Yohanan Jewish New Testament and comments of David H. Stern

chapter 12
1. Six days before Pesach, Yeshua came to Beit-Anyah, where El‘azar lived, the man Yeshua had raised from the dead;
2. so they gave a dinner there in his honor. Marta served the meal, and El‘azar was among those at the table with him.
3. Miryam took a whole pint of pure oil of spikenard, which is very expensive, poured it on Yeshua’s feet and wiped his feet with her hair, so that the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
4. But one of the talmidim, Y’hudah from K’riot, the one who was about to betray him, said,
5. “This perfume is worth a year’s wages! Why wasn’t it sold and the money given to the poor?”
6. Now he said this not out of concern for the poor, but because he was a thief — he was in charge of the common purse and used to steal from it.
7. Yeshua said, “Leave her alone! She kept this for the day of my burial.
She kept this. Or: "Let her keep it." But she does not have any left over, she poured it all out (Mk 14:6-8); moreover the actual anointing of Yeshua's body for burial is described below (19:39-40). See other commentaries ad loc, e.g., Edwyn C. Hoskyns, The Fourth Gospel, pp. 415—417.

8. You always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
You always have the poor with you, as Deuteronomy 15:11 teaches, but you will not always have me. While Yeshua's point is to call the attention of his talmidim to the importance of his brief remaining time on earth, some, noting the stress Judaism puts on charity, have regarded his remark as callous and selfish. It is not, for two reasons: (1) Miryam's timely act of love toward the Messiah is valued by God precisely for its unselfishness, and (2) the marginal significance of the resources here withheld from the poor is negligible compared both with their need and with the opportunities available to potential givers.

9. A large crowd of Judeans learned that he was there; and they came not only because of Yeshua, but also so that they could see El‘azar, whom he had raised from the dead.
10. The head cohanim then decided to do away with El‘azar too,
The head cohanim were Yeshua's main opposition; they sought not only to kill him but to obliterate all signs of his work.

11. since it was because of him that large numbers of the Judeans were leaving their leaders and putting their trust in Yeshua.
Because of him, that is, because El'azar had been raised from the dead by Yeshua, large numbers of Judeans were leaving their leaders, the P 'rushim and the head cohanim (11:47&N). and putting their trust in Yeshua, who by demonstrating God's power and holiness commends himself as the true leader of Judeans in particular and Jews generally.

12. The next day, the large crowd that had come for the festival heard that Yeshua was on his way into Yerushalayim.
13. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Deliver us!" (Psalm 118:25)"Blessed is he who comes in the name of Adonai (Psalm 118:26), the King of Isra’el!”
14. After finding a donkey colt, Yeshua mounted it, just as the Tanakh says —
15. "Daughter of Tziyon, don’t be afraid! Look! your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt" (Zechariah 9:9).
16. His talmidim did not understand this at first; but after Yeshua had been glorified, then they remembered that the Tanakh said this about him, and that they had done this for him.
See Mt 2 1: 1-11&NN.

17. The group that had been with him when he called El‘azar out of the tomb and raised him from the dead had been telling about it.
18. It was because of this too that the crowd came out to meet him — they had heard that he had performed this miracle.
19. The P’rushim said to each other, “Look, you’re getting nowhere! Why, the whole world has gone after him!”
20. Among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greek-speaking Jews.
21. They approached Philip, the one from Beit-Tzaidah in the Galil, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Yeshua.”
Greek-speaking Jews (see 7:35N) who had come to Yerushalayim in obedience to the Torah (see 5:IN). Since the text simply says "Greeks," many think they were Gentiles. Sha'ul often uses "Greeks" to mean "Gentiles" (Ro 1:16, 10:12; Ga 3:28: Co 3:11), but here and at 7:35 the context implies Greek-speaking Jews; compare Ac6:l&N, 9:29.

