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"Jesus Confronts the
Unbelief of the People"
John 12:37-50 Bible Study

Jesus had performed many miracles, Turning water into wine; healing the sick; raising the dead; calming the raging storm at sea; miraculously feeding thousands; and many others. 

God had blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, so that they could not understand, or grasp the Words of Jesus. 

Jesus Confronts the
Unbelief of the People

John 12:37-50

Verse 37: "Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him."

Jesus had at one time asked the people to believe in Him based upon the infallible witnesses he had provided, including: (John the Baptist, Prophesy; His Father God; His works (miracles); yet they refused to believe.

Verse 38: "so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: "Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" 

John 12:38 addresses Isaiah the Prophet, and "the Arm of the Lord," and suggests they are related.

  • In Isaiah 51:9. 52:10 He delivered the Children of Israel from Egypt with a "high arm," meaning great power.  
  • In our study, we have seen the power of God displayed by the miracles of Jesus.


The Prophets had warned that the people

would not believe in Jesus.

Verses 39-40: "Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them." 

The following Scripture/Prophecy offers insight into the inability of the people to understand Jesus' message.

  • "And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive." (Isaiah 6:9)

"Where the eye is absent, or where it has become impaired from any cause, light is useless. Man was naturally incapable of receiving Spiritual light in as much as he lacked the capacity for spiritual things." (Vine's Expository Dictionary)

Verse 41: "Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him."

Not only did Isaiah deliver astonishing prophecies concerning Jesus, but had been shown His Heavenly Glory as, "God the Son," and what a fantastic sight it must have been! (Isaiah 6:1-5).

However, not only Isaiah but all born-again Followers of Jesus will one day see Him in all His Glory.

Verse 42: "Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue;"

Many of the leaders believed in Jesus but feared being excommunicated, (Put out of the synagogue). 

The opinion of others and ranking position among the other Pharisees was more important to them than pleasing God.

Verse 43: "for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God."

This word for, 'glory' can also be translated as, reputation or, honor.

Honor was the goal of high society and considered critical in a status-conscious culture, obsessed with shame, and dignity.

With a Sense of Finality
Jesus Delivers His Final Appeal.

Verse 44: "And Jesus cried out and said, "Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45"And whoever sees me sees him who sent me."

Scripture verifies that God had sent Jesus, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life," (John 3:16).

Jesus only did what the Father told Him; therefore, we can know what God is like by studying the life and Words of Jesus.

Verse 46: "I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness."

Light equals happiness, And the word translated here, "Skot-ee-ah" means darkness, gloom, evil, sin, obscurity. 

Here, it is used in a metaphorical sense to mean; Ignorance of scriptural truth, man's sinful nature, absence of light, and a lack of spiritual perception.

Verse 47: "If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.

Judaism believed that "God's Law" was the standard by which He would judge His people at the end time.

The Old Law/Covenant had been fulfilled, the "New Covenant," would soon be in effect.

Verse 48-49: "The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 

Under the New Covenant man has a choice, to either receive the teachings of Jesus and become born again to spend eternity Heaven; or to reject them and be cast into hell.

In the Last Judgment, at the "Great White Throne," those who do not accept Christ will be judged, condemned, and eternally separated from God.

Verse 49: "For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak."

Jesus was, "God the Father's" agent. The people should have received Him with the same honor they would have received, "God the Father."

Verse 50: "And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me."

The theme of Eternal Life is emphasized throughout John's Gospel. 

God the Father has commanded Eternal Life; it is an absolute for of all who have been born again.

This completes our study of, The Son of Man Must Be Lifted Up.


In Our Next Study:

Jesus Washes the Disciples Feet


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Unbelief of the People



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