SF071 - JESUS LAST SERMON (John 12 37-50)

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Jesus’ Last Sermon

June 2, 2002

John 12:37-50


The passage before us marks the end of Jesus public teaching ministry.  Beginning with chapter 13, the rest of the Lord’s teaching is done only with His disciples present.  This fact makes what is said here even more noteworthy, because they are a summary of the Lord’s ministry among men.

1A.      Israel’s Unbelief Analyzed (12:37-43)

1B.      Israel’s willful rejection of Christ (12:37-41)

They would not believe (12:37).

Ø      Pink says this verse provides “fearful proof of the depravity of the human heart.”[1]

Ø      These had witnessed a multitude of Christ’s miracles, yet they rejected Him.

1 Corinthians 2:14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

They could not believe (12:38-41).

Ø      These verses speak of God’s judicial activity toward sinful and rebellious man, that is because if sinful man did not believe, they could not believe.

“John quotation cannot be construed in any way that would lessen the responsibility of men and women for their own disobedience.  It is true that by their disobedience the people of Christ’s day fulfilled Scripture (12:38).  It is also true, as the next verses will also show, that as a result of their disobedience God increasingly blinded their eyes so that they could not see, or understand, or be converted (12:39-40).  But this does not mean that they were not responsible before God for their lack of response to Jesus.  John’s point is not that God made them disbelieve, but rather that we should not surprised by their disbelief in that God had prophesied it even before it happened.

Anyone who is away from God is away from God because of his or her own desires and decisions.  Men and women departed from God in Adam, and they remain cut off from God because they prefer their own will to God’s will and will not have Christ to be their Savior.”[2]

2B.      The leaders’ superficial faith in Christ.  (12:42-43)

A faith that does not confess Christ is not saving faith.  (12:42)

Luke 12:8-9 And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God; but he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.

Romans 10:9-10 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

They feared man more than God.  (12:42b)

Ø      Unlike Peter and John in Acts 4:18-20.

Matthew 10:28 Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

They loved praise of man more than the praise of God.

James 4:4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God?  Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

2A.      The Lord’s Ministry Summarized (12:44-50)

1B.      What Christ revealed (12:44-46)

That belief in Him is belief in God (12:44)

John 14:1 Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.

That to know Him is to know God (12:45)

Colossians 2:9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form

John 14:9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip?  He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father '?”

That to reject Him is to remain in darkness (12:46)

Ø      God does not condemn men to darkness; men are born in darkness.

2B.      What Christ taught (12:47-50)

The danger of unbelief (12:47-48)

Ø      All who do not believe are condemned to judgment because of their unbelief, Pink expresses this truth well.

“It is true that a dead man cannot believe, yet he ought to.  His inability lies not in the absence of necessary faculties, but in the willful perversion of his faculties.  When Adam died spiritually, nothing in him was annihilated; instead, he became alienated from the life of God (Ephesians 4:18).  Every man who hears the Gospel ought to believe in Christ, and those who do not will yet be punished for this unbelief, see 2 Thessalonians 1:7.  As Christ here teaches, the rejecter of Him will be judged for his sin.”[3]

God’s commandment to believe (12:49-50)

Acts 17:30 Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent

Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Ø      Again Pink gives a masterful explanation of this text.

“This verse (12:50) speaks in clarion tones to all who come under the sound of the Gospel today.  God has not given and ‘invitation’ for men to act on at their pleasure, but a ‘commandment’ which they disobey at their imminent peril.  That commandment is ‘that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ’ (1 John 3:23).”


God’s commandment is “eternal life.”  Have you obeyed God’s command?  If not, would you call upon Him now for mercy and for the faith to trust Him?

Preparing for Next Week

1.           Read John 13:1-11.

2.           What is meant by the last clause of verse 1?

3.           What “supper” is referred to in verse 2?

4.           What is the symbolic significance of Christ’s actions in verse 4?

5.           What is signified by the washing of the disciples’ feet, verse 5?

6.           Why is Peter so prominent in verses 6-9?

7.           What is meant by “no part with Me” verse 8?

8.           What is the meaning of verse 10?


[1] Pink, Arthur W., Exposition of the Gospel of John, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975), 687.

[2] Boice, James M., The Gospel of John, Volume 3, Those Who Receive Him, John 9-12, (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1985), 971.

[3] Pink, 695.

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