John shows a logical order in developing the causes
of the hostility of the Jewish authorities to Christ, which is not found
in the other Gospels. From the time when, at his first passover, the
Lord drove the money changers out of the temple, their hatred had grown
deeper at every fresh visit to Jerusalem, until, just before his retirement
to Ephraim, the Sanhedrim had officially resolved upon his death as
soon as it could be brought about on some charge that would be plausible
in the eyes of the Roman rulers. The Lord knew full well that his "hour
was at hand" and went into retirement before the storm, not to escape
his fate, but to defer it until the appointed time at the passover.
As that time approached he left Ephraim and, it seems, crossed over
to the east of the Jordan, joined the crowds that were hastening to
the feast, and crossing the Jordan near Jericho, passed through that
city, where he healed the blind men, converted Zaccheus and abode at
his house. From thence he went with his disciples and the crowds of
pilgrims, who then thronged the thoroughfares, along the winding route
that led through the mountain passes from the plain of Jericho up to
Jerusalem. Reaching Bethany he parted from the throngs and stopped to
rest in the home of friends who were among the truest he had on earth.
There is a difference of opinion among scholars whether he arrived at
Bethany on the evening of the Sabbath day or the day before. It is well
to admit that there is much disagreement concerning the exact date of
several of the momentous events of the week, extending from the arrival
of the Lord in Bethany until his resurrection. Even the "six days before
the passover" has been variously interpreted by the commentators. Andrews,
whose chronology I have usually followed, and who is one of the best
of authorities on chronological questions, adopts Friday as the date
of the arrival at Bethany, and supposes that the Lord left Jericho,
eighteen miles from Jerusalem, in the morning, reaching Bethany about
sunset, and stopped with his apostles over the Sabbath. In the evening
of the next day, the Sabbath, the feast was made at the house of Simon
the leper. The events of this most wonderful week in the history of
the world are tabulated as follows:
||Supper at Bethany.
||Entry into Jerusalem.
||Second cleansing of the temple.
||Last visit to the temple. The prophecy of Matthew, chapter XXIV.
||Savior resting at Bethany.
||The Savior eats the passover; the Lord's Supper instituted.
||The Lord crucified. The Jews eat the passover.
||The Lord in the tomb.
While I am sensible that there are certain difficulties
in this arrangement  I believe that there
are fewer than are presented by any other scheme and I shall follow
it, not as certain, but as supported by the best authorities and most
probable. Reasons will be given, under different heads, for the date
assigned to the events considered.
ANOINTED FOR BURIAL.
One cannot enter upon the study of the portion
of the Gospel that now opens before us without feeling that he is entering
upon the most tender, solemn and sacred portion of the sacred story.
This journey to Jerusalem is the last journey, is the Lord's last appeal
to that untoward generation, is the history of the Lamb consciously
going to the altar of sacrifice, the innocent and holy condemned one
seeking his doom. A little later Paul went to Jerusalem "knowing that
bonds and imprisonment awaited him;" but now the Lord goes knowing that
he is certainly going the cross.
The account of the feast at Bethany is given by
Matthew, chapter XXVI and Mark, chapter XIV. These accounts, although
differing somewhat in details, no doubt describe the same occurrence
that John narrates in the present passage. The anointing described by
Luke in chapter VII, is regarded by all the commentators as a different
affair which occurred in Galilee at the house of a Pharisee named Simon.
The only serious apparent discrepancy between the accounts of John and
the earlier writers is that they seem to locate the feast at Bethany
two days before the passover. It should be kept in mind, however, that
neither Matthew nor Luke adhere to the chronological order of Christ's
ministry, nor do they assert that the feast took place two days before
the passover. That date is assigned to a meeting of the Sanhedrim held
to devise means to seize the Savior by craft, and at this meeting an
opportunity presents itself in the offer of one of the apostles to betray
his Master by leading a band of armed men to his resting place at night.
Then these evangelists naturally go back to give an account of the feast
at Bethany where the disappointment of Judas developed his purpose to
sell his Lord. This account they throw in as an episode, and then return
to the plot of the Sanhedrim and the treachery of Judas. It is but just
to admit that some judicious scholars hold that Matthew and Mark give
the real date of the feast, and insist that John declares the time when
Christ came to Bethany, but not the time of the feast. The attention
John usually gives to the order of events, his language, and the probabilities
are opposed to this view.
