12:1 Jesus therefore six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus raised from the dead1.
Jesus therefore six days before the passover came to Bethany, where
Lazarus was, whom Jesus raised from the dead. The word
"therefore" refers to the decree and consequent dangers just
mentioned. Because his "hour" had come, Jesus went to face these
dangers. Compare John
2:4. We are told that he came to the house of Lazarus and that he kept
near Lazarus because these facts emphasized the great miracle which roused
the hatred of the Jews, and caused them more earnestly to seek the death of
11:53). Jesus appears to have arrived in Bethany Friday afternoon, March
12:2 So they made
him a supper there1: and Martha served; but
Lazarus was one of them that sat at meat with him2.
So they made him a supper there. It is likely that he spent the
Sabbath day at that place, and that the supper mentioned below was given him
after sunset on Saturday, which, according to Jewish reckoning, would be the
beginning of Sunday. This supper is mentioned later by Matthew and Mark, but
without any note of time to show that it belongs specifically where they put
14:3-9). But John gives us a note of time (John
12:12). It was the night before the triumphal entry, and therefore we
follow the chronology of John.
But Lazarus was one of them that sat at meat with him. See Mark
therefore took a pound1 of
ointment of pure nard, very precious2, and
anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair3:
and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment4.
Mary therefore took a pound. A "litra", a Greek weight
containing nearly twelve ounces avoirdupois.
Of ointment of pure nard, very precious. See Mark
And anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair.
Pliny, speaking of nard, reckons it as an instance of excessive luxury to
anoint the feet or ankles with it.
And the house was filled with the odor of the ointment. Thus the
liberality of Mary contributed to the pleasure of all the guests. The odor
of a good deed is generally diffusive.
12:4 But Judas
Iscariot, one of his disciples, that should betray him1,
But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, that should betray him.
12:5 Why was not
this ointment sold for three hundred shillings, and given to the poor1?
Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred shillings, and given
to the poor? See Mark
12:6 Now this he said, not because he
cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and
having the bag took away what was put therein1.
But because he was a thief, and having the bag took away what was put
therein. It is a singular thing that Jesus permitted a thief to occupy
the office of treasurer. It is probable that Judas was honest when he was
called to serve, but that same management and spirit of economy which made
him fit for the place ruined him when he got it. Thus our strong points are
often our weakest.
12:7 Jesus therefore said, Suffer
her to keep it against the day of my burying.1
Suffer her to keep it against the day of my burying. This
expression is taken by some as implying that all the ointment was not poured
out, and that some of the apostles were endeavoring to persuade Mary to keep
and sell what was left, and that Jesus ordered it kept to finish the
embalming of his body which Mary had already begun. But there is nothing in
the language to suggest such an interpretation. Jesus meant, "Let her
use it rightly", using the word "keep" as in the expression
"keep the feast", that is, observe the ceremony.
12:11 because that by reason of him many
of the Jews went away1, and
believed on Jesus2.
Many of the Jews went away. Withdrew from the party headed by the
And believed on Jesus. The presence of the resurrected man and the
Christ who had resurrected him both at one table greatly excited the
curiosity of the multitudes who had come up to Jerusalem to attend the
Passover. When word of this supper spread among the people it was natural
that they should slip out to Bethany to see the sight, and it was equally
natural that seeing it they should believe in Jesus. This deflection of the
common people gave a keener venom to the hatred of the rulers.
12:12 On the
morrow1 a great multitude that had come to the feast, when
they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,
JESUS' TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM. (From Bethany to Jerusalem and back,
Sunday, April 2, A.D. 30.) Matthew
On the morrow. After the feast in the house of Simon the leper (Mark
12:13 took the
branches of the palm trees1, and went forth to meet him,
and cried out, Hosanna: Blessed [is] he that cometh in the name of the Lord,
even the King of Israel.
Took the branches of the palm trees. See Mark
12:14 And Jesus,
having found a young ass, sat thereon1; as it is written,
And Jesus, having found a young ass, sat thereon. See Mark
12:15 Fear not1,
daughter of Zion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt.
Fear not. See Luke
Daughter of Zion; behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt.
things understood not his disciples at the first1: but
when Jesus was glorified2, then
remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done
these things unto him3.
