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Matthew Henry's Commentary

John Chapter 12 

hrist 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.

 


David Burnette's Life Application

Are You Walking in the Light?

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of John with Chapter 12. In our text today we see John's account of Mary anointing the feet of Jesus before riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. What catches my eye is how Jesus explains why He must die and our instruction of walking in the Light so we we will be children of the Light. In making application we see the importance of walking with the Lord in the light of His Word. As Christians, each day we must choose to die to our flesh and walk in this light through the direction of the Holy Spirit as we do His Will for our Lives. How about you? Are you walking in the Light? Let us learn from our text today and the Words of Jesus who instructs us to walk in the light so we will be children of the light.

 

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John 12 

John 12

 1Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.

 2There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.

 3Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

 4Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him,

 5Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?

 6This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.

 7Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.

 8For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.

 9Much people of the Jews therefore knew 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.

 10But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death;

 11Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.

 12On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,

 13Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.

 14And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written,

 15Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt.

 16These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.

 17The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record.

 18For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle.

 19The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.

 20And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:

 21The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.

 22Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.

 23And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.

 24Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

 25He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

 26If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

 27Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.

 28Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.

 29The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.

 30Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.

 31Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

 32And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

 33This he said, signifying what death he should die.

 34The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?

 35Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.

 36While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.

 37But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:

 38That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?

 39Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,

 40He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

 41These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.

 42Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:

 43For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

 44Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.

 45And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.

 46I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

 47And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.

 48He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

 49For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

 50And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.