The full question:

Provide an exegetical paper on John 12:23-43.

Exegetical Essay: John 12:23-43

Greek Text: John 12:23-43

23 ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἀποκρίνεται αὐτοῖς λέγων, Ἐλήλυθεν ἡ ὥρα ἵνα δοξασθῇ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. 24 ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐὰν μὴ ὁ κόκκος τοῦ σίτου πεσὼν εἰς τὴν γῆν ἀποθάνῃ, αὐτὸς μόνος μένει· ἐὰν δὲ ἀποθάνῃ, πολὺν καρπὸν φέρει. 25 ὁ φιλῶν τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ ἀπολλύει αὐτήν, καὶ ὁ μισῶν τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ τούτῳ εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον φυλάξει αὐτήν. 26 ἐὰν ἐμοί τις διακονῇ, ἐμοὶ ἀκολουθείτω, καὶ ὅπου εἰμὶ ἐγὼ ἐκεῖ καὶ ὁ διάκονος ὁ ἐμὸς ἔσται· ἐάν τις ἐμοὶ διακονῇ τιμήσει αὐτὸν ὁ πατήρ.

27 Νῦν ἡ ψυχή μου τετάρακται, καὶ τί εἴπω; Πάτερ, σῶσόν με ἐκ τῆς ὥρας ταύτης; ἀλλὰ διὰ τοῦτο ἦλθον εἰς τὴν ὥραν ταύτην. 28 πάτερ, δόξασόν σου τὸ ὄνομα[1]. ἦλθεν οὖν φωνὴ ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, Καὶ ἐδόξασα καὶ πάλιν δοξάσω. 29 ὁ οὖν ὄχλος ὁ ἑστὼς καὶ ἀκούσας ἔλεγεν βροντὴν γεγονέναι, ἄλλοι ἔλεγον, Ἄγγελος αὐτῷ λελάληκεν. 30 ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν, Οὐ διʼ ἐμὲ ἡ φωνὴ αὕτη γέγονεν ἀλλὰ διʼ ὑμᾶς. 31 νῦν κρίσις ἐστὶν τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, νῦν ὁ ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου ἐκβληθήσεται ἔξω 32 κἀγὼ ἐὰν ὑψωθῶ ἐκ τῆς γῆς, πάντας ἑλκύσω[2] πρὸς ἐμαυτόν. 33 τοῦτο δὲ ἔλεγεν σημαίνων ποίῳ θανάτῳ ἤμελλεν ἀποθνῄσκειν. 34 ἀπεκρίθη οὖν αὐτῷ ὁ ὄχλος, Ἡμεῖς ἠκούσαμεν ἐκ τοῦ νόμου ὅτι ὁ Χριστὸς μένει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, καὶ πῶς λέγεις σὺ ὅτι δεῖ ὑψωθῆναι τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου; τίς ἐστιν οὗτος ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου; 35 εἶπεν οὖν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς, Ἔτι μικρὸν χρόνον τὸ φῶς ἐν ὑμῖν ἐστιν. περιπατεῖτε ὡς τὸ φῶς ἔχετε, ἵνα μὴ σκοτία ὑμᾶς καταλάβῃ· καὶ ὁ περιπατῶν ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ οὐκ οἶδεν ποῦ ὑπάγει. 36 ὡς τὸ φῶς ἔχετε, πιστεύετε εἰς τὸ φῶς, ἵνα υἱοὶ φωτὸς γένησθε.

Ταῦτα ἐλάλησεν Ἰησοῦς, καὶ ἀπελθὼν ἐκρύβη ἀπʼ αὐτῶν. 37 Τοσαῦτα δὲ αὐτοῦ σημεῖα πεποιηκότος ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν οὐκ ἐπίστευον εἰς αὐτόν, 38 ἵνα ὁ λόγος Ἠσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου πληρωθῇ ὃν εἶπεν,

Κύριε, τίς ἐπίστευσεν τῇ ἀκοῇ ἡμῶν; καὶ ὁ βραχίων κυρίου τίνι ἀπεκαλύφθη;

39 διὰ τοῦτο οὐκ ἠδύναντο πιστεύειν, ὅτι πάλιν εἶπεν Ἠσαΐας,

40 Τετύφλωκεν αὐτῶν τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς καὶ ἐπώρωσεν[3] αὐτῶν τὴν καρδίαν, ἵνα μὴ ἴδωσιν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς καὶ νοήσωσιν τῇ καρδίᾳ καὶ στραφῶσιν, καὶ ἰάσομαι αὐτούς.

41 ταῦτα εἶπεν Ἠσαΐας ὅτι[4] εἶδεν τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐλάλησεν περὶ αὐτοῦ. 42 ὅμως μέντοι καὶ ἐκ τῶν ἀρχόντων πολλοὶ ἐπίστευσαν εἰς αὐτόν, ἀλλὰ διὰ τοὺς Φαρισαίους οὐχ ὡμολόγουν ἵνα μὴ ἀποσυνάγωγοι γένωνται 43 ἠγάπησαν γὰρ τὴν δόξαν τῶν ἀνθρώπων μᾶλλον ἤπερ τὴν δόξαν τοῦ θεοῦ. [5]

Introduction

Here is the close of the first major unit of John’s Gospel[6], often called the Book of Signs.[7] It is essentially a denouement of Jesus’ public ministry.[8] It is purported to be ‘one of the profoundest and most demanding sections of the entire gospel’ containing ‘depths…which defy all sounding’.[9] Split into two sections, this paper will first consider verses twenty-three to thirty-six followed by the end of verse thirty-six to verse forty-three. Both Jesus’ glorification and Israel’s unbelief are addressed respectively in this closing section.

Verses 23-36: Jesus’ Glorification

The final sign of the raising of Lazarus (11:38-44) and his triumphal entry into Jerusalem (12:12-15) point to his resurrection and ‘precipitate his death’.[10] Verse nineteen ‘finds immediate illustration in some Greeks[11] (v. 20-22). While the ‘Jewish ecclesiastics’ are seeking to destroy him, ‘Gentile proselytes’ are seeking him.[12] It is this occurrence that triggers Jesus’ entire following statement (23-36)[13], where the ‘lifting up of Jesus is the means by which God draws people of every kind to Himself’[14]. Jesus knows his hour of suffering is approaching. His death brings judgment on the world (31), glorification for the Son of man (23, 32), bears fruit (24), a challenge to his followers (25-26) and a challenge to Israel (35).[15] It concludes with Jesus hiding himself (36) and so the Evangelist warns and encourages his audience to see the light while it is there and embrace it and walk in it. Follow Jesus, for what the Evangelist writes here is more than merely a retelling of the life of one man, it is the history in which one’s ‘own destiny before God is decided’[16].

Verse 23

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἀποκρίνεται αὐτοῖς λέγων, Ἐλήλυθεν ἡ ὥρα ἵνα δοξασθῇ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου.

The conjunction δὲ connects the Greeks’ request, which Andrew and Philip conveyed, to Jesus’ answer (ἀποκρίνεται). The present tense may make this passage and the few others where it is used (13:26, 38; 18:22) ‘specially vivid’[17]. This reply does not directly address the statement by the Greeks but rather ‘the situation thereby created’[18]. Though Jesus’ reply is directed to Andrew and Philip (αὐτοῖς), it seems apparent there may have been a wider audience (12:18, 29), ‘possibly including the Greeks also’[19].

