In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. And the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it.
There was a man having been sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to bear witness about the Light.
John opens his Gospel proclaiming that Jesus is the Light of the world. Throughout His ministry Jesus, Himself, will proclaim He is the Light of the world, and use darkness and light to contrast reactions to Him.
After returning to Bethany on Sunday evening, that Monday before His death found Jesus once again on His way to Jerusalem. That day will see Him cursing the fig tree and the beginning of intense clashes with the religious leaders as He cleanses the Temple and indicts them for turning God’s house of prayer into a den of thieves (see Mark 11:15–18).
Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record further teachings of Jesus that week, but until the beginning of Passover a few days later, the last discourse John records is from that Monday.1 Jesus again predicts His death, and again proclaims that He is the Light of the World.
In one day the crowd has gone from hailing Jesus as king, to questioning what He is saying. R. V. G. Tasker writes,
“The people who had been ready only a short time before to accept Jesus as a national king are unwilling to follow him as a crucified king. They pour scorn on His words about the ‘lifting up’ of the Son of man, for they see in them a reference to His crucifixion (34). This Son of man, whoever else He may be, cannot, they feel sure, be the Christ predicted in their Scriptures.
“…He makes a final appeal to them to recognize the Light while it is still shining in their midst…But they still disbelieve what He is saying about Himself…
“In the closing verses of chapter xii Jesus loudly and openly emphasizes once again the serious nature of unbelief. They are His last public words [in John] to His fellow-countrymen, ‘His own’ to whom He came and who for the most part have not received Him.”2
Go back and read the verses above from John 1, before you read these last ones from John 12.
Tasker continues his comments on John 12:
“To reject him, He solemnly reaffirms, is to turn one’s back upon the true light, and to go on living in doubt and with the certainty of dying unforgiven; it is to pass judgment upon oneself instead of accepting a Saviour who can take away all judgment.3“
If you have never read the gospel of John, don’t neglect to do so now. In his last semester in college, early on Easter morning, my husband was woke up and decided to read the Crucifixion and Resurrection accounts in the four Gospels. He began in Matthew and continued on. When he came to John 20, he believed.
Light Shining, A powerful light shines in the dark. Zouavman Le Zouave: (CC BY-SA 3.0). Cropped.
LSB: Legacy Standard Bible New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs (Steadfast Bibles, Irvine CA: 2021).
1A. T. Robertson in his A Harmony of the Gospels (157), and Robert L. Thomas and Stanley N. Gundry in their A Harmony of the Gospels (180) place John 12:20–50 on Monday. The timelines I linked to in The Events of Holy Week places it on Sunday, but I don’t know why.
2,3R. V. G. Tasker, The Gospel According to St. John (Wm. B. Erdmanns Publishing Company, Grand Rapids MI: 1960) 150–151, 151.
Copyright ©2021–2022 Iwana Carpenter