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Tuesday, May 28th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
John 12

Harvey's Notes on the Gospel of JohnHarvey's Notes on John

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Verse 1

John 12:1

Jesus had been resorting in the small country town of Ephraim (see notes on John 11:55), because the Jews (see notes on John 1:19) were plotting to arrest Him (John 11:54). They had wondered if Jesus would come down out of the country to attend the Passover feast in Jerusalem (John 11:56). If He did, perhaps they could use the opportunity to arrest Jesus there (John 11:57). However, Jesus went to Bethany and visited Lazarus before attending the feast in Jerusalem.

See notes on John 2:13 about the Passover.

This verse helps to establish a time line (see notes on John 20:17) regarding Jesus’ final days leading up to His death at Calvary.

Verse 2

John 12:2

At Lazarus’ family home, Jesus was treated to a supper made by His friends. As was her usual behavior, Martha served (Luke 10:40). Mary would typically want to sit at Jesus’ feet (Luke 10:39), but she wasn’t at the table as would be expected. Although Mary’s absence seems unusual, we learn the reason why she wasn’t in attendance in verse three (see notes on John 12:3). Mary wasn’t there, but Lazarus was mentioned as one of the people eating with Jesus.

How incredible though. A man that was dead for four days only a short time ago (John 11:17) was listed as one of the people sitting at the table with Jesus. He had been dead for four days and had likely begun to stink of rotting flesh (John 11:39), but Jesus had brought him back to life (John 11:43). The formerly dead showed signs of life and was enjoying time with Jesus.

We disciples too were once spiritually dead, but we are now reborn. Our former existence stunk with the smell of sin and death (Psalms 115:6, Ecclesiastes 10:1, Isaiah 3:24, Amos 5:21, James 1:15), and, by any reasoning, our decay should have continued. However, the natural course of deterioration had been interrupted by the saving power of Christ. We now should show signs of life and enjoy time with the Lord also.

Verse 3

John 12:3

Mary wasn’t at the table with Jesus (see notes on John 12:2), because she had been retrieving an expensive (John 12:5) “ointment of spikenard.” John 12:5 told us it was worth at least three hundred pence. A pence was equal to a day’s wages (Matthew 20:2), so one would have to work almost a year, and save every bit of the income, in order to buy it.

Spikenard is a compound word made up of two words, spike and nard. Spike is from the Greek word “pistikos,” which means “genuineG4101.” This wasn’t an imitation nard or a cheap generic version of nard. This was the genuine article. Nard is from the Greek word “nard, G3487” and nard comes from the Hebrew word “nerd, H5373” which means “aromatic.” Apparently, it had such a strong aroma that the scent could be detected throughout the home.

Jesus would later wash the feet of His disciples on the night of His arrest, but this moment was for Him. Mary anointed His feet with the expensive unguent, and then she wiped it off with her hair. People must’ve been able to detect the scent on Mary for days afterward. Imagine, everywhere that she went she carried with her the aroma of her service towards Jesus. Mary blessed Jesus, and, as a result, she shared the same aroma with Christ for days.

What do you smell like? Do you reek of selfishness or of service?

Mary’s gift was reminiscent of a similar gesture recorded in Luke 7:36-45, and four days later another woman poured expensive anointment on Jesus’ head in the house of Simon the Leper (Matthew 26:1-10, Mark 14:1-9).

Verse 4

John 12:4

It could have been Martha, but it was one of The Twelve (see notes on John 20:24) that objected to the lavish treatment Mary was offering to the Lord (John 12:5). Incredulously, one of The Twelve would deny his master the worship Jesus deserved in favor of the money he could personally gain from it (John 12:6). Judas would later betray Jesus openly to the Jews (see notes on John 1:19), but he was already turning on Him in his heart. Later, it would also be money that would motivate Judas to betray Jesus and cause him to hand over the messiah to torture and death (Matthew 26:15).

Judas was a pretender. He pretended to be the friend of the poor, and he pretended to be Jesus’ friend (Luke 22:48), but he would sell out even the priceless master of the universe for just a little cash (Zechariah 11:12-13).

