The Book of John is unique among the Gospel accounts. You may read it when you are yet in shallow waters near the shore, and you will find Jesus there. You may read it and find yourself totally immersed in deep truths about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I will go deep, and if it is too much, don’t worry! Stay in the shallow waters for a bit. He will take you deeper, as you get to know Him!
In John 12, you will see many things: 1) what it is to truly worship Jesus Christ; 2) betrayal comes from followers, not the world that already hated and still hates Jesus; 3) Jesus’ life and death were exactly according to the Old Testament (OT) prophecies about Him; 4) Jesus knew in advance everything that would happen to Him; 5) the blind Jewish elite remain blind, just according to Isaiah’s prophecy; 6) precisely what blinds the Jewish elite; and 7) Jesus never stops preaching repentance and salvation. Let’s dig in!
Verses 1-3 — Jesus was just a couple of miles from Jerusalem, at the house of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, having supper. And Mary took a pound of very costly perfume — pure nard worth a year’s wages ($30,000 in today’s wages). She anointed Jesus’ feet with it and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the nard.
IMPORTANT POINT #1 — True worship means surrendering your entire heart to the Lord. He doesn’t want your physical heart. He doesn’t want the human love you were born with. He doesn’t want your natural life, or your career. He wants the part of you that can’t be weighed or measured. It is the part of you that is priceless. When you offer that to Him, it means you are setting yourself apart for Him. That’s what “holy” means. And it is pleasing to Him. It is worship to Him (see Romans 12:1). He smells its fragrance, and just like Mary’s pure nard, the fragrance fills the air all around you. You have surrendered to Him. So He will fill you with His Spirit and His love.
IMPORTANT POINT #2 — Mary’s act of anointing Him and then wiping His feet with her hair was pure humility. She had to get down on her knees, because He was reclining at the table, as was the custom in that day. And she wiped His feet with her hair. In that day, hair was a woman’s crowning glory. It was never allowed to hang loose. She had to let her hair down. To let your hair down in public was considered disgraceful conduct. But she didn’t care. She humbled herself before the Lord in every way that she knew to humble herself. That is a fundamental element of true worship!
Verses 4-6 — Judas Iscariot responded by scolding her. The nard could have been sold for a high price, and the proceeds given to the poor. But he was a thief. He had his hand in the money bag, and would have taken some of the proceeds for himself. The other gospel accounts record that all the disciples also scolded her. But Judas’ reasons were entirely selfish.
IMPORTANT POINT — Do not be surprised if you are scolded as Mary was, when you worship Jesus Christ by offering that priceless part of you to Him. But who will scold you? Those who have not surrendered fully to the Lord, because your act of worship reveals to them that they have not yet fully surrendered. I do not mean to indict the church; it is simply a truth.
Verses 7-8 — Jesus rebuked the disciples for scolding Mary. The nard she poured upon Him was His anointing for His burial. The poor would always be with them, but He would not always be with them.
IMPORTANT POINT #1 — The Lord is available here and now, for you to truly worship Him by offering that priceless part of you to Him. At the time of His wrath at end of things, He will withdraw His grace. It is a limited time offer.
IMPORTANT POINT #2 — The church seeks to eliminate poverty by natural means. But it cannot be done. The economically poor will always be with us. The church’s focus should be the relief of spiritual poverty, by exhorting people to repent from their sin and believe on the name of Jesus Christ.
Verses 9-11 — The Jewish elite now had two targets: Jesus Christ, and Lazarus who was raised from the dead. Large crowds came to see both of them. So the Jewish elite planned to kill both of them. Why? Because Lazarus was walking, talking evidence that Jesus was God the Son, causing the people to believe in Him. So both Lazarus and Jesus were a threat to their place and position.
IMPORTANT POINT — The motive to kill or silence is always pride, power, prestige, place and position.
Verses 12-16 — Jesus entered Jerusalem just as was prophesied in Psalm 118:24-26. He came on a donkey, just as was prophesied in Zechcariah 9:9.
The disciples didn’t understand that Jesus was fulfilling these prophecies, at that moment. Later, when they were filled with the Spirit, they remembered the prophecies and understood.
