Text: John 12
Event(s): Jesus is anointed at Bethany; The plot to kill Lazarus; Jesus’ triumphal entry; The fruitful grain of wheat; Jesus predicts His death on the cross; Who has believed our report?; Walk in the Light
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post as to the chronological timeline we are following, we’re somewhat jumping around a bit. We’ll have to think of today’s passage in John 12 as somewhat of an insert into the events we read in yesterday’s passage. A key event we will read about today is Mary anointing Jesus with oil. Today, we will also end with Jesus talking about the attraction of sacrifice, which is unique to the Gospel of John and took place after He rode into Jerusalem.
Jesus has an encounter with Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10)
Jesus teaches using the Parable of the Minas (Luke 19:11-27)
Jesus returns to the home of Mary & Martha (John 12:1-8)
We learn of the plot to kill Lazarus (John 12:9-11)
Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Luke 19:28-44; Matthew 21:1-9, Mark 11:1-11, John 12:12-19)
The fig tree is cursed (Mark 11:12-14)
The temple is cleansed (Luke 19:45-48, Matthew 21:12-13 and Mark 11:15-18)
Jesus speaks about the attraction of sacrifice (John 12:20-50)
The fig tree withers (Mark 11:19-26 and Matthew 21:18-22)
John 12:7 “Let her alone…” God always comes to the defense of His children when faced with attacks from the accuser. We must be yielded enough, however, to let Him be our defender. Judas’ words were rooted in condemnation, not conviction. Condemnation accuses and causes us to cease; conviction of the Holy Spirit will motivate us to move forward in a better way. When it’s hard to tell the difference – when it’s hard to know if you’re dealing with conviction or condemnation – look at the fruit of what it produces in your life. Especially what is produces in our relationship towards our Savior.
John 12:11 “because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus” Lazarus’ life was a huge testimony to the miracle power of Jesus. And simply because of that, they sought to destroy him. In the same way, our lives are a powerful testament and never doubt that the enemy hates the very fact that you have been “brought to life” (Colossians 1:13).
John 12:25 “He who hates his life in this world will keep it..” Hating one’s life doesn’t mean hatred in the way we commonly think of hatred. It means to think little of, in the sense that we disregard our own desires, mainly to pursue the welfare of others. But I love that Jesus clarifies in verse 26, that serving Him is where this all starts. That’s our primary focus and from there, serving others will naturally come as a byproduct.
John 12:27 “My soul is troubled…” This verse really speaks to Jesus’ humanity and is a reminder that He came not as God, but as man. (Phil 5:2-8) Our soul is made up of our mind, will and emotions. Jesus’ death would involve separation from His Father, and bearing God’s wrath for the sins of the world was troubling beyond anything any of us could ever even come close to imagining.
John 12:28 “Then a voice came from heaven,” There are only two other times recorded in which the Father answered Jesus audibly. The first was at His baptism (at the start of His ministry), and the second on the mount of transfiguration (at the middle of His ministry). At His baptism, only John the Baptist and Jesus heard the voice. On the mount, Jesus and three of His disciples heard it. Here, Jesus and a multitude heard it. The people present could not understand the words clearly, though Jesus could. Sadly, many of them dismissed it as only “thunder”.
John 12:37 “they did not believe in Him” Miracles are signs and proof of the kingdom being active and alive, but miracles in and of themselves do not produce faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17).
John 12:37-50 Apart from when He speaks at His trial, these were the last words Jesus spoke in which He addressed a broader crowd than the circle of His disciples. If you listen closely, there is a sense of finality ringing from these words – a last appeal, as it were.
Today’s Takeaway: Vision is useless without light to illuminate the way. But when things get dark, or we can’t seem to find our way, the enemy would love for us to focus on the darkness and panic. (Darkness is uncomfortable, isn’t it?) It is in those moments, when I find it hard to see clearly or to visualize where I believe God is taking me, that I pray one of my favorite verses, Psalm 43:3 “Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your tabernacle.” My joy is then restored and in belief, I start looking around expectantly, waiting to see the glimmer that I know will come (because God always answers His children) and soon enough, the glimmer turns into a bright beam and I can see clearly once again. Is there any area of your life that feels dim, or even dark? Oh friend, you never need be in this predicament. Our prayers are like light switches that draws on the power of heaven to illuminate our way. Call upon Him and He will show you great and mighty things.
Additional (optional) reading: Psalm 119:105, Psalm 119:130, Psalm 18:28, Psalm 27:1, Jeremiah 33:3