Know the Son to Know the Father — John 12:44-50

And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I speak, therefore, I speak just as the Father has told me (John 12:50—NRSV).

When we think of a commandment, we sometimes think of the Ten Commandments that the LORD gave Moses. We know that Jews and Christians have an obligation to obey the Ten Commandments because they are the Moral Law of God or Law of Love. We do not often remember that God the Father gave a commandment to His only Son before He sent Him into the world. Jesus served as a perfect example by obeying all the commandments of God. In John 12:49, we learn the special commandment that the Father gave Jesus was “about what to say and what to speak.” We know that the Father’s commandment was vitally important because Jesus told the crowd when He spoke to the masses for the last time that He came to save the world, and “on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge” (John 12:48). Jesus spoke what His Father commanded Him to speak to save people from destruction. When Jesus declared that God the Father’s commandment is eternal life, we need to know what Jesus taught about eternal life. In John 17:3, speaking to His disciples, Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” To “know” does not just mean intellectual knowledge. Jesus meant that eternal life involves a personal relationship with the Father and the Son based on knowing God as revealed in the Bible. In John 12:45, we learn how to know them both, for Jesus said, “Whoever sees me sees Him who sent me.”

Thinking Further

1. If you believe in Jesus, who did Jesus say you also believe in? If you see Jesus, who did Jesus say you also see?

2. How did Jesus come into the world?

3. Why did Jesus come in that way into the world?

4. On the last day, what will serve as judge of those who reject Jesus?

5. What commandment did the Father give Jesus? What did Jesus say about His Father’s commandment?

Discuss the above questions by making a comment
Study the International Bible Study Commentary
and Lesson on John 12:44-50

Believing In Jesus but Afraid to Confess Him — John 12:37-43

Nevertheless many, even of the authorities, believed in Jesus. But because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human glory more than the glory that comes from God (John 12:42-43—NRSV).

Most of the elite in Judea did not believe in Jesus as the Messiah or a prophet. They loved the power, prestige, and position this world offers too much to risk all they valued to follow a poor Galilean carpenter turned preacher and kingdom-wide sensation because of His many signs. The people followed Jesus gladly and openly because of His loving and powerful works that only God would and could do. The elite ignored them, but they knew God loved them. Jesus showed divine compassion to the blind, the lame, and the bereaved that He healed and raised from the dead. Jesus went from town to town to teach the truth about God and the Scriptures to any who had ears to hear, whereas many of the elite thought thinking about the disadvantaged was not worth their time. Still, John reported that some of the elite did believe in Jesus. They knew Jesus was worthy to be followed as one sent from God. However, John also said that some of these elite believers would not confess their faith in Jesus and openly follow Jesus because they did not want to suffer separation from their friends and fellow rulers in the synagogue. They loved to seek the success this world offers to those who conform to the values held by those of this world, so they

refused to seek honor from God and the gift of eternal life that Jesus offers to all who truly believe in Him.

Thinking Further

1. What should have convinced those who saw Jesus to believe in Him?

2. What questions did Isaiah ask? How were these questions answered?

3. Why were some people unable to believe in Jesus?

4. Why do you think the Lord did this to these people?

5. Why did some who believed in Jesus prefer not to confess it? Do some still have this problem today?

Discuss the above questions by making a comment
Study the International Bible Study Commentary
and Lesson on John 12:37-43

Only Jesus Can Unite (Political) Enemies – John 12:35-36

“Jesus said to the crowd, ‘The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.’ After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them” (John 12:35-36).

In the United States two political parties represent most Americans in two almost equal groups of millions of people. What these two parties believe, what they say, and how they act are vastly different. And within each of these two parties their may be one or two groups of people, but from what the Bible teaches no more than one or two groups of people can be in each of these two parties.