Ἐλήλυθεν (has come) is in the emphatic position stating that the hour (ὥρα) most certainly has arrived.[20] The perfect tense connotes that it has come and it is staying, ‘there is no going back on it’[21]. This presents a transitional point in John’s gospel and indeed in Jesus’ ministry, for up till now his ‘hour/time’ had not yet come (2:4; 7:30; 8:20) and Jesus ‘had withdrawn from situations that might precipitate the arrival of the ‘hour’ (6:15; 10:39-40; 11:54)’[22]. From now on it is in ‘immediate prospect’ (12:27; 13:1; 17:1).[23] This hour is the ‘fruition’ of Jesus’ mission,[24] one of the most important themes of John’s Gospel.[25]

The conjunction ἵνα could be explained in multiple ways[26] yet here it seems most likely to be epexegetical ‘as a temporal particle, defining the ὥρα’[27]. This hour is the Son of Man’s glorification (δοξασθῇ)[28]. In conjunction with the following verses (24-28) it seems clear the ‘glorifying’ is referring to Jesus’ death[29] ‘yet 13:31-32 and 17:1, 5…clearly indicate that the glorifying includes his exaltation and return to the Father’[30]. This statement may indeed refer to Isaiah 52:13, where the ‘Servant of the Lord will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted’[31]. At the same time, the entire Gospel is a revelation of Jesus’ earthly glory (1:14; 2:11; 11:4). His glorification has not only ‘been just proleptically related to Jesus’ resurrection and ascension’, but also ‘retrospectively as that of the preexistent only-begotten of the Father (1:14) and of the Son of man descended from heaven (1:51; 5:27; 6:27; 9:35f.)’.[32]

The Son of man (ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) is a common title in the Gospels[33] taken from Daniel 7:13, ‘which describes a divine being who comes to God the Father…and receives dominion over the earth and an endless kingdom’[34]. This title particularly highlights his mission.[35]

Verse 24

ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐὰν μὴ ὁ κόκκος τοῦ σίτου πεσὼν εἰς τὴν γῆν ἀποθάνῃ, αὐτὸς μόνος μένει· ἐὰν δὲ ἀποθάνῃ, πολὺν καρπὸν φέρει.

Jesus then proceeds with a strong affirmation of truth (ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν)[36] to provide an illustration from nature that ‘death must precede life and multiplication’[37]. This emphasises the need for an atonement for sin (Lk 24:26; Rom 3:23-25; 5:12-21), essentially illustrating that ‘Jesus must die and be buried in order to bring new life to the world’[38]. As a seed dies and becomes ‘the germination of life for a great crop, so Jesus’ death generates a plentiful harvest’[39] (11:49-52). Ἐὰν μὴ (unless) introduces a third class condition that seems universal[40]. Unless the grain (ὁ[41] κόκκος) dies (ἀποθάνῃ) and falls to the earth (πεσὼν εἰς τὴν γῆν) it remains alone (αὐτὸς μόνος μένει).[42] The conditional conjunction (ἐάν δὲ) provides the ideal condition if the grain does die (ἀποθάνῃ[43]). If it dies, it bears (φέρει[44]) much fruit (πολὺν καρπὸν). This verse resonates with the concept of taking up one’s cross (Mt 10:38-39; 16:24). The only purpose of taking up a cross is to die on it and so one must be like a grain of wheat and fall to the ground and die, just as Jesus did. This idea is further explored in the next two verses.

Verse 25

ὁ φιλῶν τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ ἀπολλύει αὐτήν, καὶ ὁ μισῶν τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ τούτῳ εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον φυλάξει αὐτήν.

Jesus then focusses on those who would serve (διακονῇ) him. This ‘application of Jesus’ passion announcement’ parallels ‘the Synoptic passion announcement (Mk. 8:31ff.; Mt. 16:21, 24ff.; Lk. 9:22ff.)’[45], as well as 1 Peter 2:21ff[46]. Some have described it as an ‘intermezzo’[47] bringing out verse twenty-four’s relevance. Although this verse is ‘worded as a universal truth’, it is in the context of the two surrounding verses where ‘loss of life is the condition for emergence of new life’[48]. The difference for the disciple is that Jesus’ death in verse twenty-four makes life ‘possible for others, whereas in v 25 it is to gain life for oneself’[49]. The one who loves his soul/life (ὁ φιλῶν τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ) denies God’s sovereignty and his rights.[50] The present tense of ἀπολλύει (loses/destroys) is interesting because one would expect it to match the future tense of φυλάξει (will keep). Morris suggests it may refer to ‘loving the life is a self-defeating process. It destroys the very life it seeks to retain’[51]. The one who hates his soul/life (ὁ μισῶν τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ) in this world (ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ τούτῳ) will keep it (φυλάξει αὐτήν) for eternal life (εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον). This Semitic idiom between love and hate[52] infers priority rather than actual hatred.[53] Harris notes that the preposition εἰς could be either purpose (‘with a view to eternal life’) or result (‘eternal life being the outcome’).[54] Barrett on the other hand notes that it may mean both[55] which seems likely considering John’s use of Greek to convey more than one understanding. Eternal life (ζωὴν αἰώνιον) in the Fourth Gospel is a central idea and it generally emphasises a ‘present possession’ but can also imply ‘a future acquisition’, which appears to be the case here.[56]

Verse 26

ἐὰν ἐμοί τις διακονῇ, ἐμοὶ ἀκολουθείτω, καὶ ὅπου εἰμὶ ἐγὼ ἐκεῖ καὶ ὁ διάκονος ὁ ἐμὸς ἔσται· ἐάν τις ἐμοὶ διακονῇ τιμήσει αὐτὸν ὁ πατήρ.

Here Jesus makes ‘explicit what was implicit in the preceding verse’.[57] The continuation of Christ’s mission[58] is a complete focus on Christ and a denial of oneself (Mk 8:34). Serving Christ and being where he is requires one to be on the path to ‘death’ which leads to vindication.[59] The first-personal pronoun (ἐμοί) is emphatic throughout this verse focusing on the one to serve (διακονῇ) and follow (ἀκολουθείτω).[60] The present active imperative demonstrates that following Christ must be a continuous action which challenges the cultural concept of merely a quick decision at some point in one’s life being enough.[61] To serve Christ one must follow ‘the exemplum Christi’.[62] For we must follow where Christ is (ὅπου εἰμὶ ἐγὼ) which entails his future glory (14:3; 17:24)[63] in heaven, yet most certainly ‘entails suffering’.[64] It is ‘in life or death, humiliation and glory’.[65] Following Jesus requires continuous servanthood (διακονῇ) as the present tense implies. The Father (ὁ πατήρ) as the subject of tima/n is unusual and speaks of the ‘close identification of Jesus and the Father’.[66] The Father treats people the way they treat Jesus.[67] The honour bestowed is a wonderful hope for the future yet may ‘involve suffering or even martyrdom’ (21:19)[68]. For we were created to be ‘cruciform’.[69]

Verse 27

Νῦν ἡ ψυχή μου τετάρακται, καὶ τί εἴπω; Πάτερ, σῶσόν με ἐκ τῆς ὥρας ταύτης; ἀλλὰ διὰ τοῦτο ἦλθον εἰς τὴν ὥραν ταύτην.

