The Way - Day 193 (John 12)

Daily Reading:
John 12
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
Read John 12:27-30 aloud. What words characterize Jesus' tone during this exchange? What does it reveal about Jesus that He shares this struggle openly? How can it serve as an encouragement and a model for you when you face trials? Share with the group any encouragement you've found.
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 90:12
OPTION 2: Proverbs 22:6
OPTION 3: Matthew 7:1-2
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for John 12 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
JOHN 12:1-26
Since chapter 5, John has documented the opposition Jesus faced during His public ministry and this chapter will end his emphasis on the conflicts. John would use the concluding parts of his gospel to detail Jesus' final instructions to His disciples (John 14-17), as well as give an account of His death, burial, and resurrection (John 18-21). In John 11, Jesus had performed His greatest miracle up to this point in His ministry - raising Lazarus from the dead. Although this was a supernatural work of God, many still opposed Jesus and sought an opportunity to put Him to death for claiming to be the Son of God (11:45-57).
Six days before the Passover, Jesus was in Bethany eating with Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. Mary took some expensive oil and anointed the feet of Jesus (12:1-3), which was an expression of worship and love for Jesus. One of Jesus' disciples, Judas Iscariot, became angry that this oil was used to anoint Jesus' feet instead of being sold and the money given to the poor (12:4-5). John makes a note that Judas said this "not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it" (12:6). As the treasurer of the disciples, Judas had become a thief. Jesus quickly spoke up to defend Mary's act of worship saying, "Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always" (12:8). In this culture, people would use costly oil and fragrances on the dead to try to cover up the stench of decay. Mary's actions foretold the soon-coming death of Jesus. Some Jews had also gathered to see Jesus and Lazarus, but John tells his readers that they were present because they wanted to not only put Jesus to death, but Lazarus also (12:9-10).

"The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: 'Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel!'" (12:12-13).

This occurrence is often referred to as Palm Sunday, the day when Jesus officially presented Himself to Israel as their Messiah and the Son of God. The act of people worshipping Jesus in Jerusalem occurred just one week before they would crucify Him on the cross. John also makes reference to the prophet Zechariah (12:14-15), who had prophesied almost 500 years earlier that Jesus would come riding into Jerusalem on a donkey and the people would worship Him as King (Zechariah 9:9). Although Jesus' disciples did not understand all that was transpiring at that moment, they would soon know that Zechariah's prophecy was referring to Jesus and that He was the promised Messiah (12:16). Jesus popularity among the people was at its highest point. Even the religious leaders recognized it (12:17-19). Jesus' fame would be short-lived as these cries of worship would soon turn to cries of crucifixion.

Jesus finally acknowledges that His time to be put to death has come (12:23), so He begins to instruct His followers about the significance of His upcoming death. "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain" (12:24). As the death of a kernel produces a future harvest, Jesus’ death would produce life for many. Jesus goes on to say…

"He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor" (12:25-26).

Because Jesus would soon face death, those who believe in Him may also encounter tribulation, but instead of trying to save their lives, His followers should be willing to lose it for His sake. Jesus' upcoming death would be the toughest thing He would face during His lifetime, but He knew it was necessary to bring life and salvation to all who would believe in Him. Although many of His followers will never experience death for Him, they are called to live for Him. If Jesus was willing to die for us, the least we can do is live for Him.

JOHN 12:27-50
John has documented much of the opposition Jesus faced during His earthly ministry. His latest miracle, raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44), attracted the attention of the Jews, who plotted to kill Him (John 11:45-57). Following this incident, John writes about the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem where multitudes were proclaiming Him as king and worshipping Him as Savior (12:12-22). But Jesus acknowledged that the hour of His death, burial, and resurrection had come (12:23). Even though the people were now shouting their praise for Him, soon they would be crying out for Jesus to be put to death.

Jesus recognized that the time had come to pay the penalty for sin, so John writes about Jesus’ response to this moment.

"Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say?  'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name" (12:27-28a).

Jesus knew that He was about to face the most challenging time of His life, but He surrenders to the mission for which God the Father has sent Him. In response to Jesus' words, God the Father audibly speaks saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again" (12:28b). God's words confirmed Jesus' works both in what He had already done (His life and ministry) and what He was about to do (His death and resurrection).

When the people nearby heard the voice they were confused. Some thought it was thunder while others believed it was the voice of an angel (12:29), but Jesus reveals the true nature of the voice and words.

"This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself" (12:30-32).

God the Father spoke for the sake of those on the earth. Jesus' coming death would bring judgment upon those who did not believe, but His death would also defeat the plans of Satan. Sin would be paid for through the death of Jesus and all those who will look to Him in repentance and faith will be saved from the penalty of sin.

Those who heard Jesus' words still could not understand how He could claim to be the Messiah whose kingdom will last forever (Isaiah 9:7), but also predict His soon-coming death (12:34). Jesus was not really interested in defending His death, burial, and resurrection so He simply extends an invitation for them to receive Him by faith.
"A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light" (12:35-36a).
The witness of Jesus (light) would not be on earth much longer, so He was calling for them to believe right now. After Jesus said these things, He departed and hid Himself from them (12:36b).

John reveals the true condition of those who were listening saying, "…although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him" (12:37). Their reaction was no surprise as the prophet, Isaiah, had foreseen their unbelief hundreds of years earlier (12:38-40). Israel's continual rejection of Jesus as the Messiah had caused them to enter into spiritual blindness and a hardening of their hearts toward the truth. They were without excuse. Even though many did not believe in Jesus, some did believe, "…but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God" (12:42-43). Those in leadership, whose faith was genuine, manifested a weakness in their faith and refused to publicly acknowledge the truth. Although they had been saved from the penalty of sin, they feared man more than God.

The chapter ends with Jesus bringing many truths to light:
- Belief in Jesus is equal to belief in God (12:44-45)
- Those who do not believe will be judged by the truth Jesus has spoken (12:46-48)
- Jesus has only spoken with authority from God (12:49-50).

A critical statement repeated in John's gospel is that Jesus came to bring salvation, not judgment (John 3:17; 12:47). The offer of salvation from the power and penalty of sin has been extended to all, but many have hardened their hearts toward the truth and bring judgment upon themselves. Jesus had already stated that the condition for receiving eternal life.
"He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him" (John 3:36).
Have you believed in Jesus as your Savior?

Dear God, You have made Your witness clear through sending Your Son, Jesus Christ. Bring conviction upon the hearts of those who hear the truth, that they might also believe and receive eternal life.