John: Day 16

The Father’s Son


Today's Text: John 12:1-50, Psalm 118:25-26, Isaiah 6:10, Isaiah 53:1

Text: John 12:1-50, Psalm 118:25-26, Isaiah 6:10, Isaiah 53:1

There’s an old church joke that the answer to every question in Sunday school is “Jesus.” As I am trying to teach my boys the gospel, I’ve realized how true this is. The answer to almost every major question really is Jesus.

Unfortunately, one of my sons has a terrible time remembering names. Our conversations might go a little something like this:

Me: Who came to save us?
My boy: God!

Me: Who died on the cross for our sins?
My boy: God!

Me: And what’s God’s other name?
My boy: [Silence]

I’m constantly wondering how he can possibly forget the Great Sunday School Answer. But when I read through John chapter 12, I’m see he’s not the only one.

Modern culture often wants to distance Jesus from God, to turn Jesus into a great teacher or a prophet. If He were just a good teacher, a great man—anything but the Son of God, and God incarnate—then we could pick and choose from what He said. We wouldn’t have to submit to Him.

When we read the New Testament we see this is not just a figment of modern culture; it was a part of first-century culture, too. The religious elite attacked Jesus for blasphemy because they understood that He was claiming to be God. They knew what Jesus meant when He said He was God’s “only Son” (John 3:16), doing His Father’s will (John 6:38). Up until that point, no one else would have dared to call God their “Father” (John 5:18).

In this chapter, we again see Jesus fulfilling His calling as the Son of God: speaking life to all who will listen, shining light in the darkness, and bringing glory to God the Father. We even catch a glimpse of the relationship between God the Father and God the Son, as Jesus wrestles with what’s to come:

“Now My soul is troubled. What should I say—Father, save Me from this hour? But that is why I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name!” 

Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again!” (John 12:27-28).

It is a precious insight into the Trinity, our relational God. He has come at great cost to Himself in order to seek relationship with us, offering us the resurrection and the life. 

No wonder Mary was led to worship Him. No wonder the Greeks wanted to see Jesus (John 12:20). No wonder the crowd sang, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:39). God—Jesus—truly is the answer to our most important questions, the remedy for our greatest fears.


Carolyn Denny dabbled in the Navy, politics, business, and publishing before she discovered her true calling: household management (or so it seems as she raises three boys and a baby girl with her husband, Josh). In those precious moments tucked between bedtimes and carpools, Carolyn loves to teach the Bible and write about how God shows up in her messy world. She and her family live in Nashville, Tennessee.

  • Danya Ho

    He has come at great cost to Himself in order to seek relationship with us, offering us the resurrection and the life.

  • I would love if you ladies would pray for me and some friends in my class. I have felt a lot of fear, over talking about some touchy & controversial topics in my classes. I know I need to not walk in fear, it has come up many times this week even, but I do. Please pray God fills my lungs and mouth with words if I must speak, and to admit and surrender fear of others, rejection and ridicule. I need him to do this work, because I cannot.

    • Anna

      Praying for you. Remember “The Lord gives His people strength, The Lord blesses His people with peace.” May you know that strength and peace deeply.

    • Danya Ho

      For He has not given you a spirit of timidity nor of fear but of boldness and of a sound mind. Lord I bow before you and ask that you will give Kersti your wisdom , your grace your boldness in love to speak for you. Please help her to love her class mates as you love us even when we are so unlovely and unloveable.

  • I love your writing, Carolyn, and even better, your biography is preciously hilarious! Thank you for shedding light on this, but what about the Holy Spirit? I often have a hard time acknowledging the Holy Spirit in my rest time, but I know when He shows up…when I’m calm, focused, need directing, recalling scripture, but I only call on Him occasionally. I don’t want to forget about Him, because He’s part of the Trinity. How to keep the Holy Spirit present in my thoughts, words, and actions like when I’m focused on Jesus? Am I viewing the Holy Spirit incorrectly? Anything I should be doing that I’m not doing right in my prayer life? Any tips? Anyone who answers would be very welcome to do so.

    • Lynne

      Hi Ginger. I always feel the same way about the Holy Spirit too. I never feel that I give Him enough praise but I think that is how He like it. He is the one who points us to Jesus and God the father. When we pray the Bible says that there is one mediator between God and man and it’s the man Christ Jesus. I think by honoring Jesus that the Holy Spirit is honored. He’s not like us where we need praise to feel good. He is confident in his position in the trinity. I think. This is just my opinion but I hope it helps.

    • Leslie

      So understand where you’re coming from but agree with Lynne. I think we should not put so much pressure on ourselves to “do it the right way”. The Lord knows your heart and knows your intentions.

    • Zoe

      They are all one. I had a hard time conceptualizing this. But the Holy Spirit is the way Jesus works in the world since His resurrection. I find them synonymous. When I praise Jesus or God, I feel that the whole trinity is acknowledged. Pray about it. Ask the Spirit for understanding. Ask for guidance. Your prayer will not go unanswered.

