Hi friends! It’s day 12 of our Countdown to Christmas, and today we’re in John chapter 12.
I’m feeling under the weather today but I’m typing this one out underneath a heated blanket besides a fireplace with a cup of matcha in my hands. So I can’t complain too much!
As always, I took the headings and verses below directly from the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible. Jesus’ words are in red, and my own commentary is blue. I’ll have today’s video linked down at the bottom of the page, if you’d prefer to watch/listen!
Here we go!
Jesus Anointed at Bethany
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were all friends of Jesus. In yesterday’s chapter, we read about Jesus bringing Lazarus back to life from death. Now he is having dinner with the three of them, his disciples, and possibly more.
4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
I’m not sure who made Judas treasurer, but I’m sure Jesus knew that He had been dealing the money immorally.
Regardless, he is attempting to sound noble in his criticism towards Mary’s act of worship, but his intentions were evil. He was really just bitter that he was missing out on the opportunity of a large sum of money.
7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
Jesus’ heart goes out to suffering people always. He has done more than enough to prove that. Yet, he is more about genuine worship than false nobility.
Mary recognizes Jesus as unlike any other- and worthy of reckless abandon in worship. She gives him her absolute best. Judas will go on to betray Jesus, so we can assume his heart at this point is closer to rejection than worship of this wonderful Son of God.
9 Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11 for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.
Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King
12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
The crowd here is treating Jesus similarly to how they would treat a king. And, as we read last week, the Jews would love for this man of unparalleled power to help them fight the oppression of the Roman Empire that they are living under. But this King plans to save his people from an oppression much larger than political.
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
Hosanna, means “save now”. These people are eagerly receiving Jesus into their town. All their hope is in him.
14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:
15 “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt.”
This prophesy is found in the Old Testament, in Zechariah 9:9. And on this palm Sunday, Jesus fulfills these words.
16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.
17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”
The Pharisees see Jesus as a threat to their power, and they are becoming more fearful of his growing following by the day.
Jesus Predicts His Death
20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
The greatest things the world can offer us pale in comparison to the possibility of an eternal life with God. However, sometimes we forfeit the better offer, to receive and enjoy the former. But God “honors the one” who sacrifices good for better and serves Him.
27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”
Jesus is anxious to think of his coming fate, and he wants that to be known. Because despite the terrors he expects to face, he is sure that this is the Father’s plan, so he embraces it instead of asking for exemption from it.
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
The Bible often refers to Satan as the “prince” of this world. But the cross of Jesus Christ defeats Satan’s power in sin, as all of our sins are nailed to it and die with our Savior.
34 The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”
The same people that welcomed Jesus in with praise and honor, now questions his plans to die. It doesn’t make sense to them that one could be triumphant in death.
35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.
Jesus wants them to hold on to faith. It is our faith in him that redeems us, so it is more important for the people to continue trusting, than to wait for it all to make perfect sense. His ways are higher than our ways, after all, and some things we may never understand on this side of eternity.
Belief and Unbelief Among the Jews
37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:
“Lord, who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
We read a few chapters ago, that God reveals the truth of His Son to us. So if we believe, it is because God has compelled us towards Himself, or “revealed his arm” (Isaiah 53:1).
39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:
40 “He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts,
so they can neither see with their eyes,
nor understand with their hearts,
nor turn—and I would heal them.”
On the other hand, in an exercise of free will, some have chosen to pursue evil and disbelief. To those, God didn’t bring them to Jesus, but instead turned their hearts further away (Isaiah 6:9-10).
41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.
42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.
So for many, they believed in their hearts that Jesus was who he said he was, but out of fear of human rejection, they kept this to themselves. This was even true of some of the very men that crucified Jesus.
44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
Jesus knows that his time is near. His final call is a plea to the people to believe. He wants to save them, but he needs them to accept him as the Son of God in order for it to happen.
Thanks for coming back around! 12 days down, 9 to go! I hope to see you tomorrow for Chapter 13.
This Post Has 2 Comments
You are doing a beautiful service and I am having such a great time following along with your readings, writings, and teachings! Thank you so much!!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Donna! Thank you for your feedback!