Some, perhaps the majority, in each party think those in the other party are evil for a variety of different reasons, and perhaps they are right. In various ways, some in each party think people in both parties should come together, unite, and be at peace. Which really means for some in each group: in order to stop the fighting and have peace and unity you must agree with what our party says and does and leave your tent (party) and come into our tent (party). But this cannot happen when many people in both parties think the other party and the people in it are evil. Each party has different goals and objectives and different ways of trying to meet their objectives that contradict one another—they cannot come together without the help of Jesus.

Reason tells us that both parties with their opposite views and behaviors cannot both be right. Reason also tells us that they could both be wrong. So, we need to ask the question, “Can Jesus Unite Enemies?” And the answer is, “ONLY Jesus can Unite Enemies.” Only Jesus can stop the fighting and bring peace, and He has shown us it can be done and with His help we can do it too.

As we have studied in the Gospel of John the last twelve months, we have learned that there are two groups of human beings and only two, not three. Jesus taught that He is the Light, the Son of the Father, the Word made flesh, the Way, the Truth, and the Life; therefore, as we have learned, Jesus can and did unite enemies that hated one another. Because of Jesus, some people from these two groups came together and when they did, they ceased to be enemies because they had all become friends of Jesus. They came together on Jesus’ terms, not their terms. They put Jesus first ahead of their party and ahead of themselves.

Let’s look more closely at the two groups of people that Jesus united.

First: Jesus is the Light, and those who truly believe in and follow Jesus are children of light. Among other truths about Light (the Light that is Jesus), LIGHT means TRUE TRUTH. Children of light believe in Jesus, believe what Jesus taught, believe the Bible is true in all it affirms, try to obey and follow Jesus and His teachings with the guidance and the power of the Holy Spirit as Jesus obeyed the Father. They love God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They love one another, and even their enemies, for God is love. They have come out of the tent that Jesus called “this world” and into His tent that He called the Kingdom of God.

Second: As we have seen from our study, the other group of people are those who walk in darkness. Those who walk in darkness and some of the children of light are in both political parties for different reasons. Let’s briefly condense what Paul wrote and see how the Bible describes the group that walks in darkness. In Romans 1:18-32, Paul wrote that those who walk in darkness are ungodly, unrighteous, and they suppress the truth (they lie by commission and omission). They have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and they worship the creature (creation) rather than the Creator.

The Bible constantly warns the children of light not to be deceived by those who walk in darkness. To avoid being deceived, the children of light must follow the advice that Paul told Timothy to remember in 2 Timothy 3:15-17, “. . . . the sacred writings are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.” The children of light build their lives on faith in Christ Jesus and following the Scriptures in every area of their lives with the help of the Holy Spirit who indwells them. Children of light do not abandon their faith, their obedience to Jesus Christ in all things, and their commitment to stand up for an proclaim the truth when they work within a political party.

Notice: I did not call the children of light “Christians,” for not all “Christians” are children of light. Jesus warned in Matthew 7:15-16, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles?” And Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:12-14, “Indeed, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But wicked people and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving others and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it.” Those who walk in darkness do persecute the children of light, but they are deceived and deceiving others. You will find “Christians” in both political parties, but you cannot expect “Christians” who walk in darkness to behave, think, and talk like children of light. They don’t have the truth, the mind of Christ, and the other needed equipment that Jesus has given to the children of light.

Only Jesus Christ can draw someone who is deceived and walking in darkness to Him and only Jesus Christ can make someone a child of light. Jesus came into the world to do exactly that for in John 3:16, Jesus promised, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” And in John 6:37, Jesus promised, “Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away.” Children of light can help others see and come into the Light that is Jesus Christ, who will lead them out of the darkness and into the light.

Only Jesus can unite enemies, and He does so by making them children of God, children of light, on His terms when they enter the Kingdom of God. Furthermore, children of light will be friends with God and friends with one another forever. With the help of Jesus and the truth of the Bible, we can unite enemies, but we can only unite them when they become friends of Jesus and choose to come out of the darkness to live inside His big tent, the Kingdom of God.

