solomon at his inauguration rode a mule.

Judges 10:4 Leaders, princes, and the wealthy apparently often rode asses.

The ass is not the "king of beasts" but the beast of kings.

Verse 16

John 12:16

understood not ... It is acknowledged by John that the twelve did not understand all the signifiance of this then, but did later.

* This is the occasion that Jesus wept over the city, Luke 19:41 ff; (Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:34-35;)

Verse 19

John 12:19

world gone after him... NIV "See, this is getting us nowhere..." EVD "Our plan is not helping us..." cf NCV.

"Our plan has just been shot to pieces!..."

Lesson: Are you going after Christ? Or after the world?

Verse 20

John 12:20

Greeks ... Probably "God-fearers" not fully proslyted to Judaism. The term is often used in the sense of Gentile, not necessarily ethnic Greeks.

Some think they were Hellenistic Jews.

v. 20 Greeks ... came... John’s hint of the coming time when also the Gentiles would worship God through Christ, cf. John 12:32 "all men" to be drawn to Him.

Verse 21

John 12:21

Philip ...a Greek name, "lover of horses"

and began to ask him... This is imperfect tense which means they asked over and over again.

to see ... an interview, to know; G1492 "know" John 1:26; John 1:31

1. Many people wanted to see Jesus, cf John 1, 2, 3

Luke 19:3 Zacchaeus, John 20:25 Thomas

2. The world needs to see Jesus

3. How can Jesus be seen?

The Bible, church, home, Christians

Verse 22

John 12:22

Andrew ... (Philip and Andrew are Greek name) "Operation Andrew" - he is most often seen bringing people to Jesus

1) Peter, John 1:40-41; 2) boy with fish, John 6:8-9; 3) Greeks, John 12:20-22;

Verse 23

John 12:23

them ... the Greeks, John 12:32, Jesus again intimates that His death will result in a fruitful harvest (among the Gentiles also).

Several times John noted that Jesus’ time had not yet come (John 2:4; John 7:6, John 7:8, John 7:30; John 8:20). Then in His intercessory prayer, just before the Cross, He began, “Father, the time has come” (John 17:1; cf. John 12:23, John 12:27; John 13:1 cf. J 16:32).

Verse 24

John 12:24

Jesus begins speaking of His death.

die ... The germ doesn’t but the husk does.

The grain perishes as grain if there is to be a plant that brings forth a harvest.

Lesson: Are we "sown" or just seed in a sack?

Verse 27

John 12:27

agony ... like in the garden Matthew 26:38; Mark 14:34; Luke 22:44;

troubled ... The humanity and divinity of our Lord is blended.

Jesus faced becoming a sin offering for the people. He rejects praying for this deliverance.

Verse 28

John 12:28

Voice... 1) at His baptism Matthew 3:17; 2) at the transfiguration Matthew 17:5; 3) in the temple, John 12:28;

Verse 29

John 12:29

angel ... Hebrews 2:2; Galatians 3:19; (In ancient Jewish stories God often answered prayer by sending angels.)

Verse 31

John 12:31

"of this world" = "on this world"

prince of this world ... Now is the time for the overthrow of Satan’s power. The "binding of Satan" cf. Rev 20.2; This happens with Christ’s victory over the grave.

cf. Matthew 12:29; Luke 11:20-21; Colossians 2:14-15; Luke 10:18; Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8;

Verse 32

John 12:32

Lifted up ... 1) in death on the cross, cf John 12:33; the context here.

2) at his resurrection, Matthew 28:1-8

3) at the ascension, Acts 1:8-10

4) to a place of honor Ephesians 1:19-23

5) in our lives, Philippians 1:20

The cross was the supreme exaltation of Jesus by men.

all men ... Gentiles as well as Jews.

Verse 34

law ... their reference to Old Testament scripture.

abideth forever ... Psalms 89:36-37

Son of man? -- This is the only place it is used by others. It was not a standard title or Messianic designation within Judaism.

who is this Son of man? --

The crowd was puzzled. If the Messiah is the Son of Man, then He should be here forever, they reasoned. Daniel 7:13-14 spoke of the Son of Man’s everlasting dominion. Perhaps the people wondered if He was making a distinction between the Messiah (Christ) and the Son of Man. Did He use the term “Son of Man” differently than its sense in Daniel 7:13? They seemed to understand that Jesus was predicting His death, but they could not see how that was possible, if He was the Messiah. - BKC

Verse 35

John 12:35

light -- darkness ... Often contrasted, universally understand as good vs evil, etc. John 12:46, John 1:5-9, John 8:12, John 9:5; Romans 13:12-14; Ephesians 5:8, Ephesians 5:14-15; 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8; 1 John 1:6-7

(the Dead Sea Scrolls also extensively made this contrast.)

Verse 37

John 12:37

v. 37 Summary by John (see John 12:44 for Summary by Jesus)

vs 37-50 - A Summar of Christ’s Ministry

Ch. 13-17 Christ and His Apostles alone

Ch. 18-21 Death, crucifixion, resurrection and appearances

Verse 38

John 12:38

who has believed ... Isaiah 53:1 ff There is a wide range of meaning about "believing", some rulers (priests) "believed" but did not confess Christ.

Verse 39

John 12:39

could not believe -- Doesn’t mean the people had no choice, but they purposely rejected Christ and chose evil. cf. Isaiah 6:10

Verse 40

He has blinded their eyes . . Isaiah 6:10. Isaiah was told to go and proclaim the truth that would result in them blinding their eyes. God knew that because of the hardness of their hearts that their eye would be blinded. God knew this would be the result because He knew these people to whom Isaiah was to preach.

that they should not see . . This does not mean that it was the design of God that they should not be converted, but that it was the effect of their rejecting the message. See Matthew 13:14-15.

Verse 41

John 12:41

John explains that Isaiah’s vision of God was the Son, Jesus.

Isaiah = The Messianic Prophet

Verse 43

John 12:43

praise ... "glory" "reputation" "honor"; contrasted with Jesus’ glory John 12:23.

Verse 44

John 12:44

Jesus cried ... Jesus preached (with a loud voice).

Summary by Jesus

Verse 46

John 12:46

I am come ... This points to his preexistence and His mission.

Verse 47

John 12:47

I did not come ... At His second coming he will be Judge, Acts 17:31; Luke 19:10 Judging was not the purpose of this coming.

Verse 48

John 12:48

*** A most important verse, it reveals the standard or criteria for the judgment.

The Jews thought the Law of Moses would be God’s standard.

See Acts 17:31; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:12

Verse 49

John 12:49

Not spoken of myself ... Jesus’ message was not by His own authority, but was the Father’s

the Father who sent ... Jesus was the Father’s Apostle Hebrews 3:1. Ambassadors were to be recevied with honor and were to accurately represent their sender. Therefore, to reject Christ is to reject God.

say ... = contents

speak ... = the manner of saying it.

what I say, what I speak ... τί εἴπω καὶ τί λαλήσω. both the substance and the form of His words are suggested by the two verbs; but it seems simpler to treat them as identical in meaning here (see λαλῶ, v. 50), the repetition being in the style of dignity (See NIV, NLT).

Verse 50

John 12:50

Life everlasting ... to "whosoever will" Revelation 22:17; This meant life in the world to come.

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on John 12". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. 2021.