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John 12 Reading Guide

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Chapter Summary

  • v1-8 - Jesus is heading back towards Jerusalem now, knowing there's a price on His head, and knowing that the cross awaits Him there. On the way He stops by His good friends, Mary, Martha & Lazarus (whom Jesus had just raised from the dead a few weeks earlier).

    • Mary, more emotional than her sensible older sister Martha, breaks open a jar of pure nard and pours it as an offering onto the only pure man, Jesus.

    • Judas makes a fuss about how much money was just 'wasted,' but John points out that Judas only cared about his own pockets, not helping the poor with that money.

    • Jesus, showing that He is God, accepts Mary's worship.

  • v9-19 - The crowd is back, but now they not only want to see the Miracle Man Jesus, but also the guy who's body had been rotting in the grave but was now alive.

    • When the crowd hears that Jesus was coming into Jerusalem, they organize an impromptu celebration to welcome the one they wanted to be their king.

      • They sang "Blessed is the king of Israel" while Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, as Israel's kings long ago had.

      • While they were correct that Jesus was a king, they thought His kingdom would be what rid them of the Romans, not one that would rid them of their sin.

    • Jesus and Lazarus go viral on the social medias of the day, further infuriating the establishment.

  • v20-36a - Even the Gentiles who had converted to Judaism want to see Jesus. Jesus is told about this, but never goes to see them.

    • Instead, He recognizes the time has come, and in a sense, using the divinely inspired John as a narrator, speaks directly to you:

      • If you love your life now, you'll lose it; if you cast aside this life, you'll keep it eternally.

      • You are to serve Christ by following Him, and when you go where Christ is, God the Father will honor you.

    • The Father honors His Son by once again speaking from heaven, and the thunderous sound is once again heard by the crowd.

  • v36b-43 - As we've seen Him do over and over again, rather than work on leveraging His popularity or signing autographs, Jesus disappears into the solitude, a trait we must emulate.

    • John quotes from the prophet Isaiah who recognized that the people of Israel had set such a pattern of unbelief that they would also reject the Messiah when He came.

    • There were even many members of the establishment who believed in Jesus, but were afraid to acknowledge it, because as John so aptly puts it, they loved the praise of men more than praise from God.

  • v44-50 - This final passage is a quotation from Jesus 'crying out,' although it's not clear who He's speaking to. His disciples? Is it a prayer to His Father?

    • Believing into Jesus (see last year's DIG DEEPER post to read why John's unique phrase is significant) connects a person not only to Christ, but to His Father.

    • Rejecting Christ leads to judgment, but believing into Jesus is salvation.

OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE: God promised to send His Prophet right after freeing His covenant people from slavery in Deuteronomy 18:18-20. Jesus quotes these words in today's chapter.


Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:

  1. EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: In the middle of this chapter, God’s voice speaks from heaven. What did Jesus pray immediately before the voice spoke, and how did the voice answer? (See verse 28.)

  2. From what you’ve learned especially in the book of John, summarize what you think it means for Christians today to “follow in the footsteps of Jesus.”

Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament

Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, whose name is most glorified through His Son (v28)

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God to equip you to follow Jesus, and to be where Jesus is (v26)



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