These approached Philip, whose name was Greek and who was probably himself a Greek-speaker. We would like to see Yeshua. Yeshua's answer (vv. 23ff.) suggests that their purpose was to offer him new opportunities for ministry in their part of the world. Yeshua says that the time for expanding his activities in the world is over, but that his effect in the world will nevertheless be all the greater.

22. Philip came and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Yeshua.
23. Yeshua gave them this answer: “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
24. Yes, indeed! I tell you that unless a grain of wheat that falls to the ground dies, it stays just a grain; but if it dies, it produces a big harvest.
Compare the Talmud paragraph quoted at 1С 15:35-36N.

25. He who loves his life loses it, but he who hates his life in this world will keep it safe right on into eternal life!
This message, as it applies to others, is found in Mt 16:25, Mk 8:35 and Lk 9:23-24; here Yeshua applies it to himself, since it is he who pioneers and finishes our trust (MJ 12:1).

26. If someone is serving me, let him follow me; wherever I am, my servant will be there too. My Father will honor anyone who serves me.
Compare Mt 20:28, Mk 10:45.

27. “Now I am in turmoil. What can I say — ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason that I have come to this hour. I will say this:
Compare Yeshua's prayer in the garden of Gat-Sh'manim (Mt 26:38-39, Mk 14:34-36, Lk 22:41-43).

28. ‘Father, glorify your name!’” At this a bat-kol came out of heaven, “I have glorified it before, and I will glorify it again!”
Bat-kol (literally, "daughter of a voice"). Voice from heaven. The phenomenon is well-known in Jewish literature, which uses the term to mean a voice or message from God. as in this excerpt from the Tosefta (a 2nd-3rd century collection of rabbinic material similar to the Mishna): "After the death of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, the last of the prophets, the Holy Spirit ceased from Israel; nevertheless they received communications from God through the medium of the bat-kol." (Tosefta Sotah 13:2) For more, see Ac 9:4N.

29. The crowd standing there and hearing it said that it had thundered; others said, “An angel spoke to him.”
30. Yeshua answered, “This bat-kol did not come for my sake but for yours.
31. Now is the time for this world to be judged, now the ruler of this world will be expelled.
The ruler of this world, the Adversary, Satan. See 8:44N.

32. As for me, when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”
When I am lifted up. See 3:14&N, 8:28&N.

33. He said this to indicate what kind of death he would die.
34. The crowd answered, “We have learned from the Torah that the Messiah remains forever. How is it that you say the Son of Man has to be ‘lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”
35. Yeshua said to them, “The light will be with you only a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, or the dark will overtake you; he who walks in the dark doesn’t know where he’s going.
36. While you have the light, put your trust in the light, so that you may become people of light.” Yeshua said these things, then went off and kept himself hidden from them.
37. Even though he had performed so many miracles in their presence, they still did not put their trust in him,
38. in order that what Yesha‘yahu the prophet had said might be fulfilled, "Adonai, who has believed our report? To whom has the arm of Adonai been revealed?" (Isaiah 53:1)
Given the customary method of citing the beginning of a passage to call to mind the whole (Ml 2:6&N), the inference is that all of Isaiah 53:1-12 applies to Yeshua.

39. The reason they could not believe was — as Yesha‘yahu said elsewhere —
40. "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so that they do not see with their eyes, understand with their hearts, and do t’shuvah, so that I could heal them" (Isaiah 6:10).
Do t'shuvah (in earlier editions of the JNT. turn from their sins). See Mt 3:2N, 13:13-15N.

They could not believe. God offers everyone the opportunity to "believe" or "trust" him. Greek pistis and the equivalent Hebrew, emunah. may be translated by either word (see Ac 3:16N) or by both (Ga 2:16c&N). But if they reject him, he may eventually make belief impossible: he hardens hearts (Ro 9:18). In this case God blinded them (vv. 40-41), just as he hardened Pharaoh's heart (Exodus 9:12,11:10) after Pharaoh hardened his own heart (Exodus 8:32), so that it became impossible for Pharaoh to trust in God. Even when he asked Moses for a blessing (Exodus 12:32), it was but a momentary aberration from his self-determined and God-confirmed hardness. Perhaps his pain over the loss of the firstborn sons of Egypt, or his fear that Moses would inflict worse punishment filled him briefly with sorrow. But it was not the godly kind of sorrow that leads to repentance (2C 7:10). for within a day he sent the whole Egyptian army to bring Moses and the people back.

