Bible Study, John Chapter 12 Verses 1-11
John 12:1 – Then Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. The kind of visit our Lord Jesus paid to His friends at Bethany. He came up out of the country six days before the Passover. He lodged there with His friend Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. As a voluntary exposing of Himself to the fury of His enemies; now that His hour was at hand, He came within their reach. Our Lord and Savior volunteered His suffering for our lives to be saved from the bondage of Satan and sin. His life was not forced from Him but resigned. As the strength of His persecutors could not overpower Him, so their subtlety could not surprise Him. As He visited His friends, Lazarus, Martha and Mary, this was a farewell visit. As Jesus determined to move steadfastly toward Jerusalem, He also moves towards His death. The final week of His life is often called “Passion Week”, passion is derived from the Latin word for “suffering”. Jesus didn’t suffer for those who have received His salvation to continue practicing sin.
John 12:2 – There they made him a supper, and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. They made Him supper, this they did to show their respect and gratitude, a feast is made for friendship and fellowship and that they might have an opportunity of free and pleasant conversation with Him. Since the miracle of Lazarus being raised from the dead, they probably didn’t have time to spend and converse with Him. Martha served, she did not think it below her to serve when Jesus was sitting at the table. Jesus had formerly reproved Martha for being troubled with much serving as she did previously. Lazarus was sitting at the table with Jesus whom Martha was serving.
John 12:3 – Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment. Spikenard was a fragrant ointment imported from the mountains of India. Spikenard was used to anoint kings. Mary anointed Jesus’ head, the custom of that time was to anoint the heads of guests. Anointing Jesus’ head was an act of honor, anointing His feet was a display of devotion. Wiping His feet with her hair was also showing humbleness; she was anointing the King and kneeling at His feet, the odor from the oil was penetrating the air as well as her affection and her love as accepting Him as the Messiah.
John 12:4 – Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him. Judas was one of Jesus’ disciples, he was not of their nature, but only one of their number. Judas was an apostle, a preacher of the gospel, and yet one that discouraged this instance of pious affection. Although he was with Jesus and the other disciples, he would be the one that would betray Jesus. Judas is an example for every believer, everyone smiling and being in your circle does not mean they are truly with you. Yes, Jesus knew Judas would be the one that would betray Him, but He did not try to intervene his betrayal which would have interfered with the plan of God and His appointment with death.
john 12:5 – Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? The pretense with which he covered his dislike by pretending his concerns for the poor. Judas often dipped into the disciple’s funds for his own use. Jesus, of course, knew this, but apparently never did or said anything about it. Similarly to when we choose to sin, God does not immediately do anything to stop us, but this does not mean He approves our actions. He suffers long with us, giving us time to come to our spiritual senses and repentance.
John 12:6 – This is he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare, what was put therein. Judas used a pious phrase to hide his true motives, but Jesus knew what was in his heart. His life had become a lie and Satan was entering his heart. Satan is the father of lies and a lying character opens the door to his influence. Judas was not only a thief, but he was a liar being influenced by his father. Constantly throughout the day, we have influential thoughts that come to our mind. These influences are either from God, Satan or our flesh. Who we submit to we become servitude to (Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death or of obedience unto righteousness – Romans 6:16)? God will never influence us with something that is against His Word. So when the thought comes, it needs to be compared with His Word. Being trusted with the bag, he was a thief. The reigning love of money is heart-theft as much as anger and revenge are heart-murder. Judas had a heart issue, covetousness, and thief; Mary had a heart issue, true love for her the Messiah.
John 12:7 – Then said Jesus, Let her alone; against the day of my burying hath she kept this. Anointing was the first stage of embalming. Whether Mary knew it or not, she was anticipating Jesus’ death, which would come within the week. This was a unique act for a specific occasion, an anointing for Jesus’ burial and a public declaration of faith in Him as Messiah. We should ask ourselves do we make a public declaration of faith in Jesus through our behavior and character? Jesus’ reply to Judas was “let her alone”, Jesus knew what was happening both with Mary and Judas. Judas was the thief, living a lie, whereas Mary was a believer and expressing her love towards Him publicly.
John 12:8 – For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always. The poor we will have always with us could be considered in two categories, financially and spiritual poorness. Jesus was letting them know these people you will always have with you, but I will not always be in your presence. He was being prepared for His death, He was about to leave His disciples to conquer the bondage and enslavement of Satan and sin.
John 12:9 – Much people of the Jews, therefore, knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. The miracle Jesus had performed was in and around about Bethany and Jerusalem, people came to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead. Jesus’ name was very much magnified by this miracle; they came not to hear him but to gratify their curiosity with a sight of the miracle. Some came for the confirmation of their faith in Christ, others came only for the gratifying of their curiosity that they might say they had seen a man who had been dead and buried, and yet lived again so that Lazarus served for a show.
John 12:10 – But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death. They had done all they could to alienate the people from Him, and yet many of the Jews were overcome by the convincing evidence of Jesus’ miracle on Lazarus. God would have Lazarus to live by a miracle and they will have him die by malice. Lazarus is singled out to be the object of their special hatred; Lazarus was an innocent man who received a miracle. Even today when God shows Himself through a vessel in the church they will be disliked and sometimes hated by other brothers and sisters in the church. Or if one receives a miracle, everyone in the church community will not be happy for you but will try to kill your character or your miracle. The Bible and this Scripture is not just for then but for the believer now to read, study and receive revelation from God. These were leaders in the church, planning and scheming against an innocent man that God chose to do a miracle for. They wanted to get rid of Jesus and Lazarus, they didn’t want the miracle to be continually seen,
John 12:11 – Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away and believed on Jesus. “Went away”, implies that these individuals were withdrawing from the Jewish leaders. The chief priest’s blindness and hardness of heart caused them to sink deeper into sin. They rejected the Messiah, planned to kill him, and now plotted to murder Lazarus also. Some of the Jews had seen and heard how the religious leaders treated Jesus. They had seen how they rejected Jesus as the Son of God and His teaching; once they saw the truth they no longer wanted to be under the leadership of the Pharisees and Sadducees. They had received the truth and the truth set them free; they were now believing in Jesus as the Son of God.