Berean Bible Study Notes

John 12:20-50



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The Conclusion of John 12

This lesson will finally conclude John 12. We've gone slow because the areas covered were large and also important. As you've noticed, John is a very deep book. It goes way beyond what I'm able to understand! OK, here is an overview of what we'll cover. This is all from the New King James Version:

John 12:20 (NKJV) The Fruitful Grain of Wheat

Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. 21 Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."

22 Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus.

23 But Jesus answered them, saying, "The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. 24 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. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 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.

John 12:27 Jesus Predicts His Death on the Cross

"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. 28 Father, glorify Your name."

Then a voice came from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again."

29 Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to Him."

30 Jesus answered and said, "This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." 33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die.

34 The people answered Him,"We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this Son of Man?"

35 Then Jesus said to them, "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. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light." These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.

John 12:37 Who Has Believed Our Report?

But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, 38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke:

"Lord, who has believed our report?

And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?"

39 Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again:

40 "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts,

Lest they should see with their eyes,

Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,

So that I should heal them."

41 These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.

John 12:42 Walk in the Light

Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

44 Then Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45 And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. 46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. 47 And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him — the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak."

 

We won't be able to cover it as in depth as I would like to, but I think we really should get beyond this chapter this year. Now, I asked those of you with some time to do several things:

1. Study up on the Triumphal Entry (and Daniel's 70 weeks) and some of the links provided with that in the last study. We just barely hit the highlights in what we covered here. There is no time limit on this, but I strongly encourage you to do it at some point.

2. Read John 12:20-50. Everybody should have done this! 

3. John 12:24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

What did Jesus mean? How many subjects are actually crammed into this verse? How would you find more about what the Bible has to say about this? Ideas - exhaustive conconcordance, Treasury of Scripture Knowledge at blueletterbible.org (look up verse - click "K" button), Commentaries (books or click button at blueletterbible)

Do the same thing for the next verse (and any other verses that strike you - like John 12:31, etc)

4. John 12:34 The crowd spoke up, "We have heard from the Law that the Christ will remain forever, so how can you say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this 'Son of Man'?"

Where did they hear from the Law that Christ (Messiah) will remain forever? (Hint - read Daniel. It won't take that long to get through the whole thing. John has referred indirectly to Daniel time and time again. Why?)

5. Jesus quotes Isaiah (John 12:38-41). Why? What is He getting at? (We went through this quickly during our last study). Read those passages in context from Isaiah. This also refers to Romans 11. Read Romans 11 and all the passages in context quoted in Romans 11. What exactly does this mean? If you are really interested, you may wish to read commentaries on Romans 11.

6. John 12:43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Go to www.blueletterbible.org and look up this verse. Click the "K" next to it and read those passages. What is this saying?



John 12, Conclusion

Let's start by reviewing how the last section ended:

John 12:16 His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.

17 Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness. 18 For this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had done this sign. 19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, "You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!"

What is the very last thing that happened? The Jewish leadership is rejecting Jesus, on the particular day that He intentionally presented Himself as their King and Messiah. There is great significance in that, and we'll be covering it some more in this section. What happens next?

John 12:20 (NKJV) The Fruitful Grain of Wheat

Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. 21 Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."

22 Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus.

23 But Jesus answered them, saying, "The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. 24 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. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 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.

Now, there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. By "Greeks," John may mean actual Greeks from Greece - or He may mean Gentiles in general. The New Testament sometimes says "Greeks," when it means Gentiles in general. Even though the Romans are in charge at this point, the world spoke Greek, and it was a generally Greek culture, thanks to Alexander the Great and those who came after him.

Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." Philip was Jewish, as were all the disciples, but he had a Greek sounding name, and he was from an area that had a great many Gentiles. If you're interested, the name Philip or Philippos in Greek, means "fond of horses," from philos, which means friend or fond and hippos, which means horses.

Philip doesn't know how to react to this, so he goes and tells Andrew (whose name means "manly," if you're interested). This is the first time that Gentiles have come seeking Jesus since His birth, when the Magi came. There were previous instances when Gentiles sought Jesus' help (not in John, but in the other Gospels), but this seems to be the first time they are seeking Him, Himself. Don't miss the connection that the Holy Spirit is making here. There were events that happened after the Triumphal Entry that John doesn't even hint at. No, for some reason, the Holy Spirit wants us to connect the rejection of Jesus by the Jewish leadership with the seeking of Jesus by Gentiles. We'll talk more about that in a bit.