  • Gabriela


  • I have never paid much attention to v17 until today. “The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness.” But… it really jumped off the screen at me today. Why am I such a poor witness of the great things I have seen Him do in my own life? He has healed me of a medical condition, restored my marriage, and rescued me from a bad lifestyle. Although I gave Him praise at the time, I need to CONTINUE to bear witness to his power. Praying that I am thankful each day and not afraid to speak out about what He has done for me.

    • Jenn

      This is an awesome reminder! So many things in life to be grateful for and to continue to thank God for.

    • Michele

      Amen sister! Thank you for the humbling reminder.

    • Jordan

      I just thought of this today too, in a slightly different form.. Why do I not run to God with praise more often. It is only with him that I have ”victories” in this life, so why am I not shouting praise every chance I get?

    • Leslie

      Yes, agreed. We all do this. It’s almost like we’re the crowd that is constantly asking for yet another miracle. We become numb almost. We need to use our transformation as the witnessing tool. These miracles are the evidence the Lord gives us to witness. Let us all use these things to shout what our great God has done and continues to do in our lives!

  • WOW!
    “Modern culture often wants to distance Jesus from God, to turn Jesus into a great teacher or a prophet. If He were just a good teacher, a great man—anything but the Son of God, and God incarnate—then we could pick and choose from what He said. We wouldn’t have to submit to Him.” Suddenly it makes sense! Recommitting myself today to praying for those who find themselves unable to submit to our Lord and Creator (yet!).

  • Katalina

    I remember how much I struggled in the past with so many questions and how to get through my darkest moments. I suffered for years because even though I had loving parents and a mother who prayed day and night for God to save her daughter, I felt like I had no way out. I became my own worst enemy…. until I realized God was the One I needed to break free. He was with me all along but I left Him in the background of my life when He should’ve been front and center. He saved my life and I want Him to use me so I can helo Him save someone else. He is the answer to all my questions, all my fears, my doubts, my blessings, my happiness. He is endless and I love Him so much!

    • Leslie

      So thankful for mommas that pray fervently for their lost kiddos. This is certainly encouraging to me as I have a prodigal son. Trusting the Lord will bring him back…

      • Kylee

        PRAYING for your beloved prodigal, Leslie — he is important to God, too!

  • He is the answer!

  • “now the prince of this world will be driven out” These words need to be engraved in my thought life,daily. As I often attempt to stand strong in spiritual warfare, this is the truth that needs to be written on my sword of faith. It,the works of darkenss have already been destroyed!!!
    The Lord has fiven me a new fevelation,recently,it is the picture of an anchor with the word Hope written on it.
    Jesus, I bless your name this morning for this incredible gift of eternal life and freedom to walk with peace in my heart!

  • Diane Huntsman

    Once again I am humbled and forced to do introspection.. as I see Judas attempt to cover his true heart with false statements, pretending to care about the poor when he wanted the money for himself.. how often to I try to fool Jesus with the “right talk”when my heart is in the wrong place.. I may fool myself and even others with just the right “verbiage” but Jesus knows my heart and He reveals my motives behind what I spew out.. it doesn’t matter how wonderful my words my sound, it matters what my heart is.. Jesus, help me not try to fool You or anyone else including myself with dishonest speech.. and may my heart be so in love with You that whatever comes out of me is sincere and honoring of You.. may I not be blinded by my own foolish heart.

    • Bonnie


    • Christine Marie

      Yes indeed. What a great prayer.

    • Taylor


    • Emily

      Amen, amen, amen! I did not even think of this that way. I was quick to judge Judas by his heart, when I have done the SAME exact thing. I pray that we will come to Jesus with a transparent heart and that he will transform our hearts desires and prayers into ones that glorify him!

    • Heather Fringer

      Diane this is perfect! Thank you! Do you mind if I borrow this prayer for myself? :)

    • Leslie

      Yes! Thank you for this prayer! It is so easy for us to read these passages and judge those that didn’t believe. But the Lord meant these words for me…it hurts, it cuts, but it transforms. So thankful for these words that reveal my wickedness and yet so thankful for God’s grace that changes me to be more like his son.

  • Diane Huntsman

    It is a precious insight into the Trinity, our relational God. He has come at great cost to Himself in order to seek relationship with us, offering us the resurrection and the life.

  • Could someone explain John 12:40 to me? I know it was referencing Isaiah 6:10, but I’m not sure what they mean by it. Why would He have blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts?