I dwell on this because occasionally I am asked, "If Hitler repented on his deathbed, do you think God forgave him?" Sometimes I refuse to answer, on the ground that it's a trick question meant to test God and predicated on the false assumption that the questioner has the right to judge whether God is fair. When 1 do answer, my answer, insofar as it pertains to the nature of God, is: Yes —conditional upon genuine repentance (and it is beyond my ability to imagine what that could possibly have meant in Hitler's case). However, in my view the question is probably vain. 1 think God had long before hardened Hitler's heart, since Hitler had hardened his own heart, so that he could not believe (see Ro 9:17-21&NN). We know that God wants everyone to repent (Ro 2:4, 2 Ke 3:9), but we also know that at death God confirms the unbeliever in the way he chose when alive (3:16-21, 5:21-30; Ro 2:5-8; Rv 20:13-15). From this verse and from Exodus, we must acknowledge that sometimes God, who knows the end from the beginning, finalizes the unbeliever's unbelief before he dies.

41. (Yesha‘yahu said these things because he saw the Sh’khinah of Yeshua and spoke about him.)
Yesha'yahu... saw the Sh 'khinah of Yeshua. Greek, "his glory." On Sh 'khinah ("manifest glory") see paragraph (3) of MJ1:2-3&N. Yochanan refers to Yeshua's glory, not that of God the Father. Yet the allusion is to Isaiah 6:1-3, where the prophet reports that he "saw Adonai sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up. and his mdn lilled the temple. S'raftm... cried to each other, 'Adonai of heavenly arums is holy, holy, holy! The whole earth is full of his glory!'"

Yochanan apparently means that in this heavenly vision Yesha'yibu had ;i glimpse of Yeshua's future manifest glory; and since Yeshua is to be Included in ilu: concept of Adonai. there is no a priori reason to suppose that Isaiah's vision was of (iixl the Father.

42. Nevertheless, many of the leaders did trust in him; but because of the P’rushim they did not say so openly, out of fear of being banned from the synagogue;
43. for they loved praise from other people more than praise from God.
Many of the leaders did trust in Yeshua; but because of Ihe PYmMh they did not say so openly, out of fear of being banned from the synagogue (sec 1>:22N); for they loved praise from other people more than praise from God. Believers in Yeshua are not to hide their faith but confess it openly. One hears of "secret believers" wlio acknowledge to a small circle of friends that Yeshua is the Messiah but refuse to let it he known or even deny it. What they have is a powerless intellectual assent that cannot save them (Ya 2:14-26&N). See Ro 10:8b-10&N. Also compare Lk 12:8-9 (Mt 10:32-33), Mk 8:38.2 Ti 1:7-8.

44. Yeshua declared publicly, “Those who put their trust in me are trusting not merely in me, but in the One who sent me.
45. Also those who see me see the One who sent me.
46. I have come as a light into the world, so that everyone who trusts in me might not remain in the dark.
47. If anyone hears what I am saying and does not observe it, I don’t judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.
48. Those who reject me and don’t accept what I say have a judge — the word which I have spoken will judge them on the Last Day.
49. For I have not spoken on my own initiative, but the Father who sent me has given me a command, namely, what to say and how to say it.
50. And I know that his command is eternal life. So what I say is simply what the Father has told me to say.”
This summary of Yeshua's public message and challenge encourages "secret believers" to become public witnesses who let their words and lives proclaim fearlessly that they are relying on God and his truth. To reject Yeshua is to reject God,and his message will stand to judge all humanity.

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