John 12: "Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me." *
In this chapter of the New Testament The triumphal entry and Jesus predicts his death. Read John 12 online or look it up in your Bible.
Before you start your daily reading, say a prayer asking God to guide your thinking as you read, and then read the Bible with the aim of learning something new.
After the reading, consider how it may affect your life and relationship with your Heavenly Father and allow your increased knowledge of the Scriptures to shape your character and strengthen your trust in God.
Discussion notes on John 12
• Why is v16 such useful information regarding the disciples’ ignorance? How does it add credibility to the Gospel account?
• Check out vv28-30. Can you imagine what it must have been like to hear the voice of God?
More on John 12
Verses 1 to 11 is a beautiful account of a woman’s devotion which had at least a twofold significance in the life of Jesus. Undoubtedly, it was associated with His coming death, as the words of Jesus show, but it also symbolised His messiahship. The word ‘messiah’ or ‘Christ’ means ‘the anointed one’. Mary perfectly typifies the true Christian disciple. Her gift, equivalent to an unskilled labourer’s wage for three hundred days, expressed a whole-hearted response to Christ’s love (which also was extravagant and, to worldly eyes, wasteful).
In the next few verses, as well as gladly accepting the praise of His followers Jesus must have experienced the keenest wrench of loneliness. He was alone in a crowd – always the most poignant form of loneliness. He had chosen a way that not even His dearest friends approved – and a way which would turn the nationalistic fervour of others to furious resentment.
The inquiry of the visiting Gentiles who wanted to see Jesus was addressed to Philip. To Christ these men were representatives of the wider world which desperately needed a Saviour and which would hear the gospel only through His Cross and Resurrection. Courageous self-giving is possible only in those persons who experience a basic security. The child who knows he is loved and accepted can be more outgoing and self-forgetful. The mystic or saint who has the keenest awareness of God’s love can be self-giving to a degree that is almost miraculous. The life of sacrifice is energised by the life of communion. We may be called upon to make that same act of faith which Jesus made when He went to the Cross.
Verse 27 shows Jesus asking ‘save Me from this hour’. On the whole this gospel is so concerned to emphasise the divinity of Christ that there are fewer examples of His very real humanity than in the synoptic gospels. To get a true picture of Jesus we need all four Gospels. However, this evangelist also affirms that the Word was truly ‘made flesh’. Some believers are blind to the true humanity of Jesus. But their misunderstanding places Christ on a plane where He can no longer help us. It was through Christ’s real humanity that God was revealed: it was in the midst of genuine conflict that victory was achieved.
The Church has never found it easy to combine the picture of Christ as Saviour with that of Christ as Judge. This gospel, as we have seen, has much to say about judgement. It affirms that judgement is a present reality, not just a future event. But it repeatedly claims that salvation, not judgement is Christ’s prime mission. In presenting Jesus as the light, the fourth gospel perfectly harmonises the themes of salvation and judgement. Christ comes only to bring illumination and healing. In His life we are assured that God is pure love. Yet just because God is love He seeks our free response and refuses to intimidate. We can turn from the light, and then that very light exposes our sin, becomes in fact the source of judgement. Christ the Saviour will not undergo some mysterious change before He becomes Christ the Judge. His compassionate heart cannot harden. He is love unchanging. It is when we reject His way and turn our backs upon the light that we pass sentence upon ourselves.
*THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.