IMPORTANT POINT: The Holy Spirit inspired men to write the Word of God. Therefore, when you are filled with Him, He will continually “connect the dots” so you are able to see the whole picture of God the Father’s plan, from Genesis to Revelation. And you will know that God the Son is the fulfillment of His plan to reconcile you to Himself and fill you with His Holy Spirit.
Verses 17-19 — When Jesus raised Lazarus, the people who were eyewitnesses couldn’t stop talking about the miracle they had seen. As a result, many who had not seen the miracle believed in Jesus. The testimony of the eyewitnesses compelled them!
IMPORTANT POINT: When the Lord heals you, delivers you, fills you with His Holy Spirit and His love, your testimony will compel others to believe in Jesus Christ.
Verses 20-23 — The appearance of the Greeks who wanted to see Jesus was a sign to Jesus Christ. Until then, it was not yet the divinely appointed time for Him to be glorified.
The world would say, “Foolishness! How can someone be glorified by being condemned, scourged, and hung naked on a cross for all the world to see?”
Verses 24-26 — But Jesus answered the world. He was that grain of wheat. He had to fall to the earth. He had to die. Why? So He would bear much fruit. What fruit? He has brought, is bringing, and will yet bring many sons to glory (Hebrews 2:10). Many believe because of His death and resurrection.
IMPORTANT POINT #1 — Jesus said it is the same for you. In order for others to see Him in you (that is, to bear the fruit of His Spirit which will draw people to Jesus), you must fully surrender that priceless part of you that cannot be weighed or measured. It is a death of the old self, and resurrection with a cleansed, empowered heart filled with God’s actual love.
IMPORTANT POINT #2 — If you love your life in this world, that means you love the way you are and you love the things of the world. And you will ultimately lose your life permanently and eternally, when you are judged by Jesus Christ at the end of things. But if you hate the way you are and the things of the world, compared with His ways and His life (desiring what He desires and living the way He lives), you will be filled with His life, life as God has it, and you will live with Him forever when your body falls away in death.
IMPORTANT POINT #3 — You serve Jesus by surrendering completely to Him. He surrendered His glory in order to give you life. You must surrender, also. You take up your cross and follow (obey) Him. If you serve Him, God the Father will honor you. And you will ultimately be where He is, in the continual presence of God the Father.
Verses 27-30 — The soul of Jesus became troubled, agitated, stirred. He knew what was coming. His trial would be unfair. He would be judged by those who do not know God. He would be mocked. His scourging and death would be excruciating. But should He ask the Father to save Him? No. The Father sent Him to die so you and I may live.
Jesus did not want to be saved from that death. Father, glorify Your name (honor Your reputation) by what is about to happen.
How was the Father’s name glorified? Because He sent His one and only, always existent Son so if you believe in Him, you have eternal life. Out of His love and mercy, He offered His Son on a cross. What a sacrifice He was willing to make, to forgive our sins against Him, purify our hearts and bring us into a holy, intimate relationship with Him!
The crowd suddenly heard something. Some only heard a noise like thunder. Others heard someone speaking, and assumed it was an angel. But Jesus said that voice came for their sakes, so they would know, by God the Father’s audible answer, that Jesus Christ is God the Son.
IMPORTANT POINT: “Don’t save me from mocking and persecution. Don’t save me from surrender of that priceless and unmeasurable part of me. When that part of me dies, many will find life in You through God the Son. Be glorified by it, Father!” Does your heart cry these words? Then you will be filled with all of God!
Verse 31 — Judgement is upon this earth, from the moment Jesus Christ spoke these words. Those who reject Him will be judged. Those who receive Him as God the Son will be saved. They will be exhorted to offer themselves fully to God, so they can be cleansed and filled and empowered.
The ruler of this world is also judged as of the moment Jesus spoke these words. Satan is the ruler of this world, the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). He is cast out, expelled, driven away. By whom? By those who believe in Jesus Christ and surrender fully and wait to receive power from on high, when the Holy Spirit fills them. This power is not only the power to live like Christ, but the power (not just authority, as in Luke 10:19) to drive out Satan from his position as ruler. They are an occupying army, gojng in and possessing the land until Christ returns.
