The most plentiful and powerful means of conviction will not of themselves work faith in the depraved and prejudiced hearts of men. Many hear, but few heed. Their final judgment is reserved to the last day, and the Word of Christ will judge them then and make them answer for all the contempts they have put upon Him.
1 Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.
2 There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.
3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
4 Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him,
5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.
7 Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.
8 For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.
9 Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.
10 ¶ But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death;
11 Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.
12 ¶ On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,
13 Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.
14 And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written,
15 Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt.
16 These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.
17 The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record.
18 For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle.
19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.
20 ¶ And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:
21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.
22 Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.
23 ¶ And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
26 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 honour.
27 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.
28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.
29 The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.
30 Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.
31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.
34 The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?
35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.
36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.
37 ¶ But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:
38 That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?
39 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,
40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.
41 These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.
42 ¶ Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:
43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
44 ¶ Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.
45 And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.
46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.
John 12:1-3 – J. Vernon McGee
John 12:4-11 – J. Vernon McGee
John 12:12-19 – J. Vernon McGee
John 12:20-24 – J. Vernon McGee
John 12:25-26 – J. Vernon McGee
John 12:27 – J. Vernon McGee
John 12:28-30 – J. Vernon McGee
John 12:30-36 – J. Vernon McGee
John 12:37-50 – J. Vernon McGee
John 12:1-11 – Love’s Fragrant Gift
Martha’s service reminds us of Luke 10:41. The earlier Gospels (Matthew 26; Mark 14) do not mention Mary’s name, probably because the whole family might have suffered for their intimate identification with Jesus; see John 12:10. But when this Gospel was written the beloved trio had been gathered home to God.
There was no value in the spikenard except to refresh and comfort, but this was sufficient to warrant Mary’s act. We must not always be considering the utilitarian side of service. There are hours of holy ecstasy when we are lifted out of ourselves, in the expression of our love to Jesus, in ways that to cold and calculating onlookers seem mere extravagance. In her absorption in Him whom she loved, Mary has incited myriads to similar acts. But her love stirred up the evil in the heart of Judas, as summer’s lovely sunshine extracts poison from stagnant ponds. Our Advocate will screen us from our dread accuser. He interpreted Mary’s motive. She knew that her Lord would be crucified, and as she thought that there would be no opportunity for love to perform the last offices, she beforehand anointed Him for the burial. —Through the Bible Day by Day
John 12:12-19 – The Tribute of the Multitude
This multitude of enthusiastic lovers of Christ were principally from Galilee. They had already reached the city, but hearing of His approach they went forth to meet and accompany Him. They were proud to own Him as their prophet, and were profoundly touched by the wonderful miracles He had wrought among them. It was a foretaste and glimpse of that yet gladder outburst when He shall be recognized as the King of men. The lowliness of Jesus’ estate should have allayed the suspicion and hatred of His foes. What had they to fear from such a King! But the gladness of His followers maddened His adversaries, who saw with unconcealed vexation the spontaneous loyalty given by the crowds to Jesus, as contrasted with the strained obedience which, was yielded to their prescriptions and exactions. Another element in the crowd was contributed by those who had witnessed the raising of Lazarus.
Religious jealousy is deplorable. It leads to murder, if not by the Cross, yet by the lips. It embitters the heart, separates and divides those who ought to love, and hinders the coming of the Kingdom. The cure of hatred and jealousy is the admission of Christ to the heart-citadel as king. —Through the Bible Day by Day
John 12:20-29 – Sacrifice a Law of Life
These were genuine Greeks. The East came to the manger-bed; the West to the Cross. These men came to Philip probably because of his Greek name. The inarticulate cry of the human heart, whether East or West, is for Christ.
The application of these representatives of Western civilization reminded our Lord of His glorious enthronement as the Savior and Lord of mankind; but He realized that the dreams of the prophets could be fulfilled, and the demand of the world met, only through His death and resurrection. There was no other way to the glory than Calvary and the grave. If His love for men was to bear much fruit, He must fall into the ground and die. Death is the only way to Saviorship. Death is the only cure of loneliness, and the necessary price of fruitfulness.
