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The Lord Lifted Up (John 12)

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John 12

Mary anoints Jesus
Therefore, six days before the Passover, Jesus went to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they made him supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of them that sat and ate with him. 3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, the one that would betray him, said: 5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred dinarii and given to the poor? 6 Now this he said, not because he cared for 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. 7 Jesus replied: Leave her alone, she intended to keep it for the day of my burial. 8 The poor you have always with you, but me you do not have always.
   9 The common people of the Jews learned that he was there, and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests took counsel that they might put Lazarus also to death, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.

Jesus enters Jerusalem
12 The next day, a great crowd that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took the branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, and cried out: Hosanna! Blessed is he that comes in the Name of the Lord, the King of Israel! 14 And Jesus, having found a young donkey, sat upon it- as it is written: 15 Fear not, daughter of Zion! Look, your King comes, sitting on an donkey's colt.
   16 These things his disciples did not understand at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about him, and that they had done these things to him. 17 The crowd that was with him, when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, made testimony. 18 For this cause also the crowd went and met him, for they heard that he had done this miracle. 19 The Pharisees complained to one another: You see that you can do nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.

Jesus speaks of His death
20 Now there were certain Greeks among those that went to worship at the feast. 21 These went to Philip, who was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him: Sir, can we see Jesus? 22 Philip went and told Andrew, and then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 Jesus told them: The hour comes that the Son of Man should be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you: Except a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it abides alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 He that loves his life loses it, and he that hates his life in this world, shall keep it to everlasting life. 26 If anyone desires to serve me, he must follow me. Where I am, there shall also my servant be. If anyone serves me, the Father will honour him. 27 Now is my soul disturbed; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? But for this cause came I to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name. Therefore, there came a voice out of Heaven: I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. 29 The crowd that stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said an angel had spoken to him. 30 Jesus responded: This voice has not come for my sake, but for your sakes. 31 Now is the judgment of this world. Now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself. 33 But this he said to signify by what manner of death he should die.
   34 The crowd asked him: We have heard out of the law that the Christ abides forever; and how do you say: The Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man? 35 Jesus replied to them: Yet a little while is the light among you. Walk while you have the light, so that darkness does not overtake you. He that walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become sons of light. Jesus spoke these things, then he departed and hid himself from them.

Belief in Jesus
37 But though he had done so many signs before them, yet they did not believe in him. 38 So that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, when he spoke: Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 39 Because of this they could not believe, because Isaiah also said: 40 He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts, and turn, so that I should heal them. 41 These things said Isaiah, because he foresaw his glory, and he spoke about him.
   42 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue. 43 For they loved the glory that is of men more than the glory that is of God.
44 And Jesus cried and said: He that believes on me does not believe on me, but on him that sent me. 45 And he that sees me, sees him that sent me. 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in the darkness. 47 And if anyone hear my sayings and keep them not, I judge him not. For I came not to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He that rejects me and receives not my sayings has one that judges him. The word that I spoke, the same shall judge him in the last day. 49 For I spoke not from myself, but the Father that sent me, He has given me a commandment, what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that His commandment is everlasting life. The things therefore which I speak, even as the Father has said to me: So I speak.



12:6 Someone with the perception of Jesus surely knew what was going on. But He didn’t challenge Judas about it, in the hope he would repent. When we see the failures of others, it may not be wise to immediately challenge them.

12:7 Despite so clearly predicting His death, it seems only Mary really understood. In his preaching of the Gospel, John was saying that the male disciples- the public preachers of the Gospel- hadn’t understood the most basic part of it, i.e. the death of Christ, but one woman did. Thus John is holding up a woman as the role model for all his hearers and readers.

12:24 Jesus perceived the great potential, the fruit, in the awful experience He was about to go through. We can face our sufferings likewise.

12:25 We must die first in order to live eternally. This is the symbolism of baptism- going under the water is like death with Jesus, coming up out of the water is like resurrection with Him (Rom. 6:3-5). But we must live out this principle in daily life, sacrificing what we could have in this life so that we might live eternally.

12:27 This is a wonderful insight into the internal thought process of Jesus as He struggled with temptation. Because He endured temptation, He is able to support us when we are tempted (Heb. 4:15,16).

12:32 We need to reconstruct in our own minds the picture of Christ hanging crucified upon the cross. If we are God’s people, we will be drawn closer to Him by it. “All men” here doesn’t refer to every human being, but to those who draw near to Jesus on the cross. This group of people are ‘all things’ to God.

12:34 Son of man- This was Jesus’ favourite self-description. He thus emphasized His humanity, that He was one of us, of our nature.

12:40 God blinds the eyes of those who don’t want to see. We must be careful not to slip into the downward spiral, but remain instead in an upward spiral of belief and response to that belief.

12:42 Many people today ‘believe’ but will not openly admit it, because they are worried what people will think of them. God arranged circumstances so that rulers like Nicodemus and Joseph ‘came out’ openly; but others didn’t respond to that and because they hid their candle under a bucket, they lost their faith, their light went out.

12:43 If we believe and confess that faith, through baptism and an open life of commitment, then God glorifies us- in His own book, in His own way, even if the world doesn’t see it.

12:48 It’s as if Bible verses, the words of Jesus, will be quoted back to us at judgment day and we will be asked how we responded to them. There will be a process of judgment, not just a yes / no statement from our Judge.