Interesting fact: 30% of gospel records are concerned with the
last week of Christ's life.
SIX DAYS BEFORE THE PASSOVER: The 10th of Nisan, the
day the Passover lamb was set aside (Exo 12:3). Mary "sets aside" Jesus, by
anointing him (vv 3,7).
MARTHA SERVED: As in Luk 10:38-42.
LAZARUS WAS AMONG THOSE RECLINING AT THE TABLE WITH
HIM: "It would have been a strange thing if Lazarus had not been at the
table where Jesus was, for he had been dead, and Jesus had raised him. For the
risen one to be absent when the Lord who gave him life was at his house, would
have been ungrateful indeed. We too were once dead, yea, and like Lazarus
stinking in the grave of sin; Jesus raised us, and by his life we live -- can we
be content to live at a distance from him? Do we omit to remember him at his
table, where he deigns to feast with his brethren? His least wish should be law
to us. To have lived without constant intercourse with one of whom the Jews
said, 'Behold how he loved him,' [John 11:36] would have been disgraceful to
Lazarus; is it excusable in us whom Jesus has loved with an everlasting love? To
have been cold to him who wept over his lifeless corpse, would have argued great
brutishness in Lazarus. What does it argue in us over whom the Saviour has not
only wept, but bled?" (CHS).
Mary at Jesus' feet: to hear (Luk 10:39), to weep (Joh 11:32),
and to worship (Joh 12:3).
PURE NARD: "Pistikos", or genuine, nard: from rt
"pistis", or faith. Literally, the "ointment of faith"!
SHE POURED IT ON JESUS' FEET: She anointed his feet
instead of washing them (in ct Christ's actions toward the apostles in Joh
13:5). Christ's walk had no need of cleansing, but only of
AND THE HOUSE WAS FILLED WITH THE FRAGRANCE OF THE
PERFUME: "Your name is like perfume poured out" (Song 1:3,12). She anoints
Christ for his "burial" (v 7), but also for his resurrection (Psa 45:6-8,11). Cp
Exo 30:25; Phi 4:18; 1Ki 8:10,11. Mary sees the dead made alive (her brother of
Lazarus: Joh 11), yet is still persuaded that Christ will die. She understands
Is Judas Iscariot related to Simon (WGos 250)?
IT WAS WORTH...: Judas knew the EXACT value!
"There are many acts of homage that seem to have little
practical value, yet they are fragrant, and Jesus understands the loving
devotion from which they spring. Sometimes they are criticized because they are
intangible; occasionally less worthy motives lie behind the depreciation. No one
but Jesus had any right to assess the value of Mary's action. Judas entering
into this sacred intimacy was guilty of gross sacrilege. It is a scene which can
be re-enacted and contains a lesson that we must all learn. It is fatally easy
to pass harsh judgments upon tender expressions of love which we fail to
understand" (MP 293).
NOT... BECAUSE HE CARED ABOUT THE POOR: Like the
hirelings in Joh 10:13.
KJV has: "Against the day of my burying hath she KEPT this."
"Kept" is sw used for KEEPING commandments (Joh 8:51,55; 9:16; 14:21-24), ie the
Cp Deu 15:11.
"We may be sure that the ears of Jesus were never closed to
human need, but poverty cannot be eliminated in the days when mortals earn their
bread by 'sweat of face.' The giving of alms affords some relief, but on
occasion may do harm; indiscriminate giving on a large scale has been known to
demoralize a district; in any case it provides no permanent cure for the problem
of poverty. There are times when great issues demand all the resources, with
which even the claims of poor and needy may not interfere. Such an occasion
produced the loving gift of Mary. Only then had she the opportunity to anoint
the Lord; and the opportunity knew no return" (CJo 134).
It has been said: "Since Jesus said, 'The poor you have with
you always' (Joh 12:8), and we cannot change the world, why should we bother
trying?". But Jesus did not say, "Forget the poor because they are always
there." He said, in effect, "You will always have opportunities to help the
poor." When Jesus was present, his followers lavished gifts upon him, and they
did well. But now that he is absent, we may forget that we can give gifts to
Jesus just as well by helping his poor brethren. Who would ignore the needs of
the Master? But now he sits at the right hand of God, and he no longer needs the
cup of cold water, the food, the clothing. But someone else -- who bears his
holy name, or might -- does!
SO THE CHIEF PRIESTS MADE PLANS TO KILL LAZARUS AS
WELL: What extraordinary heights of futility! They plan to kill a man whom
Jesus has just raised from the dead! As if he could not bring him back to life
again... and again! If they had no better choice of action than this, perhaps
they should reconsider their whole philosophy! But what choice did they have?
Lazarus was "living proof" of the power of Jesus -- and they simply could not
accept him. Thus, as in the parable (Luk 16:28-31), "Send him to my father's
house... If one went to them from the dead, they would repent... No, if they do
not hear Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded even if one rises
from the dead!"
