John 11-12
(Look How the Whole World Has Gone After Him!)
November 6th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

The Pharisees took one look and threw up their hands: “It’s out of control. The world’s in a stampede after him.”

- John 12:19 (MSG)

Summary of Chapters

In these two chapters, Jesus demonstrates his power over death which further excites the parties for and against him.

In chapter 11 we read John's depiction of the resurrection of Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary who had been dead for four days. There were two types of reactions: One group came to believe in Jesus (or re-affirmed their belief), while those in the other group ran off to "snitch" on Jesus by telling the Pharisees what this man had done now. The Pharisees faced a heightened dilemma and exclaimed in frustration: " 'If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our places and our nation' (John 11:48 - NIV)."

Therefore, they notified the people that Jesus was now a wanted man.

In chapter 12, Jesus returned to the village of Bethany and attended a dinner with Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. During this dinner, John reports that Mary anointed Jesus' feet with expensive perfume and dried his feet with her hair. This act annoyed Judas who thought that the money used to buy the perfume should have been put in the group’s treasury bag where he would be able to steal it for himself. Meanwhile, many people acknowledged Lazarus presence as evidence of Jesus’ resurrection miracle. As a result, the Pharisees decided to kill him too. The desires of Judas and the Pharisees would soon converge in a conspiratorial plot.

The day after the dinner, Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt, fulfilling the words of the prophet:

    “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
    see, your king is coming,
    seated on a donkey’s colt.”
    - Zechariah 9:9 (NIV)

The crowd rejoiced, shouting hosannas and waving palms in the style of a royal welcome. Now the Pharisees were really anxious, fretting to one another:

    "Look how the whole world has gone after him!"

    -John 12:29 (NIV)

Subsequently, Jesus told his disciples that it was now the time for him to face death. For the benefit of the disciples, God spoke aloud, glorifying the name of Jesus.

    Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.

    - John 12: 28-29 (NAB)

Despite all that had happened, many Jews still did not believe (and some who did were afraid to admit it). John notes that this lack of faith fulfilled the words of Isaiah: " 'They could not believe because 'he had blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts' (John 12:39-40 - NIV)."

Reflection and Application

Notice how Jesus does things in his own time, not in the time that others want. Mary and Martha sent a message that their brother, whom Jesus loved was dying. John is deliberate in recording that Jesus lingered in his current location, despite the urgency of this request: "So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days (John 11:6 - NIV)." Then, John records in the next two verses that Jesus announced his intention to return to Judea, which produced an objection from the Disciples who feared for the life of Jesus. Jesus makes clear to them that this is the time for him to go. Let us remember these scenes when we want God to do things according to our schedule. He is not at our command and is not constrained by the same boundaries as humans. He can bring the dead back to life and can even stop time, if he desires.

The Pharisees certainly did not like the timing of God's gift of the Messiah. Instead of welcoming him they felt threatened by him. Imagine the poster that the Pharisees would have distributed around town if they had access to thin paper and printing presses. Maybe they would have made something like the one shown on this page:

Notice how the Pharisees justified themselves, saying that if Jesus became too popular that the Romans would get upset and take away their nations (oh - and their positions too).

These guys were so wedded to their positions of power and prestige that they could not recognize the Messiah right under their nose. They were so blinded that they concocted the craziest stories to explain what was going on.

By contrast, the average man and woman were enthralled with Jesus - they had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Truly, the poor were blessed, because they inherited understanding.

Now it was Jesus' time for sacrifice.

It's been hard to fathom these passages from Isaiah and other places that say God "hardened" the hearts and blinded the eyes of certain people. If he loved the world, then why did not everyone have a chance to see and believe? Maybe we can read these passages as "God allowed the people to be blinded." In either case, if we have the ability to see what Jesus has done then we can allow our hearts to be open to him and accept his word.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. On what types of animals have you ridden?
    2. Why were the Pharisees afraid of the popularity of Jesus? Why does God allow some people to be blinded to the Truth?
    3. Who has the whole world gone after today? Jesus or someone else?

    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, only you and your Son are worthy of our worship. Help us to "go after you."

    Prayer Concern
    Families in mourning

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: John 13-15 (I Call You Friends)

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