DEATH – GOD’S WAY OF GIVING LIFE – JOHN 12
Vv. 1-8 – A celebration dinner in honor of Jesus for raising Lazarus from the
dead is given (probably in the home of Simon the Leper – Matt. 26:6-13; Mark
14:1-11). This could be the leper Jesus healed earlier (Mark 1:40-42). Martha
was serving and Mary is at the feet of Jesus. Mary anointed Jesus’ feet (and
probably his head too – see Matt. and Mark’s account) in thanks and praise for
restoring life to her brother. Her intimacy with Jesus (Luke 10:38-42) led to
her extravagant love for Him as she poured out a pound (pint) of expensive perfume
on His feet. This perfume was worth years’ wages and could have been her life
savings (401K). Judas (a thief – and some of the other disciples, see Matt.
and Mark – i.e., the church) rebuked her for being wasteful. But Jesus praised
her for her love and devotion to Him while He was still with them. This proved
to be a prophetic act as "she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial"
(Mark 14:8) and she will be remembered for this forever even today as we study
this passage. The rich fragrance of this perfume probably remained on Jesus’
garments during His upcoming passion. At the worst time of His life He is encouraged
as He remembers Mary’s great love and devotion. We also can demonstrate our
love to people (and thus the Lord) with acts of kindness and words of love before
they die and not wait to express them to their loved ones at their funeral.
Vv. 9-11 – Belief versus unbelief – Many believed in Jesus because of His raising
Lazarus but the Jewish leaders planned to kill Lazarus. Wow! Murderers in the
Name of God! (Exodus 19:13)
Vv. 12-19 – Jesus, knowing that His time was at hand, and knowing it was to
take place at Passover (for He is The Lamb of God) went into Jerusalem, forcing
the hand of the Jewish leaders to crucify Him. The "crowd" of Jewish
people who praised Jesus were praising Him for the wrong reason as they were
filled with Jewish political fervor believing Jesus to be their liberator. The
date palms they waved were highly symbolic of Jewish nationalism and Israel’s
national hope of freedom and independence. When they later saw Jesus as the
"Suffering Servant" versus their powerful King misunderstanding the
purpose of His first coming (Isaiah 53) they turned on Him and shouted "crucify
Him". We must take heed. When the Lord doesn’t meet our temporal expectations
we too might be tempted to be angry at Him rather than worship and obey Him.
Vv. 20-22 – The Greeks (God- fearing Gentiles) wanting to "see Jesus"
(come to know Him. i.e., believe in Him). This symbolized Jesus closing a chapter
(His ministry to the Jews) and opening the door to the whole world. Thus it
Vv. 24-26; 32 – Jesus explains the Law of the Kingdom of God – death leads
to life. As His death opened the door to "all who will" to receive
life eternal (both a new quality of life and everlasting life) we can only experience
the God-life (other-centeredness) as we die to the self-life (self-centeredness)
and live for Jesus. "We always carry around the death of Jesus in our bodies
so that the life of Jesus is also shown in our bodies. While we are alive, we
are constantly handed over to death for Jesus’ sake so that the life of Jesus
is also shown in our mortal nature. Death is at work in us, but life is at work
in you." (2 Corinthians 4:10-12) If we "love our life" (self-centeredness)
in this world we lose it for all eternity (we lose eternal rewards as believers
and unbelievers experience eternal death – hell). But if we lose our life for
Christ’s sake we will "keep it for eternal life"(receive eternal rewards
to the glory of God). 1 Corinthians 3:10-15; Galatians 6:7-9
Vv. 28-31 – Jesus experienced a type of Gethsemane "My heart is troubled"
but "Father glorify Your Name." God’s glory is seen as the Father
gives His Son and God the Son gives His life that we might not perish (hell)
but have eternal life/ (John 3:16) The cross shows both how passionately God
loves us, and our deep sinfulness which requires nothing less than the pure
blood of the Lamb to wash away or sins. The cross is the judgment of Satan and
the world. Jesus broke Satan’s power on the cross and all who reject Jesus and
His atoning sacrifice are already judged (condemned). (John 3:18-21)
Vv. 35-36; 44-50 – Jesus makes one more urgent appeal for the people to believe
in Him the One whom the Father sent.
Vv. 37 -41 – Yet in spite of His words and His miraculous works (signs) which
the Jews seek (1 Corinthians 1:22) the Jewish nation as a whole rejected Jesus
Christ. (John 1:12) They would not believe (man’s choice) thus they could
not believe. God hardens the heart of those who continue to reject Him. (Romans
How can we, like Mary, pour out our extravagant love and gifts on Jesus?
We also can demonstrate our love to people (and thus the Lord) with acts of
kindness and words of love before they die and not wait to express them to their
loved ones at their funeral. Is there someone in your life to whom you want
to express your love appreciation, admiration?
We must take heed. When the Lord doesn’t meet our temporal expectations we
too might be tempted to be angry at Him rather than worship and obey Him. Have
you or someone you know ever been so angry or disappointed with the Lord that
you/they were tempted to walk away?
"We always carry around the death of Jesus in our bodies so that the life
of Jesus is also shown in our bodies. While we are alive, we are constantly
handed over to death for Jesus’ sake so that the life of Jesus is also shown
in our mortal nature. Death is at work in us, but life is at work in you."
(2 Corinthians 4:10-12) Paul says "I die (to self) daily." Where and
with whom can you apply this Scripture in your day to day life?