John 12

Listen to John 12

Mary Anoints Jesus at Bethany

1 Six days before 1the Passover, 2Jesus therefore came to Bethany, 3where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
2 So they gave a dinner for him there. 4Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table.
3 5Mary therefore took a pound[a] 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.
4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said,
5 "Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii[b] and 6given to the poor?"
6 He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and 7having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.
7 Jesus said, "Leave her alone, so that she may keep it[c] for the day of my burial.
8 For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me."

The Plot to Kill Lazarus

9 When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus[d] was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, 8whom he had raised from the dead.
10 9So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well,
11 because 10on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.

The Triumphal Entry

12 The next day 11the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem.
13 So they took branches of 12palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, 13"Hosanna! Blessed is 14he who comes in the name of the Lord, even 15the King of Israel!"
14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,
15 16"Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt!"
16 17His disciples did not understand these things at first, but 18when Jesus was glorified, then 19they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him.
17 20The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness.
18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him 21was that they heard he had done this sign.
19 So the Pharisees said to one another, 22"You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, 23the world has gone after him."

Some Greeks Seek Jesus

20 Now 24among those who went up to worship at the feast were some 25Greeks.
21 So these came to 26Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."
22 Philip went and told 27Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
23 And Jesus answered them, 28"The hour has come 29for the Son of Man to be glorified.
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, 30unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
25 31Whoever loves his life loses it, and 32whoever 33hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
26 If anyone serves me, he must 34follow me; and 35where I am, there will my servant be also. 36If anyone serves me, 37the Father will honor him.

The Son of Man Must Be Lifted Up

27 38"Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? 'Father, 39save me from 40this hour'? But 41for this purpose I have come to 42this hour.
28 Father, glorify your name." Then 43a voice came from heaven: "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again."
29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, 44"An angel has spoken to him."
30 Jesus answered, 45"This voice has come for your sake, not mine.
31 46Now is the judgment of this world; now will 47the ruler of this world 48be cast out.
32 And I, 49when I am lifted up from the earth, 50will draw 51all people to myself."
33 He said this 52to show by what kind of death he was going to die.
34 So the crowd answered him, "We have heard from the Law that 53the Christ remains forever. How can you say that 54the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?"
35 So Jesus said to them, 55"The light is among you 56for a little while longer. 57Walk while you have the light, lest darkness 58overtake you. 59The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going.
36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become 60sons of light." When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them.
37 Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him,
38 61so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: 62"Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"
39 Therefore they 63could not believe. For again Isaiah said,
40 64"He has blinded their eyes and 65hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them."
41 Isaiah said these things because 66he saw his glory and 67spoke of him.
42 Nevertheless, 68many even of the authorities believed in him, but 69for fear of the Pharisees they did not 70confess it, so that they would not be 71put out of the synagogue;
43 72for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.

Jesus Came to Save the World

44 And Jesus cried out and said, 73"Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but 74in him who sent me.
45 And 75whoever 76sees me sees him who sent me.
46 77I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.
47 If anyone 78hears my words and does not keep them, 79I do not judge him; for 80I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.
48 81The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; 82the word that I have spoken will judge him 83on the last day.
49 For 84I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father 85who sent me has himself given me 86a commandment--what to say and what to speak.
50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me."

Images for John 12

John 12 Commentary

Chapter 12

Christ anointed by Mary. (1-11) He enters Jerusalem. (12-19) Greeks apply to see Jesus. (20-26) A voice from heaven bears testimony to Christ. (27-33) His discourse with the people. (34-36) Unbelief of the Jews. (37-43) Christ's address to them. (44-50)

Verses 1-11 Christ had formerly blamed Martha for being troubled with much serving. But she did not leave off serving, as some, who when found fault with for going too far in one way, peevishly run too far another way; she still served, but within hearing of Christ's gracious words. Mary gave a token of love to Christ, who had given real tokens of his love to her and her family. God's Anointed should be our Anointed. Has God poured on him the oil of gladness above his fellows, let us pour on him the ointment of our best affections. In Judas a foul sin is gilded over with a plausible pretence. We must not think that those do no acceptable service, who do it not in our way. The reigning love of money is heart-theft. The grace of Christ puts kind comments on pious words and actions, makes the best of what is amiss, and the most of what is good. Opportunities are to be improved; and those first and most vigorously, which are likely to be the shortest. To consult to hinder the further effect of the miracle, by putting Lazarus to death, is such wickedness, malice, and folly, as cannot be explained, except by the desperate enmity of the human heart against God. They resolved that the man should die whom the Lord had raised to life. The success of the gospel often makes wicked men so angry, that they speak and act as if they hoped to obtain a victory over the Almighty himself.