Verse 5

John 12:5

A pound of any anointment is significant, but this spikenard was also “very costly.” To Judas, it seemed a waste to simply use it all at once on one man’s feet (John 12:4-5). Judas’ objection, although couched in a caring rational towards those that are needy, was actually based in greed (John 12:6).

Four days later, Judas would witness a similar act wrought upon Jesus by another woman (Matthew 26:1-13, Mark 14:1-9) and seeing the “waste” a second time in a matter of a few days would trigger his resolve to betray his master (Matthew 26:14-16, Mark 14:10-11).

Notice too how the objection to the lavish display of worship had spread from Judas into some of the other disciples on that second occasion. It was only Judas that expressed his dismay about the “waste” at supper with Lazarus (John 12:4-5), but in Simon’s home there would be more voices joining the chorus of dissent (Matthew 26:8-9, Mark 14:4-5). Be careful and watchful, because objections to acts of ministry, especially those that are intended to bless ministers of the Gospel, can multiply in a body of believers as a virus infects its human host.

Verse 6

John 12:6

Judas, the appointed treasurer of the group, had been pilfering from the ministry’s funds. His theft had been so complete that there was nothing left in the treasury. Jesus had given trust over the money to Judas, and Judas betrayed that trust (Luke 6:16). Judas’ betrayal of Jesus had begun much earlier than the night our Lord was kissed in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:48), and Judas’ treachery was consistently over money (Matthew 27:9, 1 Timothy 6:10).

Be mindful that not everyone who says they are for the poor actually mean it. How much of the money contributed to the cause of the needy are they really taking for themselves? It is a problem as old as sinful man.

Verse 7

John 12:7

Jesus told Judas that Mary had been saving the expensive spikenard for anointing Jesus’ body in preparation for burial. Why then would she use it before He was dead? We may plan to bless some people later on, but there is no time like right now. She decided it was best to pour out her praise while He was yet with her (John 12:8).

Notice also that Mary not only perceived that Jesus had prophesied of His own upcoming death, but had acted in faith upon her belief in what He had said to the point that she secured and then preserved the anointment for His embalmment. Jesus said that His death was the reason. We need not wonder if Mary fully understood the prophetic statements of her Lord. It is enough to know that she put her faith in Jesus’ word.

Mary showed a progressive kind of faith. She had seen through faith’s eye the near future, and she had acted upon it. Then she showed an aggressive kind of faith. She moved forward with her plan to anoint the Lord despite her original timetable.

Be flexible in ministry. Be willing to adjust your plans, but not your faith.

Another woman would anoint Him on the head in preparation for burial four days later (Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9). Consequently, Jesus had been anointed head to toe (Isaiah 1:2-6).

Verse 8

John 12:8

Judas wasn’t really interested in helping the poor (see notes on John 12:7). Still, even if your heart is sincerely focused on loving others, don’t let even your work in serving the poor come before your personal relationship with Jesus. Don’t let your ministry for Jesus come between you and Jesus.

Verse 9

John 12:9

There started to be a strong movement towards belief in Jesus among the Jewish leadership, because of the Lazarus resurrection (John 11:45, John 12:11). Some of the believing Jews came to Jesus, but they were also curious to see the living, breathing miracle still functioning as if Lazarus had never died.

Many people will be curious to see if our resurrection sticks too. Will we slip back into death, or will we continue to live with and for Jesus?

Verse 10

John 12:10

Their hearts were so drenched in delusion that perceiving other Jewish leaders moving towards Jesus (see notes on John 12:9) didn’t cause them to consider change also. Instead, they thought of eliminating not only Jesus but Lazarus as well. Walking in darkness, the Chief Priests were manipulated to fulfill the wishes of the one who seeks to kill (John 10:10). All martyred believers in Christ are killed because of their potential damage to the devil’s dominion over the hearts of unbelievers, and the desire to destroy believers often comes in the guise of protecting the status quo (John 12:11).