Resuming what he began in verse twenty-three[70] Jesus explains further ‘the significance of the “hour” of “glorification” that was announced there’[71]. Though the description of Jesus’ agony[72] is brief as he looks to his ‘glorification’, the length ‘in no way diminishes its gravity in the eyes of the Evangelist’[73]. This ‘expression of anguish’ brings to mind ‘Davidic psalms such as Ps. 6:3 or Ps. 42:5, 11’ which ‘involves Davidic typology and adds to the presentation of Jesus in terms thoroughly prepared by OT messianic passages’[74]. The perfect τετάρακται (troubled) implies a past action with a continuous state of a strong inner turmoil.[75] The present state is implied by the νῦν (now).[76] Τa,rassw recalls the distress of Jesus because of death at the tomb of Lazarus (Jn 11:33-35), it is also used in his horror of ‘the triumph of evil’ in Judas (13:21) and to tell his disciples not to be troubled (14:1, 27).[77] The peace that Jesus offers his disciples came at the cost of his own troubled spirit.[78] Nicholson suggests that Jesus’ trouble is only one of concern for his disciples steadfastness[79], yet such a claim does not seem to make sense in context with this verse and Jesus’ focus on his glorification.[80] Jesus asks the deliberative subjunctive τί εἴπω (‘What shall I say?’) to which he says Πάτερ, σῶσόν με ἐκ τῆς ὥρας ταύτης (Father, save me from this hour). Much ink has been spilled on this phrase. The punctuation of either a full stop or a question mark afterwards changes the intention of Jesus’ words even though ‘little difference is made’[81]. The UBS Greek Testament[82] punctuates it as a question yet the Nestle[83] Greek New Testament inserts a full stop. Morris asserts that the deliberative subjunctive beforehand and the strong adversative (ἀλλὰ) afterwards points towards a hypothetical question that Jesus asks due to his human weakness.[84] On the other hand Beasley-Murray considers this view to weaken the humanity of Jesus and the turmoil of his spirit.[85] Carson sees the idea of it being a question a rendering that ‘not only sounds faintly histrionic, but worse, it means that what is troubling Jesus in the first clause of the verse is given no substance’.[86] A question creates a certain artificiality to Jesus’ words. The strong adversative (ἀλλὰ) is also used in Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane (Mk 14:36) where Jesus’ prayer is a statement rather than a question. For here, Jesus encounters ‘the horror of death, and the ardour of His obedience’[87]. Rather it is a genuine prayer, which Jesus supersedes by another genuine prayer ‘in an act therefore of total obedience to the Father’s will’.[88] Some scholars[89] attempt to distinguish between ἐκ and apo, yet such a distinction is not so clear.[90] Jesus knows the purpose he came for was to lay down his life (ἀλλὰ διὰ τοῦτο ἦλθον εἰς τὴν ὥραν ταύτην). Jesus’ perfect obedience in the face of such horror and agitation is evidence of his commitment to the mission the Father has sent him on.

Verse 28

πάτερ, δόξασόν σου τὸ ὄνομα[91]. ἦλθεν οὖν φωνὴ ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, Καὶ ἐδόξασα καὶ πάλιν δοξάσω.

Jesus asks his Father (πάτερ)[92] to glorify the Father’s name (δόξασόν σου τὸ ὄνομα). The aorist tense suggests a single act which may denote the cross where ‘supremely the name of God was glorified’[93]. Carson suggests Ezekiel is in mind here (36:22, 32) as the chapter has already ‘been referred to in John 3:5’ making Jesus’ work to be for the purpose of ‘God’s solemn Old Testament pledge to glorify his own name’[94]. Then a voice from heaven comes (ἦλθεν οὖν φωνὴ ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ).[95] This heavenly voice has a particular ‘affinity between’ this and Isaiah (52-53).[96] The double καὶ infers ‘both…and’.[97] The aorist verb ἐδόξασα (I have glorified) refers to Jesus’ ministry and signs so far[98], while the future verb δοξάσω (I will glorify) refers to the Father glorifying his name again (πάλιν) through Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension ‘to heavenly glory and fruitfulness’[99]. Some consider the aorist to refer to one event yet the BDF notes a ‘complexive aorist’ which means ‘linear actions which (having been completed) are regarded as a whole’.[100] The death of Christ is where God is glorified along with Jesus’ exaltation. Here the Son self-surrenders for the Father’s glory. As they ‘inter-dwell (cf. John 17:20ff.)’, the Father gives gifts to the Son and the Son gives glory to the Father through complete service.[101] This is part of the unique emphasis of the Fourth Gospel.

Verse 29

ὁ οὖν ὄχλος ὁ ἑστὼς καὶ ἀκούσας ἔλεγεν βροντὴν γεγονέναι, ἄλλοι ἔλεγον, Ἄγγελος αὐτῷ λελάληκεν.

The crowd (ὁ ὄχλος) that stood there (ὁ ἑστὼς)[102] heard either thunder (βροντὴν γεγονέναι) or what they thought was an angel speaking (Ἄγγελος αὐτῷ λελάληκεν). It seems from this verse the voice was not completely understood as some only heard thunder, in an accusative-infinitive construction[103], while others understood there was speech but wrongly ascribed it to the voice of an angel. [104] Barrett finds this confusing as the next verse implies it was meant for the crowd rather than Jesus. He questions how it could be for them when they did not even understand it.[105] Such an occasion would indicate the power and awesomeness of God, a ‘turning-point in redemptive history was impending’[106]. As Köstenberger notes in Old Testament examples (i.e. 1 Sam 12:18; 2 Sam 22:14; Job 37:5), along with the theophany at Mt Sinai (Exod 19:16) and Revelation where ‘peals of thunder emanate from God’s throne (Rev 4:5; 8:5; 11:19; 16:18)’[107] should be enough to indicate the importance of the Son of man, Jesus Christ. This helps clarify what Jesus says in the next verse.

Verse 30

ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν, Οὐ διʼ ἐμὲ ἡ φωνὴ αὕτη γέγονεν ἀλλὰ διʼ ὑμᾶς.

The crowd appears to understand some of the significance of what they heard, which is why Jesus now answers (ἀπεκρίθη) saying it was not primarily[108] for him but for them (Οὐ διʼ ἐμὲ ἡ φωνὴ αὕτη γέγονεν ἀλλὰ διʼ ὑμᾶς). This reflects the prayer Jesus made at the raising of Lazarus (Jn 11:41-42).[109] The perfect of γίνομαι is used because it has continuing ramifications because this is ‘not merely a matter between him and the Father but concerns his entire mission – now coming to its completion…a mission in which they are all involved’[110]. It is a call for them to believe.[111]

Verse 31

νῦν κρίσις ἐστὶν τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, νῦν ὁ ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου ἐκβληθήσεται ἔξω

The repetition of the adverb νῦν (now) gives emphasis and reminds one of verses twenty-three and twenty-seven while also emphasizing ‘the eschatological nature of the events that are impending’.[112] The event of judgment (κρίσις) which is both negative and positive.[113] It both reveals sin and is his glorification which ‘provides the means for deliverance from condemnation’[114]. Though there is a future aspect (Jn 5:22-30), judgment is also passed by Christ’s coming as the light and ultimately in his glorification (3:17, 19-21; 8:16).[115] The world (τοῦ κόσμου τούτου) is used in John as God’s object of love, salvation and sacrifice (3:16-17; 6:51; 12:47), yet the world, those who love darkness rather than light, is also in great danger (1:10; 3:19). Ironically, the world seems to think they are passing judgment on Jesus which ultimately leads to him being crucified, yet the one they thought they were judging ‘sealed God’s judgment upon them’ when he was crucified.[116]

The genitive of subordination is in the next phrase, νῦν ὁ ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου (now is the judgment of this world), meaning the world is subordinated under ‘the ruler’[117] or ‘the evil one’ (1 Jn 5:19). This kind of expression is found elsewhere (Jn 14:30; 16:11). The irony of Satan being defeated in what seemed to be his triumph should also be noted in this text. The cross was Satan’s loss. He will be cast out (ἐκβληθήσεται ἔξω) which contains an imminent and certain demise emphasised by the prefix ἐκ and the adverb ἔξω.[118]

Verse 32

κἀγὼ ἐὰν ὑψωθῶ ἐκ τῆς γῆς, πάντας[119] ἑλκύσω πρὸς ἐμαυτόν.

Then, in comparison to Satan Jesus emphasises himself (κἀγὼ) and with a conjunction (ἐὰν) he ‘introduces a “third class” fut. cond., here denoting certainty’[120] with the force of ‘when’. This certainty is of his lifting up which provides an open ambiguity with the use of ὑψωθῶ. There are three ‘lifting up sayings’ in John’s Gospel (3:14; 8:28; 12:32). Romanowsky sees their purpose ‘is to give a theological reflection on the meaning and consequences of the historical event of the crucifixion which can only be discerned by the light of faith’.[121] `Uψωθῶ allows for the complete understanding John intends of Jesus’ ‘glorification’. Both a lifting up on the cross and a lifting up to glory is in mind[122], which reflects Isaiah (52:13) where this idea ‘refers to the exaltation of the Servant of the LORD, though the context lays emphasis on his sufferings’[123]. The following prepositional phrase, ‘from the earth’ (ἐκ τῆς γῆς), also has the potential to describe both the death and the ascension of Jesus.[124]

Finally, the Greeks’ question is answered in that all people (πάντας) will be drawn to Jesus (ἑλκύσω πρὸς ἐμαυτόν). This word, to draw (ἑλκύω), occurs five times in John. Used literally (18:10; 21:6, 11) and metaphorically (6:44; 12:32) giving the impression of being drawn to put one’s faith in him.[125] Both Jew and Gentile. This is not inferring every single human without exception but rather all people without distinction[126] (cf. 10:16). They will not be drawn to the cross but to Jesus himself (ἐμαυτόν). This wonderful plan of glorification is both the Son and the Father’s doing (5:19).