1. Then Jesus six days before the passover.
The passover meal was the beginning of the feast of unleavened bread,
which lasted for seven days. The whole paschal week was termed the feast
of unleavened bread; the passover was, strictly speaking, the 15th of
Nisan, "the great day of the feast." Jesus reached Bethany on Friday,
rested the Sabbath day or Saturday, and the feast took place on Saturday
evening, after the Sabbath ended. Bethany. A village about two
miles east of Jerusalem (John 11:18), being on the other 
side of the Mount of Olives. It was the home of Mary and Martha,
where Christ was wont to visit when in Jerusalem (Luke 10:38-41; Matt.
21:17; Mark 11:11, 12). It was the scene of the resurrection of Lazarus
(John, chap. 11), and of Christ's own ascension (Luke 24:50). It is
not mentioned in the Old Testament.--Abbott.
Then is rendered by the Revision more correctly
"therefore." It marks a close connection with what precedes, and especially
with 11:55, which speaks of the approaching passover and the gathering
multitudes. We have seen the Lord retiring for a season from the vicinity
of Jerusalem, out of the immediate presence of the rulers who had now
officially decided upon his death, and secluding himself in the quiet
retreat of Ephraim in order to wait for this very passover. As he had
been present at two preceding feasts, and as Jerusalem has been the
principal seat of his ministry for about six months, it is not strange
that the great topic of conversation among the pilgrims was whether
he would come to the passover. Would the well-known purpose of the Sanhedrim
keep him away? "Therefore, he came six days before the passover,"
though fully apprised of their designs, and conscious that they would
be carried out at that very time. Nor was there any concealment about
his coming. As we learn from the other Gospels, he crossed the Jordan
from Ephraim and joined in Perea, the immense crowds who were hastening
to Jerusalem, moved through Jericho in a kind of triumphal procession,
with vast multitudes thronging his steps, and moving with them to Bethany,
parted from them, not to seek seclusion, but to attend a public feast.
The time for all concealment was now past, and in the scenes at Jericho,
the feast at Bethany, the kingly march into Jerusalem, the second cleansing
of the temple and the final appeal to Jerusalem recorded in Matthew
XXI., he not only seemed to seek publicity, but to invite the malice
of his enemies to do its worst.
2. There they made him a supper; and Martha
served. It is not said at whose house the feast took place, only
that it was at Bethany, that Martha served, that Lazarus was one of
those at the table, and that Mary was there. Matthew and Mark say that
it took place at the house of "Simon the leper." Of him we know nothing
and all is conjecture. He may have been the father of the three, or
the husband of Martha, or some other relative. He may have been dead
and Martha his widow. Christ may have healed him of his leprosy. The
only thing certain is that the feast was at his house; the Bethany family
were there, and Martha was active in providing the feast. The feast
may have been made by the citizens of Bethany in his honor, in gratitude
for the wonderful miracle that he had restored one of their townsmen
to life. "They" has no antecedent expressed and is as likely to refer
to the people as any one else. In that case there is no need for supposing
any relationship to the Bethany family. Martha, in accordance with all
that we have learned of her active, practical nature, would be busy
"serving;" Mary would naturally be forgetful of all else but her beloved
Lord. We are told that a favorite time with the Jews for a feast was
the evening after the Sabbath day had passed. 
3. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard,
very costly. Spikenard, from which the ointment was, made, was an
aromatic herb of the valerian family. It was imported from an early
age from Arabia, India, and the Far East. It was the costliest anointing
oil of antiquity, and was sold throughout the Roman Empire, where it
fetched a price that put it beyond any but the wealthy. Mary had bought
a vase or flask of it containing twelve ounces. And anointed the
feet of Jesus. We learn from the other accounts some additional
facts. The ointment was contained in an alabaster vase which she broke.
It was all for Christ. Nothing was kept back. She anointed first his
head, and then his feet. She came up behind as he reclined at table
and poured it on his head, and then stooped down to his feet. It must
be borne in mind that the Jews did not sit but reclined at table with
their feet extended behind. The anointing of the head was also a distinction
which was conferred upon the guest of honor (Luke 7:46),--not only among
the Jews, but generally in the East, and among the ancients. In connection
with the anointing of the head, was the washing of the feet with water.
Thus it was an elevation of the custom to the highest point of honor
when the head and the feet were alike anointed with oil. Wiped his
feet with her hair. The same is said of "a woman that was a sinner"
(Luke 7:37). That occurrence took place in Galilee and is a different
incident. That woman washed his feet with her tears of sorrow; those
of Mary were tears of gratitude. The house was filled with the odor.