Verse 11

John 12:11

See notes on John 12:9-10.

Verse 12

John 12:12

The day before, Jesus had been in Bethany spending the evening with Lazarus and his family (John 12:1-2). There had been many Jews there too (John 12:9-11). Perhaps many people were privy to hearing Jesus’ plans to return to Jerusalem the following day.

Verse 13

John 12:13

Jesus had reached celebrity status. His fame, and the stories of the works He had done, had sparked a gathering of fans upon hearing of His plans to be on the road to Jerusalem (John 12:11).

There was scriptural support in the Law for the use of palm branches to celebrate before the Lord (Leviticus 23:40), and the people wanted to rejoice over what the Lord had done so far through the ministry of Jesus. As He approached, they shouted salutations as if He were a King ... their king. The people had thought to make Jesus king before (John 6:15). They perceived though that this king came in the name of the Lord.

Verse 14

John 12:14

The people had been calling Jesus “King of Israel” (John 12:13), and John referred back to a prophecy in Zechariah 9:9, where Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem on that day had been foretold. John wrote that Jesus had found the colt, but the other three gospels give more details (Matthew 21:1-7, Mark 11:1-7, Luke 19:29-35).

The word “found,” by the way, was translated from the Greek word heurisko, pronounced hyoo-ris’-ko G2147, and it means, “to find (literally or figuratively): - find, get, obtain, perceive, see.” Jesus perceived the colt was tied, and He obtained it through the obedience of the two disciples He had sent to get it.

Verse 15

John 12:15

John quoted Zechariah 9:9. See notes on John 12:14.

Verse 16

John 12:16

John admitted that he and his brethren didn’t understand what was happening then, or its significance, nor its fulfillment of past prophecy. At the time, it must have seemed very gratifying to at last see their master receive the acclaim and recognition they believed He deserved. It wasn’t until later, “when Jesus was glorified,” that the bigger picture began to come into view.

Often times we don’t fully understand the purposes or the full impact of what is going on around us until much later. The saying that “hind sight is 20-20” is proof of our incompetence to grasp at the time exactly what is happening around us or even to us. We really do walk in a kind of blind faith that we somehow are in control over our own destinies. Later on, we recall events and realize we were merely bumping into things and haphazardly stumbling through our lives. Since our days are a chronology of one groping step after another in the fog of our own rational, it is better to trust in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5).

Verse 17

John 12:17

The significance of this statement is that John wrote these words. Why do I say that? If John was still alive, it is reasonable to presume that there were others also that had seen the same events and were yet living when these words were circulated among the people. The words were not refuted as a false claim, but they were supported as a matter of record. It actually happened!

Verse 18

John 12:18

The people, not “the Jews” (the Jewish leadership -- see notes on John 1:19, John 7:1, John 7:20), came to see this great miracle worker. Perhaps they hoped to see something great that day as well, and they joined Jesus as soon as He descended from Bethany (John 12:1) at the Mount of Olives (Luke 19:37).

Verse 19

John 12:19

The Pharisees, the conservative party of the Palestinian leadership (see notes on John 8:3), began to turn on each other. They pointed the blame for their inability to squelch or halt the Jesus movement at one another. Regardless of whose door the fault must rest at, the movement appeared to be unstoppable. Their exasperation is evident by their exaggeration of Jesus’ following. A multitude of people were indeed there, and there were also some Greeks throwing palm branches as well (John 12:20), but the whole “world?”

Having Greeks among the worshipers was evidence though that the movement was spreading into even other cultures. The threat presented by Jesus’ apparent willingness to change the current system was now infiltrating other parts of the Roman Empire. Their fear caused them to protest the exuberant display of His followers, and they suggested He silence the mob (Luke 19:39).

The chastising of Jesus from the leaders of His own people struck at His heart once again, because of their inward wickedness and deceit. As His troubled heart had earlier precipitated tears due to their treachery near the grave of His friend (see notes on John 11:35), Jesus cried over their unbelief (Luke 19:40-44).