Verse 33

τοῦτο δὲ ἔλεγεν σημαίνων ποίῳ θανάτῳ ἤμελλεν ἀποθνῄσκειν.

The logical connective δὲ connects John’s comment with what Jesus said in the previous verse. The Evangelist explains Jesus said this (τοῦτο…ἔλεγεν) to signify (σημαίνων)[127] what was to come. This is a participle of purpose which is then translated as an infinitive. It answers the question ‘Why?’ but has a focus on what is to come instead of what has happened[128]. Rather than using the infinitive of purpose John may employ this participle as a way to emphasise the actor more than the action, according to Wallace.[129] Though some may take this verse to insinuate the elevation of Jesus is only referring to his death, ‘most interpreters’ see it as referring to his glorification as well.[130] The crucifixion of Jesus does not then produce a reward of glory but is a part of it all.[131] The kind of death (ποίῳ θανάτῳ) would imply crucifixion is in view[132], as stoning would not fit into this description.[133]

Verse 34

ἀπεκρίθη οὖν αὐτῷ ὁ ὄχλος, Ἡμεῖς ἠκούσαμεν ἐκ τοῦ νόμου ὅτι ὁ Χριστὸς μένει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, καὶ πῶς λέγεις σὺ ὅτι δεῖ ὑψωθῆναι τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου; τίς ἐστιν οὗτος ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου;

The crowd (ὁ ὄχλος) answer (ἀπεκρίθη) with an emphatic reply, hence Ἡμεῖς, being sure they are right.[134] They claim the law (ἐκ τοῦ νόμου) says that the Messiah (ὁ Χριστὸς) will remain forever (μένει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα). Though the law could refer to more than just the first five books of Moses[135], no OT passage explicitly states this.[136] At the same time, some passages could be understood in this way (2 Sam 7:12-16; Ps 72:17; 89:4, 29, 36, 47; 110:4; Isa 9:7; Ezek 37:25).[137] The crowd realise that when Jesus calls himself the Son of man he is inferring that he is the Christ. They could not equate the idea of the Son of man being destined to die as the promised Messiah would remain forever and so they ask, ‘And how can you say that it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up?’ (καὶ πῶς λέγεις σὺ ὅτι δεῖ ὑψωθῆναι τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου;).[138] Furthermore, ‘Who is this Son of man?’ (τίς ἐστιν οὗτος ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου;), not asking for the identity, but rather his nature because what Jesus is claiming clashes with their understanding of the Son of man.[139] John is surely aware that this is a good question any thoughtful Jew should ask about the claims of Christianity, ‘What kind of Son of Man are you claiming Jesus is, when we know he died in ignominy and under the curse of God?’[140]. This is shown through a second century document with Trypho, a Jewish man, asking this very question of Justin.[141]

Verse 35

εἶπεν οὖν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς, Ἔτι μικρὸν χρόνον τὸ φῶς ἐν ὑμῖν ἐστιν. περιπατεῖτε ὡς τὸ φῶς ἔχετε, ἵνα μὴ σκοτία ὑμᾶς καταλάβῃ· καὶ ὁ περιπατῶν ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ οὐκ οἶδεν ποῦ ὑπάγει.

Jesus responds (εἶπεν οὖν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς) in such a way that seemingly ignores the previous question, yet a ‘discerning reader of the Gospel understands that he already has’ given an answer – ‘his eternality is a function of his impending glorification’.[142] There is also the aspect that there is little time (Ἔτι μικρὸν χρόνον)[143] and Jesus knows the deeper need of the crowd is not ‘the exact nature of the Son of Man as to face up to the judgment associated with him’[144] (31). It is a call to trust him rather than their understanding of the Messiah.[145] The light (τὸ φῶς) is soon to be gone and darkness (σκοτία) may overtake you (ὑμᾶς καταλάβῃ) so that you do not know where you are going (οὐκ οἶδεν ποῦ ὑπάγει).[146]
This refers back to passages such as 11:10 and it provides an inclusio with the prologue.[147] So they are to walk (περιπατεῖτε)[148] while they still have the light. These two options of walking, light or darkness, may reflect ‘OT terminology, especially Isaiah (e.g. 50:10)’[149]. This light and darkness contrast is ‘prevalent’ in the Fourth Gospel (1:4-9; 3:19-21; 8:12; 9:1ff.).[150] Darkness being ‘positive evil’ and light being the revelation of salvation.[151]

Verse 36

ὡς τὸ φῶς ἔχετε, πιστεύετε εἰς τὸ φῶς, ἵνα υἱοὶ φωτὸς γένησθε. Ταῦτα ἐλάλησεν Ἰησοῦς, καὶ ἀπελθὼν ἐκρύβη ἀπʼ αὐτῶν.

Jesus then tells the crowd to not only walk but believe (πιστεύετε) in the light while they still have it. This is again a present imperative commanding a continuous action for the crowd to receive it and ‘proceed by its illumination’[152]. Though this is a continuous action, for them to become sons of light (υἱοὶ φωτὸς γένησθε) is an aorist. This would infer a once-for-all passing from death to life (Jn 5:24).[153] Though the light (τὸ φῶς) is in reference to Jesus of who we must follow and believe in, we do not become his sons but rather possess his very characteristics.[154] Then in a ‘dramatization’ of this warning Jesus departs and hides himself from the crowd (καὶ ἀπελθὼν ἐκρύβη[155] ἀπʼ αὐτῶν).[156] It is a climax of this section and a prelude to the next. This concludes Jesus’ public, revelatory work.

Verses 36b-43: Israel’s Unbelief

Verse 36b

Ταῦτα ἐλάλησεν Ἰησοῦς, καὶ ἀπελθὼν ἐκρύβη ἀπʼ αὐτῶν.

The beauty of the final half of verse thirty-six is that it not only forms a fitting conclusion to the previous section it is also ‘a prelude to John’s theological reflection on Jewish unbelief’[157]. Jesus hiding himself from them (ἐκρύβη ἀπʼ αὐτῶν) strikes a note of judgment, ‘which is elaborated in the following fulfillment quotations from the book of Isaiah’[158]. In the verses to come there is a clear explanation the Evangelist provides for the Jewish rejection of Jesus, yet also hope for some. Though there is a ‘broad indictment’ (37, 39), there are exceptions (42), ‘just as 1:12 follows 1:10-11’.[159] In some ways the Jewish rejection of ‘its own Scriptures and Messiah’ is ‘a fossilized parody of its true Old Testament self’[160].