These things understood not his disciples at the first. The
apostles were not conscious that the prophecies were being fulfilled nor did
they understand that Jesus was approaching a heavenly rather than an earthly
But when Jesus was glorified. But after Jesus was glorified, their
understandings were spiritually illuminated (John
Then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that
they had done these things unto him. They not only remembered the
prophecy, but saw in what sense it was that Jesus was king, and how badly
mistaken they had been when they expected him to antagonize the Romans. The
greatness of her king would have removed all cause for fear if Jerusalem had
but accepted him.
12:17 The multitude therefore that was
with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb, and
raised him 1from the dead, bare witness.
When he called Lazarus out of the tomb, and raised him from the
dead. The two parts of the miracle--the calling and the raising (John
11:43,44)--are both mentioned as alike impressive, sublime, and
12:18 For this
cause also the multitude went and met him, for that they heard that he had done
For this cause also the multitude went and met him, for that they heard
that he had done this sign. It is evident from this that the testimony
of those who had witnessed the raising of Lazarus had enthused the pilgrims
in Jerusalem and had sent a large band of them forth charged with that
ardent admiration which produced the shouting of the triumphal entry.
12:19 The Pharisees therefore said among
themselves, Behold how ye prevail nothing: lo, the
world is gone after him1.
Behold how ye prevail nothing: lo, the world is gone after him.
Again, as at John
11:47-49, we notice the self-confessed impotency of the Pharisees, but
the Sadducees, under the determined and more resolute leadership of Caiaphas,
did not participate in this despair. The Pharisees speak of the world as if
its acquisition by Jesus was their loss.
12:20 Now there
were certain Greeks among those that went up to worship at the feast1:
GREEKS SEEK JESUS. HE FORETELLS THAT HE SHALL DRAW ALL MEN UNTO HIM. (In the
Temple. Tuesday, April 4, A.D. 30.) John
Now there were certain Greeks among those that went up to worship at
the feast. The language indicates that they were Greek converts to
Judaism, such as were called proselytes of the gate. It is also noted that
as Gentiles came from the east at the beginning of Jesus' life, so they also
came from the west at the close of his ministry.
therefore came to Philip, who was of Bethsaida of Galilee1,
and asked him, saying, Sir2, we
would see Jesus3.
These therefore came to Philip, who was of Bethsaida of Galilee.
1:44. They were possibly drawn to Philip by his Greek name.
And asked him, saying, Sir. The dignity of the Master elevates the
We would see Jesus. Jesus was evidently still in the court of the
women, where the treasury was, and this court, being part of the sanctuary,
no Gentile was permitted to enter it.
cometh and telleth Andrew1: Andrew cometh, and Philip, and
they tell Jesus.
Philip cometh and telleth Andrew. Philip wished another to share
the responsibility of the situation.
12:23 And Jesus answereth them, saying, The
hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified1.
The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. The
humble seeking of these Gentiles formed a striking contrast to the
persistent rejection of the Jews. And the occasion forcibly suggested that
the gospel invitation, which had hitherto been confined to the lost sheep of
the house of Israel, should be extended to the vast throng of waiting
Gentiles. But, according to the counsel of God, this extension was not to
take place until Jesus had been glorified by his death, resurrection, and
enthronement. The demand for extension, therefore, suggested the
advisability of a speedy glorification, which accorded with the plans of
verily1, I say unto you, Except a
grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abideth by itself alone; but if
it die, it beareth much fruit2.
Verily, verily. See John
1:51. With these emphatic words Jesus prepares for a hard saying.
Except a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abideth by
itself alone; but if it die, it beareth much fruit. As the germ of life
in the grain of wheat can only pass into other grains by departing from the
original grain and leaving it dead, so the life which was in Christ Jesus
could only pass into his disciples by his death.
12:25 He that
loveth his life loseth it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep
it unto life eternal1.
He that loveth his life loseth it; and he that hateth his life in this
world shall keep it unto life eternal. Though Jesus had his own death in
view, yet he shows himself governed by a principle which he had already
declared to be of universal application. See Matthew
10:39. If a grain of wheat saves itself, it remains but one grain until
it rots; but if it yields up its life-germ as a sacrifice to the law of
growth, it multiplies itself thirty, sixty, or a hundred fold and continues
its multiplication through an innumerable posterity.
12:26 If any man
serve me, let him follow me1; and where I am, there shall
also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will the Father honor.