Verse 20

John 12:20

The Greeks had come to Jerusalem not to see Jesus, but to worship with the Jewish people at Passover. They were evidently not Jewish people living abroad. They were foreign converts to Judaism. Having learned of Jesus however, they were caught up in the excitement and celebration of His entry into the holy city and had joined the throng in throwing palms before the Lord (see notes on John 12:19).

Verse 21

John 12:21

Why would the Greeks at the scene come to Philip? Why didn’t they approach Peter or James or John? There were other Galileans among The Twelve (see notes on John 20:24).

Perhaps, the answer lies within the fact that John mentioned Bethsaida. Although others in The Twelve were also from Bethsaida (John 1:44), an important event took place there in which Jesus highlighted Philip. It was at Bethsaida that Jesus miraculously fed the multitude with very little food (Luke 9:10-17). With all those people present, Jesus chose Philip to ask how they could afford to buy enough bread to feed so many (John 6:5-7). The Greeks may have thought to ask Philip, because they were familiar with his closeness to the Lord.

Another factor adding to their comfort level with approaching Philip rather than any of the others may simply have been his Greek name. Philip shared the same name as Alexander the Great’s father. *

*Bruce M. Metzger, Michael D. Coogan, editors, The Oxford Companion To The Bible, (Oxford University Press, 1993), 19.

Verse 22

John 12:22

Spurred by Greek inquirers (see notes on John 12:21), Philip consulted with Andrew and got Andrew to approach Jesus with him. He likely went to Andrew, because Philip and Andrew had come from the same town (John 1:44), they both bore Greek names and they had been together with Jesus at the great Feeding of the Multitude miracle in Bethsaida (John 6:5-10).

Verse 23

John 12:23

Philip and Andrew came with the message that Greeks had asked to see Jesus (John 12:21). Some lesser men might have gloried in the international fame, but Jesus had another message. He was indeed to be glorified, but not through acclaim or recognition. His message was that “redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28). His glorification would come from the Father (John 17:5), whom Jesus sought to glorify (John 17:1-4).

At the beginning of His ministry Jesus said it wasn’t yet His hour (John 2:4). Later on, He felt it necessary to repeat the same observation to His brothers in John 7:6. Now, having entered into His final days, Jesus declared that the time was at hand.

Verse 24

John 12:24

In other words, if Jesus didn’t go through with His mission, He could continue dwelling on the Earth. However, He was separated from His home and His Father in Heaven, and He was alone upon the Earth (Matthew 8:20, Luke 9:58). He was the only seed of God (John 3:16). However, if He goes through with the plan to be the seed that dies and is planted into the Earth, he will be the first among many brethren (Romans 8:29, Colossians 1:15-18). Christ was the firstfruit (1 Corinthians 15:20-23).

Verse 25

John 12:25

Having foretold His upcoming death through the metaphor of the wheat seed (John 12:24), Jesus gave His reasoning in answer to the as yet unasked question, “Don’t you want to live?”

Verse 26

John 12:26

If Philip and Andrew had been cautious about whether or not Jesus would want to acknowledge or accept the company of gentile enthusiasts, this statement alleviated all such concerns. To His all inclusive saying, “if any man,” He added, “let him follow me.” Going further still, Jesus told them that any servant of Christ, essentially Jew or Greek (Romans 1:16, Romans 10:12, Galatians 3:28, Colossians 3:11), will be glorified by the Father (Colossians 3:24).

Verse 27

John 12:27

Jesus used the same word, “troubled,” that John used in John 11:33 to describe Jesus’ agitation due to the mourners over Lazarus. In that earlier verse, “groaned” was coupled with “troubled” to illustrate Jesus’ indignation at the scene. Here though, Jesus isn’t angered. His emotions were simply stirred up, and in telling us so, He revealed His human frailty (2 Corinthians 13:4).