The ointments were very fragrant. Perhaps the rich perfume was the first
intimation to many of what had been done. Service to Christ is full
of fragrance to all within reach of its influence.
4. Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot.
Matthew (26:8) states that "the disciples" had indignation; Mark
reports that "some had indignation;" John (12:4), as knowing
who had whispered the first word of blame, fixes the uncharitable judgment
on "Judas Iscariot, Simon's son." The narrow, covetous soul of the traitor
could see nothing in the lavish gift but a "waste." His indignation,
partly real, partly affected, was perhaps honestly shared by some of
his fellow-disciples. His own soul was too narrow and sordid to rejoice
over the honor done the Savior.
5. Why was not this ointment sold for three
hundred pence? About $45. A penny here is the denarius, a Roman
silver coin worth 15 to 17 cents. The wretch, who is just going to sell
the only Son of God for 30 pence (pieces of silver), values at 300 a
little ointment, perfume, and vapor.--Quesnel. As the penny,
or denarius, was the price of a day's labor then, and would buy as much
as a dollar now, the whole sum would be equivalent to $300 now, a sum
large enough to arouse the greed of Judas. So costly a treasure shows
that the Bethany family possessed  considerable
wealth. Given to the poor. He cared nothing for the poor. This
was only a pretext. Those who are the best friends of Christ will do
most for the poor.
6. Because he had the bag. Judas was treasurer
of the little company. They must have had a meagre purse; and it was
too much for him to see all this money thrown away on the mere sentiment
of love, when it might have gone into their treasury, from which he
could steal it, for he was a thief. But he concealed his true motive,
and gained the really good disciples over to his side by pleading the
love of the poor. He was the type of all those treasurers, cashiers,
etc., who steal trust funds.
7. Let her alone: against the day of my burying
hath she kept this. Their indignation was roused against the poor,
shrinking Mary as if she had robbed them. No doubt Judas felt as if
he had been robbed. Then Christ interposed with authority and silenced
them, adding a commendation, saying, "She has anticipated the hour of
my decease; anointing my body before death, and thus preparing it for
burial." It is worthy of note that this was all the anointing which
our Lord's body received from the hand of Mary or her female friends,
inasmuch as he had risen before they reached the sepulchre with their
spices. It was, therefore, in verity, an anointing beforehand, although
she was not aware of the full import of her act of love.
8. For the poor always ye have with you.
You will have plenty of opportunities to aid them; and the more they
did for their Master, the more they would do for the poor, for the poor
are left in his stead, and through them will be expressed the increased
love of the Master. It is the want of love, not of money, that
allows any poor to suffer; so that all gifts to Christ which increase
our love will increase the gifts to the poor.
9. Much people of the Jews therefore know that
he was there. The language indicates that he tarried there for several
days, from Friday till Sunday, and throngs came to see him. He was not
seeking privacy now.
10, 11. The chief priests consulted . . . .
. put Lazarus to death. Lazarus was 
a living testimonial to the divine power of Christ and they desired
to get him out of the way.
12. On the next day. This was Sunday, often
called Palm Sunday, because on this day the multitude took the branches
of palm trees. Much people that were come to the feast. Josephus
says that from two to three millions attended a passover. All the Gospels
give an account of this entry into Jerusalem and all ought to be read.
See Matt. 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11, and Luke 19:29-44.
13. Took branches of palm trees, and went out
to meet him. They carpeted the Savior's pathway with their garments
and the gigantic leaves of the palm tree. The "branches of palm trees"
are not strictly, branches at all, but the enormous leaves, twelve to
sixteen feet long, which spring from the top of the tall, straight trunk.
A few palm trees are still to be seen in Jerusalem. Combining the four
accounts, we get the following features: Some took off their outer garments,
the burnoose, and bound it on the colt as a kind of saddle; others cast
their garments in the way, a mark of honor to a king (2 Kings 9:13);
others climbed the trees, cut down the branches, and strewed them in
the way (Matt. 21:8); others gathered leaves and twigs and rushes. This
procession was made up largely of Galileans; but the reputation of Christ,
increased by the resurrection of Lazarus, had preceded him, and many
came out from the city to swell the acclamations and increase the enthusiasm.
Hosanna. A Greek modification of the Hebrew words, "Save now,
I beseech thee," in Ps. 118:25, the next verse of which formed part
of their song, "Blessed," etc. It is used as an expression of praise,
like hallelujah. That cometh in the name of the Lord. The words
are taken in part from Ps. 118:25, 26, a hymn which belonged to the
great hallelujah chanted at the end of the Paschal Supper and the Feast
of Tabernacles. The people were accustomed to apply it to the Messiah.--Godet.
