Mary Anoints Jesus at Bethany
12 Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”
The Plot to Kill Lazarus
When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.
The Triumphal Entry
The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,
“Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey’s colt!”
His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”
Some Greeks Seek Jesus
Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
The Son of Man Must Be Lifted Up
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”
The Unbelief of the People
When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
“Lord, who has believed what he heard from us,
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,
“He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their heart,
lest they see with their eyes,
and understand with their heart, and turn,
and I would heal them.”
Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.
Jesus Came to Save the World
And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”
John 12 Commentary
by Hank Workman
“… But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also; because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus.”John 12:11
I can honestly say, I don’t recall reading this verse before. I love how God does that – there are stories and scripture that suddenly after even many years of reading, are fresh and new and in this case, like I’ve never seen before.
So… the chief priests were not only planning on killing Jesus – they had intentions of murdering Lazarus as well! This statement shows how out of control these men were. The very blindness and hardness of their hearts had caused them to sink into further sin. I mean, seriously just consider this – they were priests!
They had rejected the promised Messiah. They rejected and came against those who had been healed, even as they were interrogated and God gave the witnesses bold words. They turned their eyes away from the miracles they had witnessed and now plotted to kill a man who had walked from a tomb.
The darkness of their hearts is astounding. Obviously, they were set on accusing Jesus of blasphemy but Lazarus was an innocent bystander. He had done nothing wrong. They simply wanted him out of the way because he was a living testimony of Jesus’ power.
One sin leads to another. Like a downward spiral, it can only be stopped by the power of the Holy Spirit and His work in our lives and helping us change our behaviors. The priests show that no one is immune to this happening. If we are not daily seeking the Holy Spirit in our lives, we too may find ourselves further and further away from God.
John 12 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Here in John 12, we are once again drawn to how Jesus’ words and actions were in complete obedience to God and how He functioned as an extension of His Father in Heaven.
- We read that God’s voice is heard audibly responding to Jesus for the third time in His ministry (baptism, transfiguration, and here in John 12)
- We read that Jesus’ actions on Earth caused people to either believe or not believe and God cooperated with their decision by blessing them or hardening them
- Jesus’ authority was validated by His complete obedience to God
The reason this is important is because Jesus drew exclusive lines. An exclusive Jesus is not what the world wanted to hear then, and it’s not what the world wants to hear now. Many people today believe in God as a higher power. Many people uphold His truth and love. Many will stand for principles of forgiveness, hope, mercy, and justice. But once you invoke Jesus into the conversation, that’s when things become very uncomfortable.
There is a reason why people love to talk about God but don’t love to talk about Jesus. James makes it crystal clear.
Do you believe that there is only one God? Good! The demons also believe—and tremble with fear.James 2:19 GNB
John 12 tells us that there were people who believed in Jesus, but they were not living an unashamed lifestyle. They cared more about the approval of man than the approval of God. They were no different from the people today who say they believe in God and His attributes but will not make exclusive claims to follow Jesus.
Nevertheless, many did believe in Him even among the rulers, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, so they would not be banned from the synagogue. 43 For they loved praise from men more than praise from God.John 12:42-43 HCSB
I know people like this today. They want to keep their options open. They want to use Jesus when He’s convenient but do their own thing when He’s not. They put on a good show talking about God and all His attributes, but when push comes to shove, they don’t really want to live a life of submission to Jesus. This truth becomes obvious by their actions.
Why does this happen?
I believe it happens because Jesus left no room for misinterpretation. Generally speaking, God is mysterious and universal, so He can be more easily molded to an individual agenda. This is why you hear people use the phrase “God said…” in order to validate their claims. The term “God” means so many different things to so many different people that it has become universally accepted.
John’s gospel proves that Jesus was God in the flesh. He came to set things straight. He demonstrated His oneness with the Father and directly told all of humanity they cannot get to God except through Him. Think about that. Jesus is the only door to God the Father.
If anyone hears My words and doesn’t keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects Me and doesn’t accept My sayings has this as his judge: The word I have spoken will judge him on the last day.John 12:47-48 HCSB