His mortal life was coming to an end (Psalms 88:3). He would be put to death (1 Peter 3:18). It was to be a painfully torturous death (Luke 24:26, Acts 17:3, 1 Peter 2:21-23). He was to be humiliated (Isaiah 53:3, Matthew 27:25-31, Luke 18:32, Luke 23:11, Luke 23:36, Galatians 6:7), beaten (Luke 22:63-64, John 18:22), whipped (Matthew 27:26, Mark 15:15, John 19:1), forsaken (Matthew 26:40, Matthew 26:56, Matthew 27:46, Mark 14:37, Mark 14:50, Mark 15:34, Luke 22:54-60, John 16:32) and then nailed to a tree (Psalms 22:16-17, Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24, John 19:18, Acts 5:30, Acts 10:38-39, Galatians 3:13, 1 Peter 2:24).

Perceiving the end bothered Him, but why should He quit now that it was getting hard? He was born to die (Hebrews 2:14). What He is about to face is the whole point of His time on Earth as a man.

Verse 28

John 12:28

Jesus declared His intent to do the will of the Father to the glory of the Father, and He submitted Himself as an instrument of the Father’s glory. He had thought of His own looming pain (see notes on John 12:27), but Jesus changed His focus from His own situation to the will of the Father and the glory of His name. In response to that act of obedience and that declaration of commitment, the Father chose to speak in an audible voice before everyone present directly to His Son (see notes on John 12:29).

In the Father’s reply is a great truth. All of creation is both full of His glory and glorifies Him (Isaiah 6:3). However, Jesus spoke of glory to the Father’s name and so too does the reply. Jesus came in the father’s name (John 5:43). By glorifying the Son, the Father is glorified also (John 13:31-32, John 17:4-6).

The audible voice from heaven itself glorified the Son (2 Peter 1:17), and the Father gave the Son glory through His voice on three occasions; at His baptism (Matthew 3:17), His transfiguration (Matthew 17:5), and by His reply in this verse. This glorification of the Son was to encourage Him as He faced the cross (Hebrews 2:9).

Verse 30

John 12:30

Although the words spoken encouraged Jesus, the Father could have simply spoken to His spirit, and it would have been indiscernible by the people standing there. Since it was heard by everyone, the message was intended for all of us. The message brings to us all the glory of Christ (see notes on John 12:28).

With the record of God’s reply, together with all creation, we have enough evidence of the glory of God to be inexcusable and it leaves us unable to claim ignorance before the judgment throne (Romans 1:20).

Verse 31

John 12:31

The world has been judged and found guilty of sin against God (Romans 3:19). The punishment for sin is death (Romans 6:23). Each sin is enough to bring death (Isaiah 3:11, James 1:15), but we have only one life in which to pay the penalty. We have more death than life to exchange for it (James 2:10). Therefore, we are unable to redeem ourselves. Only the life of the Lamb of God will do (John 1:36). Jesus is our redeemer (Titus 2:13-14). His life covers all the debt (Matthew 18:32).

Long before Christ came into the world, the devil was cast out of Heaven (Ezekiel 28:16, Luke 10:18, Revelation 12:9-10) together with a third of the angelic host (Daniel 8:9-12, Revelation 12:4, Revelation 12:7-9). These once powerful heavenly beings were forced to roam the Earth in a fallen condition (Job 1:7, Job 2:2, 1 Peter 5:8), but they were still allowed authority and power, and they established governments amongst themselves (Ephesians 6:12). The devil himself bears titles that exhibit his offices (Ephesians 2:2). One of these offices is the “prince of this world,” or the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Adam and Eve was given the Earth to rule over (Genesis 1:26-30), but they gave the devil this authority in exchange for the forbidden fruit (Genesis 2:16-17). Consequently, the devil wasn’t lying when he told Jesus it had all been given to him and he could give it to whomever he wished (Luke 4:6).

The good news is that Jesus overcame the devil, and the devil’s kingdom now belongs to Christ (Revelation 11:5, Revelation 12:11). He cast out the devil and his authority, and the kingdom is now for us again (Matthew 12:28, Mark 1:15, Luke 9:2, Luke 11:20, John 3:3, Acts 8:12, Acts 14:22), because we share “joint heir” status with Jesus (Romans 8:17, Revelation 3:21, Revelation 21:7).

