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John 12:5

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Three hundred pence - Or denarii: about 9£. 13s. 9d. of our money; reckoning the denarius at 7 3/4d. One of my MSS. of the Vulgate (a MS. of the 14th century) reads, cccc denarii.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible
Verses 2-8

See this passage explained in the notes at Matthew 26:3-16.

John 12:2

A supper - At the house of Simon the leper, Matthew 26:6.

Lazarus was … - The names of Martha and Lazarus are mentioned because it was not in their own house, but in that of Simon. Lazarus is particularly mentioned, since it was so remarkable that one who had been once dead should be enjoying again the endearments of friendship. This shows, also, that his resurrection was no illusion - that he was really restored to the blessings of life and friendship. Calmet thinks that this was about two months after his resurrection, and it is the last that we hear of him. How long he lived is unknown, nor is it recorded that he made any communication about the world of spirits. It is remarkable that none who have been restored to life from the dead have made any communications respecting that world. See Luke 16:31, and the notes at 2 Corinthians 12:4.

John 12:4

Which should betray him - Greek, “who was to betray him” - that is, who would do it.

John 12:5

Three hundred pence - About 40,00, or 8 British pounds, 10 shillings (circa 1880‘s).

And given to the poor - The avails or value of it given to the poor.

John 12:6

Had the bag - The word translated “bag” is compounded of two words, meaning “tongue,” and “to keep or preserve.” It was used to denote the bag in which musicians used to keep the tongues or reeds of their pipes when traveling. Hence, it came to mean any bag or purse in which travelers put their money or their most precious articles. The disciples appear to have had such a bag or purse in common, in which they put whatever money they had, and which was designed especially for the poor, Luke 8:3; John 13:29; Acts 2:44. The keeping of this, it seems, was intrusted to Judas; and it is remarkable that the only one among them who appears to have been naturally avaricious should have received this appointment. It shows us that every man is tried according to his native propensity. This is the object of trial - to bring out man‘s native character; and every man will find opportunity to do evil according to his native disposition, if he is inclined, to it.

And bare … - The word translated “bare” means literally “to carry as a burden.” Then it means “to carry away,” as in John 20:15; “If thou hast borne him hence.” Hence, it means to carry away as a thief does, and this is evidently its meaning here. It has this sense often in classic writers. Judas was a thief and stole what was put into the bag. The money he desired to be entrusted to him, that he might secretly enrich himself. It is clear, however, that the disciples did not at this time know that this was his character, or they would have remonstrated against him. They learned it afterward. We may learn here:

1.that it is not a new thing for members of the church to be covetous. Judas was so before them.

2.that such members will be those who complain of the great waste in spreading the gospel.

3.that this deadly, mean, and grovelling passion will work all evil in a church. It brought down the curse of God on the children of Israel in the case of Achan 1 Timothy 6:9.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Christ had formerly blamed Martha for being troubled with much serving. But she did not leave off serving, as some, who when found fault with for going too far in one way, peevishly run too far another way; she still served, but within hearing of Christ's gracious words. Mary gave a token of love to Christ, who had given real tokens of his love to her and her family. God's Anointed should be our Anointed. Has God poured on him the oil of gladness above his fellows, let us pour on him the ointment of our best affections. In Judas a foul sin is gilded over with a plausible pretence. We must not think that those do no acceptable service, who do it not in our way. The reigning love of money is heart-theft. The grace of Christ puts kind comments on pious words and actions, makes the best of what is amiss, and the most of what is good. Opportunities are to be improved; and those first and most vigorously, which are likely to be the shortest. To consult to hinder the further effect of the miracle, by putting Lazarus to death, is such wickedness, malice, and folly, as cannot be explained, except by the desperate enmity of the human heart against God. They resolved that the man should die whom the Lord had raised to life. The success of the gospel often makes wicked men so angry, that they speak and act as if they hoped to obtain a victory over the Almighty himself.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 41-2

Even when Jesus Himself was upon earth, and walked with and taught His disciples, there was one among the twelve who was a devil. Judas betrayed his Lord. Christ had a perfect knowledge of the life of Judas. He knew of the covetousness which Judas did not overcome, and in His sermons to others He gave him many lessons upon this subject. Through indulgence, Judas permitted this trait in his character to grow and take so deep a root that it crowded out the good seed of truth sown in his heart; evil predominated until, for love of money, he could sell his Lord for a few pieces of silver. 4T 41.1