ON HIS WAY TO JERUSALEM: "A dress-rehearsal for the
From Psa 118:19-26: a familiar psalm sung at Passover and
Pentecost, including: "open the gates... rejected stone... blessed is he that
comes... bind sacrifice to the horns of the altar..." (Quoted by Christ himself
as applicable to the Messiah: Mat 21:42.)
HOSANNA: "Save, pray", from Psa 118:25: "Save, now, we
beseech thee, O Lord."
JESUS FOUND A YOUNG DONKEY AND SAT UPON IT: "An unusual
sympathy between rider and mount for an unbroken colt to walk quietly in the
midst of a shouting crowd" (SMk 152).
DO NOT BE AFRAID: See Zep 3:14,16.
COLT: Colt of an ass, humble -- used by kings rather
than the horse. Peaceful burden-bearer. The young donkey (spiritual Israel) is
ridden by Christ; the "mother" (natural Israel) follows along (see Zec
GREEKS: Gentiles come at birth and then at death. In ct
Jewish leaders, who reject.
WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE JESUS: "(The worldling) seeks
satisfaction in earthly comforts, enjoyments, and riches. But the quickened
sinner knows of only one good. 'O that I knew where I might find HIM!' When he
is truly awakened to feel his guilt, if you could pour the gold of India at his
feet, he would say, 'Take it away: I want to find HIM.' It is a blessed thing
for a man, when he has brought his desires into a focus, so that they all centre
in one object. When he has fifty different desires, his heart resembles a swamp
of stagnant water, spread out into a marsh, breeding miasma and pestilence; but
when all his desires are brought into one channel, his heart becomes like a
river of pure water, running swiftly to fertilize the fields. Happy is he who
hath one desire, if that one desire be set on Christ, though it may not yet have
been realized... Such a man will never be content with mere ordinances. He will
say, 'I want Christ; I must have him -- mere ordinances are of no use to me; I
want him; do not offer me these; you offer me the empty pitcher, while I am
dying of thirst; give me water, or I die. Jesus is my soul's desire. I would see
Jesus!' " (CHS).
Andrew, like his brother of Peter, is instrumental in bringing
Gentiles to Christ.
THE HOUR HAS COME FOR THE SON OF MAN TO BE GLORIFIED:
Christ could not be glorified by the Gentiles until he had laid down his
Poss, the disciples thought Jesus was about to set up his
kingdom, and declare himself as king; they arrived wondering what places they
might have. They went into the room seeing themselves as lords, not as servants
but as lords! They even argued with each other during the meal about who would
be the greatest amongst them (Luk 22:24).
// Psa 126:5,6; 1Co 15:36.
HATES: In the sense of "is prepared to
WHERE I AM: At this very moment, Christ was (prob) in
Gethsemane (cp Joh 18:2).
MY FATHER WILL HONOR THE ONE WHO SERVES ME: Cp God's
words to Eli (1Sa 2:30).
MY HEART IS TROUBLED: At the thought of his suffering
THUNDERED: Thunder as voice of God: Exo 19:18,19;
20:18; Psa 81:7; 18:13; 29:3; Isa 29:6.
THIS VOICE WAS FOR YOUR BENEFIT, NOT MINE: The
voice/thunder was audible to the bystanders. More usually, apparently, God spoke
to His Son with nothing being heard by others.
THE PRINCE OF THIS WORLD: Ref religious leaders of
Israel -- "archon" in Joh 3:1; 7:26,48; 12:31,42; 14:30; 16:11 -- whose offices
would be effectively ended by the sacrifice/resurrection of Christ (Joh 12:32).
Cp Joh 14:30; 16:11.
DRIVEN OUT: "Ekballo" = cast out; thrown out, ie, of
power and position. Within one generation after the death and resur of Christ,
the Jewish "prince" (the High Priest, and his temple!) would be no more! (This
is, of course, the primary message of Hebrews.) For that matter, the DAY after
his resurrection, the "prince" would be, effectively, nullified.
WHEN I AM LIFTED UP: The message to Nicodemus (Joh
3:13) all over again. See v 42 here.
WILL DRAW ALL MEN TO MYSELF: Lifting up a banner or
sign is understandable. But here the lifting up was crucifixion! Naturally
speaking, this was the least likely thing to draw men. All men, and Jews esp,
would be totally repulsed by the spectacle of a crucified Messiah (1Co 1:23-29).
Yet, as Christ said, it would be so!
ALL MEN: That is, all kinds (classes, or races) of men.
Examples of "all" prob meaning "without distinction" rather than "without
exception": Joh 1:7,9; 3:26; 5:28; 8:2; 13:35; Rom 10:13; 1Ti 2:1,2; 4:15; 5:20;
6:17; Heb 2:9.
