John 12:12-27

John 12:12-27
Narrative Lectionary 436


12 The next day the greatA crowdB that had comeC to the festivalD

Notes on verse 12a

A “great” = polus. This is much, often, plenteous – a large number or a great extent.
B “crowd” = ochlos. Perhaps from echo (to have, hold, possess). This is a crowd, the common people, a rabble. Figuratively, it can refer to a riot.
C “come” = erchomai. This is to come or go.
D “festival” = heorte. This is a holiday or feast.

heardE that JesusF was coming to Jerusalem.G 

Notes on verse 12b

E “heard” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.
F “Jesus” = Iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
G “Jerusalem” = Hiersoluma. From Hebrew yerushalaim (probably foundation of peace); {from yarah (to throw, shoot, be stunned; to flow as water so figuratively to instruct or teach) + shalam (to make amends, to be complete or sound)}. This is Jerusalem, dwelling of peace.

13 So they tookH branchesI of palm treesJ and went outK to meetL him, shouting,M

Notes on verse 13a

H “took” = lambano. It does not refer to passive receiving of something, but active acceptance or taking of something whether it is offered or simply nearby. It focuses on individual decision and action.
I “branches” = baion. 1x in NT. Perhaps from basis (a pace, base, step, foot); from baino (to walk, go). This is a palm branch or twig.
J “palm trees” = phoinix. 2x in NT. This is a palm tree or date palm. It is related to the word “phoenix.”
K “went out” = exerchomai. Related to “come” in v12. From ek (from, from out of) + erchomai (see note C above). This is to go out, depart, escape, proceed from, spread news abroad.
L “meet” = hupantesis. 3x in NT. From hupantao (to encounter someone or to go to meet them); {from hupo (by, under, about, subordinate to) + antao (to meet with personally) OR from hupo (see above) + anti (opposite, instead of, against)}. This is meeting or encounter.
M “shouting” = kraugazo. 9x in NT. From krauge (a very emotional shout or cry generally or clamor against someone else; a cry of alarm, trouble, or grief); from krazo (to cry out, scream, shriek; onomatopoeia for the sound of a raven’s call; figuratively, this is means crying out urgently without intelligible words to express something that is deeply felt). This is to cry, shout, clamor. It is a screaming or shrieking that is often impossible to understand exact words in. It is sound expressing feeling/urgency. Properly, this refers to loud animal sounds.

Blessed isO the one who comes in the nameP of the LordQ
    the KingR of Israel!”S

Notes on verse 13b

N “hosanna” = hosanna. Related to “Jesus” in v12. 6x in NT. From Hebrew yasha (see note F above) + na (particle used for requests or for urging; can be we pray, now, I ask you, oh). This is Hosanna – save, we pray. It started as a call for help, but later became a cry of happiness (anticipating the help coming). It can be save now, please save, or oh, save.
O “blessed is” = eulogeo. From eu (good, well, well done, rightly) + logos (word, statement, speech, analogy; a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying; a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words; by implication, a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive; can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ); {from lego (to speak, tell, mention)}. Properly, this is speaking well of – speaking so that the other is benefited. It can mean praise, bless, thank, or call for a blessing. This is where “eulogy” comes from.
P “name” = onoma. May be from ginosko (know, recognize, learn from firsthand experience). This is a name, authority, cause, character, fame, reputation. The name was thought to include something of the essence of the person so it was not thought to be separate from the person.
Q “Lord” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
R “king” = basileus. Perhaps related to “branches” in v13. Probably from basis (see note I above). This is king, emperor, or sovereign.
S “Israel” = Israel. From Hebrew Yisrael (God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring); {from sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god)}. This is Israel the people and the land.

14 Jesus foundT a young donkeyU and satV on it; as it is written:W

Notes on verse 14

T “found” = heurisko. This is to find, learn, or obtain. It is to discover something, which generally implies a period of searching for it. This is to find in a literal or figurative sense. This is where the word “heuristic” comes from.
U “young donkey” = onarion. 1x in NT. From onos (donkey). This is the diminutive form – little donkey.
V “sat” = kathizo. From kathezomai (to sit down, be seated); {from kata (down, against, according to, among) + hezomai (to sit); {from aphedron (a seat, a base)}}. This is to sit, set, appoint, stay, rest.
W “written” = grapho. This is to write or describe. It is where the word “graphic” comes from.