To learn more about Jesus and the Gospel of John, visit the International Bible Study Commentary.

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How To Avoid Deception and Darkness — John 12:27-36

Jesus said to the crowd, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going” (John 12:35—NRSV).

Between Palm Sunday and the day Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins, Jesus told the crowd that “the light is with you for a little longer.” Jesus used the word “light” to refer to himself. In John 14:6, Jesus used the divine name “I Am” and the word “truth” to refer to himself. Sometimes the word “light” is a substitute for “truth.” The word “walk” often means “practice.” Jesus warned the crowd that they needed to practice living and walking in the light, meaning the truth of His teachings and the truth of who He claimed to be: the Son of Man, the Messiah, the Son of God that His heavenly Father sent to save the world. In only a few days, the light was taken from the crowd. Those who had continued walking in darkness did not know where they were headed when they called out to Pilate, the Roman governor, “Crucify Him!” Of course, Jesus spoke spiritually. Today, when people hear the truth or “see the light” some choose to do what Jesus asserted in John 12:36, “Believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.” When darkness descends, the children of light know the truth of the Scriptures, so they can recognize deception. Because they believe in Jesus, the darkness will not overtake them. They will follow Jesus and His teachings as the Holy Spirit shines the light of understanding and shows the way through the darkness.

Thinking Further

1. Since Jesus is the Son of God, why do you think His soul was troubled about His coming crucifixion and death?

2. Did Jesus pray to the Father that He would not die? If not, why not? How did Jesus pray to His Father?

3. What or who is the ruler of this world? What is his destiny?

4. What did Jesus mean when He said that He would be lifted up from the earth? What else might He have meant that He did not tell the crowd?

5. As the Son of Man, how did Jesus describe himself to the crowd?

Discuss the above questions by making a comment
Read the International Bible Study Commentary and Lesson on John 12:27-36

Believers Must Both Serve and Follow Jesus — John 12:20-26

Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor (John 12:26)

Jesus made wonderful promises to believers in Him. He also commanded believers who wanted to serve Him to follow Him. Some people try to serve Jesus their way instead of Jesus’ way. Many deeds are done by people who say they are serving Jesus, when it seems apparent to others that they are not following or obeying Jesus. What might this mean? Some may do deeds they think will please God and others while disbelieving what Jesus taught about himself, His Father, the Son of God, the Scriptures, and how He expects His followers to live each day in relation to God and others. For example, some may do charitable works but not love Jesus and others. In John 14:15, Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Jesus never said, “If you believe in me, you can disobey the commandments you do not like.” Rather, Jesus gave even more challenging commandments to those who believe in Him. In John 13:34, Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” Some do works in Jesus’ Name who refuse to follow Jesus by obeying His commandments to love others as He loves others. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit indwells and helps Jesus’ followers love God and others as He intends; then, they trust that they will always be where Jesus is. When we serve and follow Jesus, no matter how dishonorable our sinful past, our Heavenly Father will honor us, if not in this life, in the life to come.

Thinking Further

1. Who came to the Passover Festival and asked to see Jesus? Who did they ask? Who went to ask Jesus?

2. What did Jesus say when He learned of their request? What do you think He meant?

3. What did Jesus say happens to a grain of wheat when it dies? What do you think He meant?

4. What must a servant of Jesus do? What did Jesus say was the result?

5. What did Jesus promise those who served Him? What does this mean to you?

Discuss the above questions by making a comment

Read the International Bible Study Commentary and Lesson on John 12:20-26

How We Grow as Believers in Jesus — John 12:12-19

His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him (John 12:1).