Christ came in the name of the Lord, because sent and appointed by the
Lord,--his ambassador, proclaiming the message of the Lord.
14. And Jesus, when he had found a young ass,
sat thereon. This was Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem and
the people expected him to become king at once. The outside of
this triumph was very mean. He rode upon an ass's colt, which
made no figure. This colt was borrowed. Christ went upon the
water in a borrowed boat, ate the Passover in a borrowed
chamber, was buried in a borrowed sepulchre, and here rode on
a borrowed ass. He had no rich trappings, but only the garments
of others.--Matthew Henry.
15. Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy
King cometh. Each of the four  evangelists
goes back to the prophecy (Zech. 9:9) as fulfilled in this remarkable
event,--the only known instance in which Jesus ever rode upon any animal.--Cowles.
Hitherto he had entered the holy city on foot: this day he would enter
as David and judges of Israel were wont,--riding on the specially Jewish
16. These things understood not his disciples
at first. There was much connected with his ministry that never
became clear until he had suffered and risen. Then in the clear light
of the Holy Spirit all was like a sunbeam.
1. Affection desires to express itself in costly
sacrifices for the loved.
2. The motive, the love, gives value to the deed;
as Hermon and Pisgah were but common mountains till Christ was transfigured
on the one, and Moses saw the promised land from the other.
3. The worldly heart can never understand the
blessedness and power of enthusiasm, and gifts of love.
4. Bad men always put forward good motives for
their bad deeds.
5. Expressions of affection are of great value.
We all need sympathy, and that it be expressed, especially the poor,
the sick, the sorrowing.
6. God does not need our gifts; he is rich enough
without: but he wants the giving, the spirit of sacrifice.
7. The gifts for the gospel, for the church, for
Christ's sake, always increase the gifts to the poor.
8. Reasons for Triumphal Procession. Till
then he had withdrawn from popular expressions of homage; but once,
at least, he wished to show himself as King Messiah of his people. It
was a last call addressed by him to the population of Jerusalem. This
course, besides, could no longer compromise his work. He knew that in
any case death awaited him in the capital.--Godet. He would have
a public testimony to the fact that it was their King the Jews crucified.
It is not merely the Messiah that saves, nor the crucified One that
saves, but the Messiah crucified (1 Cor. 1:23). An analogous commission
to prepare the Passover was given to Peter and John (Luke 22:8). They
may have been the two sent forth.--Abbott.
9. Celebration of Triumph. In September,
A. D. 61, about 30 years after Christ's triumphal entry, the most
magnificent triumph ever seen in Rome was given to Pompey. For two days
the grand procession of trophies from every land, and a long retinue
of captives, moved into the city along the Via Sacra. Brazen tablets
were carried, on which were engraved the names of the conquered nations,
including 1,000 castles and 900 cities. The remarkable circumstance
of the celebration was, that it declared him conqueror of the whole
world. So the triumphant procession of Christ into Jerusalem was but
a faint shadow of the coming of the Prince of peace, when all nations
and the wealth and glory of them shall take part in his glorious triumph.
And the day is fast approaching.--After Foster's Cyclopædia.
GENTILES SEEKING CHRIST.
17. The people . . . bare record. John
has just narrated a wonderful passage in the life of the Redeemer, his
entry into the city of his enemies, who had resolved to slay him, in
triumphal procession with vast crowds raising acclamations and shouting
his kingly glory. He now pauses to observe that the miracle at Bethany
had its effect on this demonstration. The people who had seen the miracle
18. For this came also the people met him.
Thousands who had not seen the miracle were moved by the story of the
eye-witnesses, and eagerly went out to meet him and joined in the acclamations.
They could not be regarded as believers but belonged to the fickle throng
who went with the tide; who would one day shout, "Hosannah to the son
of David," and a few days later, would swell the cry, "Crucify him;
