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Book of John
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The Gospel of John for Youth
Commentary by Pastor Ron Beckham

John Chapter 12

(Words in red in the Scriptures are the words of Jesus)

Verse 1.  “Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.”

This would be the last time Jesus would come to the town of Bethany, in Judea, before His death on the cross.  Lazarus was the one Jesus had raised from the dead (John Chapter 11).  Lazarus lived in Bethany.

Verse 2.  “So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him.”

Jesus was in Bethany, eating a supper cooked by a lady named Martha (see John Chapter 11), Mary’s sister.  Their brother was Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised back to life, after four days in the grave.

Verse 3.  “Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”

Martha was serving dinner to Jesus and the others, but her sister Mary served Jesus in a different way.  She took a large bottle of an expensive perfume called "nard", and wiped Jesus' feet with it.  The whole house was filled with the smell of the beautiful perfume.

Verse 4.  “But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said,”

Judas Iscariot was the disciple who was going to betray (tell on) Jesus.  Because of what he was going to do, Jesus would be killed.

Verse 5.  “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?”

Judas criticized what Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, was doing.  She was wiping the feet of Jesus with costly perfume, and Judas shouted that the perfume should have been sold and the money from it given to the poor.

Verse 6.  “Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.”

John the Apostle was the writer of this Book of John.  He did not know it at the time, but later he would find out that Judas, who kept all their money, was a thief who stole from them.  Judas wanted the money for himself.

Verse 7.  “Therefore Jesus said, ‘Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial.’”

Jesus was telling Judas to be quiet.  Mary may not have fully understand what she was doing, but she was showing all of them by her action that Jesus would die for us.

Verse 8.  For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.

Jesus loved the poor and He has always helped them, then and now.  But the Son of God would come just ONCE as a man who would die for you and me.  What Mary was doing (verse 3) was important and He would not allow Judas to insult her (verses 4-6)

Verse 9.  “The large crowd of the Jews then learned that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead.”

A lot of the people who lived near Bethany had heard Jesus was in town.  They came to see Him, but they also wanted to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead.

Verse 10.  “But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also;”

This is amazing!  Jesus had healed many people.  He gave sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf.  The lame could walk.  And now he had raised a dead man to life!  And this is the amazing part:  The chief priests (religious leaders) wanted to KILL Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised back to life!

Verse 11.  “because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus.”

Because Lazarus had been raised from the dead, many of the people believed in Jesus.  The chief priests (see verse 10) wanted the people for THEMSELVES and were trying to stop the people from believing in Jesus, the Son of God.

Verse 12.  “On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,”

A very large crowd of people had come to the Passover Feast in Jerusalem (more people than normal), because they heard Jesus was there.  They wanted to see Him.

Verse 13.  “took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.’”

A large crowd of people took branches from nearby palm trees and started waving them at Jesus.  They were shouting "Hosanna" (Save us now).  Hundreds of years before (Psalm 118:26), "blessed be the Name of the Lord" had been said about the Messiah, the Christ, and now those words were being said to Jesus, and they called Him the "King of Israel".

Verse 14.  “Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written,”

The disciples brought a donkey to Jesus, so that He could ride into Jerusalem while the people were waving palm branches and shouting to Him.

Verse 15.  “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, seated on a donkey's colt.”

A long time before (Zechariah 9:9), it had been said that the Messiah (the Christ, the special One of God), would be "lowly", riding on a young donkey as He came into Jerusalem.  The "daughter of Zion" meant the people of Israel.  All this  was happening right now, before their very eyes.

Verse 16.  “These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him.”

The disciples (students) of Jesus did not understand what all this meant, but after Jesus rose from the dead, they remembered and began to see.

Verse 17.  “So the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, continued to testify about Him.”

Some of the people had been with Jesus in Bethany when He called and raised Lazarus from the dead.  They were telling everybody what had happened.

Verse 18.  “For this reason also the people went and met Him, because they heard that He had performed this sign.”

Many of the people came there because they had heard that Jesus had raised Lazarus, after he had been dead for four days.  We do not have to be afraid of death ever again.

Verse 19.  “So the Pharisees said to one another, ‘You see that you are not doing any good; look, the world has gone after Him.’”

The Pharisees (Jewish leaders) were getting upset.  It seemed like the more they tried to keep the people AWAY from Jesus, the more the people followed Him.

Verse 20.  “Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast;”

Some of those who would attend the Passover Feast, were Gentiles (non-Jews).  The Jews called them "God-fearers" (people who loved the God of Israel but were not Jews).

Verse 21.  “these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’”

Philip was one of the disciples (students) of Jesus.  He was one of the twelve "apostles" (sent ones - Matthew 10:3).  Some of the Gentiles (non-Jews) at the Feast, wanted to meet Jesus, and they asked Philip for help.

Verse 22.  “Philip came and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip came and told Jesus.”

Andrew was the "apostle" who was the brother of Simon Peter.  Philip went to him and told him that some Gentiles (non-Jews) wanted to talk with Jesus.  Andrew and Philip went together and told Jesus.

Verse 23.  “And Jesus answered them, saying, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.’”

Jesus did not answer them but instead began talking.  He spoke to the crowd and also to God the Father.  Jesus showed His glory in many ways, but now His glory was that He would die for the sins of the world.

Verse 24.  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.

Jesus was saying that He was like a seed of wheat.  The seed must first die before it grows into a plant that can produce more wheat.  Jesus would die but we come alive when we trust in Him and what He did for us.

Verse 25.  He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.

