COMMENTARY

John 12:35-50

35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.

[Yet a little while is the light with you.] Our Lord compares himself to a light which was about to disappear. He exhorts them to follow the light while it is still among them.

36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.

[Children of light] Let the light, the truth of Christ, so dwell in you and work in you that you may be all light in the Lord; that as truly as a child is the product of his own parent, and partakes of his nature, so you may be children of the light, having nothing in you but truth and righteousness.

37 But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:

[Yet they believed not on him] Though the miracles were wrought for this very purpose, that they might believe in Christ, and every evidence was given that Jesus was the Messiah, yet they did not believe. They were blinded by their passions and obstinantly hardened their hearts against the truth.

38 That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?

[ Esaias] Esaias is the New Testament translation of the name Isaiah.

[That the saying of Esaias] Or, thus the word of Isaiah was fulfilled. See Isaiah 53:1 and Romans 10:16.

39 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,
40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

[Therefore they could not believe] Isaiah 6:9-10. The remarkable parable of the ash tree in Isaiah 44:14-20 illustrates the continuing blindness of man's heart. St. Augustin remarked, "If I be asked why they could not believe, I immediately answer, because they WOULD NOT."

[And I should heal them] This verse is taken from Isaiah 6:9 and refers more to the judgements that should fall on them as a nation, which God was determined should not be averted, than it does to an individual's eternal state. To suppose that the text meant that God was unwilling that they should turn unto him, lest he should be obliged to save them, is an unsupportable blasphemy. See 2 Peter 3:9.

41 These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.

[When he saw his glory] Isaiah 6:1-4. It is evident from this passage that the glory which the prophet saw was the glory of Jehovah. John, therefore, saying here that it was the glory of Jesus, shows that he considered Jesus to be Jehovah.

42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:

[Among the chief rulers...many believed on him] We only know the names of two of them; Nicodemas and Joseph of Arimathea.

[But...they did not confess him] They were as yet weak in the faith. Besides, the principal rulers had determined to excommunicate every person who acknowledged Christ as the Messiah. See John 9:22.

That spirit continues today. When the United States of America was founded it was wisely determined that the nation should not ESTABLISH a state religion. Gradually this doctrine of freedom of religion became "separation of church and state" and is now being perverted to The state should not TOLERATE any religion. What is God's View of this situation? Examine Romans 1:18-32.

43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

How common are these four obstacles of faith! 1. Too great a regard for men. 2. Riches and temporal advantages. 3. The fear of disgrace. 4. The love of the praise of men.

44 Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.
45 And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.

Jesus again asserts his indivisible unity with the Father; --He who believes on the Son believes on the Father; he who hath seen the Son hath seen the Father; he who honors the Son honors the Father.

46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

[Should not abide in darkness] Man's natural state is darkness, the absence of light. Jesus is the light of the world. The next time you are invited to teach a Bible study use the Bible search to identify references to light and darkness in The Gospel according to John.

47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.

Refresh your memory. John 3:17-21.

48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

In the light of this review John 1:1-14.

50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.

God's commandment or commission to Christ was, Preach salvation to a lost world, and give yourself a ransom for all; and whosoever believes on you shall not perish but have everlasting life. 1 John 5:9-12.

The public work of our Lord was now finished.. The remainder of his time, until his crucifixion, he spent teaching his disciples - instructing them in the nature of his kingdom, his intercession and the mission of the Holy Spirit.


Based upon excerpts from Adam Clarke's Commentary, 2nd edition published in New York by Lane and Scott, 1850. More recent editions may be purchased from Amazon.com

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