19. The Pharisees therefore said among themselves.
These subtle opposers, were astounded and frightened by the proofs of
the popularity of Jesus. They had joined with the Sanhedrim in a determination
to put Christ to death; he had retired from the city and disappeared
for a time from sight; an order had been issued that any one who knew
his hiding place should point it out that he might be seized; yet now
he had returned, entered Jerusalem as the old kings were wont to enter,
with shouting crowds around him doing him homage. Hence these baffled
sectarians exclaim: "Behold how ye prevail nothing; the world is gone
after him." Matthew describes the commotion in the city that so stirred
up the Pharisees: "And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city
was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus
the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee" (Matt. 21:10, 11). When the Lord
came into the city he entered into the temple. Mark 11:11, declares:
"Jesus entered Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked
round about on all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out
to Bethany with the Twelve." The interview sought by the Greeks, of
which we next have an account, either occurred this afternoon, while
the Savior was in the temple, or on Monday. John does not say when it
occurred, and most scholars have referred it to the next day, when the
Savior cleansed the temple a second time, made his final appeal to the
Jewish nation, and retired from the temple forever, speaking his farewell
in the wonderfully pathetic words recorded in Matt. 23:34-39. This discourse
recorded by John seems to have contained his last words to the people,
and after his words were uttered "he was hidden from them," to appear
no more in person with the offer of  salvation
until they should say, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the
20. And there were certain Greeks among them
that came up to worship at the feast. A remarkable circumstance
is related. The passover feast was for the Jews, and those who came
there to worship were of the seed of Abraham, but on this occasion,
"among those who came to worship" were Greeks, members of the great
Gentile division of the race which embraced all that were not Jews.
These were not Jews who spoke the Grecian language and lived in Greek
countries; those are called in the original Greek, Hellenistoi.
We find them in the Jerusalem church in large numbers. See Acts 6:1.
These who seek to visit Jesus were Hellenes, a term only used
of the Greek race. Where they came from we do not know. The Greek race
was scattered all over the East from the time of Alexander's conquests.
Eusebius mentions a tradition that they were an embassy from the king
of Edessa who thus sought to invite Jesus to visit his kingdom. It is
probable rather that they belonged to the large class of "devout Greeks,"
met everywhere by Paul, who were sick of heathenism and were attracted
by the grand Hebrew revelation of the unity of God. On this great national
occasion they had accompanied Jews settled abroad as they returned to
worship in the city of David.
The visit of these Greeks to Jerusalem indicates
an unusual hunger for the truth which they had failed to find in heathenism.
The aversion shown by a high caste Brahmin for an outcast is not greater
than the Jews, in the age of the Savior, exhibited for Gentiles. Beyond
the court of the Gentiles in the temple grounds was an inscription over
the gateway: "Let no Gentile go farther under pain of death." No pious
Jew could sit down to eat at the table of a Gentile (Acts 11:3; Gal.
2:12). If a heathen were invited to a Jewish house, we learn from the
Mishna, that he could not be left alone in the room, else every article
of food or drink on the table was to be regarded, henceforth, as unclean.
Milk drawn from a cow by heathen hands could not be used. It was not
lawful to let either house or field, or to sell cattle, to a heathen,
and any article, however distantly connected with heathenism, was to
be destroyed. In distant lands, or districts of Palestine where the
Gentiles were numerous, the Jews became less intolerant, but in Jerusalem
the aversion was most intense. An illustration of this is afforded in
the address that Paul delivered from the steps, after he was rescued
from the temple mob, which listened to him patiently until he spoke
of the Lord sending him to the Gentiles, on which his listeners were
at once transported into fury.
21. The same came to Philip. In the court
of the Gentiles where the Lord then was waiting and "looking around."
He observed much that required correction and on the next day, Monday,
he again drove out the stock traders and the money changers. The name
Philip is Grecian, as well as Andrew, and those of the seven deacons
of Acts, chapter 6. It is not unlikely 
from this fact that Philip had been thrown under Greek influences and
spoke the Greek language, as did Peter, John, Paul, and other apostles.
This, probably, explains why they came to Philip. He had a Greek name
and was acquainted with their race. We would see Jesus. They
ask an interview. They had probably seen him as he came into Jerusalem
in triumphal procession; they could see him every day as he taught publicly,
but Jerusalem was ringing with the fame of the resurrection of Lazarus,
his other miracles and the wonders of his teaching. They were seeking
a better faith than that of their fathers and they wished to talk personally
with the great Teacher. Possibly curiosity had something to do with
22. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew. Andrew
was also of Bethsaida and he and Philip seem to have been inseparable
friends. The fact that Philip wanted some one to go with him to Christ
shows how his character had inspired with awe even those who were nearest
to him. Perhaps the Greeks followed the two apostles to the presence
of Christ. It is not said whether he granted the interview or not. He
probably did. John reports the address of the Savior to which the application
gave rise. That Philip should hesitate to make this request is not strange
in view of the fact that Christ had told his disciples when they were
sent forth to preach, to go only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
It has been noticed that Gentiles, the Wise men, came to honor his birth,
and now Gentiles, the Greeks, do him homage as he is about to ascend
23. The hour is come, that the Son of man should
be glorified. The answer of Christ may have been to Philip and Andrew,
and the Greeks may have heard and understood it. The substance is that
the time for his glorification had come and that glorification would
draw all men, Greek, Gentiles as well as Jews, to him. After his glorification,
accomplished by his death, there would be no wall of partition, but
to him the Gentiles should seek, and there should be neither bond nor
free, male nor female, Jew nor Greek, but all one in Christ Jesus.
24. Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground
and die, it abideth alone. This statement, prefaced by the verily,
verily, that gives solemn emphasis, enforces a great truth. The grain
of wheat may remain in the granary for a thousand years and be preserved,
but it is useless there. It neither reproduces, nor is food. Grains
were found in the wrappings of Egyptian mummies that were 4,000 years
old, but they had never produced another grain. It is when it falls
into the ground and undergoes dissolution, that it brings forth fruit.
It is fruitful by giving itself up. So, too, Christ must give
himself up. Must die, be placed in the ground, before he can be glorified
and draw all men to him. His death was needful in order that he might
impart life to the nations. 
25. He that loveth his life shall lose it.
Then he announces a principle that underlies all exaltation. He gave
his life and found eternal exaltation; the grain gives its life and
lives a hundred fold; those who consecrate their lives, give them up
for others, dedicate them to their holy work, will live eternally. Those
who seek to save their lives, live for this present life, live for pleasures
and gains and honors, shall lose their lives. The man who says he will
get as much out of life as possible, the worldling, is the one who "loveth
his life." The one who disregards present pleasures, or worldly interests,
but dedicates his life to Christ, is the one who hateth his life.
26. If any man serve me, let him follow me.
This is Christ's direct answer to the Greeks. His service is to be rendered,
not by secret interviews, but by obeying him, for so the word "follow."
is to be understood. If any man serve me, him will my Father honor.
God demands that "every knee should bow and every tongue confess that
he is Christ." The Christian's ambition should be to follow Christ,
to be Christlike, to serve him well, and leave all else to the will
of the Father.
27. Now is my soul troubled. "Now a sudden
change comes over the spirit of the Redeemer. His eye closes on the
crowd without; he ceases to think of, or to speak with man; he is alone
with the Father. A dark cloud descends and wraps him in its folds."--Hanna.
It is the shadow of the cross and the tomb. The horror just before him
falls upon his soul with terrific power. It is a foreshadowing of the
struggle of Gethsemane. The best comment on this verse is to compare
it with the account of the agony in the garden. Here he exclaims: Father,
save me from this hour. There, "If it be possible, let this cup
pass from me." Here he adds: But for this cause came I unto this
hour. There "Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done." Here
the perfect resignation that follows the struggle in his soul is in
the prayer, Father, glorify thy name. It required a fearful struggle,
but he "had hated his life" and given it for his work's sake.
28. Then came a voice from heaven, saying,
I have glorified it, etc. At Gethsemane the angel came to strengthen
him; here the Father's voice speaks in approval. Three times the Father's
voice was heard from the sky; first, when Christ was buried in
Jordan, a type of his own burial; second, when Moses and Elias
talked with him on the holy mount about his death; third, when
he had his struggle of soul in view of death portrayed here and triumphed.
These facts show the tender, agonizing interest the Father felt in the
suffering of the Son. Will glorify it again. God had glorified
his name by the wonders wrought by Jesus; 
he would glorify it by his resurrection, his exaltation, the scenes
of Pentecost, and the triumphs of the church.
29. An angel spake to him. All heard the
sound of the divine voice, but it was not clear to all what it was.
Like those who were with Saul of Tarsus when on the way to Damascus,
they heard, but did not comprehend.
30. This voice came not because of me.
He had already won the victory before the voice came. It was rather
to confirm the faith of his disciples who still stumbled over the prospect
of his death.
31. Now is the judgment of this world.
Now, "this hour," the "hour" referred to in verses 23d and 27th,
the hour for which he had come into the world, the hour of the cross;
that was to be the hour of judgment, the crisis, which should
determine who should rule the world. The cross became a throne. It gave
him the crown. Because he suffered he was exalted to majesty and "all
power in heaven and earth was given to him." The prince of this world
is cast out. The great opposer, the worldly power, Satan as manifested
in the pomp, power, and majesty of the earth. The cross cast him out,
dethroned him; he is now a usurper and shall finally be cast into the
lake of fire.
