The arm of the Lord (Jn 12:38-12:38)

“This was to fulfill

The word spoken

By the prophet Isaiah.


Who has believed

Our message?

To whom

Has the arm

Of the Lord

Been revealed?’”

ἵνα ὁ λόγος Ἡσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου πληρωθῇ ὃν εἶπεν Κύριε, τίς ἐπίστευσεν τῇ ἀκοῇ ἡμῶν; καὶ ὁ βραχίων Κυρίου τίνι ἀπεκαλύφθη;

Then John uniquely indicated that this incredulity was to fulfill (πληρωθῇ) the words (ἵνα ὁ λόγος) spoken by the prophet Isaiah (Ἡσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου).  He had said or asked (ὃν εἶπεν) Yahweh, the Lord (Κύριε) who had believed (τίς ἐπίστευσεν) their joint message or report (τῇ ἀκοῇ ἡμῶν)?  Who had believed after the arm of the Lord (καὶ ὁ βραχίων Κυρίου) had been revealed (τίνι ἀπεκαλύφθη)?  This was a reference to DeuteroIsaiah, chapter 53:1 about the Suffering Servant mentioned earlier in verse 32.  Second Isaiah asked who believed in Yahweh and himself, since their message had been rejected.  Has the arm of Yahweh been revealed?  This Suffering Servant grew up like a plant or a root from dry earth, not moist soil.  This servant was not particularly good looking, not really desirable, and not majestic.  In fact, he was despised and rejected by others.  He seems to be suffering from some sickness or infirmity.  People hid their faces from him as if he was a leper.  Most people did not think much of him.  Who then is this Suffering Servant?  Is it Israel, Isaiah, or as some Christians project it to be Jesus Christ?  Certainly, the concept of rejection was clear in this original text and its citation here in John.  How much have you suffered?

Incredulity (Jn 12:37-12:37)

“Although Jesus

Had performed

So many signs

In their presence,

They still did not believe

In him.”

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

Then John uniquely indicated that although Jesus had performed (πεποιηκότος) so many of his signs (Τοσαῦτα δὲ αὐτοῦ σημεῖα) in their presence (ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν), many of the Jerusalem Jews still did not believe in him (οὐκ ἐπίστευον εἰς αὐτόν).  John surveyed the situation.  Jesus had done a lot of miracles or signs in or near Jerusalem, but many of these people still did not believe in Jesus.  What sign or miracle would you want to believe in Jesus?

Jesus hid himself (Jn 12:36-12:36)

“‘While you have the light,

Believe in the light.


You may become

Children of the light.’

When Jesus had said this,

He departed.

He hid from them.”

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

Then John uniquely indicated that Jesus said that while they had the light (ὡς τὸ φῶς ἔχετε), they should believe (πιστεύετε) in the light (εἰς τὸ φῶς).  Thus, they would become (γένησθε) the children or sons of the light (ἵνα υἱοὶ φωτὸς), not the sons of darkness.  After Jesus (Ἰησοῦς) had said this (Ταῦτα ἐλάλησεν), he departed (καὶ ἀπελθὼν) and hid (ἐκρύβη) from them (ἀπ’ αὐτῶν).  Jesus ended this discourse with the crowd by once again telling them to believe in the light, himself, so that they would become the children of the light.  With that, he was gone.  Jesus got up and went away and hid himself from them.  Have you ever hidden yourself from other people?

Walk in the light! (Jn 12:35-12:35)

“Jesus said to them.

‘The light

Is with you

For a little longer.


While you have the light!


The darkness

May not overtake you.

If you walk

In the darkness,

You do not know

Where you are going.’”

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.