If any man serve me, let him follow me. Jesus here recommends to
his disciples that they follow him in fruit-bearing self-sacrifice,
promising them the joy of being with him and the honor of the Father. The
joy of being with Christ is the chief expectation of the Christian. (2 Corinthians
12:27 Now is my
soul troubled1; and what shall I say? Father, save me from
this hour. But for this cause 3came
I unto this hour.
Now is my soul troubled. Thus Jesus admits that it was difficult
for him to live up to the principle of sacrifice which he had just
enunciated. Had it not been thus difficult for him, he would hardly have
been a fitting example for his disciples; for certainly it is and has always
been difficult for them.
And what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour. In his
trouble Jesus raises the question as to what prayer he shall offer to the
But for this cause . For this purpose of imparting life through a
Came I unto this hour. Thus Jesus proposes a prayer for deliverance,
but repudiates it as contrary to the very purpose of his life.
glorify thy name1. There came
therefore a voice out of heaven, [saying], I have both glorified it, and will
glorify it again2.
Father, glorify thy name. Having refused to ask for deliverance,
Jesus prays that he may glorify the Father by suffering according to his
original statement contained in John
12:23,24. Two two prayers are counterparts to the two offered in
22:42). The prayer here is the climax of the thought begun at John
12:23. Then that discipleship is so glorified (John
12:25,26), and this prayer shows that our Lord himself is glorified by
the same rule.
There came therefore a voice out of heaven, [saying], I have both
glorified it, and will glorify it again. The Father had glorified his
name in the Son. By words of commendation at his baptism (Mark
1:11) and at his transfiguration (Mark
9:7), and by the performance of miracles (John
11:40), and he would glorify it again by the preaching of the universal
gospel, and by making Jesus head over all to the church and the final judge
of all men.
12:29 The multitude therefore, that stood
by, and heard it, said that it had thundered: others said, An angel hath spoken
The multitude . . . said that it had thundered. Those who thought
that it thundered were nervous persons who were so startled as not to
distinguish the words.*
*NOTE.--I dissent here, as in the case of a similar passage found at
soul's capacity for hearing it, as appears from Saul's conversion (Acts
24:13). To the mass, therefore, the voice was a mere sound; to others,
the utterance was articulate though incomprehensible, while to John, and
perhaps to all the disciples, the voice communicated a thought. Says Godet,
"Thus the wild beast perceives only a "sound" in the human
voice; the trained animal discovers a "meaning"; a command, for
example, which it immediately obeys; man alone discerns therein a
--Philip Y. Pendleton
12:30 Jesus answered and said, This
voice hath not come for my sake, but for your sakes1.
This voice hath not come for my sake, but for your sakes. The voice
was not spoken to encourage Jesus in his hour of suffering, but to aid the
Jews to believe on him, and to warn them of the coming judgment which would
follow their disbelief, and make them partakers in the condemnation of
12:31 Now is the
judgment of this world1: now
shall the prince of this world be cast out2.
Now is the judgment of this world. The Greek word for
"judgment" survives in our English word "crisis", but
conveys much more meaning, since it embraces also the idea of final
settlement and adjudication. The crucifixion of Jesus was the crisis in the
contest between Satan and God. See Genesis
3:15. Says Barnes,
"The meaning of it may be thus expressed: Now is approaching the
decisive scene, the eventual period--"the crisis"--when it shall
be determined who shall rule this world."
Now shall the prince of this world be cast out. In the long
conflict which had hitherto been carried on, Satan had earned for himself
"prince of this world", and it was no empty title (Matthew
4:8,9 2 Corinthians
6:12); but by his approaching death Jesus would break down the power of
Satan, and cast him out, not suddenly, but by the advancing power of a
superior kingdom. The kingdom of darkness recedes before the kingdom of
light as the night withdraws before the rising sun.
12:32 And I, if
I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself1.
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself.
Jesus thrice speaks of his death as a lifting up, a euphemism for being
crucified. While the distinctions between the three statements are not to be
insisted upon, yet they suggest that (1) the first is a saving sacrifice, a
priestly work (John
3:14); (2) the second is mentioned as the convincing credential that he
is the prophet sent from God, speaking the message of God (John
8:26-28); (3) and in the passage before us, he is evidently the king who
shall wrest his kingdom from the usurping Satan.
12:34 The multitude therefore answered
him, We have heard out of the law1
that the Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou,
The Son of man must be lifted up3? who
is this Son of man4?