Verses 12-19 Christ's riding in triumph to Jerusalem is recorded by all the evangelists. Many excellent things, both in the word and providence of God, disciples do not understand at their first acquaintance with the things of God. The right understanding of spiritual nature of Christ's kingdom, prevents our misapplying the Scriptures which speak of it.

Verses 20-26 In attendance upon holy ordinances, particularly the gospel passover, the great desire of our souls should be to see Jesus; to see him as ours, to keep up communion with him, and derive grace from him. The calling of the Gentiles magnified the Redeemer. A corn of wheat yields no increase unless it is cast into the ground. Thus Christ might have possessed his heavenly glory alone, without becoming man. Or, after he had taken man's nature, he might have entered heaven alone, by his own perfect righteousness, without suffering or death; but then no sinner of the human race could have been saved. The salvation of souls hitherto, and henceforward to the end of time, is owing to the dying of this Corn of wheat. Let us search whether Christ be in us the hope of glory; let us beg him to make us indifferent to the trifling concerns of this life, that we may serve the Lord Jesus with a willing mind, and follow his holy example.

Verses 27-33 The sin of our souls was the troubled of Christ's soul, when he undertook to redeem and save us, and to make his soul an offering for our sin. Christ was willing to suffer, yet prayed to be saved from suffering. Prayer against trouble may well agree with patience under it, and submission to the will of God in it. Our Lord Jesus undertook to satisfy God's injured honour, and he did it by humbling himself. The voice of the Father from heaven, which had declared him to be his beloved Son, at his baptism, and when he was transfigured, was heard proclaiming that He had both glorified his name, and would glorify it. Christ, reconciling the world to God by the merit of his death, broke the power of death, and cast out Satan as a destroyer. Christ, bringing the world to God by the doctrine of his cross, broke the power of sin, and cast out Satan as a deceiver. The soul that was at a distance from Christ, is brought to love him and trust him. Jesus was now going to heaven, and he would draw men's hearts to him thither. There is power in the death of Christ to draw souls to him. We have heard from the gospel that which exalts free grace, and we have heard also that which enjoins duty; we must from the heart embrace both, and not separate them.

Verses 34-36 The people drew false notions from the Scriptures, because they overlooked the prophecies that spoke of Christ's sufferings and death. Our Lord warned them that the light would not long continue with them, and exhorted them to walk in it, before the darkness overtook them. Those who would walk in the light must believe in it, and follow Christ's directions. But those who have not faith, cannot behold what is set forth in Jesus, lifted up on the cross, and must be strangers to its influence as made known by the Holy Spirit; they find a thousand objections to excuse their unbelief.

Verses 37-43 Observe the method of conversion implied here. Sinners are brought to see the reality of Divine things, and to have some knowledge of them. To be converted, and truly turned from sin to Christ, as their Happiness and Portion. God will heal them, will justify and sanctify them; will pardon their sins, which are as bleeding wounds, and mortify their corruptions, which are as lurking diseases. See the power of the world in smothering convictions, from regard to the applause or censure of men. Love of the praise of men, as a by-end in that which is good, will make a man a hypocrite when religion is in fashion, and credit is to be got by it; and love of the praise of men, as a base principle in that which is evil, will make a man an apostate, when religion is in disgrace, and credit is to be lost for it.

Verses 44-50 Our Lord publicly proclaimed, that every one who believed on him, as his true disciple, did not believe on him only, but on the Father who sent him. Beholding in Jesus the glory of the Father, we learn to obey, love, and trust in him. By daily looking to Him, who came a Light into the world, we are more and more freed from the darkness of ignorance, error, sin, and misery; we learn that the command of God our Saviour is everlasting life. But the same word will seal the condemnation of all who despise it, or neglect it.