32. If I be lifted up from the earth, I will
draw all men unto me. Lifted up, first, to the cross; second,
from the grave; third, to heaven and the eternal throne. The
crucified, risen and exalted Savior becomes a power to draw all men,
Jews and Gentiles, all nations. Christ does not declare that he will
draw every individual, but all races. The great thought is the power
of his death and resurrection.
33. Signifying what death he should die.
And the great events that followed it as a regular sequence.
34. We have heard out of the law that Christ
abideth forever. The multitude were perplexed. They had cried, "Hosanna
to the King of Israel who cometh in the name of the Lord." They believed
Christ to be the king. Their idea of the Messiah was an eternal king.
Now he spoke of death. They ask two questions: first, about the lifting
up, and second, Who is the Son of man? 
35. Yet a little while the light is with you.
He refuses to answer their questions directly, but imparts to them needed
truths. The light was then present with them. He was shining, teaching.
Let them seek the light and walk in it while they had opportunity. The
opportunity might soon pass away and the darkness come.
36. Believe in the light, that ye may be the
children of light. That they might receive the light of the light
of the world they must believe on him. Unbelief closed their spiritual
eyes to his words. Unless there was belief and a reception of the light
they could not become children of the light. With these words he retired
from their midst.
1. Christ is the "Desire of all nations."
2. Though Christ came in person only to the "lost
sheep" of the house of Israel, his mission was to all the world.
3. The "wall of partition" between Jew and Gentile,
was broken down when "the handwriting of ordinances was nailed to the
cross." The risen Savior said to his disciples, "Go and preach the gospel
to every creature."
4. Self-dedication is a life-giving power. The
old Romans told the story of Rome saved by Quintus Curtius and the Decii
giving up their lives. The soldier often consecrates himself to save
others. So Christ gave him elf to save a world.
5. The life that is given up is the life that
is saved and becomes glorious. Judson gave up his and lives as the prince
of missionaries; Howard, Florence Nightingale, Miss Dix, Oberlin, Clarkson,
and a host of others gave up theirs and have an immortal fame. All who
give up their lives by dedicating them to holy work will gain life eternal.
6. Christ himself had struggle of soul. He was
tempted in all points as we are. The cross was as hard for him to endure
as it would be for us. He fought the conflict in soul, he gave up his
life, and the Father spoke his approbation. He gave up but he gained.
First the cross and then the crown.
|7. "With all his sufferings full in view,
And woes to us unknown,
Forth to the task his spirit flew;
'Twas love that urged him on.
Lord we return to thee what we can;
Our hearts shall sound abroad--
Salvation to the dying man,
And to the rising God."--Cowper. 
THE CAUSE OF UNBELIEF.
If that view is correct which assigns the last
discourse to the temple on Monday it belongs to Christ's farewell words
to Israel. From thenceforth he entered the temple no more. In the conflicts
recorded in Matthew, chapters XXII and XXIII, he had been finally rejected
by Israel, and henceforth only awaited for the "Son of Man to be lifted
up" that he might draw all races, the races whom Israel despised, unto
him. In the closing words to the people, not to "the Jews," recorded
by John, his last admonition was to seek the light and to walk in it.
All the woes of Israel arose from the fact that they were averse to
the light and preferred the darkness, rather than the true light. John,
with this admonition in mind, next shows how they had turned away from
37. Though he had done so many miracles before
them. John only records seven of these miracles as types but often
refers to the great number of them. See 2:23; 4:45; 7:31; 20:30. Believed
not. Many of them had a kind of intellectual faith in him as a man
of God, or as the "prophet of Galilee," but they did not have that faith
which believes, trusts and devotes one's life.
38. That the saying of Esaias the prophet.
The saying here recorded is found in Isaiah 53:1. John means to say
that God had by Isaiah predicted the very state of things in Israel
and the Jews so acted that it might be fulfilled.
39. Therefore they could not believe, because
that Esaias said. Isaiah 6:10. The Revision is clearer, which reads:
"For this cause they could not believe, for that Isaiah has said again."
The cause of their unbelief is not that Isaiah said thus and
thus, but he points out the cause of their unbelief in what he said.
The reason why they could not believe was not that God had decreed their
unbelief and destroyed their free agency, but that, in the exercise
of their free agency, they had made themselves, by the operation of
God's moral laws, incapable of belief.
40. He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened
their heart. This explains why they could not believe. Whether they
were morally responsible for their unbelief 
depends on how God blinded their eyes and hardened their heart.
