The first thing that strikes me as I read this chapter: what are these religious leaders / chief priests thinking? They’re worried about Lazarus’ testimony convincing people to follow Jesus. So their solution is to kill Lazarus…again. Nice move, guys.
From v16, we also see the progressive nature of the disciples’ understanding. All things weren’t immediately clear to them. In fact, some of these things could only be understood AFTER the fact. But the beauty of walking with Christ is that we are ever-learning, ever-growing, ever-journeying with Him toward the New Jerusalem, our eternal home.
In John 12, we are turning the corner: Jesus’ time has now approached and He must be lifted up — on the cross as a sacrifice. This is the time of His glorification; it’s what John has been building toward in his text.
I love how different Martha and Mary are in their encounters with Jesus; and I love that Jesus receives each of them as they are, on their own terms. The contrast isn’t quite as pronounced as what we saw when we compared Nicodemus with the Samaritan woman, but it’s legitimate nonetheless. Yet Jesus has room for both of these women — Martha with her plaintive and heartfelt disappointment that Jesus wasn’t present as Lazarus died; Mary with her recklessly extravagant expression of devotion for Jesus.
Another passage I love here is v41: Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. (John 12:41 ESV). I love this verse because it lets us know that the OT writers — or at the very least, Isaiah — had Christ in mind as they wrote. What was concealed in the OT was revealed in the NT. Jesus stands as the ultimate fulfillment to the prophecies of Scripture as spoken through the prophets.