15 “Do not be afraid,X daughterY of Zion.Z

Notes on verse 15a

X “be afraid” = phobeo. From phobos (panic flight, fear, fear being caused, terror, alarm, that which causes fear, reverence, respect); from phebomai (to flee, withdraw, be put to flight). This is also to put to flight, terrify, frighten, dread, reverence, to withdraw or avoid. It is sometimes used in a positive sense to mean the fear of the Lord, echoing Old Testament language. More commonly, it is fear of following God’s path. This is where the word phobia comes from.
Y “daughter” = thugater. This is daughter, a related female or one who lives with you.
Z “Zion” = Sion. 7x in NT. From Hebrew tsiyyon (Zion – a mountain in Jerusalem as well as another name for Jerusalem itself or the people); related to tsyiyyun (signpost, monument); from tsavah (to charge someone, to command, order); from the same as tsiyyah (dryness drought); from a root meaning parched as desert, dry land. This is Zion – the mountain in Jerusalem, the city, or its people. Also used figuratively to refer to the church.

Look,AA your king is coming,
    sittingBB on a donkey’sCC colt!”DD

Notes on verse 15b

AA “look” = idou. From eido (to be aware, see, know, remember, appreciate). This is see! Lo! Behold! Look! Used to express surprise and or draw attention to the statement.
BB “sitting” = kathemai. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + hemai (to sit). This is to sit, be enthroned, or reside.
CC “donkey’s” = onos. Related to “young donkey” in v14. 5x in NT. See note U above.
DD “colt” = polos. 12x in NT – all in Jesus’s Palm Sunday entry into Jerusalem. This is foal, colt, or young donkey.

16 His disciplesEE did not understandFF these things at first;GG

Notes on verse 16a

EE “disciples” = mathetes. From matheteuo (to make a disciple of); from manthano (to learn key facts, gain knowledge from experience; generally implies reflection as part of the learning process); from math– (thinking things through). This is a disciple, learner, or student. It is where we get “mathematics” from.
FF “understand” = ginosko. Perhaps related to “name” in v13. See note P above.
GG “first” = protos. From pro (before, first, in front of, earlier). This is what is first, which could be the most important, the first in order, the main one, the chief.

but when Jesus was glorified,HH then they rememberedII that these things had been written of him and had been doneJJ to him. 

Notes on verse 16b

HH “glorified” = doxazo. From doxa (glory, opinion, praise, honor, renown; particularly used as a quality of God or manifestation of God – splendor); from dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); from dokos (opinion). This is to render or hold something as glorious, to glorify, honor, magnify, or celebrate. This is ascribing weight to something by recognizing its true value or essence.
II “remembered” = mimnesko. From mnaomai (to remember; by implication give reward or consequence); perhaps from meno (to stay, abide, wait, endure). This is to remind or remember. It is memory through an active, intentional process or being mindful of. It is not incidentally or accidentally remembering.
JJ “done” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.

17 So the crowd that had been with him when he calledKK LazarusLL out of the tombMM

Notes on verse 17a

KK “called” = phoneo. From phone (voice, sound, tone or noise; also a language or dialect); probably from phemi to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view); {from phao (to shine) or phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear). This is to call out, summon, shout, address. It is making a sound whether of an animal, a person, or an instrument.
LL “Lazarus” = Lazaros. 15x in NT. From Hebrew Elazar (God has helped or God is helper); {from el (God, a god) + azar (to help, protect, support, ally; properly, to surround so as to provide aid)}. This is Lazarus or Eliezer, meaning “God has helped” or “God is helper.”
MM “tomb” = mnemeion. Related to “remembered” in v16. From mousikos (to remember); from mneme (memory or mention); from mnaomai (see note II above). This is properly a memorial – a tomb, grave, monument.

and raisedNN him from the deadOO continued to testify.PP 

Notes on verse 17b

NN “raised” = egeiro. This is to awake, raise up or lift up. It can be to get up from sitting or lying down, to get up from sleeping, to rise from a disease or from death. Figuratively, it can be rising from inactivity or from ruins.
OO “dead” = nekros. Perhaps from nekus (corpse). This is dead of lifeless, mortal, corpse. It can also be used figuratively for powerless or ineffective. It is where the word “necrotic” comes from.
PP “continued to testify” = martureo. From martus (a witness whether having heard or seen something; witness literally, judicially, or figuratively; by analogy, a martyr). This is to bear witness, testify, give evidence. It is to testify in a literal or figurative sense.

