Jesus' public witness has climaxed in his declaration of oneness with God, which he supported from Scripture (10:30-38). Now, in a semiprivate setting, the raising of Lazarus reveals plainly what all the signs have been about—Jesus as the resurrection and the life. But this action galvanizes the opponents to seek his death, so now we come to the beginning of the end. Instead of seeing Jesus doing signs, we see signs occurring through what others do to him. First, Mary anoints Jesus at Bethany in a private setting (12:1-8). Second, there is the public outpouring at the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, as a great crowd receives him as the king of Israel (12:12-15). Third, after the awaited king has entered his city the Gentiles come to him, which signals that the long expected hour has arrived. Jesus announces the coming of his hour and speaks of his death (12:20-26). This is followed by a fourth and final sign offered to the crowd not by Jesus but by the Father himself, who bears witness to Jesus (12:27-28). The crowd, however, does not receive the Father's witness any more than it has Jesus' (12:29). Jesus interprets the voice for them, but the crowd only raises further questions (12:30-34). So Jesus adds no further teaching; he only warns them to receive what they have already been given and then hides himself from them once again (12:35-36).
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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