To "love his life" is to NOT believe in Jesus.  To "hate his life" is to trust in Jesus, the Son of God.  If we trust in Him, we will live - forever!

Verse 26.  If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

How do we serve Jesus?  How do we follow Him?  First we must believe that He is the Son of God.  We learn to follow Him through prayer.  When we pray, God the Father will honor (listen to) us, and He will show us the way.

Verse 27.  Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour.

Jesus was.  Death did not frighten Him but soon He would die on the cross for our sins.  He never sinned, but on the cross, our bad thoughts and bad actions would become His.  We are forgiven when we trust in Him.

Verse 28.  “‘Father, glorify Your name.’ Then a voice came out of heaven: ‘I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.’”

Jesus was praying that God the Father would be glorified (honored) by people.  God the Father answered His prayer:  His name IS glorified by Jesus, God the Son, and by what He was doing right at that moment.

Verse 29.  “So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, ‘An angel has spoken to Him.’”

The people were listening to Jesus pray and heard the answer but did not understand.  Some thought it was thunder and others felt it was an angel (a messenger from God).  But it was God the Father.

Verse 30.  “Jesus answered and said, ‘This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes.’”

Jesus heard what the people were saying and told them that it was not for Him the Voice had spoken.  The voice of the Father was for THEM (and for us).

Verse 31.  Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.

Because of what Jesus was going to do on the cross, the whole world (every one of us) is in danger of God's judgment, but there is hope for you and me.  The "ruler of this world" (Satan) lost whatever power he had.  There is no hope for him but you can trust in Jesus and be saved.

Verse 32.  And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.

Because Jesus was "lifted up" to die on the cross, there is hope for each one of us.  Jesus died so that we might live.  He was our Substitute and if we are drawn by the Holy Spirit to trust in Him, we shall be saved - forever.

Verse 33.  “But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die.”

By the words of these verses, Jesus was telling them the way He would die.  He would be "lifted up" to die on a cross.

Verse 34.  “The crowd then answered Him, ‘We have heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, The Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?’”

The crowd of people understood that "lifted up" meant He would die on a cross.  They remembered that the Messiah (the Christ) would be called "Everlasting Father" (Isaiah 9:6), and that His government would last "forever" (Isaiah 9:7).  They were troubled when He said He would die.

Verse 35.  “So Jesus said to them, ‘For a little while longer the Light is among you.  Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes.’”

Jesus had told them "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12).  The "light" gives understanding because we can see when it is light.  Jesus would only be on earth for a short time and He is telling us to trust in Him; and He will take us out of darkness.

Verse 36. “‘While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.’ These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them.”

They heard Jesus and should have believed in Him that He is the Son of God.  If we do so, we become sons of light (sons of God) for He gives understanding.  Jesus had said all He was going to say, and for a time He went away from them.

Verse 37.  “But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him.”

Jesus had told them enough and shown them enough, so they should have believed (trusted) in Him, but most of them did not believe.

Verse 38.  “This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke:  ‘Lord, who has believed our report? and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?’”

Long ago, God's prophet Isaiah had said the Messiah (Christ, Anointed One) would come to Israel and His people would not believe Him (Isaiah 53:1).  Much later, Jesus did come to them and just like it was said, they did not believe in Him.

Verse 39.  “For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again,’”

There was a reason why they did not believe and we will be told that reason in the next verse.

Verse 40.  “He has blinded their eyes and He hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and be converted and I heal them.”

Jesus quoted Isaiah 6:10.  Many in Isaiah's time would not believe and many in Jesus' time did not believe either.  They could have trusted Him and some did (John 12:42).  The rest should have "seen" but they would not.  When they would not trust in Him, they were allowed to stay that way.

Verse 41.  “These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him.

Isaiah the Prophet actually SAW God in His glory and told us (wrote) what he had seen (Isaiah Chapter 6).

Verse 42.  “Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue;”

Many of the religious leaders of the Jews DID believe in Jesus.  But they were quiet about it, because they would have been thrown out of the Jewish Synagogue (like a church) if the Pharisees (a group of religious leaders) knew they believed.

Verse 43.  “for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.”

Many who believed in Jesus would not tell others because they were afraid of what people would think.  John (the writer of the Book of John) says this:  "they loved the approval of men" more than they loved God.

Verse 44.  “And Jesus cried out and said, ‘He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me.’”

Jesus came back to the Temple and called out:  "If you believe in Me, you are believing in God."  To honestly believe in Jesus is to receive God the Father.

Verse 45.  He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me.

Jesus was seen by many people when He was here on earth.  Those who saw Him, saw God.  Pray in Jesus Name, and the Holy Spirit will help you trust in Him with all your heart.

Verse 46.  I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.

To have "light" is to understand.  Jesus gave us "light" so we might "see" Him through what He said and did.  To refuse to believe is to remain in darkness but to trust is to be given light.

Verse 47.  If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.

Jesus did not come to this world to make us guilty (judge us).  He came to save us and set us free.  He died in our place and we are innocent if we trust in Him, because He took our guilt and shame.

Verse 48.  He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.

Jesus didn't need to judge us for who and what we are.  The words we are reading right now; THEY will be our judges.  But we don’t need to be afraid, for Jesus loves you and me.

Verse 49.  For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.”

Everything that Jesus said and did was what God the Father wanted.  Jesus never sinned because in everything He was led by the Holy Spirit of God.

Verse 50.  I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.

How can we become better?  We are to trust in Jesus and follow God.  We are not perfect like Jesus, but He IS perfect.  When we trust in Him, the Father gives us LIFE - forever.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries
www.fridaystudy.org
Ron@fridaystudy.org

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