18 It was also because they heard that he had performedQQ this signRR that the crowd went to meetSS him. 

Notes on verse 18

QQ “performed” = poieo. Same as “done” in v16. See note JJ above.
RR “sign” = semeion. From the same as semaino (to give a sign, signify, indicate, make known); from sema (a sign or mark). It is literally a sign of any kind. It also refers to a sign given by God to confirm or authenticate a message or prophecy. It is not necessarily miraculous, but it can be. The Gospel of John generally uses this word instead of miracle.
SS “meet” = hupantao. Related to “meet” in v13. 10x in NT. See note L above.

19 The PhariseesTT then said to one another, “You see,UU you can doVV nothing. Look, the worldWW has goneXX after him!”

Notes on verse 19

TT “Pharisees” = Pharisaios. From Aramaic peras (to divide, separate) and from Hebrew parash (to make distinct, separate, scatter). This is a Pharisee, a member of a Jewish sect active in the 1st century. Their name meant separate in the sense of wanting to live a life separated from sin. Whereas the Sadducees were part of the priestly line and inherited their religious position and responsibilities, Pharisees were regular people who studied the scriptures and offered guidance to regular folk. Sadducees were often wealthier and willing to sacrifice their identity to rub elbows with Roman society. Pharisees were often more concerned with what it meant to follow God without compromising what made them different as followers of God. Sadducees primarily believed in that which was written down (the first five books of the Bible) and Pharisees believed in the Bible and the traditions of the elders. Pharisees had a very wide range of interpretations and diversity of opinion. Their standard mode of religious engagement was lively debate with one another. To argue religion with another teacher was to recognize that they had something of value to offer.
UU “see” = theoreo. From theaomai (to behold, look upon, see, contemplate, visit); from thaomai (to gaze at a spectacle; to look at or contemplate as a spectator; to interpret something in efforts to grasp its significance); from theoros (a spectator or envoy). This is gazing, beholding, experiencing, discerning. It is looking at something to analyze it and concentrate on what it means. This is the root of the word “theatre” in that people concentrate on the action of the play to understand its meaning.
VV “do” = opheleo. 15x in NT. From ophelos (help, gain, profit); from ophello (to heap up or increase). This is to help, benefit, do good, or be useful.
WW “world” = kosmos. Perhaps from the base of komizo (to carry, convey, recover); from komeo (to take care of). This is order, the world, the universe, including its inhabitants. Literally, this is something that is ordered so it can refer to all creation. It can also refer to decoration in the sense that something is better ordered and, thus, made more beautiful. This is where “cosmos” and “cosmetics” come from.
XX “gone” = aperchomai. Related to “come” in v12 & “went out” in v13. From apo (from, away from) + erchomai (see note C above). This is to depart, follow, or go off in a literal or figurative sense.

20 Now among those who went upYY to worshipZZ at the festival were some Greeks.AAA 

Notes on verse 20

YY “went up” = anabaino. Perhaps related to “branches” and “king” In v13. From ana (up, back, among, again, anew) + the same as basis (see note I above). This is to come up in a literal or figurative sense – ascent, rise, climb, enter.
ZZ “worship” = proskuneo. From pros (advantageous for, at, to, toward, with) + kuneo (to kiss); {may be related to kuno (dog)}. This is to do reverence, kneel, to prostrate oneself in homage, to worship.
AAA “Greeks” = hellen. From Hellas (Hellas, what Greeks called themselves); perhaps from helane (torch) OR from selene (moon). This is Greek, but was used for Gentiles, broader populations that spoke Greek and were a part of Greek culture regardless of their heritage. See