Verses 32-34 — Jesus called Himself the Son of Man, because He was fully human as well as fully God. He had to be fully human in order to be offered as the perfect sacrifice for your sin and mine. The sacrifice had to be perfect, spotless, without blemish. He was sinless.
When He was lifted up from the earth (crucified) He began to draw all men to Himself. They come and see, and some repent and are saved. Others are repulsed by Him, think His message is foolish, and reject Him.
The crowd understood the meaning of “lifted up.” But they said the Messiah would live forever — how could Jesus say He must be crucified? If Jesus was crucified, he would be dead. They didn’t understand that the OT clearly prophesied that the Messiah would die and then be resurrected. And they did not understand what He meant by “the Son of Man.”They did not know the scriptures, or the God who inspired them.
Verses 35-36 — Jesus said again that He is the Light of the world. He would only be with them for a little while longer. So, while they could hear His words, He exhorted them to walk with Him in His Light. Otherwise, the darkness would overtake (overwhelm) them and they would not know where they were going. But if they believed in Him, they would become sons of Light, even lights of the world so others could come into the light and out of darkness.
After He spoke these words, He went away. He did not run from them. He was hidden from them, concealed supernaturally.
Verses 37-41 — The signs Jesus Christ performed attested to the fact that He was God the Son. Despite those signs, some of the Jews did not believe in Him. It was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy from Isaiah 53:1. They did not believe because they smeared over their eyes so they could not see and hardened their hearts (Isaiah 6:1ff). They refused to be converted and healed of their sin. Isaiah spoke these things because He saw the Lord, high and exalted, honored and glorified. Isaiah saw the Son of God in Isaiah 6:1, and spoke of Him.
IMPORTANT POINT #1 — You may wonder why many people refuse to believe today, even though attesting signs are done in Jesus’ name. Even today, there are those who refuse to see Jesus, smearing their own eyes over so they are blind. And even now, they refuse to receive Him into their hearts so they would be healed of their sin.
IMPORTANT POINT #2 — My hardened heart was softened when God the Father drew me, and by the influence of the Holy Spirit who helped me to see my sin. He opened my eyes to see Jesus as my Savior, Healer, and baptizer in the Holy Spirit. And so, when God said, “Who has believed Our message?” I said, “I have believed!” And the arm of the Lord, the power of God was revealed to me. I was healed of my sin, healed of MS. Then I surrendered myself wholly to Him, as a holy and pleasing sacrifice.
IMPORTANT POINT — If you will believe the message, the Lord will reveal His power to you.
Verses 42-43 — Some of the rulers believed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ, God the Son. But they refused to publicly confess their faith because they feared the Pharisees. Why? Those rulers would be completely cut off from the Jewish community. Banishment would have brought shame upon them, and they preferred to have the approval of men rather than the approval of God.
IMPORTANT POINT — It is a guarantee that when you surrender yourself wholly to God, there will be men who disapprove of you. That is because they have not done so.
Verses 44-46 — If you believe in God the Son, you believe in God the Father. God the Son is the exact representation of the nature of God the Father (Hebrews 1:3). When you see Him, it is like seeing the Father.
He has come as a Light so if you believe in Him, you can come out of the darkness Satan brought to this world.
Verses 47-48 — If you receive the Son, you receive the Father. If you reject Jesus Christ and His words, Jesus doesn’t judge you. He didn’t come to judge you.
BUT don’t stop there and say there is no judgment. Jesus goes on to say that the word He speaks will judge you at the time of God’s final judgment.
Verses 49-50 — Why will you be judged by the Word Jesus speaks? Because He only says what He hears the Father say. The Father commands Him what to say and speak.
And God’s commandment to speak these words results in eternal life. Without it, you will go to an eternal hell when you die. So Jesus is very careful to say exactly what the Father speaks.
IMPORTANT POINT — Some say a good God would not send anyone to hell. But in Mark 9:44, 46 and 48, Jesus describes hell. Does God really send people to hell? It is each person’s choice to receive or reject Jesus Christ. Being sent to an eternal hell or eternal life with Christ is the consequence of their own decision.