In the context here, "all men" thus sig Gentiles (v 20) as
well as Jews.
TO SHOW: To "signify", or to show by sign or type (Joh
SO HOW CAN YOU SAY, 'THE SON OF MAN MUST BE LIFTED
UP'?: A crucified Messiah was not at all the kind of leader they were
THE LIGHT: Christ, the light of the world (Joh
OVERTAKES: "Katalambano" = to take hold of, to overcome
(as in Joh 1:5; cp v 48).
// 1Th 5:5; Eph 5:8; Luk 16:8.
HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES AND DEADENED THEIR HEARTS:
The punishment of willful continuance in sin: Rom 1:28; 2Th 2:11.
Hard-heartedness is first seen in Pharaoh (Exo 4:21; 7:3,13;
8:15,32; 9:12,34; 10:1,20,27; 11:10; 14:4,8). So when this description is used
of anyone in Israel, it is very pointed: 'You are being like the oppressing
Egyptians from whom I have delivered you!' Cp Deu 15:7; 2Ch 36:13; Psa 95:8; Isa
63:17; Mark 10:5; 16:14; John 12:40; Rom 2:5.
BECAUSE OF THE PHARISEES THEY WOULD NOT CONFESS THEIR
FAITH: Men like Nicodemus (Joh 3:10; 7:50-52) and Joseph of Arimathea, still
beset by doubts and misgivings, believe, but cannot "obey" as yet.
NOT... BUT: That is, "not only... but
ME... THE ONE WHO SENT ME: God manifestation: 1Ti
I AM COME... AS A LIGHT: The Shekinah glory of the
temple, as in Isa 6 (v 41 here).
I DO NOT JUDGE HIM: It is not Jesus' personal
prerogative or power to judge, but God's power which has been committed to him:
v 49; Joh 8:15,16; 5:30.
THE WORD: Christ IS the "Word of God": Joh 1:1; 1Jo
1:1; Luk 1:2; Rev 19:13; 6:9; 1Pe 1:23,25; Heb 4:12.
THE LAST DAY: What is ''the last day"? Does it mean
some day, long since past when, in a national sense, the Jews were punished for
their (unenlightened?) rejection of Christ? (But how then explain "he" and "him"
of v 48, instead of "they" and "them"?) It is far more reasonable to take a look
at the other instances of the identical Greek phrase in John: "the last day". It
almost invariably means the day of resurrectional judgment: (a) John
6:39,40,44,54: Those who truly and fully believe will he raised up to eternal
life "at the last day". (b) John 7:37: "The last day" here is limited and
defined by the immediate context -- it is the last day of the feast. (c) John
11:24: "The last day" of resurrection. So in five of the other six occurrences,
"the last day" means unambiguously the "day" of resurrection and judgment, while
in the sixth instance it is rigidly limited by the context. So which is it in
These words are addressed at the Pharisees who believed (v
42), but did nothing about it! They are the living examples of "enlightened
The fall of Jerusalem was 35-40 years later. Many of these who
hear Christ's words would have died by them (cp Eze 18:20,30). A national
judgment, while in the scope of God's plan, is not on personal merits (Mat
It has been asked, "How can this verse be about an
'enlightened rejecter'? Can one be enlightened and yet receive not Jesus'
words?" The answer is "Yes". There are different degrees of reception of
Christ's words. A Sunday School scholar may passively receive instruction in the
Truth for years, then finally reach maturity and "reject" what he formerly
"received". A person may even "receive" the Truth so far as to be baptized, and
then later "reject" the gospel and all it stands for. In fact, it may be argued
that since Christ uses the word "reject" in verse 48, he necessarily implies an
initial acceptance, or understanding, to some degree at least. We would not
generally say, "A rejected our dinner invitation' unless he: (a) received it,
either verbally or in writing, (b) understood it, and finally, (c) refused to
act upon it. If the postman had delivered our note to the wrong address, then it
would not be fair to say Mr A rejected it. If it in fact came to A's house but
was written in unintelligible Latin, it still would not be fair to say he
rejected it. But if it were written in his native tongue, if it came to his
house, if indeed he opened it, read it, understood what it said, and then set it
aside.... Yes, that is "receiving" in one sense -- but not in the most important
sense. In the most important sense he "received it not" -- ie its desired effect
of stirring up action was not achieved; he willfully and knowingly "rejected"
it! To get into the tangle of contending that "to receive it not" must mean
"never to know" suggests that there must be no better arguments for the special
interpretation of John 12:48.
THE FATHER WHO SENT ME COMMANDED ME WHAT TO SAY AND HOW TO
SAY IT: Christ spoke as he was instructed by the Father: Joh 7:16; 15:15;
Heb 1:1,2; 2:3.
HIS COMMAND LEADS TO ETERNAL LIFE: God's command,
accepted, leads to eternal life. Therefore, His command, rejected, can lead only
to eternal death!