21 They cameBBB to Philip,CCC who was from BethsaidaDDD in Galilee,EEE

Notes on verse 21a

BBB “came” = proserchomai. Related to “come” in v12 & “went out” in v13 & “gone” in v19. From pros (for, at, towards) + erchomai (see note C above). This is to approach, draw near, come up to. It is also used figuratively to mean worship.
CCC “Philip” = Philippos. From philos (dear, beloved, a friend, an associate; friendship with personal affection, a trusted confidante; love from personal experience with another person) + hippos (horse). This is Philip, meaning one who loves horses or is fond of horses.
DDD “Bethsaida” = Bethsaida. 7x in NT. From Aramaic bet (house) + tsaida (hunting); related to Hebrew bayit (house, family); {from banah (to build)} + tsayid (hunting, catch, the chase); {from tsud (to hunt, to lie in wait in order to catch an animal; used figuratively for capturing people)} OR from Aramaic bet (house) + chasda (grace); related to Hebrew chesed (favor, goodness, kindness, loving kindness, pity, reproach, or a good deed; when done by humanity to God, it is piety); {from chasad (being good, kind, merciful; may mean bowing one’s neck as is done in the presence of an equal for courtesy’s sake; so, if one in a superior position is treating you like an equal, that is what is captured here)}. This is Bethsaida, meaning either house of fish or house of grace.
EEE “Galilee” = Galilaia. From Hebrew galil (cylinder, circuit, district); from galal (to roll in a literal or figurative sense, roll away, roll down, wallow, remove, trust). This is Galilee, meaning perhaps region or cylinder.

and saidFFF to him, “Sir,GGG we wishHHH to seeIII Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew;JJJ then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 

Notes on verses 21b-22

FFF “said” = erotao. From eromai (to ask) OR from ereo (to say, tell, call, speak of). This is asking a question or making an earnest request. It is used between someone with whom the asker is close in some sense. So, they anticipate special consideration for their request.
GGG “sir” = kurios. Same as “Lord” in v13. See note Q above.
HHH “wish” = thelo. This is to wish, desire, will, or intend. It is to choose or prefer in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean inclined toward or take delight in. It can have a sense of being ready to act on the impulse in question.
III “see” = horao. To see, perceive, attend to, look upon, experience. Properly, to stare at and so implying clear discernment. This, by extension, would indicate attending to what was seen and learned. This is to see, often with a metaphorical sense. Can include inward spiritual seeing.
JJJ “Andrew” = Andreas. 13x in NT. From aner (man, male, sir, husband). This is Andrew, meaning manly.

23 Jesus answered them, “The hourKKK has come for the SonLLL of ManMMM to be glorified. 

Notes on verse 23

KKK “hour” = hora. This is a set time or period, an hour, instant, or season. This is where the word “hour” comes from.
LLL “Son” = huios. This is son, descendant – a son whether natural born or adopted. It can be used figuratively for other forms of kinship.
MMM “Man” = anthropos. Related to “Andrew” in v22 & “see” in v21.

24 Very truly,NNN I tell you, unless a grainOOO of wheatPPP fallsQQQ into the earthRRR and dies,SSS

Notes on verse 24a

NNN “very truly” = amen + amen. From Hebrew amen (verily, truly, amen, truth, so be it, faithfulness); from aman (to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful, put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid). This word is literally firmness, but figuratively fidelity, faithfulness, honesty, responsibility, trust, truth, steadfastness. Properly, it is to be sure, certain, or firm. This is a word of emphasis indicating that something crucial follows.
OOO “grain” = kokkos. 7x in NT. This is seed or kernel.
PPP “wheat” = sitos. 15x in NT. This is used for any kind of grain that you can eat. It is usually wheat, but it can also be barley and other grains.
QQQ “falls” = pipto. This is to fall literally or figuratively.
RRR “earth” = ge. This is earth, land, soil, region, country, the inhabitants of an area.
SSS “dies” = apothnesko. From apo (from, away from) + thnesko (to die, be dead). This is to die off. It is death with an emphasis on the way that death separates. It can also mean to wither or decay.

it remainsTTT just a singleUUU grain; but if it dies, it bearsVVV muchWWW fruit.XXX 

Notes on verse 24b

TTT “remains” = meno. Related to “remembered” in v16 & “tomb” in v17 & “single” in v24. See note II above.
UUU “single” = monos. Related to “remembered” in v16 & “tomb” in v17. Perhaps from meno (see note II above). This is alone, single, remaining, mere, desolate.
VVV “bears” = phero. This is to bear, bring, lead, or make known publicly. It is to carry in a literal or figurative sense.
WWW “much” = polus. Same as “great” in v12 See note A above.
XXX “fruit” = karpos. Perhaps from harpazo (to seize by force, snatch away); from haireo (to choose, take). This is a fruit or vegetable, through sometimes it refers to an animal. Figuratively, it is deeds, results, profits, or gain.