Verse 37

Τοσαῦτα δὲ αὐτοῦ σημεῖα πεποιηκότος ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν οὐκ ἐπίστευον εἰς αὐτόν,

The crowd and the Jewish leaders’[161] (αὐτῶν) persistent refusal to believe (ἐπίστευον) over an extended amount of time, as the imperfect implies, is not a failure of Jesus’ mission but ‘in the people’s obduracy’[162]. This in no way thwarts God’s purposes but in the following verses we see their rejection ‘actually fulfilled Scripture’[163]. Τοσαῦτα could refer to ‘many’ signs (σημεῖα) or ‘such great’ signs[164]. Köstenberger considers it to mean quality over quantity which seems evident from the purpose passage (20:30-31), yet Morris notes John most often uses it to refer to quantity (6:9; 14:9; 21:11). Perhaps there is a sense of quality and quantity as both can be true. Πεποιηκότος (had done) is a perfect participle bringing out the continuing impact of Jesus’ signs which should have brought faith. ‘The perfect makes it all in some sense present’.[165] From every opportunity they had to believe, they responded in unbelief (2:23; 4:45, 48; 6:14; 7:31; 8:30-31; 11:47; 12:11).[166]

Verse 38

ἵνα ὁ λόγος Ἠσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου πληρωθῇ ὃν εἶπεν,

Κύριε, τίς ἐπίστευσεν τῇ ἀκοῇ ἡμῶν;

καὶ ὁ βραχίων κυρίου τίνι ἀπεκαλύφθη;

The conjunction ἵνα can be taken in two ways: telic/final or ecbatic/consecutive.[167] Verse thirty-nine clarifies that it is telic rather than ecbatic as it is God who intended the hardening of Israel. At the same time, this is not an all-encompassing absolute statement as the Evangelist later explains (vs. 42).[168] The use of Isaiah (53:1)[169] reminds one of John’s reference to the Suffering Servant earlier (vs. 32). Jesus was ‘not merely crucified but also exalted and honored by God’[170]. The exact citation of the LXX version shows the similarity between Jesus and Isaiah’s experience. Kruse picks this up stating, ‘Isaiah preached the message given him by God, but few believed, just as Jesus performed many miracles and still people would not believe’.[171] The ἵνα ὁ λόγος…πληρωθῇ formula is the beginning of a series of OT quotations throughout the rest of the Fourth Gospel which provide even greater evidence to the plan and purpose of God sending Jesus on this mission of salvation (13:18; 15:25; 17:12; 19:24, 36). The phrase τῇ ἀκοῇ ἡμῶν refers to the act rather than the faculty of hearing, ‘what he heard from us’[172]. In this context it refers to Jesus’ teaching.[173] The arm of the Lord (ὁ βραχίων κυρίου) is often used in the OT as ‘a figurative expression of God’s power’ (Deut 5:15; Isa 40:10; 51:8; 52:10; 63:5),[174] which refers to the signs Jesus accomplished.

Verse 39

διὰ τοῦτο οὐκ ἠδύναντο πιστεύειν, ὅτι πάλιν εἶπεν Ἠσαΐας,

Jesus displayed both his words and his works yet most of them did not believe, for they could not (οὐκ ἠδύναντο πιστεύειν). This verse begins with the prospective διὰ τοῦτο (therefore) and ὅτι (for) points to the reason of their unbelief. This is explained in the next quotation from Isaiah (Ἠσαΐας) in the following verse.

Verse 40

Τετύφλωκεν αὐτῶν τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς

καὶ ἐπώρωσεν[175] αὐτῶν τὴν καρδίαν,

ἵνα μὴ ἴδωσιν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς

καὶ νοήσωσιν τῇ καρδίᾳ καὶ στραφῶσιν,

καὶ ἰάσομαι αὐτούς.

This OT quotation (Is 6:9-10)[176] is not directly from the LXX but generally follows the Hebrew, though not exactly.[177] Here is a reflection of Jesus’ earlier judgment on the Jewish leaders (9:39-41) who were not a part of Jesus’ fold (10:26).[178] The Logos-Son has blinded (τετύφλωκεν[179]) their eyes and hardened (ἐπώρωσεν[180]) their heart. The purpose-result clause with ἴδωσιν (they see) ‘indicates both the intention and its sure accomplishment’.[181] The next aorist νοήσωσιν (understand) could be either ‘constative of complete knowledge, or ingressive’[182] both are possible and yet ingressive, ‘come to realise’, makes some sense in context. The subject of the future verb ἰάσομαι (I would heal) is Jesus.[183] John in no way desires to take away the moral responsibility of the Jews to believe (cf. 19:12, 15) but desires to show ‘God’s judicial hardening’ behind their rejection of the Messiah. Beale and Carson explain this well by noting,

‘While paradoxical on one level, John’s theodicy places human choice under the larger rubric of God’s sovereign salvation-historical purposes, carefully balancing the twin truths of divine sovereignty and human responsibility in a way that may be described as unambiguously predestinarian yet compatibilist.’[184]

Furthermore, this is not in reference to all Jews. Just as in Isaiah’s vision a future hope where deafness and blindness will be reversed (Isa. 29:17-21; 35:4-5; 43:8) will one day be realized in a believing remnant.[185] This hope is the purpose of John’s very writing (20:30-31) and demonstrated in a few verses down (vs. 42).

Verse 41

ταῦτα εἶπεν Ἠσαΐας ὅτι[186] εἶδεν τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐλάλησεν περὶ αὐτοῦ.

Why did Isaiah ultimately say these things (ταῦτα εἶπεν Ἠσαΐας)? Because he saw Jesus’ glory[187] (εἶδεν τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ[188]) and spoke about him (καὶ ἐλάλησεν περὶ αὐτοῦ). The glory of God Isaiah saw (Isa 6:1-4) is synonymous ‘with the glory of the Logos-Son, in accordance with 1:18 and 17:5’.[189] Even the rejection of Jesus, spoken of by Isaiah, is part of his glory.[190] John states this judgment without qualification hoping it will call to mind ‘the futurelessness’ of an ‘existence apart from him – as a final call to return to him (cf. Is. 6:11-13)’.[191] Ridderbos goes on to say how the Evangelist ‘could not have conveyed to Israel a more severe judgment or made a stronger appeal than by thus calling to mind these words from the heart of Israel’s prophecy’.[192] John’s desire for belief shines through in every aspect of his gospel account.

Verse 42-43

ὅμως μέντοι καὶ ἐκ τῶν ἀρχόντων πολλοὶ ἐπίστευσαν εἰς αὐτόν, ἀλλὰ διὰ τοὺς Φαρισαίους οὐχ ὡμολόγουν ἵνα μὴ ἀποσυνάγωγοι γένωνται ἠγάπησαν γὰρ τὴν δόξαν τῶν ἀνθρώπων μᾶλλον ἤπερ τὴν δόξαν τοῦ θεοῦ.

Then with an expression not found elsewhere in the New Testament, John employs a strong adversative (ὅμως μέντοι). [193] Meaning that despite the prophecies in Isaiah many (πολλοὶ) even among the rulers (καὶ ἐκ τῶν ἀρχόντων) believed (ἐπίστευσαν). Some scholars consider the following verses to demonstrate this belief as spurious.[194] This appears to be incorrect as there are clear examples that John makes his audience aware of, such as Nicodemus (3:1; 7:50-51; 19:39) and Joseph of Arimathea (19:38). Morris sees the construction of ἐπίστευσαν εἰς αὐτόν (believed in him) as indicating ‘a genuine faith’[195]. This makes sense with the strong adversative mentioned above. There is hope because verse thirty-nine is not a ‘cast-iron fate from which people cannot break out of’, for if the rulers believed, many ordinary people did also. [196] At the same time, their faith seems faint-hearted.[197] The strong conjunction ἀλλὰ (but) cites two reasons for why they continuously failed to confess (οὐχ ὡμολόγουν) that they had believed in Jesus. The first reason being that they did not want to be put out of the synagogue (ἵνα μὴ ἀποσυνάγωγοι γένωνται ἠγάπησαν). One’s very identity was tied up with the synagogue. The expulsion from a synagogue is mentioned in other places in conjunction with belief in Jesus (9:22; 12:42; 16:2).[198] The second and more deeper reasoning in verse forty-three – because they loved the glory of others more than the glory of God (ἠγάπησαν γὰρ τὴν δόξαν τῶν ἀνθρώπων μᾶλλον ἤπερ τὴν δόξαν τοῦ θεοῦ). This is a ‘form of idolatry’[199] and one that every single person, no matter the century, must continually check oneself on. Whose glory do we seek? Ultimately, do we seek our own, others or do we seek Christ’s (vs. 25)?