At any rate, the two of them go to Jesus, presumably with the Greeks following them. We don't know that for sure. John doesn't tell us where Jesus is. Is He in the Temple, as the other Gospels say happened immediately after the Triumphal Entry? Is this the same day? Some day later in the week? We don't know. Does Jesus make His reply to the Greeks? Again, we don't know for sure, because it doesn't say. I think the Greeks are there and hear this answer - but I could be wrong. Regardless, the answer is in regards to the Greeks seeking Him:

John 12:22 Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus.

23 But Jesus answered them, saying, "The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. 24 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. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 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.

What did Jesus do for the Jews? He set up a whole event to show that He was fulfilling Scripture. In order for them to get any significance out of it, they had to know their Scripture (Daniel 9, Zechariah 9, Psalm 118). Remember this verse:

Romans 3:1 What advantage , then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? 2 Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God.

With advantage comes responsibility. They were responsible for knowing their Scripture and recognizing their Messiah when He appeared at the time specified by Gabriel, possibly on the very day - entering Jerusalem on a donkey. Jesus points them to their own Scripture, where they should have seen Him.

What does Jesus do for these Gentiles? Does He point them to Scripture? No, He immediately speaks of His death and resurrection. Does that mean the Gentiles are saved differently? Absolutely not. However, a change has come. The nation has rejected Jesus in a corporate sense, but salvation is offered individually. John said the same thing in the very first chapter:

John 1:11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.

It almost seems a contradiction, doesn't it? It is speaking of two things here. First, His own did not receive Him, in a corporate sense. The Jews, as a whole entity, rejected Jesus. However, But as many as received Him, shows that many, individually, did believe. It's bigger than it seems on the surface. There is a switch, here. God goes from dealing with the Jews as a nation to dealing with the believing remnant. Now, that doesn't mean that there was ever a time when there wasn't individual faith. However, now, the nation is not punished because of the idolatry of its leaders. If you remember your Old Testament, you can think of any number of times when Israel was. Perhaps an easier way to think about this is just to remember the switch from Old Covenant to New Covenant. The Old Covenant was made with the nation and required the obedience of the nation. The New Covenant is made with individuals.

Along with that switch, comes the other switch - in grafting in of the Gentiles. More on that in a bit. If you are confused at this point, hopefully you won't be by the time we get through this.

Back to our verse. Jesus says something that must have been confusing at the time: 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.

There are so many things crammed into that verse. How many did you come up with? Here are a few -

1. He speaks of His own death. He is saying that everything He has done so far, He has done as the grain, the seed. The great harvest will come with His death.

2. He speaks of His own resurrection. Everything to produce the final plant is in the original seed. A corn seed and a corn plant are both corn, but how very different! The corn seed must be buried, and in the ground, it changes. The outer husk splits open and the final plant begins to grow. In the end, there is nothing left of the original seed. Sometimes the husk hangs on, but you can pull it off without harming the plant at all. In the end, the corn plant is much more glorious than that little seed, and it produces a crop, too.

3. He speaks of our death to self that comes (or at least should come) when we are Christians. It is no longer us but Christ who lives in us - and as we live, we will produce a crop of good works, and of other believers. Yet, if we continue to live for ourselves, it is as though we remain that seed - incapable of producing a crop.

4. He speaks of our resurrection. Paul uses that same illustration:

1 Corinthians 15:35 But someone will say, "How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?" 36 Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. 37 And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain — perhaps wheat or some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body.

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.

Did you have other thoughts on that verse? I had suggested that you look into the next verse, too:

John 12:25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

What did you come up with? Here are some of similar things that I found:

Matthew 10:37 "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

Luke 17:30 "It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. 32 Remember Lot's wife! 33 Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. 34 I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35 Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.

By studying these other places where similar phrases appear, you can get more insight into what Jesus meant. Other places in the New Testament kind of speak to this, also:

Acts 20:24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.

Revelation 12:11 They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.

James 4:4 You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. Just a note, here. "Love" in English is too generic. This is agapao (ag-ap-ah'-o), which means to be totally given over to something: an all-consuming love. It is an idolatrous love, because it replaces the love that you should have for God. Don't pat yourself on your back too quickly, though, thinking, "I don't love the world like that." I think every one of us slips up on this sometimes. Here are some tests for yourself:

I don't know about you, but I'm guilty of every one of those - and those were just things off the top of my head.

And, if all that is too confusing, Jesus then brings it down to the simplest level for those Gentiles (and for us):

John 12:26 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.