Verse 32

John 12:32

Jesus’ statement is beautiful and prophetic and profound, but it also hints of the struggle already rising within Him as to final scene of His physical life on Earth. He said, “… if,” as though there are conditions. The implication is that He had not yet fully committed to the inevitable (Hebrews 5:8). Later He will plainly seek an alternative, if at all possible, to the gruesome and humiliating spectacle He must suffer through (Matthew 26:39, Matthew 26:42, Mark 14:36, Luke 22:42). Thankfully He submitted to the plan, laden with misery and pain, to obtain the joy on the other side (Hebrews 12:2).

Jesus would soon be lifted up from the Earth on a cross (John 3:14, John 8:28, Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24, John 19:18), and that same imagery thousands of years later still compels the lost to consider Him (Romans 2:4, 2 Corinthians 7:10).

Verse 33

John 12:33

Jesus was prophesying about not only His death but the method that would be used to kill Him (see notes on John 12:32).

Verse 34

John 12:34

Many had come to believe Jesus was the Christ (John 11:45). If Jesus was the Christ, and the Christ will never die (Isaiah 9:7, Daniel 7:14, Daniel 7:27), they reasoned, then Jesus isn’t the “Son of man.” “Who then, was this other person,” they wondered?

Verse 35

John 12:35

In John 12:34, it is obvious that they still didn’t understand. They required a light to illuminate their darkness (Matthew 4:16, Luke 1:79, John 11:9-10, 1 Corinthians 4:5, Ephesians 5:13-14, 2 Timothy 1:10, 1 John 2:10). Jesus is the light (Luke 2:32, John 1:4, John 1:9, John 8:12, John 12:46, Acts 26:13-18, 1 John 1:5, 1 John 2:8, Revelation 21:23, Revelation 22:5), and He was right there with them (John 1:5, John 9:5, 1 Thessalonians 5:5). His time on Earth was now coming to an end. Jesus encouraged them to make certain they are in the light (Acts 26:23, 2 Corinthians 4:6, 2 Corinthians 6:14, 1 Peter 2:9, 1 John 1:7, 1 John 2:9), so that His death would not destroy their faith. Why would one willingly walk in darkness after having walked knowingly in the light (John 3:19, Ephesians 5:8)?

Verse 36

John 12:36

Christ will abide forever (Psalms 72:17-19, Psalms 145:13, Hebrews 1:8, 2 Peter 1:11), so there is no need to walk in darkness. One needs only to accept His light through belief (by reliance on and placing full confidence and trust in Him ... see notes on John 3:15-16). Once accepting Jesus’ light, walk in it (Ephesians 5:8) and be children of the light rather than darkness (1 Thessalonians 5:5). Be true believers full of true belief.

After telling the people His time on Earth was short, Jesus gave them an example of what He was talking about. By hiding Himself, Jesus showed them a moment without the physical presence of God. Jesus spoke, and then He departed (Mark 16:19, Luke 24:50-51, Acts 1:9).

Verse 37

John 12:37

Now we see how transient feelings of belief can be. Some of the people once believed in Jesus because of the miracles (John 2:23, John 6:2, John 7:31, John 9:16, Acts 2:22), but despite the miracles ... their feelings of belief had not translated into true belief (see notes on John 12:36). Miracles are not reason or motivation enough to compel lasting change. There must be a miracle worked within our own hearts (Luke 8:12, Acts 8:37, Romans 10:9-10, Hebrews 3:12).

Verse 38

John 12:38

The scripture John referred to was Isaiah 53:1, which is the first few lines of an entire section describing Jesus (Isaiah 53:1-12). Isaiah had prophesied about Jesus, and His prophetic vision, given to him by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21), was fulfilled. All true revelation from God must be brought about (John 10:35, Acts 1:16, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). God’s word is true (Romans 1:24-25, Romans 3:7). God does not lie (Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29, Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:18), and, regardless of our perceptions, the truth of holy utterance remains the same (Malachi 3:6, Matthew 5:18, Hebrews 13:8).

