New American Bible (Revised Edition)
The Anointing at Bethany.(A) 1 [a]Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.(B) 2 They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.(C) 3 Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus[b] and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.(D) 4 Then Judas the Iscariot, one [of] his disciples, and the one who would betray him, said, 5 “Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages[c] and given to the poor?” 6 He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions.(E) 7 So Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial.[d] 8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”(F)
9 [The] large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of Jesus, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.(G) 10 And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, 11 because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him.(H)
The Entry into Jerusalem.[e] 12 (I)On the next day, when the great crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 they took palm branches[f] and went out to meet him, and cried out:
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,
[even] the king of Israel.”(J)
14 Jesus found an ass and sat upon it, as is written:
16 His disciples did not understand this at first, but when Jesus had been glorified they remembered that these things were written about him and that they had done this[h] for him.(L) 17 [i]So the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from death continued to testify. 18 This was [also] why the crowd went to meet him, because they heard that he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the whole world[j] has gone after him.”(M)
The Coming of Jesus’ Hour.[k] 20 Now there were some Greeks[l] among those who had come up to worship at the feast.(N) 21 [m]They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.”(O) 22 Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.(P) 23 [n]Jesus answered them,(Q) “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 [o]Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat;(R) but if it dies, it produces much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life[p] loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.(S) 26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.(T)
27 “I am troubled[q] now. Yet what should I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.(U) 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it and will glorify it again.”(V) 29 The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder; but others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”(W) 30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come for my sake but for yours.(X) 31 Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world[r] will be driven out.(Y) 32 And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”(Z) 33 He said this indicating the kind of death he would die. 34 So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever.[s] Then how can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?”(AA) 35 Jesus said to them, “The light will be among you only a little while. Walk while you have the light, so that darkness may not overcome you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where he is going.(AB) 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of the light.”(AC)
Unbelief and Belief Among the Jews. After he had said this, Jesus left and hid from them. 37 [t](AD)Although he had performed so many signs in their presence they did not believe in him, 38 [u]in order that the word which Isaiah the prophet spoke might be fulfilled:
“Lord, who has believed our preaching,
to whom has the might of the Lord been revealed?”(AE)
39 For this reason they could not believe, because again Isaiah said:
40 “He blinded their eyes
and hardened their heart,
so that they might not see with their eyes
and understand with their heart and be converted,
and I would heal them.”(AF)
41 Isaiah said this because he saw his glory[v] and spoke about him.(AG) 42 Nevertheless, many, even among the authorities, believed in him, but because of the Pharisees they did not acknowledge it openly in order not to be expelled from the synagogue.(AH) 43 For they preferred human praise to the glory of God.(AI)
Recapitulation. 44 Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me,(AJ) 45 and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me.(AK) 46 I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.(AL) 47 And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.(AM) 48 Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day,(AN) 49 because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak.(AO) 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”
- 12:1–8 This is probably the same scene of anointing found in Mk 14:3–9 (see note there) and Mt 26:6–13. The anointing by a penitent woman in Lk 7:36–38 is different. Details from these various episodes have become interchanged.
- 12:3 The feet of Jesus: so Mk 14:3; but in Mt 26:6, Mary anoints Jesus’ head as a sign of regal, messianic anointing.
- 12:5 Days’ wages: literally, “denarii.” A denarius is a day’s wage in Mt 20:2; see note on Jn 6:7.
- 12:7 Jesus’ response reflects the rabbinical discussion of what was the greatest act of mercy, almsgiving or burying the dead. Those who favored proper burial of the dead thought it an essential condition for sharing in the resurrection.
- 12:12–19 In John, the entry into Jerusalem follows the anointing whereas in the synoptics it precedes. In John, the crowd, not the disciples, are responsible for the triumphal procession.
- 12:13 Palm branches: used to welcome great conquerors; cf. 1 Mc 13:51; 2 Mc 10:7. They may be related to the lûlāb, the twig bundles used at the feast of Tabernacles. Hosanna: see Ps 118:25–26. The Hebrew word means: “(O Lord), grant salvation.” He who comes in the name of the Lord: referred in Ps 118:26 to a pilgrim entering the temple gates, but here a title for Jesus (see notes on Mt 11:3 and Jn 6:14; 11:27). The king of Israel: perhaps from Zep 3:14–15, in connection with the next quotation from Zec 9:9.
- 12:15 Daughter Zion: Jerusalem. Ass’s colt: symbol of peace, as opposed to the war horse.