At first, many of us did not understand the Bible or Jesus’ teachings or the meaning of Jesus’ actions. Jesus’ first disciples were like us. Like them at first, we began by knowing and believing enough to know that Jesus is a person whose teachings are worth trying to follow. Then, we learned that Jesus did far more for us and the world than teach us truths that transform lives and enable believers to live a life worth living in this world. We learned that Jesus came into the world to be more than a teacher of ethics, a good moral example, or a positive thinker. Jesus came into the world to be glorified, but not as this world glorifies super achievers in areas this world admires. God glorified Jesus when He appeared to be a failure, when He was mocked, flogged, and lifted up on a cross. God glorified His Son when He sent Jesus to die as a sacrifice for our sins, so God could extend mercy and the offer of forgiveness to everyone who would believe in Jesus. Then, God glorified Jesus when He rose from the dead and began giving His followers the assurance of eternal life, freedom from slavery to sin and evil, and a life of loving relationships with God and others. Now, when difficulties arise in the lives of Jesus’ followers, the Holy Spirit helps them remember the Bible’s teachings that they have studied, and the Holy Spirit gives them the courage and power to live victoriously during their trials and troubles.

Thinking Further

  1. On what day did Jesus enter Jerusalem to go to the festival? What happened to Him the day before and what day was that?
  2. What word did the crowd use when Jesus entered Jerusalem? What did that word mean? Or what are some meanings of that word? Consider Psalms 118:25.
  3. What did the crowd call Jesus? What do you think His entering Jerusalem meant to them?
  4. To fulfill prophecy, what did Jesus do during the parade with His disciples?
  5. Who did the crowd testify about? How or why could they testify to this?
Discuss these questions by making a comment

Read the International Bible Study Commentary
and Lesson on John 12:12-19

Gathering the Children of God— John 11:47-57

Caiaphas did not say this on his own, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus was about to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the dispersed children of God (John 11:51-52—NRSV).

Because the crowds might proclaim Jesus was the Messiah, Caiaphas argued that Jesus should die to save their nation and temple from destruction by the Romans, so a council of religious leaders began planning to kill Jesus. These religious leaders in Jerusalem thought mostly in terms of political power and they considered Jesus a threat to their tenuous relationship with Rome. They never understood that Jesus represented the kingdom of God and not a political kingdom. As Jesus told Pilate when questioned, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here” (John 18:36). Though Caiaphas thought he argued only in political terms, John explained that God made him foretell what Jesus would do on a spiritual level that Caiaphas would not believe and could never understand. John explained that Jesus did die for the nation; that is, that those in the nation who believed in Him might have their sins forgiven by God. Then, Jesus rose from the dead that He might draw to himself the children of God that were dispersed throughout the world. Because Caiaphas would have been an unwilling spokesman for the Messiah, God spoke through him to save those who would believe in His Son. Today, followers of Jesus look for opportunities to talk about Jesus and “gather into one the dispersed children of God.”

Make Your Comments Here on the Forum
on Any of The Questions Below

1. What did the council know Jesus was doing and what did they know about the result among many in the crowds who heard and saw Him.

2. What did the council think would happen if everyone eventually believed in Jesus as the Messiah?

3. What did Caiaphas, the high priest, advise the council? Why did he advise this?

4. Why did the Jews go to Jerusalem before the Passover? Did they demonstrate the effectiveness of their preparations later? Why or why not?

5. What were the orders of the Pharisees and the chief priests?

Read the International Bible Study Commentary
on John 11:47-57

Signs That Point to the Savior — John 11:38-46

Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what he had done (John 11:45-46—NRSV).

If you see a sign pointing toward a city, that sign does not compel you to go there. You choose to go there or not. In his gospel, John called Jesus’ miracles “signs.” Jesus did not intend for His signs to compel anyone to believe in Him, but they did help people believe in Him. Believers do not irrationally place their faith in Jesus. His miracles pointed to who He is and who He claimed to be as the Messiah, the Son of God, and Savior of the world. His signs told people that if they chose, they could go to Him, believe in Him, follow Him, and receive the gift of eternal life from Him. Jesus’ signs and teachings give people good and sufficient reasons to entrust their lives and futures to Him. John’s gospel shows that after Jesus healed the sick or raised the dead some people believed in Him and saw His glory, while others did not. The man born blind that Jesus healed believed in Him. After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, many believed in Him. However, after Jesus healed a man who had been ill for 38 years, he refused to believe and reported what Jesus did to Jesus’ religious enemies. Some who saw Lazarus raised from the dead and had the opportunity to talk to Jesus and Lazarus refused to believe in Jesus, so they rushed to report Jesus’ actions to His enemies. After they crucified Jesus, He gave His most miraculous sign when He rose from the dead.