What does He say? Just "follow me." Follow me and it will work out. He said something similar another time:

Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

How? Seek Him. Stay in His Word. Stay in prayer. And trust Him, with all your heart. He will get you where He wants you. He will teach you what He wants you to know. He will lead you, help you, feed you, provide for you and take you to be with Him when the time comes.

John 12:27 Jesus Predicts His Death on the Cross

"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. 28 Father, glorify Your name."

Then a voice came from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again."

29 Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to Him."

30 Jesus answered and said, "This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." 33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die.

34 The people answered Him, "We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this Son of Man?"

35 Then Jesus said to them, "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. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light." These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.

This is the end of Jesus' public ministry. These are the last things that Jesus will say to crowds of people. His hour has finally come. His soul is troubled. He will bear the sins of the world and His Father will forsake Him. Remember, if the punishment for sin is eternal separation from God, then, somehow, in a way we cannot understand, that is exactly what Jesus will suffer, and He knows it. We exist inside time - and our brains cannot possibly understand - but Jesus, as God, exists outside of time. Somehow, He will suffer eternally - and still be able to called it "finished." Of course His soul is troubled! Yet, what does He say? For this purpose I came to this hour.

And, His Father answers! This is the third time the Father's voice has spoken from heaven. The first was at Jesus' baptism. The second was at the Transfiguration, and now this is the third: "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again."

The people don't hear the words:

John 12:29 Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to Him."

30 Jesus answered and said, "This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake.

Then, Jesus says something interesting:

John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.

What does He mean? Now is the judgment of this world? The last time I looked, the world had not yet been judged. If it had been judged at that time, none of us would be here. So, what does He mean? As I was kind of saying earlier, He means a line has been crossed. The time has come when the Jews, corporately (we're not talking individually here) have rejected Jesus. Now, the question or "test" of Jesus passes to the Gentiles, the world.

That word, judgment, is very interesting. It is krisis {kree'-sis}. It means a separating or a selection. It can mean a sentence of condemnation and punishment, but that is not its primary meaning here. We, obviously, get our word "crisis" from it. Webster's dictionary says, "a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, for better or for worse, is determined; the turning point." Sometimes, people speak of a "crisis" that comes during a very serious illness. At that point, the patient either recovers or slips into death.

So, the Jews had their last chance (corporately, remember) at the Triumphal Entry. The failure of the Jewish leadership to accept Jesus as their Messiah and King meant that from that point on, they were blinded. Now, it passes to the Gentiles, the world. From this point on, the world will be judged based on just one thing, in God's eyes. Do you accept my Son or do you not? Those that do inherit everything that has been promised as co-heirs. Those that do not can expect only wrath and punishment. The Now is the judgment of this world, is present tense. It started then - with the rejection of the Jews, the Gentiles have been grafted in (Romans 11). The next part of the verse, now the ruler of this world will be cast out, is future tense. As the judgment of the world is an ongoing thing until it reaches a final conclusion, so the casting out the ruler of this world is an ongoing thing until it reaches a final conclusion. The difference is that the judgment began at that point and the casting out begins at some point in the future from when Jesus said this.

Who is the "ruler of this world?" It is Satan, of course, but doesn't that sound weird to your ears? Satan is the ruler of the world?

John 14:30 (NKJV) I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. 31 But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here.

The New Living Translation of that verse is pretty good and reads:

John 14:30 (NLT) "I don't have much more time to talk to you, because the prince of this world approaches. He has no power over me, 31 but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come, let's be going.

John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

Is Satan still the "ruler of this world?" Paul wrote this after Jesus' death and resurrection:

2 Corinthians 4:3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

Ephesians 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

OK, just a reminder of what we're looking at:

John 12:30 Jesus answered and said, "This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.

More or less the same thing is said here:

Revelation 12:9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

So, cast out of what or where? The Revelation verse is speaking of being cast out of heaven to earth. That sounds like something that happened when Satan rebelled, but he still had access to heaven in Job's day. Does he still have access to heaven? What does it mean to be "cast out?" That is a whole study on its own, and if it interests you, I encourage you to study up on it.

What is apparent from John is that it is a process that began at the cross and will have its final conclusion when Satan is cast forever into the lake of fire.

John 12:32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." 33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die.