Then John uniquely indicated that Jesus (ὁ Ἰησοῦς) said to them (εἶπεν οὖν αὐτοῖς) that the light (τὸ φῶς) would be with them (ἐν ὑμῖν ἐστιν) for a little longer time (Ἔτι μικρὸν χρόνον).  They should walk (περιπατεῖτε) while they had the light (ὡς τὸ φῶς ἔχετε).  Thus, the darkness would not overtake them (ἵνα μὴ σκοτία ὑμᾶς καταλάβῃ).  If they walked (καὶ ὁ περιπατῶν) in the darkness (ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ), they would not know (οὐκ οἶδεν) where they were going (ποῦ ὑπάγει).  Jesus returned to the basic dualistic ideas of good and bad.  To walk in the light would be good.  To walk in the dark would be bad.  They were to use the light before darkness came, because then they would not know where they were going.  This was somewhat similar to John, chapter 1:5, in the prologue where he said that the light (καὶ τὸ φῶς) shines (φαίνει) in the darkness (ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ).  The life of the Word, Jesus, God, was the light that shines brightly conquering the darkness, the moral evil.  John, however, rightly pointed out that this darkness or evil (καὶ ἡ σκοτία) would not overcome or seize the light (αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν) of the good Word.  The reverse was true.  Light would always overcome darkness as here.  Do you walk in lighted areas?

Who is the Son of Man? (Jn 12:34-12:34)

“The crowd answered him.

‘We have heard

From the law

That the Christ,

The Messiah,

Remains forever.

How can you say

That the Son of Man

Must be lifted up?

Who is this Son of man?’”

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;

Then John uniquely indicated that the crowd (ὁ ὄχλος) answered Jesus (ἀπεκρίθη οὖν αὐτῷ) that they had heard (Ἡμεῖς ἠκούσαμεν) from the law (ἐκ τοῦ νόμου) that the Christ (ὅτι ὁ Χριστὸς), the Messiah, would remain forever into eternity (μένει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα).  How can Jesus say (καὶ πῶς λέγεις σὺ) that the Son of Man (τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) must be lifted up (ὅτι δεῖ ὑψωθῆναι)?  Who is this (τίς ἐστιν οὗτος) Son of man (ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου)?  Jesus seemed to have this dialog with this Jewish crowd around him.  They or someone in the crowd wanted to know if the Christ Messiah would remain forever.  According to their understanding or what they had heard of the Law or the Torah, the Davidic savior would have an infinite run as a priestly king.  However, the Torah did not speak about a messiah.  Perhaps these ideas were based on Psalm 89:36, Psalm 110:4 and Ezekiel, chapter 37:25, which were not precisely part of the Torah.  The Son of Man came out of the prophetic work of Daniel, chapter 7:13-14, but these questioners wanted a more precise answer.  Do you get an answer to your questions?

Jesus was signifying how he was going to die (Jn 12:33-12:33)

“Jesus said this

To indicate

The kind of death

He was to die.”

τοῦτο δὲ ἔλεγεν σημαίνων ποίῳ θανάτῳ ἤμελλεν ἀποθνήσκειν.

Then John uniquely indicated that Jesus had said this (τοῦτο δὲ ἔλεγεν) to indicate or signify (σημαίνων) the kind of death (ποίῳ θανάτῳ) he was about to die (ἤμελλεν ἀποθνήσκειν).  John wanted to be clear, so that there was no misunderstanding.  Jesus was talking about his future death on the cross that would save the world and draw all people to him.  What do you think about Jesus’ death on the cross?

Jesus will draw everyone to himself (Jn 12:32-12:32)


When I am lifted up

From the earth,

Will draw

All people

To myself.”

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

Then John uniquely indicated that Jesus said that if or when he (κἀγὼ) was lifted up (ἐὰν ὑψωθῶ) from the earth (ἐκ τῆς γῆς), he would draw or drag (ἑλκύσω) all people (πάντας) to him (πρὸς ἐμαυτόν).  Obviously, this is a reference to the future crucifixion of Jesus.  By being raised up on the cross, he would bring salvation to the whole world.  The gospel would be spread to the whole world.  He would draw them to himself.  This was also the theme of the “Suffering Servant” in Isaiah, chapters 52-53.  Do you feel drawn to Jesus?