John 12: Jesus Anointed At Bethany, 6 Days Before Passover

In John 12, we begin to see pieces come together. Why Did Jesus Come To Earth? What was he planning? And why was it so different from what everyone else wanted?

And Jesus surrenders his life for you, and me.

While the next few chapters are disheartening, depressing, and even upsetting for the disciples who lived during this time. The modern-day disciples can take heart knowing that Jesus has overcome the world.

Jesus came to die, but he also came to give us life, and that life would be abundant life. (His words).

Let’s look into John 12, and see what we can learn.

John 12: Jesus Is Anointed at Bethany

12 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11 for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.

John 12:1-11

John 12 The Anointing Of Jesus

We were introduced to Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in John 11 and now Jesus stops in to have a feast in his honor before he enters Jerusalem.

His feet are anointed by Mary, and an interesting argument/discussion breaks out.

I like how the bible points out that Judas was a thief, and he stole money from their money bag. Jesus had to know that he was stealing right? The man who knew men’s hearts put a robber in charge of their finances.

Everything God does is for a reason, maybe he was hoping that Judas would realize his error and make a change. Or perhaps another disciple was going to discover him and Jesus could teach about accountability.

Ultimately, theft and betrayal were in Judas’ heart, and after living with Jesus for 3 years it had a major hold on him…

…that makes me wonder.

What sins are you holding onto? Are you thinking you’ll never be free? What path are they leading you down? I often wonder if Judas had been able to purge his heart. how would Jesus have been sold out?

It doesn’t matter though, ultimately what matters is what’s in your heart. Are you letting Jesus in? And are you letting things go?

Also, how are you honoring God today?

John 12

John 12: Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,


“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Blessed is the king of Israel!”

14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:

15 “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
    see, your king is coming,
    seated on a donkey’s colt.”

16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.

17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”

John 12:12-19

The Disciples Are Excited And Think Jesus Has Come To Free Them From Roman Oppression

I can’t imagine the feeling Peter, James, John, and the others felt, as they walked into Jerusalem with him. They probably thought this is the time, only to have that belief pulled really fast from them.

People cheered, screaming the things they’d known and kept quiet (somewhat) for years. Now it was all being shouted from the rooftops.

I bet deep down, all of them were hoping that Jesus was going to restore the kingdom of Israel, and perhaps even Judas felt this. I’ve often wondered if this was his drive to betray Jesus. maybe he wasn’t betraying for the sake of betraying? Perhaps he was trying to force God’s hand?

Whatever his reasons, John 12 is very clear in stating that he was there every day with Jesus and the other 11 disciples daily. He saw the miracles, witnessed healings, and heard Jesus preach.

Yet still, he was lost. This should be a sobering fact for all of us. Just because you go to church, preach sermons, and study your bible. That doesn’t mean that you’re saved.

Knowing Jesus and walking with him daily is what brings you to heaven. A daily relationship where you hear his voice and follow his will is where you need to be. As long as you have breath, you can find God.

Just ask him to show himself, and I guarantee somehow you’ll know he’s around.

Why Did Jesus Die?

John 12: Jesus Tells The Disciples About His Pending Death

20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.

23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, 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. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour28 Father, glorify your name!”

John 12:20-27

I love how Jesus answers a question, and yet doesn’t answer it. Philip was asking if Jesus wanted to meet these Greek men.

Instead, Jesus starts talking about how he will soon be glorified, and die.

Part of me thinks Jesus is trying to tell them to spread the gospel everywhere. But I might be connecting random dots.

Either way, there’s truth here to discover, and I need to dig a little deeper into John 12 and other verses.

John 12: The Voice Of God Speaks Audibly

Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.

30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up[g] from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

34 The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”

35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid from them.

John 12:28-36

John 12: Jesus Speaks About His Death

Jesus used farming for analogies a lot. Many times they have similar meanings with spiritual concepts, especially when he’s speaking about seeds.

A seed has life in it, and when it’s buried in the ground, it replicates and multiplies.

the same thing happens with believers of Christ. When they die to themselves and choose to follow Jesus. They’re taking up their cross and following Jesus.

When you take up the Cross of Christ you’re choosing to fight. Not with earthly weapons but with spiritual ones. The Bible says that we do not fight against flesh and blood, but against evil rulers, principalities, and demons.

When you die to Christ, you’re born into a war, and some of us are refusing to fight back. John 12 Jesus gives us a description of what he had to do, and what we must do in the future.

John 12: Belief and Unbelief Among the Jews

37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:

“Lord, who has believed our message
    and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:

40 “He has blinded their eyes
    and hardened their hearts,
so they can neither see with their eyes,
    nor understand with their hearts,
    nor turn—and I would heal them.”

John 12:37-40

It’s really sad that people choose to look away when miraculous things are happening. Once they choose to look away darkness grows inside their heart.

This is when their eyes are blinded and their hearts are hardened. Because once you choose to look away, God allows you to fall into these things.

It doesn’t mean you’re lost to him yet. In fact, going this route is more painful but many people get led back to him this way.

How can you know the truth if you’ve never heard a lie?

John 12 is about knowing Jesus, and when you know Jesus, you know God. Multiple times in John 12 (and the book of John) he says when you know me you know the father.

Could this be the point of John 12?

John 12

John 12: People Choose To Fear Man, Not God

41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.

42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees, would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.

44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them on the last day. 

49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

John 12:41-50

John 12: Conclusion

I do these as a brief breakdown of what God is speaking to me, and I honestly believe there are thousands (and more) of things God can speak to you through the same verses. A final couple of verses terrify me.

John 12:47-50 are very poignant, and much like Paul wrote, later on, we can lose the race. It’s why we have to stay focused and beat our bodies into submission.

However today there’s something very scary popping up in the last third of the chapter, and it relates to our society today.

Between Covid-19 and our current political climate. Our world has a lot of fear manifested in it. That fear is ruining lives as well. I know of people in Minneapolis that haven’t left their homes in 18-20 months.

While it’s not comparing apples to oranges, we have to decide what we are going to do. In our lives, we have to please God not man. And we are called to reach out to this world. How are we going to make a change sitting at home watching Netflix?

I urge you this week if you’re a follower of Christ. Get out of the house, and meet some of your neighbors. Start a conversation, ask questions, and learn about their life. Eventually, you’ll be able to share Jesus with them. And that is what we are here for.

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