All through life we must be prepared to erect altars on which to sacrifice all that hinders our highest service to our fellows. The soul that dares to live in this way finds streams flowing from every smitten rock, and honey in the carcass of every slain lion. Day out of night, spring out of winter, flowers out of frost, joy out of sorrow, fruitfulness out of pruning, Olivet out of Gethsemane, life out of death. But through it all, our aim must be that the Father may be glorified. —Through the Bible Day by Day
John 12:24—Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone.
The East came to the cradle; the West to the Cross. Sunrise becomes the Orient; sunset the Occident wave. These were not Hellenist Jews, but pure-blooded Greeks, whose life and philosophy were in the present, in as much joy as nature, art, and amusement could yield. It was startling to be met with the grave announcement of death. But how wise to send them to read that earliest divine book of Nature. Hear the parable of the corn of wheat.
Its loneliness.—Before sowing, it is by itself alone. It lies on the barn floor, beside myriads more, but there is no vital contact between it and them. They are just so many isolated units: as foreign to each other as the stars, between which millions of dividing miles intervene. So if you save your life, nursing it in selfishness, dreading and avoiding all that savors of self-denial and self-giving, you will be utterly and drearily lonely.
The falling into the ground to die.—If we compare ourselves to a corn of wheat, we may say that the seed-germ cannot bury itself; but it can choose burial. It can be willing to be cast forth. It is not a pleasant experience for the little seed. As soon as it finds itself entombed, it is seized upon by chemical agents, which pierce and tear its delicate waterproof sheath, and eat their way to its vitals. Death is no child’s-play.
The fruit-bearing.—Presently the rootlet shoots downward, the tiny frond upward, and, almost without knowing it, the stalk begins to blossom and bear fruit, which, with every sowing, reduplicates itself. Such may your life become, if you will let God have his way. Via Crucis, via lucis: the way of the cross is the way of light. —Our Daily Homily
John 12:30-41 – Belief May Become Impossible
The question of the Greeks led our Lord’s thoughts to His death. He saw, too, the baptism of suffering through which His followers must pass. From all this that troubled Him, He fled to the Father, asking only that all should converge to His glory. That request was immediately answered in the affirmative. Thus He was led to give this amazing interpretation of the events which were taking place, as viewed from the standpoint of heaven. The age, not He, was being judged. It was standing before Him for its verdict, not He before it. Caiaphas, Pilate, and the rulers of the age were passing before His judgment seat and being judged as worthless. The prince of the age, Satan, not Christ, was being cast out, though the sentence might take long before fully realized. Little as they recognized it, the day of the Cross was the crisis of the history of earth and hell, of men and demons. Then was settled the question of supremacy between darkness and light, between hate and love, between death and life. Lifted up recalls John 3:14. The Cross is the divine magnet, and our attitude with regard to it shows what we are. Learn from John 12:35-36 the order of transfiguration into the sonship of light: believe in the light, walk in the light, and you will become sons of light. —Through the Bible Day by Day
John 12:42-50 – The Commandment of the Father
The fear of being cast out of the synagogue was a very real one, John 9:22; and the yoke laid on Israel by the Pharisees was a very crushing one. Only a very few, like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea, could withstand it. Let us see to it that we set the promotion of God’s glory above any thought of ourselves. We must confess Christ, if we would experience His saving grace. See Romans 10:10. To reject Jesus was nothing less to Israel than to reject God Himself and His word. Such a supreme act of rebellion could not fail to draw down unexampled judgment.
In John 12:48-50 our Lord unfolds to us the significance of His words. They will be the sole criterion at the day of judgment. He will apply to each of us the rule laid down in His teachings, which were purely and simply the reflection of His Father’s mind. In every sentence He acted on the Father’s mandate; hence His words were capable of quickening and regenerating His hearers. What a marvelous effect would be produced on the world if all ministers of Christ would utter what they had received! —Through the Bible Day by Day