If he did it by a direct act, regardless of their moral condition, then
they were not responsible. If, however, he did it by a law of the universe
that whoever turns from the light shall become blind, and whoever steels
his heart against the truth shall find his heart hardened, then they
were morally responsible if they had turned from the light and hardened
their hearts. It is a physical as well as a moral law that he who turns
from the light and seeks to abide in darkness will become blinded until
he will "believe a lie and be damned." The men who are the champions
of unbelief, such men as Voltaire, Paine and Ingersoll, are unbelievers
because they did not wish to believe. Their moral condition was such
that they could justify their course of life only by refusing to believe
on Christ. They sought the darkness, and as a result, finally they became
so blinded that they could not believe. They blinded their own eyes
because they brought upon themselves the penalty. God blinded their
eyes, because their blindness resulted from the action of his universal
law. Thus it is said of Pharaoh that "God hardened his heart," but it
is also said that "Pharaoh hardened his heart." He chose, in the exercise
of his voluntary agency, to harden his heart, but it is God's law that
those who harden their hearts shall be hardened, and hence God, by this
law, hardened his heart. By reference to Matt. 13:14 the reader will
find this passage from Isaiah quoted and applied by the Savior to the
Jews. In the application he shows how they were blinded: "Their eyes
have they closed." The Savior's words settle how God blinded their eyes.
It was by the application of his invariable law to their own acts. Trench
says: "The Lord, having constituted as the righteous law of moral government,
that sin should produce darkness of heart and moral insensibility, declared
that he would allow the law to take its course."
42. Nevertheless among the chief rulers many
believed on him. These were members of the Sanhedrim. They had an
intellectual faith, but it was not a power over their hearts. "With
the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession
is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:10). These rulers, not believing
with the heart, did not make open confession, because they feared the
Pharisees. The fact that they did not confess him from fear, only added
to their sin. They declined openly to take his side when they believed
him to be the Christ. They were dishonest. Nor does the New Testament
anywhere give a shadow of a hope to anyone who refuses to confess Christ
openly. Put out of the synagogue. See 9:22 for the determination
of the Pharisees, and the consequences of being put out of the synagogue.
The Pharisees were the leaders in inflicting the religious penalties.
44. Jesus cried a said. John does not say
when, or where, but I think, gives a sort of summary of what he had
said, now that his appeal to the Jewish nation was closed. In verses
44 and 46 he declares his oneness with him who sent him.
46. I am come a light into the world. It
was the office of Christ to make all things clear. His mission and person
illuminate the mysteries of our being and destiny when they are seen
in their fulness. In many respects he is a Sun. Those who abide in his
light will have their doubts solved, mysteries cleared up, and the clouds
rolled away from the future. It is interesting and instructive to compare
the various titles and symbols that the Savior applies to himself in
this Gospel. In addition to the Son of Man, the Christ, and the Son
of God, which are common to all the Gospels, he used the following designations:
I am the Bread of Life (6:35); I am the Light of the world (8:12 and
in this passage); I am the Door of the sheep (10:7); I am the Good Shepherd
(10:11); I am the Resurrection and the Life (11:25); I am the Way, the
Truth, and the Life (14:6); I am the True Vine (15:1). Each of these
symbols conveys a different and vital truth concerning his nature or
mission. Besides these he describes himself seven times, five in his
public discourses, and twice to his disciples, by the profound and lofty
phrase "I am," the significance of which I have discussed in another
place. See note on 8:58.
47, 48. I judge him not. In declaring that
he judges not those who hear his words and believe not, he is not inconsistent.
In the day of judgment he shall sit upon the throne, not to condemn
the world that he came to save. It will always be either saved or condemned.
The words that he left in it as his will shall decide the destiny of
every man. "He that rejecteth me . . the word that I have spoken,
the same shall judge him in the last day."
49. I have not spoken of myself. Of my
own mind and will, but it was the Father who had spoken in him. He gave
a commandment what the Son should say. It will be seen that this summary
repeats ideas that have been made prominent in discourses of the Savior
that John has already reported. 
50. I know that his commandment is life everlasting.
The commandment of the the Father is not only directed to the bestowment
of life on men, but it is life. There is life in the truth of God when
it is received into the heart and becomes the law of life. His commandment
is truth. Christ says: "My words are spirit and they are life." Thus
closes John's record of the Revelation of Christ to the world. In the
discourses of the next five chapters there is a fuller revelation of
himself to his disciples.