Conclusion

Here is a fitting end to a thrilling section of John’s Gospel. The glorification of Christ is far more than expected by the crowd and unique to this account of Jesus. There is a call to follow this light before the opportunity is over. At the same time, God is fully aware of all that has and will transpire. Serve and follow the light seeking completely and exclusively the glory that comes from God.

 

 

Footnotes

  1. Later witnesses (L X f1‑ f13 33 1071 1241 al) read “glorify thy Son” of which Metzger comments they were ‘influenced by the recollection of the opening of Jesus’ high-priestly prayer (17.1)’. Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (Corrected ed.; Stuttgart: United Bible Societies, 1975), 238.

  2. A number of texts do not have the sigma (πάντα – 𝔓66 א* ita, aur, b, c, e, f, ff2, l, r1 vg geo1) of which copyists may have included to clear up the ambiguity. On the other hand, πάντας may have more weight based on ‘its external attestation and because it appears to be more congruent with Johannine theology’ Metzger, Textual Commentary, 238. Furthermore, the reading without a sigma ‘may have arisen under the influence of Col 1.16-17 and/or Gnostic speculation’ Metzger, Textual Commentary, 238.

  3. Variable forms including ἐπήρωσεν (𝔓66, 75 א W) may have ‘arisen in an attempt to supply a somewhat more suitable verb with τὴν καρδίαν’. Metzger, Textual Commentary, 238. Another form πεπώρωκεν (B2 Δ 0141 f1 180 205 565 597 700 892 1006 1241 1243 1292 1342 1424 1505 Byz) ‘has doubtless been assimilated to the tense of the preceding verb (τετύφλωκεν)’. Metzger, Textual Commentary, 238.

  4. ὅτι is preferred over ὅτε and ἐπεί predominantly due to the ‘weight of supporting evidence’ (𝔓66, 75 א A B H L Θ Ψ 1 33 157 579 597 1071 l 761/2 l 5141/2 l 563 l 1016 ite syrpal copsa, pbo, bo, ach2 arm eth geo1) but also because it can be seen to be the harder reading as it is ‘somewhat less appropriate in the context’. Metzger, Textual Commentary, 238.

  5. Aland, B., Aland, K., Karavidopoulos, J., Martini, C. M., & Metzger, B. M. (Eds.). (2014). The Greek New Testament (Fifth Revised Edition, Jn 12:23–43). Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.

  6. Andreas J. Köstenberger, John (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament; Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Academic, 2004), 389.

  7. Murray J. Harris, John (eds. Andreas J. Köstenberger and Robert W. Yarbrough; Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament; Nashville, Tennessee: B & H Publishing Group, 2015), 237.

  8. G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson (eds.), Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Nottingham, England: Baker Academic; Apollos, 2007), 476.

  9. Bruce Milne, The Message of John: Here Is Your King! (The Bible Speaks Today; Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill: Inter-Varsity Press, 1993), 184.

  10. Barnabas Lindars, The Gospel of John: Based on the Revised Standard Version (New Century Bible Commentaries; Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans, 1981), 426. The high priest, Caiaphas, has just unwittingly predicted Jesus’ sacrifice (11:50-52) and the salvation of the children of God. The antagonism against Christ is heightening (11:53-57) due to more people believing (12:11) and a crowd eagerly gathering (12:17-18).

  11. J. Ramsey Michaels, John (Understanding the Bible Commentary Series; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011), 223.

  12. Gordon J. Keddie, A Study Commentary on John (Darlington, England: Evangelical Press, 2001), 1:466.

  13. Some consider there to be a missing section between verses 22 and 23. As Bultmann says, ‘for the suspicion cannot be suppressed that between v. 22 and v. 23 a whole piece has fallen out.’ Rudolf Bultmann, The Gospel of John: A Commentary (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1971), 420–421. Rather, it seems this is a fitting launching point for John’s, and thereby Jesus’ theological intentions.

  14. William F Cook, John: Jesus Christ Is God (Scotland: Christian Focus, 2016), 191.

  15. C. K Barrett, The Gospel According to St John: An Introduction with Commentary and Notes on the Greek Text (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2009), 421.

  16. Lindars, The Gospel of John, 426.

  17. The present tense is unusual here as ἀποκρίνομαι appears in the aorist passive for the majority of the seventy-eight times it is used in John. Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John: The English Text with Introduction, Exposition and Notes (The New International Commentary on the New Testament; Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans, 1971), 592.

  18. Barrett, The Gospel According to St John, 422.

  19. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 592.

  20. Harris, John, 231.

  21. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 593.

  22. Harris, John, 232. The implications of previous escapes from this time/hour, which would have led to death (7:30; 8:20), points to the hour being Jesus’ death.

  23. Barrett, The Gospel According to St John, 422.

  24. Keddie, A Study Commentary on John, 1:466.

  25. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 593.

  26. See Harris, John, 232.

  27. Barrett, The Gospel According to St John, 423.

  28. This is in the passive

  29. ‘This is the paradox of the Cross.’ J. H. Bernard, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to St. John (ed. A. H. McNeile; Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1928), 2:433.

  30. George Raymond Beasley-Murray, John (eds. David Allen Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker; Word Biblical Commentary; Waco, Texas: Word Books, 1987), 36:211.

  31. Beale and Carson, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, 474.

  32. Herman N. Ridderbos, The Gospel According to John: A Theological Commentary (trans. by John Vriend; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1997), 428.

  33. Jesus uses it more than eighty times. Keddie, A Study Commentary on John, 1:467.

  34. Keddie, A Study Commentary on John, 1:467.

  35. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 593.

  36. For the seventeenth time. J. Ramsey Michaels, The Gospel of John (The New International Commentary on the New Testament; Grand Rapids, Mich: William B. Eerdmans, 2010), 688.

  37. Harris, John, 232. This illustration would appeal both to a Jewish and a Hellenistic audience as rabbinic literature and ‘mystery religions’ resonate with both. Köstenberger, John, 378. Along with John’s audience in mind there is also the relevance for Jesus’ audience at the time where ‘not more than a few days before the harvest feast of Passover’ was celebrated. William Hendriksen, A Commentary on the Gospel of John (London: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1959), 196.

  38. Keddie, A Study Commentary on John, 1:468. This verse correlates with verse 32. ‘Jesus the “grain of wheat,” falls “to the earth” in death and is “lifted up from the earth” in resurrection, like a plant in its full growth’. Michaels, John, 224.

  39. Beale and Carson, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, 438.

  40. Harris, John, 232.

  41. The article is generic. Barrett makes an interesting suggestion that it could contain ‘a touch of allegory – the grain which dies and bears fruit is Christ’. Barrett, The Gospel According to St John, 423.

  42. Tasker sees here how ‘Jesus is alone till after the crucifixion and resurrection’. Randolph Tasker, The Gospel According to Saint John (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1960), 152. This may be reading more from the illustration than necessary.

  43. This being in the subjunctive to highlight the future indefinite generic situation that is expressed. Jeremy Duff and John William Wenham, The Elements of New Testament Greek (3rd ed.; Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 226.

  44. The present indicative of φέρει may express the continual bearing of fruit rather than merely once off.

  45. Ridderbos, The Gospel According to John, 431.

  46. D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1998), 438.

  47. Ridderbos, The Gospel According to John, 431.

  48. Ridderbos, The Gospel According to John, 432.

  49. Beasley-Murray, John, 36:212.

  50. It is ‘a brazen elevation of self to the apogee of one’s perception, and therefore an idolatrous focus on self, which is the heart of all sin’. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 438–439.

  51. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 593.

  52. Here is one of many dualities in the Fourth Gospel.

  53. John’s first epistle also sheds ‘authoritative commentary’ on this verse (1 Jn 2:15-17). Frederick Dale Bruner, The Gospel of John (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2012), 714. The one who hates his life ‘chooses not to pander to self-interest but at the deepest level of his being declines to make himself the focus of his interest and perception, thereby dying’. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 439.