Verse 39

John 12:39

Since God had said in His word that they wouldn’t believe (Isaiah 53:1, see notes on John 12:40) they couldn’t believe. For them to believe would have made God a liar (Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29, Habakkuk 2:3, Luke 21:33, Romans 3:4, Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:18, James 1:17) and His word untrue (see notes on John 12:38).

Verse 40

John 12:40

Isaiah prophesied in scripture that they wouldn’t believe (Isaiah 6:9-10, Isaiah 44:18), and his prophesy was fulfilled by the Lord Himself (see notes on John 12:39) through hardening their hearts and blocking their perception so that they even missed the awe of God right in front of them (see notes on John 1:10).

Verse 41

John 12:41

Isaiah was given the grand gift of looking into his future and seeing through the eye of faith things that would happen during the life of Christ (see notes on John 12:38). Isaiah even saw the glory that was Jesus. He didn’t miss the awe (see notes on John 1:10).

Verse 42

John 12:42

Some of the Jewish leadership did believe, but they would not admit their beliefs openly for fear of excommunication (Luke 6:22, Luke 20:15, John 9:22, John 9:34, John 16:2). The majority party, the Pharisees (see notes on John 8:3), were in control over the decision making process regarding Jesus, since the council wrote an official warrant for His arrest (John 11:47-53).

Jesus had already warned us all about succumbing to our embarrassment and putting personal pride before our relationship with Christ (Matthew 10:32, Luke 12:8-9). How could anyone be embarrassed that they know the King? If others laugh at you or ridicule you or belittle you on account of your belief in what they see as foolish, be a fool for Christ and be glad that you were found worthy to suffer for His name sake (Matthew 5:10-12, Luke 6:22, Acts 5:41, Philippians 1:29, 1 Peter 4:12-16).

Verse 43

John 12:43

Standing by itself, John’s statement alone shows the ludicrous and out of balance thinking of the lost (Proverbs 19:3, Proverbs 24:9, Lamentations 2:14, 1 Corinthians 3:19, Ephesians 4:22-23). Imagine loving it when your neighbor tells you, “good job” more than when the Lord and creator of all things says, “Good job.” How ridiculous is that?

Some may find it hard to believe that God would honor any mortal with praise. However, there is honor that comes from God (John 5:44), and the Lord actually is proud of the faithful (Hebrews 11:16). Imagine being someone God calls His friend (James 2:23). To further highlight this, there is the record of God in Heaven speaking with pride and appreciation about an Earth dwelling mortal man’s behavior to our enemy, the devil (Job 1:6-8, Job 2:3).

I am not ashamed of my relationship with Christ, and I enjoy wearing Christian t-shirts that express my identification with the Master. Imagine the Lord going to His dresser and selecting a “Steve” t-shirt to wear on a particular day and show all who view it that He is proud to be my God. God’s glory needs no greater covering than the light He projects, but it is a thought that gives me joy.

Since God does give those that are imperfect praise, I would rather live in such a way that brings honor to Him and have His admiration, than walk in darkness and bring upon myself unnecessary shame.

Verse 44

John 12:44

Since Jesus came in the Father’s name and does and says only what the Father told Him to do (John 4:34, John 5:30, John 6:38) and say (John 12:49, John 14:10, John 17:8), belief in Jesus is indeed belief in the Father also. Belief in one is belief in the other (John 14:7-9), and unbelief in one is disbelief in the other (John 15:24), because the two are one (John 10:30, John 17:22 ... the Holy Spirit also 1 John 5:7) and have spoken to us about the each other (Matthew 3:17, Matthew 17:5, John 5:37, John 8:18).

Verse 45

John 12:45

After Jesus said this, Philip would soon ask Him to show them God, the Father, anyway (see notes on John 14:9). What Jesus said is what Jesus meant. The Son looks like the Father (Philippians 2:6). God, the Father, is a spirit (see notes on John 4:24), and Jesus, the Son, Is a representation of the Father in the flesh (John 1:14). To look on Jesus’ body of flesh was to see what the Father would look like if He had flesh.