Cross References 86

  • 1. ver. 12, 20; John 11:55
  • 2. For ver. 1-8, see Matthew 26:6-11; Mark 14:3-8
  • 3. John 11:1
  • 4. Luke 10:38, 40
  • 5. [Luke 7:37, 38]
  • 6. John 13:29
  • 7. [See ver. 5 above]
  • 8. John 11:44
  • 9. [Luke 16:31]
  • 10. ver. 18; John 11:45
  • 11. For ver. 12-15, see Matthew 21:4-9; Mark 11:7-10; Luke 19:35-38
  • 12. [Revelation 7:9]
  • 13. Psalms 118:25, 26
  • 14. [John 5:43]
  • 15. See John 1:49
  • 16. Cited from Zechariah 9:9
  • 17. [John 13:7]; See Mark 9:32
  • 18. ver. 23; See John 7:39
  • 19. John 2:22
  • 20. [Luke 19:37]
  • 21. ver. 9-11
  • 22. John 11:47
  • 23. [John 3:26]
  • 24. [1 Kings 8:41-43; Acts 8:27]
  • 25. Acts 17:4; [Mark 7:26]; See John 7:35
  • 26. John 1:44
  • 27. See Mark 13:3
  • 28. John 17:1; [ver. 27; John 13:31, 32; Mark 14:41]; See John 2:4
  • 29. ver. 16
  • 30. 1 Corinthians 15:36
  • 31. See Matthew 10:39
  • 32. [John 11:25]
  • 33. See Luke 14:26
  • 34. John 8:12; John 21:18
  • 35. John 14:3; John 17:24; [2 Corinthians 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:17]
  • 36. [John 14:21, 23; John 16:27]
  • 37. 1 Samuel 2:30; Psalms 91:15
  • 38. John 11:33; John 13:21; [Luke 22:44]
  • 39. Mark 14:35; [Hebrews 5:7]
  • 40. ver. 23
  • 41. [John 18:37]
  • 42. ver. 23
  • 43. Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5; Mark 1:11; Mark 9:7; Luke 3:22; Luke 9:35; 2 Peter 1:17
  • 44. Acts 23:9
  • 45. John 11:42
  • 46. John 16:11; [John 16:33]
  • 47. John 14:30; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 6:12; [Matthew 13:19; Luke 4:6; 1 John 4:4; 1 John 5:19]
  • 48. [Luke 10:18; Colossians 2:15; 1 John 3:8]
  • 49. John 3:14; John 8:28
  • 50. See John 6:44
  • 51. Romans 5:18; Romans 8:32; 2 Corinthians 5:15; 1 Timothy 2:6; Hebrews 2:9; 1 John 2:2
  • 52. John 18:32
  • 53. Psalms 89:4; Psalms 110:4; Isaiah 9:7; Ezekiel 37:25; Luke 1:33
  • 54. ver. 32
  • 55. ver. 46; See John 1:4, 9; John 8:12
  • 56. See John 7:33
  • 57. Jeremiah 13:16; Ephesians 5:8
  • 58. 1 Thessalonians 5:4
  • 59. Isaiah 9:2; 1 John 1:6; 1 John 2:11; [John 11:10]
  • 60. See Luke 10:6
  • 61. [Matthew 1:22]
  • 62. Romans 10:16; Cited from Isaiah 53:1
  • 63. [John 5:44]
  • 64. [Isaiah 6:10]; See Matthew 13:14, 15
  • 65. See Mark 6:52
  • 66. Isaiah 6:1
  • 67. [John 5:46]
  • 68. John 3:1; [John 7:48]
  • 69. See John 7:13
  • 70. See John 9:22
  • 71. See John 9:22
  • 72. John 5:44
  • 73. [John 13:20]; See Matthew 10:40
  • 74. John 14:1; [John 5:24; 1 Peter 1:21]
  • 75. John 14:9
  • 76. John 6:40
  • 77. ver. 35, 36; See John 1:4, 5, 9; John 8:12
  • 78. [John 3:36]
  • 79. John 8:15
  • 80. See John 3:17; John 4:42
  • 81. Luke 10:16
  • 82. Deuteronomy 18:18, 19
  • 83. [Romans 2:16]
  • 84. See John 5:19, 30
  • 85. See John 3:17
  • 86. John 15:10

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. Greek litra; a litra (or Roman pound) was equal to about 11 1/2 ounces or 327 grams
  • [b]. A denarius was a day's wage for a laborer
  • [c]. Or Leave her alone; she intended to keep it
  • [d]. Greek he

John 12 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.