  54. Harris, John, 232.

  55. Barrett, The Gospel According to St John, 424.

  56. Harris, John, 232. This phrase is used seventeen times in the Fourth Gospel (3:15, 16, 36; 4:14, 36; 5:24, 39; 6:27, 40, 47, 57, 68; 10:28; 12:25, 50; 17:2, 3) and six times in the First Epistle of John (1:2; 2:25; 3:15; 5:11, 13, 20). J W Roberts, ‘Some Observations on the Meaning of “eternal Life” in the Gospel of John’, Restoration Quarterly 7/4 (1963): 186.

  57. Colin G. Kruse, John: An Introduction and Commentary (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 265.

  58. Rudolf Schnackenburg, Gospel According to St John (London: Burns & Oates, 1982), 385.

  59. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 439.

  60. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 594.

  61. Kedding phrases it well when he challenges the ‘vague attachment to Judaeo-Christian values and a modicum of church-going and clean living’. Keddie, A Study Commentary on John, 1:470.

  62. Tasker, John, 152.

  63. The εἰμὶ is futuristic in a sense considering the following e[stai. Harris, John, 232–233.

  64. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 594.

  65. Barrett, The Gospel According to St John, 424.

  66. Köstenberger, John, 279.

  67. Not only that but also this statement ‘suggests the confirmation by the Father of participating in the life of the Son’ (14:21, 23; 16:24; 17:22-23). Edward W. Klink III, John (ed. Clinton E. Arnold; Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016), 552.

  68. Köstenberger, John, 380. Bernard also makes this observation noting, ‘the honour may be the kind of honour with which Christ was honoured (v. 23)’. Bernard, The Gospel According to St. John, 2:435. At the same time, it most certainly infers the honour given in ‘another world’. J. C Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John (Rep ed.; Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2012), 2:248. For, ‘in the strange economy of God, service leads to honor and death leads to life, while self-preservation leads only to destruction’. Josh Moody, John 1-12 For You (India: The Good Book Company, 2017), 198.

  69. Cruci = cross, form = shaped. Jimmy Davis, Cruciform: Living the Cross-Shaped Life (n.p.: Cruciform Press, 2011).

  70. Particularly demonstrated by the use of νῦν (now). Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of John (ed. Daniel J. Harrington; Sacra Pagina 4; Collegeville, Minn: Liturgical Press, 1998), 353.

  71. Ridderbos, The Gospel According to John, 434.

  72. John does not have an account of Jesus’ Gethsemane which could imply this passage relates to it, yet Carson may be right in stating there being ‘little warrant for thinking that this account is merely a Johannine re-working of the agony of Gethsemane (Mk. 14:32-42 par.)’. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 440.

  73. Beasley-Murray, John, 36:212.

  74. Beale and Carson, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, 474.

  75. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 594.

  76. Harris, John, 233.

  77. Beasley-Murray, John, 36:212.

  78. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 594.

  79. Godfrey C Nicholson, Death as Departure: The Johannine Descent-Ascent Schema (Chico, Calif.: Scholars Press, 1983), 127–129.

  80. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 439.

  81. Barrett, The Gospel According to St John, 425.

  82. Duff and Wenham, The Elements of New Testament Greek.

  83. Eberhard Nestle, Greek New Testament (Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 2011).

  84. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 595.

  85. Beasley-Murray, John, 36:212.

  86. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 440.

  87. Johann Albrecht Bengel, Gnomon on the New Testament (trans. by Andrew R. Fausset; Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1877), 2:408.

  88. Beasley-Murray, John, 36:212. As Calvin states, ‘he suddenly corrects that wish which his prodigious sorrow had wrung from him, and puts forth his hand, as it were, to pull himself back, that he may entirely acquiesce in the will of his Father’. John Calvin, Commentary on the Gospel According to John (trans. by William Pringle; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1956), 2:33.

  89. Tasker, John, 149.

  90. Harris, John, 233.

  91. Later witnesses (L X f1‑ f13 33 1071 1241 al) read “glorify thy Son” of which Metzger comments they were ‘influenced by the recollection of the opening of Jesus’ high-priestly prayer (17.1)’. Metzger, Textual Commentary, 238.

  92. A common term for God in John. Barrett, The Gospel According to St John, 425.

  93. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 596. Although doxa,zein has most often been used of the Son up to this point, from now on it is ‘most commonly’ referred to the Father (13:31f; 14:13; 15:8; 17:1, 4; 21:19). Barrett, The Gospel According to St John, 425.

  94. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 440–441.

  95. A seldom occurrence ‘outside apocalyptic literature (e.g., Rev 10:4, 8; 11:12; 14:2)’. Ridderbos, The Gospel According to John, 436.

  96. Beale and Carson, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, 474.

  97. Harris, John, 233.

  98. Schnackenburg, Gospel According to St John, 388.

  99. Harris, John, 234.

  100. F. Blass and A. Debrunner, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (trans. by Robert W. Funk; Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1961), 171.

  101. Geoffrey Bingham, ‘Internal Relations of the Trinity’, in Trinitarian Theology: Human Unity & Relationships (South Australia: New Creation Publications, 1991), 16–18.

  102. The use of ἵστημι is ‘not exactly redundant, but it is very characteristic of John’s style’. Barrett, The Gospel According to St John, 426.

  103. Often used for indirect speech.

  104. Carson considers these two groups to signify in the former case ‘less open to observable supernatural intervention’ and in the latter case more open and spiritually aware. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 441. Tasker agrees but says it more explicitly. Tasker, John, 149–150. Brant seems to make more sense though by pointing out that there was a similarity as ‘angels’ voices sound like thunder (Rev. 6:1; 10:3-4; 14:2; 19:6)’. Jo-Ann A. Brant, John (Paideia Commentaries on the New Testament; Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Academic, 2011), 193. It seems plausible that the difference is not necessarily in spiritual health but rather in interpretation of the sound.

  105. Barrett, The Gospel According to St John, 426.

  106. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 442.

  107. Köstenberger, John, 382.

  108. Harris notes that this is not an absolute contrast and Tasker considers it to be a ‘Semitic way of expressing comparison, rather than a strict contrast. Harris, John, 234; Tasker, John, 152–153. It seems ‘doubtless the audible confirmation that his prayer was heard was comforting, but in fact the outcome of Jesus’ troubled mind was already resolved by his final petition (v. 28a)’. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 442.

  109. Kruse, John, 267.

  110. Ridderbos, The Gospel According to John, 437.

  111. Beasley-Murray, John, 36:213.

  112. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 444.

  113. Calvin makes an interesting observation believing judgment here infers ‘reformation’ rather than ‘condemnation’. Calvin, Commentary on the Gospel According to John, 2:36. Though this seems unlikely, it is a thought to consider.

  114. Harris, John, 234.

  115. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 442–443.

  116. Kruse, John, 267.

  117. Daniel B Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2008), 439.

  118. Harris, John, 234. This repetition is redundant, and some manuscripts take it out (P66 and D). Though Michaels points out, this is Johannine style. He also sees the language as referring to exorcism, accomplished by God as the verb is an impersonal passive. This type of language could be referring to the binding of Satan (Mk 3:27; Rev 12:9). Michaels, The Gospel of John, 695–696.

  119. Haenchen believes this to be an error. Ernst Haenchen, John: A Commentary on the Gospel of John (ed. Ulrich Busse; trans. by Robert Walter Funk; Hermeneia–a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984), 98. A number of texts do not have the sigma (πάντα – 𝔓66 א* ita, aur, b, c, e, f, ff2, l, r1 vg geo1) of which copyists may have included to clear up the ambiguity. On the other hand, πάντας may have more weight based on ‘its external attestation and because it appears to be more congruent with Johannine theology’ Metzger, Textual Commentary, 238. Furthermore, the reading without a sigma ‘may have arisen under the influence of Col 1.16-17 and/or Gnostic speculation’ Metzger, Textual Commentary, 238.

  120. Harris, John, 234.

  121. John W Romanowsky, ‘“When the Son of Man Is Lifted up”: The Redemptive Power of the Crucifixion in the Gospel of John’, Horizons 32/1 (2005): 104.