Verse 46

John 12:46

Even though the light was with them (see notes on John 12:35-36), some were still in darkness (see notes on John 12:10), because they didn’t believe in Him (John 12:39).

Verse 47

John 12:47

Jesus’ ministry was to save (Matthew 1:21, Matthew 18:11, Luke 9:56, Luke 19:10, John 3:17, John 12:47, 1 Timothy 1:15) the lost. He brought mercy (Matthew 9:13, Luke 1:70-78, Romans 11:30-32, Ephesians 2:4-5, 1 Timothy 1:16, Titus 3:5, 1 Peter 1:3, 1 Peter 2:10) and a new era of grace (John 1:14-17, Acts 15:11, Romans 1:4-5, Romans 3:24, Romans 4:16, Romans 5:1-2, Romans 5:15-21, Romans 12:6, 1 Corinthians 1:4, 2 Corinthians 8:9, Ephesians 1:7, Ephesians 2:5-7, Ephesians 4:7, 2 Thessalonians 2:16, Titus 2:11, Hebrews 7:25, 1 Peter 1:10-13, 1 Peter 5:12). The pressing weight of the law is no longer looming over us (Matthew 11:30), because we are now under grace (Romans 6:14).

Although the KJV uses the word “judge” in this verse, the original Greek word meant more like “condemn.” It was the Greek word krino G2919, pronounced kree’-no, and it means, “Properly to distinguish, that is, decide (mentally or judicially), by implication to try, condemn, punish: - avenge, conclude, condemn, damn, decree, determine, esteem, judge, go to (sue at the) law, ordain, call in question, sentence to, think.”

The word “condemn” is more consistent with the sentiment expressed by Jesus in John 8:10-11, and His statement in John 8:15 (krino was used in this verse too). There will be a time when Jesus will judge and condemn and pass sentence (see notes on John 5:22), but for now we are under grace.

Verse 48

John 12:48

His words are gifts to us (James 1:21). We hear His word (Mark 4:20) and faith is measured out to us (Romans 10:17, Romans 12:3). Through faith, we are able to believe (2 Timothy 3:15). Through belief, we are able to be saved (John 3:15-16, John 6:40, Acts 10:43, Acts 13:39, Romans 1:16, Hebrews 11:6) from the judgment we deserve. Belief through faith to salvation is possible by means of hearing His word (Acts 15:7, Romans 10:14, 1 Corinthians 1:18-21, Colossians 1:5-6, 1 Thessalonians 2:13, James 1:18, 1 Peter 1:23).

Salvation is also a gift from God (John 4:10, Acts 10:43, Romans 5:13-17, Romans 6:23). As are all gifts, gifts from God are of little use to us until they are accepted and received (Matthew 21:22, Mark 9:37, Mark 10:15, Luke 18:42, Luke 19:12, Acts 26:18, 2 Corinthians 11:4). We cannot receive what has not been given to us (Matthew 19:11, John 3:27), and everything we have is by His grace (1 Corinthians 4:7). Grace (see notes on John 12:47) itself is a gift from the Lord (Romans 5:17, Ephesians 2:8, Ephesians 3:7, Ephesians 4:7), and all perfect gifts are from God (James 1:17).

Verse 49

John 12:49

By saying, “I have not spoken of myself,” Jesus informed us that He was just a representative of the Father. Everything He said and did came directly from God, the Father (Deuteronomy 18:18, Isaiah 51:16, John 5:30, John 6:38, John 7:16-17, John 8:26-28, John 8:42, John 12:50, John 14:10, John 15:15, John 17:8).

Verse 50

John 12:50

Jesus did and said only as He was directed or commanded by the Father (see notes on John 12:49). Since Jesus’ words were full of truth that leads to life everlasting through faith (see notes on John 12:48), the Father’s commandment was indeed “life everlasting.”

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on John 12". "Harvey's Notes on the Gospel of John". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/shj/john-12.html.
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