John 12 – The Unbelief of the People


In John’s account of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem during the final days, we get some more details, including the account of Mary anointing Jesus (verse 3).  Some commentators get this confused with a similar event in Luke 7:35-39, but that is a different woman and occasion.  Verse 7 seems to mean that Mary had kept the ointment to use to prepare Jesus for burial – but this was the time to use it.   In verses 4-6, we learn from John that Judas had been stealing money from the money bag he was charged with carrying. 3oo denarii would be almost a year of a laborer’s wages.  The expensive nard (from spikenard) was imported from northern India.

In verses 9-11, Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead had achieved two very different results.  First, a large number of Jews had been attracted to come and see for themselves that he was now indeed alive.  But incredibly, the chief priests were plotting the death of Lazarus because it was causing many to believe in Jesus.  They simply did not want it to be so; and their frustration grows, as in verse 19 they say to one another “Look, the world has gone after him.”  This was at John’s account of the triumphal entry on Sunday of Jesus’ last week.

In verses 2-26, Gentiles come to worship and request to see Jesus; and Jesus acknowledges both that it is time for Him to be glorified, and removes all doubt that anyone – Jew or Gentile – that sacrifices himself to follow Jesus will be saved.    In verse 27, we again see that Jesus had come to earth as flesh and with human emotion, as he was troubled that the time of His death was approaching.  But he acknowledges that this was the reason He had come.  As God speaks to Him, some thought it was thunder, but Jesus made it clear that the voice had been intended for those who would believe (verse 30).  People do not understand why the Christ must be “lifted up,”  and was going to die.  Their understanding of the Christ remaining forever was one they had always related to an earthly reign.  They still did not understand His kingdom.

John quotes Isaiah 53:1 in verse 38, and Isaiah 6:10  in verse 40, as he notes the continued unbelief of many despite the signs Jesus had given them.  In verses 44-50, Jesus tells them that He has come to save the world – those who are not blinded by the hardness of their hearts.  Those who reject Him are rejecting God and the light that He has sent into the world.   Even miracles will not convince those who are bent on self-deception.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.


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