25 Those who loveYYY their lifeZZZ loseAAAA it,

Notes on verse 25a

YYY “love” = phileo. Related to “Philip” in v21. From philos (see note CCC above). This is friendship love and fondness with personal attachment.
ZZZ “life” = psuche. From psucho (to breathe, blow). This is breath, the breath of life, the self, individual, soul. This is the word for that which makes a person unique – their identity, will, personality, affections. This isn’t the soul as the immortal part of us, but as our individuality. It is also not life as a general concept, but specific to people. This is where the words psyche and psychology come from.
AAAA “lose” = apollumi. From apo (from, away from) + ollumi (to destroy or ruin; the loss that comes from a major ruination). This is to destroy, cut off, to perish – perhaps violently. It can also mean to cancel or remove.

and those who hateBBBB their life in this world will keepCCCC it for eternalDDDD life.EEEE 

Notes on verse 25b

BBBB “hate” = miseo. From misos (hatred). This word is used in two ways in the New Testament. One has to do with how we prioritize. In order to prioritize something the highest, it means we have to rank other things lower. We cannot have 10 number one priorities. So, the nine that are not number 1, we love less or we value them lower. We make a moral choice the springs from our values about where we put our time, efforts, energy, etc. The other way is detesting or hatred as we normally think of it. This sense has a particular affinity with persecuting the one we hate.
CCCC “keep” = phulasso. This is to guard something so that it doesn’t escape – to watch over it vigilantly. This is being on guard in a literal or figurative sense.
DDDD “eternal” = aionios. From aion (an age, length of time). This is age-long, forever, everlasting. Properly, that which lasts for an age. This is where eon comes from.
EEEE “life” = zoe. From zao (to live, be alive). This is life including the vitality of humans, plants, and animals – it is life physical and spiritual and life everlasting.

26 Whoever servesFFFF me must followGGGG me, and where I am, there will my servantHHHH be also. Whoever serves me, the FatherIIII will honor.JJJJ

Notes on verse 26

FFFF “serves” = diakoneo. From diakonos (servant, minister, waiter, or attendant; a person who performs a service, including religious service); {perhaps from dia (through, across to the other side, thoroughly) + konis (dust) OR from dioko (to chase after, put to flight; by implication, to persecute or to purse like a hunter after its prey; this can be earnestly pursue or zealously persecute); {related to dio (put to flight)}}. This is to wait at table, to serve generally, to minister or administer, to be in the office of deacon. To wait on someone as a slave, friend, or host.
GGGG “follow” = akoloutheo. From a (with, fellowship, union) + keleuthos (road, way). This is to accompany or follow someone, especially the way a disciple does.
HHHH “servant” = diakonos. Related to “serves” in v26. See note FFFF above.
IIII “Father” = pater. This is father in a literal or figurative sense. Could be elder, senior, ancestor, originator, or patriarch.
JJJJ “honor” = timao. From time (worth or perceived value; literally, price, but figuratively, the honor or value one sees in someone or something; can be esteem or dignity; can also mean precious or valuables); from tino (to pay, be punished, pay a penalty or fine because of a crime); from tio (to pay respect, value). Properly, this is setting a value or price on something, to estimate. Figuratively, it speaks to what level of honor we afford someone or something depending on our personal feeling toward it. By implication, this can mean to revere or honor.

27 “Now my soulKKKK is troubled.LLLL And what should I say—‘Father, saveMMMM me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour.

Notes on verse 27

KKKK “soul” = psuche. Same as “life” in v25. See note ZZZ above.
LLLL “troubled” = tarasso. 18x in NT. This is trouble, agitate, stir up. It is motion back and forth, creating inner turmoil or confusion, roiling water.
MMMM “save” = sozo. From sos (safe, rescued, well). This is to save, heal, preserve, or rescue. Properly, this is taking someone from danger to safety. It can be delivering or protecting literally or figuratively. This is the root that “savior” and “salvation” come from in Greek.

Image credit: “Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem” at the Horner Church in Bremen, Germany. PHoto by Godewind, 2017.

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