The fact that Judas was not right at heart, that he was so corrupted by selfishness and love of money that he was led to commit a great crime, is no evidence that there were not true Christians, genuine disciples of Christ, who loved their Saviour and tried to imitate His life and example, and to obey His teachings. 4T 41.2

I was shown that the fact that Judas was numbered among the twelve, with all his faults and defects of character, is an instructive lesson, one by the study of which Christians may be profited. When Judas was chosen by our Lord, his case was not hopeless. He had some good qualities. In his association with Christ in the work, by listening to His discourses, he had a favorable opportunity to see his wrongs, to become acquainted with his defects of character if he really desired to be a true disciple. He was even placed in a position by our Lord where he could have his choice either to develop his covetous disposition or to see and correct it. He carried the little means collected for the poor and for the necessary expenses of Christ and the disciples in their work of preaching. 4T 41.3

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 559

She had sought to avoid observation, and her movements might have passed unnoticed, but the ointment filled the room with its fragrance, and published her act to all present. Judas looked upon this act with great displeasure. Instead of waiting to hear what Christ would say of the matter, he began to whisper his complaints to those near him, throwing reproach upon Christ for suffering such waste. Craftily he made suggestions that would be likely to cause disaffection. DA 559.1

Judas was treasurer for the disciples, and from their little store he had secretly drawn for his own use, thus narrowing down their resources to a meager pittance. He was eager to put into the bag all that he could obtain. The treasure in the bag was often drawn upon to relieve the poor; and when something that Judas did not think essential was bought, he would say, Why is this waste? why was not the cost of this put into the bag that I carry for the poor? Now the act of Mary was in such marked contrast to his selfishness that he was put to shame; and according to his custom, he sought to assign a worthy motive for his objection to her gift. Turning to the disciples, he asked, “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.” Judas had no heart for the poor. Had Mary's ointment been sold, and the proceeds fallen into his possession, the poor would have received no benefit. DA 559.2

Judas had a high opinion of his own executive ability. As a financier he thought himself greatly superior to his fellow disciples, and he had led them to regard him in the same light. He had gained their confidence, and had a strong influence over them. His professed sympathy for the poor deceived them, and his artful insinuation caused them to look distrustfully upon Mary's devotion. The murmur passed round the table, “To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.” DA 559.3

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5 (EGW), 1101

Virtually Caiaphas was no high priest. He wore the priestly robes, but he had no vital connection with God. He was uncircumcised in heart. Proud and overbearing, he proved his unworthiness ever to have worn the garments of the high priest. He had no authority from heaven for occupying the position. He had not one ray of light from God to show him what the work of the priest was, or for what the office was instituted (The Review and Herald, June 12, 1900). 5BC 1101.1

6-13 (Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8). An Illustration of God's Methods—There are gifts that we rightly proportion to the character and necessities of the ones upon whom we bestow them. Not many of the poor would appreciate Mary's offering, or our Lord's sacrifice of Himself, which gift was the highest that could be given. That ointment was a symbol of the overflowing heart of the giver. It was an outward demonstration of a love fed by heavenly streams until it overflowed. And that ointment of Mary, which the disciples called waste, is repeating itself a thousand times in the susceptible hearts of others. 5BC 1101.2

The Lord God is profuse in His gifts to our world. The question may be asked, Why does the Lord show such waste, such extravagance in the multitude of His gifts that cannot be enumerated? The Lord would be so bountiful toward His human family that it cannot be said of Him that He could do more. When He gave Jesus to our world, He gave all heaven. His love is without a parallel. It did not stop short of anything.... 5BC 1101.3

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Ellen G. White
Education, 92

Jesus, seeing that to antagonize was but to harden, refrained from direct conflict. The narrowing selfishness of Judas’ life, Christ sought to heal through contact with His own self-sacrificing love. In His teaching He unfolded principles that struck at the root of the disciple's self-centered ambitions. Lesson after lesson was thus given, and many a time Judas realized that his character had been portrayed, and his sin pointed out; but he would not yield. Ed 92.1

Mercy's pleading resisted, the impulse of evil bore final sway. Judas, angered at an implied rebuke and made desperate by the disappointment of his ambitious dreams, surrendered his soul to the demon of greed and determined upon the betrayal of his Master. From the Passover chamber, the joy of Christ's presence, and the light of immortal hope, he went forth to his evil work—into the outer darkness, where hope was not. Ed 92.2

“Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray Him.” John 6:64. Yet, knowing all, He had withheld no pleading of mercy or gift of love. Ed 92.3

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