  122. This can be seen by comparing ‘the Hebrew equivalent, nasāh “to lift up,” which can mean both death and glorification’ (Genesis 40:15, 19). Romanowsky, “‘When the Son of Man Is Lifted Up,’” 107.

  123. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 444. For this is a truly historical event.

  124. Harris, John, 234; Barrett, The Gospel According to St John, 247.

  125. Kruse, John, 268. See also Michaels, The Gospel of John, 699–700.

  126. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 444.

  127. Previously Jesus has already ‘signified’ the kind of death he is going to die (21:18-19) and there John more explicitly points to the tying of Jesus’ death and the glory of God that will come as a result.

  128. This is more the emphasis of a participle of cause. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, 636.

  129. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, 636.

  130. Ridderbos, The Gospel According to John, 440.

  131. F. F Bruce, The Gospel of John (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1994), 267.

  132. Beasley-Murray, John, 36:215.

  133. Barrett, The Gospel According to St John, 427.

  134. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 599.

  135. Köstenberger, John, 385.

  136. Kruse, John, 269.

  137. Harris, John, 235. There are also the Pseudepigrapha which speak of the eternal reign of the Messiah (e.g. 1 Enoch 49:1-2; 62:14; Sibylline Oracles 3:49-50)’. Kruse, John, 269. John may not have been thinking of a particular passage but more ‘the common messianic theologia gloria which had to be corrected by the theologia crucis’. Barrett, The Gospel According to St John, 427.

  138. Harris, John, 235.

  139. Barrett, The Gospel According to St John, 428; Ridderbos, The Gospel According to John, 441.

  140. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 445.

  141. Justin Martyr, ‘Saint Justin Martyr: Dialogue with Trypho (Roberts-Donaldson)’, in Early Christian Writings, 2018, http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/justinmartyr-dialoguetrypho.html, (accessed June 1, 2018), xxxii.

  142. Beale and Carson, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, 441–442.

  143. Referring to Jesus’ ministry. Barrett, The Gospel According to St John, 428.

  144. Beale and Carson, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, 476.

  145. Kruse, John, 269.

  146. As Phillips points out, ‘to reject the light is to be plunged into a greater darkness’. Richard D. Phillips, John (Reformed Expository Commentary; Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R Pub, 2014), 2:112.

  147. Köstenberger, John, 387.

  148. This action of walking, when not in a literal sense, is always associated with light and darkness in John (8:12; 11:9; see also 1 Jn 1:6-7; 2:11). Barrett, The Gospel According to St John, 428. It is a present imperative commanding an ongoing continuous action.

  149. Köstenberger, John, 387.

  150. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 446.

  151. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 119.

  152. Barrett, The Gospel According to St John, 429.

  153. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 601.

  154. Tasker, John, 153. He believes ‘sons of’ is a Semitic idiom implying the possession of the characteristics of one’s ‘father’. Harris also notes this reference to light (φῶς) does not ‘refer directly to Christ as it does four times in vv. 35-36. The phrase describes those whose lives are governed and characterized by the true light that was brought by Christ (cf. 1 Thess 5:5; Eph 5:8). Believers in Christ are not his sons.’ Harris, John, 235.

  155. Though this is a passive, ‘most take it as equivalent to a middle’. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 603.

  156. Harris, John, 235. This is a further withdrawing in his ministry as 10:4 was the ‘first ending of the ministry’. Raymond E. Brown, The Gospel According to John (Anchor Bible; Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, 1966), 1:480.

  157. Köstenberger, John, 387–388.

  158. Beale and Carson, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, 477.

  159. Harris, John, 238.

  160. Keddie, A Study Commentary on John, 1:466. This idea is seen in the use of Isaiah by John.

  161. At least most of them but not all as will be discovered in the following verses.

  162. Beale and Carson, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, 477.

  163. Köstenberger, John, 390.

  164. Schnackenburg, Gospel According to St John, 413.

  165. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 603.

  166. Köstenberger, John, 390. God caused ‘judicial blindness’ upon these Jews.

  167. Harris, John, 237.

  168. Other examples of this exception are the disciples themselves and many other Jewish believers.

  169. This passage is also quoted by Paul in Romans 10:16 ‘in the context of Jewish unbelief and the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles’. Beale and Carson, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, 479. This is fitting as the introduction of the Greek proselytes is key to this entire discussion along with verse thirty-two which conveys the idea of drawing all people to Jesus including Gentiles.

  170. Beale and Carson, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, 477.

  171. Kruse, John, 270.

  172. Harris, John, 237.

  173. Keddie, A Study Commentary on John, 1:482.

  174. Köstenberger, John, 391.

  175. Variable forms including ἐπήρωσεν (𝔓66, 75 א W) may have ‘arisen in an attempt to supply a somewhat more suitable verb with τὴν καρδίαν’. Metzger, Textual Commentary, 238. Another form πεπώρωκεν (B2 Δ 0141 f1 180 205 565 597 700 892 1006 1241 1243 1292 1342 1424 1505 Byz) ‘has doubtless been assimilated to the tense of the preceding verb (τετύφλωκεν)’. Metzger, Textual Commentary, 238.

  176. This passage is used six times within the New Testament. Gerard S. Sloyan, John (Interpretation, a Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching; Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1988), 162.

  177. Kruse, John, 270.

  178. Beale and Carson, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, 479.

  179. The perfect verb τετύφλωκεν (he has blinded) presents a past action with present consequences.

  180. Hardened (ἐπώρωσεν) is an aorist which is unusual as it does not agree with the previous verb or fit well with τὴν καρδίαν (the heart), yet still appears to be the correct reading. Variable forms including ἐπήρωσεν (𝔓66, 75 א W) may have ‘arisen in an attempt to supply a somewhat more suitable verb with τὴν καρδίαν’. Metzger, Textual Commentary, 238. Another form πεπώρωκεν (B2 Δ 0141 f1 180 205 565 597 700 892 1006 1241 1243 1292 1342 1424 1505 Byz) ‘has doubtless been assimilated to the tense of the preceding verb (τετύφλωκεν)’. Metzger, Textual Commentary, 238.

  181. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, 473.

  182. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 604.

  183. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 604.

  184. Beale and Carson, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, 482.

  185. Ridderbos, The Gospel According to John, 181–183.

  186. ὅτι is preferred over ὅτε and ἐπεί predominantly due to the ‘weight of supporting evidence’ (𝔓66, 75 א A B H L Θ Ψ 1 33 157 579 597 1071 l 761/2 l 5141/2 l 563 l 1016 ite syrpal copsa, pbo, bo, ach2 arm eth geo1) but also because it can be seen to be the harder reading as it is ‘somewhat less appropriate in the context’. Metzger, Textual Commentary, 238.

  187. This is key as Isaiah did not necessarily see Jesus directly but his glory. Köstenberger, John, 391.

  188. This refers to Jesus as the following περὶ αὐτοῦ makes clear. Harris, John, 238.

  189. Beasley-Murray, John, 36:217.

  190. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 605.

  191. Ridderbos, The Gospel According to John, 445.

  192. Ridderbos, The Gospel According to John, 445.

  193. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 605.

  194. Barrett, The Gospel According to St John, 433. Often they point to 5:44 which is a challenging text to consider if one is to believe that they are genuine believers, yet in the immediate context and the construction it would appear to be legitimate.

  195. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 605.

  196. Beasley-Murray, John, 36:217.

  197. John is harsh in his criticism and in some ways reflecting what Jesus said earlier in John 5:43-44. Gary M. Burge, John: From Biblical Text to Contemporary Life (The NIV Application Commentary; Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2000), 349. Calvin understood the difficulties with men in high positions when he said, ‘earthly honours may be called golden shackles binding a man’. John Calvin, New Testament Commentaries (trans. by T. H. L. Parkder; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959), 4:49.

  198. Kruse, John, 271.

  199. Barrett, The Gospel According to St John, 433.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Menu