Make Your Comments Here
on Any of These Questions

1. Commentators seem to agree that the Greek word for “deeply moved” or “greatly disturbed” includes the meaning that Jesus was angry at death. How might this teaching influence how you look at death?

2. Why do you think Jesus waited four days before seeing Mary and Martha?

3. What is one result of our believing in Jesus as our Lord and Savior according to this lesson? Can you think of other results?

4. What is one reason Jesus prayed aloud for everyone to hear Him pray?

5. Why did Jesus tell the mourners to remove Lazarus’ grave clothes rather than simply remove them miraculously himself when He could have easily done so?

Read the International Bible Study Commentary
on John 11:38-46

Being Prepared to Believe — John 11:37

But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” (John 11:37).

When Jesus arrived in Bethany and spoke to Martha and Mary, Lazarus had been in the tomb four days, but both expressed their faith, saying, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21, 32). They had sat at Jesus’ feet when He taught about the Father and himself and what it meant to follow Him, because Jesus taught everyone who would listen, whereas the rabbis of the time would not teach women. They knew that Jesus had the power to heal the sick and raise those who had died when He reached them in time. They did not express explicit faith that Jesus could raise someone who had been in a tomb four days.

After Lazarus died, mourners who were mostly women came to console Lazarus’ family. Traditionally, they would stay seven days with the family. During that time, we have every reason to suppose that Jesus—who He was, what He had done, and what He could do—had been an important part of their conversations, because Lazarus’ sisters had sent messengers to tell Jesus that Lazarus was ill. Knowing that in Jerusalem Jesus had healed a man born blind, and learning more about Jesus and what He taught from Lazarus’ sisters, the mourners were prepared to believe in Jesus after they met Him and saw Him raise Lazarus from the dead. No doubt the Holy Spirit inspired Mary and Martha to teach about Jesus while everyone eagerly awaited His hoped-for coming.  We can do the same for others whether we are rejoicing or suffering as the Holy Spirit leads us!

For the International Bible Study Commentary
and Weekly Bible Lessons
on the
Gospel of John
go to the
The International Bible Study Commentary

Facts About Living Forever — John 11:17-27

Martha said to Jesus, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day” (John 11:24).

Early in Jesus’ ministry, He taught, “the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live” (John 5:25). Then Jesus added, “the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and will come out—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:28-29).

Later in Jesus’ ministry, after Lazarus had been buried in his tomb four days, Jesus came to the home of Lazarus’ sisters. When Martha spoke to Jesus, she affirmed four facts of faith. First, Jesus could have healed her brother. Second, Jesus could still do something, because God always gives Jesus whatever He asks. Third, her brother will rise again on the last day. Fourth, Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. Then, Jesus demonstrated the truth of His teachings and affirmed her trust in him. At Lazarus’ tomb, Jesus called Lazarus by name, and Lazarus heard His voice and came forth alive. After Jesus’ enemies reported that Jesus had raised Lazarus, the religious leaders plotted Jesus’ death and “planned to put Lazarus to death as well” (John 12:10). Jesus gave Lazarus life, but eventually Lazarus’ body would die again; yet, on the last day, Jesus will raise from the dead all who believe in Him. Jesus taught, “This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day” (John 6:40).

For Commentary and Weekly Bible Lessons
on the Gospel of John
go to the
The International Bible Study Commentary