That word "lifted up" is hupsoo (hoop-so'-o). It can mean to lift up physically or figuratively. In this case, it is both. Jesus says this is when He is glorified. It's in the aorist tense - that Greek tense that has the element of being outside of time. God always knew this would be required. It was always part of His plan. The "lifted up" is passive. Jesus is allowing control of this to belong to His Father. The mood of the verb is subjunctive. This is what Blueletterbible.org has to say about that:

He says "if" I am lifted up. Jesus still has a choice. Later, in the garden, He will say "Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?" (Matthew 26:53) But, if He is lifted up, He will draw all peoples to Myself. That "draw" is helkuo {hel-koo'-o} or helko {hel'-ko. It means to draw or drag with some power behind it. This time the verb is future, active and the mood is indicative. Indicative is the simple statement of fact. This WILL happen, and Jesus will do it Himself.

Don't miss the significance of the "all peoples." This is Jesus' response to these Greeks that have come. We take Gentiles in the church for granted. In fact, the church is primarily Gentiles. That was not the case in those days. There were certainly Gentiles who were drawn by the Jewish God, but they were few and far between. This, too, is a whole study on its own. Actually, probably more like a whole book.

John 12:34 The people answered Him, "We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this Son of Man?"

What do they mean, that they've heard from the law that the Christ remains forever?

We can look at the Old Testament from our New Testament perspective and see Jesus on every page. However, there are few places where it is blatantly Messiah being talked about - blatant to the point where every reader understood. Here is one of those places:

Daniel 7:9 Vision of the Ancient of Days

"I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire; 10 A fiery stream issued And came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, And the books were opened.

11 "I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame. 12 As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.

13 "I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. 14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.

Now, you can see that this is talking about a man - or at least who appears to be a man - who comes with the clouds of heaven and rules forever. This is what the people were referring to when they said:

John 7:27 However, we know where this Man is from; but when the Christ comes, no one knows where He is from."

It's no wonder the Jews had trouble. We can see now how everything goes together, but they had a very hard time with it. Perhaps, when everything is concluded, we, too, will discover many things that we didn't really understand at the time - things that go together that don't seem to at this point.

Anyway, when you read Daniel 7 and see that it is about Messiah, you can go back to other places and realize that they are about the same thing:

Daniel 2:36 "This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. 37 You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; 38 and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all — you are this head of gold. 39 But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. 40 And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. 41 Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. 43 As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. 44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.

Going on:

John 12:35 Then Jesus said to them, "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. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light." These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.

This sounds very similar to what Jesus was saying to Nicodemus, doesn't it? So, Jesus defused the situation by hiding Himself again. He's got the entire timeline under control. He must die at Passover and not before, so He slips away. I don't know what that means. Did He disappear? Did He blind their eyes? Did He simply slip into the crowd?

OK, now John introduces a parenthetical commentary on the whole discussion that has just taken place. This next bit is meant to further explain what Jesus has just said:

John 12:37 Who Has Believed Our Report?

But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, 38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke:

"Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?" (Isaiah 53)

39 Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again:

40 "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, Lest they should see with their eyes, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them." (Isaiah 6)

41 These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.

First a quick aside. Have you ever heard of the "Two Isaiah Theory" or the "Deuteroisaiah Theory?" That's the idea that the book of Isaiah was actually written by two different guys, 150 years apart. The first 40 chapters or so of Isaiah are very different from the last 26 chapters. The first are very doom and gloom and the last are much more Messianic. That's one reason people come up with this idea, but the biggest reason is the very clear prophecy that Isaiah gives of Cyrus - even calling him by name and telling how he will take Babylon, 100 years before Cyrus was even born. Now, you can easily disprove that because Cyrus QUOTES Isaiah and records it on the "Steel of Cyrus," currently housed in the British Museum.

However, an even easier way to disprove that notion is right here in John 12. Jesus quotes from Isaiah 53 (supposedly written by the second Isaiah) and quotes from Isaiah 6 (supposedly written by the first Isaiah) and clearly shows they're from the same guy when He says, Isaiah said again. Now, either Jesus was misinformed (I don't think so) or the so-called "scholars" are full of . . .treebark - from barking up the wrong tree.