We have heard out of the law. The term "law" is used
loosely for the whole of the Old Testament Scriptures. See John
That Christ abideth for ever. The people were persuaded by certain
passages such as Isaiah
37:25 that the Messiah would abide forever.
And how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? They knew
that Christ in his triumphal entry had received honors which they thought
belonged to the Messiah, but when they hear him use words indicating that he
should die, and thus (as they construed) NOT abide forever, they felt that
he was openly disavowing all claim to Messiahship.
Who is this Son of man? Having heard him style himself the Son of
12:23), they now catch it as if Jesus had used it to distinguish himself
from the true Messiah, and ask with more or less contempt, "Who is this
Son of man"? Thus blinded by their preconceived opinions and
misconstructions of Scripture, the people wavered in their loyalty of Jesus,
and Watkins well says,
"This question came midway between the "Hosanna" of the
entry into Jerusalem and the "Crucify him" of the trial."
12:35 Jesus therefore said unto them, Yet
a little while is the light among you1. Walk
while ye have the light2, that darkness overtake you not:
and he that walketh in the darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.
Yet a little while is the light among you. The phrase "little
while" stands in contrast with "abideth for ever" (John
Walk while ye have the light, etc. Jesus did not reply to their
question, because it was asked contemptuously and not seriously, and because
any effort to make their carnal mind grasp the idea that he could be lifted
up, and yet still abide, would have resulted in more contempt. He therefore
speaks a solemn warning to them, counseling them to make use of his presence
while they had it, even if his fleshly abiding with them was but brief; and
promises that a proper use of the light then given them would make them sons
12:37 But though
he had done so many signs before them, yet they believed not on him1:
But though he had done so many signs before them, yet they believed not
on him. The multitude had long oscillated between belief and unbelief,
but, despite all his past miracles and the marvelous wisdom shown on this
the day of hard questions, they settled down in unbelief.
12:38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath
believed our report1? And to whom hath the arm of the Lord
Lord, who hath believed our report? etc. See Isaiah
12:40 He hath
blinded their eyes1, and he hardened their heart; Lest
they should see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, And should turn,
And I should heal them.
He hath blinded their eyes, etc. See Isaiah
6:10. See Matthew
13:14. The quotation from Isaiah is not exact, for there God enjoins on
the prophet the duty of hardening the people's hearts, while here it is
spoken of as God's own act. Had God, however, hardened their hearts by a
direct act and without any reference to their moral or spiritual condition,
they could not have been held morally responsible for their disbelief. But
this God did not do. He hardened their hearts and blinded their eyes by the
manner in which he approached them through the person of his Son, Christ
Jesus. Jesus so came, so loved, and so taught that those who hungered for
godliness are drawn to him and enlightened by him, while those who despise
the grace and love of God are repelled and blinded. John here recognizes
that the type (Isaiah) should be fulfilled in the antitype (Christ). If
Isaiah was to preach that the wicked would be blinded, then Christ in his
ministry should likewise so teach and preach as to produce similar results.
12:42 Nevertheless even of the rulers
many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess [it], lest
they should be put out of the synagogue1:
Lest they should be put out of the synagogue. As to expulsion from
the synagogue, see John
9:22. On the synagogues, see Mark
12:43 for they
loved the glory [that is] of men more than the glory [that is] of God1.
For they loved the glory [that is] of men more than the glory [that is]
of God. These members of the Sanhedrin believed with the head rather
than with the heart (Romans
10:10), their hearts already being occupied with the love of praise or
man-glory. Their disbelief accorded with the words of Jesus (John
12:44 And Jesus
cried and said1, He that believeth on me, believeth not on
me, but on him that sent me.
And Jesus cried and said. The words were of course spoken before
the departure mentioned in John
12:36. They are placed here to bring out in stronger light the final
unbelief of the Jews and the patient, persistent effort which Jesus had made
to win those who were the better inclined.
12:47 And if any man hear my sayings, and
keep them not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge
the world, but to save the world1.
I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. See John
3:17 and see John
12:49 For I
spake not from myself; but the Father that sent me, he hath given me a
commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak1.
For I spake not from myself; but the Father that sent me, he hath given
me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. The Father
had sent the Son into the world to bring life and immortality to light in
the gospel. Jesus therefore here declared that men will be tried by the
gospel law and that some will be saved and some condemned by it.