John 12

* Christ anointed by Mary. (1-11) He enters Jerusalem. (12-19)

Greeks apply to see Jesus. (20-26) A voice from heaven bears

testimony to Christ. (27-33) His discourse with the people.

(34-36) Unbelief of the Jews. (37-43) Christ's address to them.


1-11 Christ had formerly blamed Martha for being troubled with

much serving. But she did not leave off serving, as some, who

when found fault with for going too far in one way, peevishly

run too far another way; she still served, but within hearing of

Christ's gracious words. Mary gave a token of love to Christ,

who had given real tokens of his love to her and her family.

God's Anointed should be our Anointed. Has God poured on him the

oil of gladness above his fellows, let us pour on him the

ointment of our best affections. In Judas a foul sin is gilded

over with a plausible pretence. We must not think that those do

no acceptable service, who do it not in our way. The reigning

love of money is heart-theft. The grace of Christ puts kind

comments on pious words and actions, makes the best of what is

amiss, and the most of what is good. Opportunities are to be

improved; and those first and most vigorously, which are likely

to be the shortest. To consult to hinder the further effect of

the miracle, by putting Lazarus to death, is such wickedness,

malice, and folly, as cannot be explained, except by the

desperate enmity of the human heart against God. They resolved

that the man should die whom the Lord had raised to life. The

success of the gospel often makes wicked men so angry, that they

speak and act as if they hoped to obtain a victory over the

Almighty himself.
12-19 Christ's riding in triumph to Jerusalem is recorded by

all the evangelists. Many excellent things, both in the word and

providence of God, disciples do not understand at their first

acquaintance with the things of God. The right understanding of

spiritual nature of Christ's kingdom, prevents our misapplying

the Scriptures which speak of it.
20-26 In attendance upon holy ordinances, particularly the

gospel passover, the great desire of our souls should be to see

Jesus; to see him as ours, to keep up communion with him, and

derive grace from him. The calling of the Gentiles magnified the

Redeemer. A corn of wheat yields no increase unless it is cast

into the ground. Thus Christ might have possessed his heavenly

glory alone, without becoming man. Or, after he had taken man's

nature, he might have entered heaven alone, by his own perfect

righteousness, without suffering or death; but then no sinner of

the human race could have been saved. The salvation of souls

hitherto, and henceforward to the end of time, is owing to the

dying of this Corn of wheat. Let us search whether Christ be in

us the hope of glory; let us beg him to make us indifferent to

the trifling concerns of this life, that we may serve the Lord

Jesus with a willing mind, and follow his holy example.
27-33 The sin of our souls was the troubled of Christ's soul,

when he undertook to redeem and save us, and to make his soul an

offering for our sin. Christ was willing to suffer, yet prayed

to be saved from suffering. Prayer against trouble may well

agree with patience under it, and submission to the will of God

in it. Our Lord Jesus undertook to satisfy God's injured honour,

and he did it by humbling himself. The voice of the Father from

heaven, which had declared him to be his beloved Son, at his

baptism, and when he was transfigured, was heard proclaiming

that He had both glorified his name, and would glorify it.

Christ, reconciling the world to God by the merit of his death,

broke the power of death, and cast out Satan as a destroyer.

Christ, bringing the world to God by the doctrine of his cross,

broke the power of sin, and cast out Satan as a deceiver. The

soul that was at a distance from Christ, is brought to love him

and trust him. Jesus was now going to heaven, and he would draw

men's hearts to him thither. There is power in the death of

Christ to draw souls to him. We have heard from the gospel that

which exalts free grace, and we have heard also that which

enjoins duty; we must from the heart embrace both, and not

separate them.
34-36 The people drew false notions from the Scriptures,

because they overlooked the prophecies that spoke of Christ's

sufferings and death. Our Lord warned them that the light would

not long continue with them, and exhorted them to walk in it,

before the darkness overtook them. Those who would walk in the

light must believe in it, and follow Christ's directions. But

those who have not faith, cannot behold what is set forth in

Jesus, lifted up on the cross, and must be strangers to its

influence as made known by the Holy Spirit; they find a thousand

objections to excuse their unbelief.
37-43 Observe the method of conversion implied here. Sinners

are brought to see the reality of Divine things, and to have

some knowledge of them. To be converted, and truly turned from

sin to Christ, as their Happiness and Portion. God will heal

them, will justify and sanctify them; will pardon their sins,

which are as bleeding wounds, and mortify their corruptions,

which are as lurking diseases. See the power of the world in

smothering convictions, from regard to the applause or censure

of men. Love of the praise of men, as a by-end in that which is

good, will make a man a hypocrite when religion is in fashion,

and credit is to be got by it; and love of the praise of men, as

a base principle in that which is evil, will make a man an

apostate, when religion is in disgrace, and credit is to be lost

for it.
44-50 Our Lord publicly proclaimed, that every one who believed

on him, as his true disciple, did not believe on him only, but

on the Father who sent him. Beholding in Jesus the glory of the

Father, we learn to obey, love, and trust in him. By daily

looking to Him, who came a Light into the world, we are more and

more freed from the darkness of ignorance, error, sin, and

misery; we learn that the command of God our Saviour is

everlasting life. But the same word will seal the condemnation

of all who despise it, or neglect it.

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