OK, back to our verses at hand. Why did John stick this in there? The Holy Spirit wants us to understand more about this change that Jesus had talked about. The Jews rejected Jesus and were blinded or hardened, Therefore they could not believe. That "could not" is an absolute negative. Now, does this apply to everyone? We need to study Romans 11 to fully understand this (there is no possible way we can do a full study of Romans 11. We are just going to cover the blinding):

Romans 11

Romans 11:1 Israel's Rejection Not Total

I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, 3 "LORD, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life"? 4 But what does the divine response say to him? "I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal." 5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

7 What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. 8 Just as it is written: "God has given them a spirit of stupor, Eyes that they should not see And ears that they should not hear, To this very day." (Isaiah 29) In other words, there is a remnant that was never blinded. Paul was part of that remnant. The blinding comes from God. It is a supernatural thing and cannot be removed except by God.

9 And David says: " Let their table become a snare and a trap, A stumbling block and a recompense to them. 10 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see, And bow down their back always." (Psalm 69)

11 Israel's Rejection Not Final

I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. 12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! It was through the rejection of Israel's Messiah by the Jews that salvation came to be offered to the Gentiles. I know that's hard to get your brain around.

13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. 15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.

19 You will say then, "Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in." Again, it was through Israel's rejection of Jesus that Gentiles were grafted in. 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

"The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 27 For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins." (Isaiah 59)

28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.

 

There is much to understand here, but for this study, what I want you to get is the change that has occurred. Israel has rejected Jesus and has been blinded. Yes, that's bad - but with that rejection comes our salvation. If they had not rejected Jesus, there would have been no cross. But, with the cross, Jesus will draw all peoples (including Gentiles) to Himself through the forgiveness of their sins. So, how could the Jews have been saved if they hadn't rejected Jesus and sent Him to the cross? Sorry! I have absolutely no idea.

Reading through this chapter may have sparked some questions in your mind. I strongly encourage you to study more on Romans 11. Here are some links to get you started:

 

Lutheran

Commentary on Romans by Martin Luther (This would surprise you)

Lawrenz, Carl J. Reflections Concerning Isreal, the Restored Homeland of the Jews (WELS)

Muetzel, Ronald, All Israel will be saved: An Exegesis of Romans 11:25-32 (WELS)

Gawrisch, Wilbert R. Eschatological Prophecies and Current Misinterpretations

As far as I can tell, Missouri Synod doctrine does not differ at all from WELS doctrine. I'm sure there are Missouri Synod articles also. You may find some here, or you may need different search criteria.

 

Catholic

It is really hard to find official doctrine. The following is just a Google search. If this interests you, you should probably ask your priest for better links.

Exegesis of Romans 11, Catholic

 

Other (Many of these are just Google searches and represent a huge variety of views. Read with discernment)

Commentary on Romans 11 by Matthew Henry

Romans 11 - The Restoration of Israel

Commentary on Romans 11 by Jamieson, Fausset & Brown (1871)

Is God done with physical Israel?

Exegesis of Romans 11

All Israel will be saved Articles by Arnold Fruchtenbaum and others

Salvation of Israel

All Israel shall be saved

All Israel will be saved



Back to John!

John 12:42 Walk in the Light

Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

44 Then Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45 And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. 46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. 47 And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him — the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak."

Let's take the first couple of verses:

John 12:42 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

It would have been so much easier to have concluded this chapter without these verses. I do not know or understand their full significance. I will just give you other verses that seem to go with them:

Matthew 10:32 "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

Note that the rulers in John 12:42 are not denying Jesus. They are just not confessing Him. Does that make a difference? We don't want to make this into a work!

Luke 12:8 "Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. 9 But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.

Romans 10:9 If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe. 26 Many seek the ruler's favor, But justice for man comes from the LORD.

Isaiah 51:7 "Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, You people in whose heart is My law: Do not fear the reproach of men, Nor be afraid of their insults.

Luke 6:22 Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man's sake. 23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.

The rulers who believed but kept silent were trying to have it both ways, so they were neither hot nor cold. Jesus has a stern warning for lukewarm folks:

Revelation 3:15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

Does that mean they weren't really saved? That their "belief" was something other than saving faith? I don't know.

Let's wrap up this study with Jesus' final words to the crowds before His crucifixion. These are the very last things that Jesus says in public:

John 12:44 Then Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45 And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. 46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. 47 And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him — the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak."

 

There are things that the Holy Spirit wants to teach you. When you "hear" that prompting - "Study this chapter" or "Work to understand this" or whatever He may say to you, don't ignore Him. The hour is late and as the end approaches, there may very well be things He wants you to know. Ask God to teach you. He will!












The Berean Bible Study of the Gospel of John




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Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. - Acts 17:11

© 2012 This study was written by Jacqui Komschlies and last updated 6/28/2012. If you have questions, comments, corrections or concerns, please write me.

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