- 12:16 They had done this: the antecedent of they is ambiguous.
- 12:17–18 There seem to be two different crowds in these verses. There are some good witnesses to the text that have another reading for Jn 12:17: “Then the crowd that was with him began to testify that he had called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead.”
- 12:19 The whole world: the sense is that everyone is following Jesus, but John has an ironic play on world; he alludes to the universality of salvation (Jn 3:17; 4:42).
- 12:20–36 This announcement of glorification by death is an illustration of “the whole world” (Jn 12:19) going after him.
- 12:20 Greeks: not used here in a nationalistic sense. These are probably Gentile proselytes to Judaism; cf. Jn 7:35.
- 12:21–22 Philip…Andrew: the approach is made through disciples who have distinctly Greek names, suggesting that access to Jesus was mediated to the Greek world through his disciples. Philip and Andrew were from Bethsaida (Jn 1:44); Galileans were mostly bilingual. See: here seems to mean “have an interview with.”
- 12:23 Jesus’ response suggests that only after the crucifixion could the gospel encompass both Jew and Gentile.
- 12:24 This verse implies that through his death Jesus will be accessible to all. It remains just a grain of wheat: this saying is found in the synoptic triple and double traditions (Mk 8:35; Mt 16:25; Lk 9:24; Mt 10:39; Lk 17:33). John adds the phrases (Jn 12:25) in this world and for eternal life.
- 12:25 His life: the Greek word psychē refers to a person’s natural life. It does not mean “soul,” for Hebrew anthropology did not postulate body/soul dualism in the way that is familiar to us.
- 12:27 I am troubled: perhaps an allusion to the Gethsemane agony scene of the synoptics.
- 12:31 Ruler of this world: Satan.
- 12:34 There is no passage in the Old Testament that states precisely that the Messiah remains forever. Perhaps the closest is Ps 89:37.
- 12:37–50 These verses, on unbelief of the Jews, provide an epilogue to the Book of Signs.
- 12:38–41 John gives a historical explanation of the disbelief of the Jewish people, not a psychological one. The Old Testament had to be fulfilled; the disbelief that met Isaiah’s message was a foreshadowing of the disbelief that Jesus encountered. In Jn 12:42 and also in Jn 3:20 we see that there is no negation of freedom.
- 12:41 His glory: Isaiah saw the glory of Yahweh enthroned in the heavenly temple, but in John the antecedent of his is Jesus.
New International Version
Jesus Anointed at Bethany(A)
12 Six days before the Passover,(B) Jesus came to Bethany,(C) where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served,(D) while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint[a] of pure nard, an expensive perfume;(E) she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair.(F) And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him,(G) objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.[b]” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag,(H) he used to help himself to what was put into it.
9 Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.(K) 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11 for on account of him(L) many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.(M)
Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King(N)
12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches(O) and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”(Q)
14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:
17 Now the crowd that was with him(U) when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign,(V) went out to meet him. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”(W)
Jesus Predicts His Death
20 Now there were some Greeks(X) among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida(Y) in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
23 Jesus replied, “The hour(Z) has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.(AA) 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies,(AB) it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it(AC) for eternal life.(AD) 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.(AE) My Father will honor the one who serves me.
Then a voice came from heaven,(AI) “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit,(AJ) not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world;(AK) now the prince of this world(AL) will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up[g] from the earth,(AM) will draw all people to myself.”(AN) 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.(AO)
35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light(AT) just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light,(AU) before darkness overtakes you.(AV) Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.”(AW) When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.(AX)
Belief and Unbelief Among the Jews
37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs(AY) in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:
39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:
42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him.(BD) But because of the Pharisees(BE) they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue;(BF) 43 for they loved human praise(BG) more than praise from God.(BH)
44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me.(BI) 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me.(BJ) 46 I have come into the world as a light,(BK) so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.(BL) 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them(BM) at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me(BN) to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life.(BO) So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”(BP)
- John 12:3 Or about 0.5 liter
- John 12:5 Greek three hundred denarii
- John 12:8 See Deut. 15:11.
- John 12:13 A Hebrew expression meaning “Save!” which became an exclamation of praise
- John 12:13 Psalm 118:25,26
- John 12:15 Zech. 9:9
- John 12:32 The Greek for lifted up also means exalted.
- John 12:38 Isaiah 53:1
- John 12:40 Isaiah 6:10