    • Diane

      Hi Sarah! Look back at v. 37, this was why He hardened that particular group of people.:))

      • JoAnn

        So it was to fulfill a prophesy? Does it mean only those truly seeking Him could “see?” I am in another study of Proverbs and Proverbs 2:1-6 says you must cry out for discernment and seek wisdom like treasure…

        Wow, some will simply never see…

    • Jessica

      Hi Sarah. I don’t have the answer you are looking for, but I did want to share what I do when I come across tough scripture like this. I reaffirm the things about God that I know to be true: He loves us (John 3:16, Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:9-11, Zeph 3:17- the list goes on and on), He is just (Isaiah 30:18, Duet 32:4), that His ways might not always make sense to me, but I can trust in His goodness (Isaiah 55:9, Psalm 136:1, Psalm 86:5), He hears those who call on Him and will not turn them away (John 6:37, Romans 10:9), and I can believe all these things because God’s promises are true (2 Cor 1:20).
      I have several questions like this for God: why do bad things happen, why did He create Adam and Eve knowing that they would sin and cause mankind to be separated from him, why does He harden some hearts of people, why, why, why? And the answer that keeps coming back to me is this: It’s all for the Glory of God. It’s much like God’s response to Job. My personal understanding of all the moving parts of the universe is so incredibly, incredibly small. I can barely see the path that’s immediately in front of me, let alone what tomorrow will bring. But I can trust in the One who does know such things. I will sing His praises, and be thankful of His calling on my heart.

      • Sarah

        Thank you for this!! This was really encouraging and I’m going to write this in my journal. :)

      • Leslie

        Wow, Jessica! You really hit the nail on the head! Thank you so much for your insight!

  • Caroline

    How beautifully written. I love that God seeks US. That he died for US. Such a beautiful and humbling reflection

  • I was reading the message translation this morning and the end of the chapter really showed Christ’s heart to me. Vs 47-50 “I did not come to reject the world but to save it….The Father who sent me gave me orders, told me what to say and how to say it. And I know exactly what his command produces: real and eternal life.” I think a lot of non-believers feel rejected by the church, and not only is that heart breaking, it’s the very opposite of His message. He came to save and gave His commands not to give us a limited life—but a real and eternal life. I pray that I reflect His mercy and message to those who need it. Amen

  • I think what strikes me most in this reading is how *human* Jesus is. As he comes to realize his time is coming to an end, he is uncomfortable and upset but continues to praise the name of his Father. I think a lot of times we can get caught up in how perfect Christ was and feel like he can’t relate to our situations – but he came to Earth to live in flesh and then gave that up all for us! He still had emotions and hardships – but he continued to praise the name of God. I am humbled and forever thankful for the sacrifice of Christ’s life, death and ultimately resurrection. He as one of us, gave up everything so that we may be saved. Sisters I hope we are all covered in the beauty of our Father’s grace this and use it to spread the eternal love of the Kingdom. Much love to you all!

  • It really blows my mind that the leaders could recognize that Jesus was sent from God but alas our hearts are selfish. This weekend we had a worship service to honor my mom because she passed away a week ago today. My mom made a point to use ever iota of her life as an act of worship to God and I knew that is what she wanted for her funeral. That is my prayer for my life, the life of my husband, my daughter and those who come to our Bible study, that we would live fearlessly. After all, he did not come to judge us but those who do not accept will be judged. Hosanna in the highest!

    • Heather (MNmomma)

      So very sorry for your loss Mandy… sounds like your Mom was a pretty amazing lady! Prayers over your family <3

      • DebbieinAZ

        What a beautiful way to celebrate the life of a godly woman! My prayers are with you and your family as you go through this time of loss. May God give you peace.

    • cj8of8

      I’m so so sorry for your loss Mandy. Prayerful for you and your family. Jesus, please protect and keep all your faithful so that they come to see you in a new and wondrous way. What shall we say then, save us from this hour? Father, glorify your name!
      Hugs sister.

      • Sandy W.

        So sorry for your loss Mandy. Your mother’s life is a beautiful testimony. Keeping you and your family in my prayers

      • Clara

        That’s cleared my thoughts. Thanks for coutgibntinr.

  • Sarah_Joy

    I sense that often I know about Jesus more than I KNOW him and have a true relationship with him. Am I seeing and not believing?

    Give me faith to trust what You say. That you’re good and your love is great. I’m broken inside. I give you my life.

    • Candy

      Hi Sarah_Joy,
      Jesus wants to have that kind of relationship with you too! Just keep studying the scriptures and He will speak to your heart!

    • Heather Fringer

      Sarah, I know exactly what you mean. I study scripture, do my daily readings and am getting better with prayer plus attend and LOVE church and still don’t have near that connection with God that most do. That’s something that I dream of! Hearing his voice. But one day I heard on the radio that He doesn’t always speak to each person in the same way. I listen to Word Fm a lot and sometimes a song will come on that I just need to hear and it will play every time that I turn on that radio that day and I take that as God speaking to me! Like, “okay God, I get it!” lol I hope this helps somewhat!

      • Leslie

        Don’t compare your faith with what you think others’ faith looks like. Trust and grow your own relationship with him. Heard a great line once and it truly applies to this and many other areas of life: comparison is the thief of joy. Walk in the joy that you have a relationship with the almighty God!

  • The one thing that stood out to me this morning is how many times Jesus repeats that he is the light. That the light is here to save the people from eternal darkness. I so often hear this that I don’t stop to think about what it means anymore. As I pause to reflect, I think of all the ways Jesus is the light. Jesus is the light so we don’t feel alone in a world full of darkness. Jesus leads us out of the darkness when we follow his light. Jesus illuminates our life, all we have to do is ask. This is what will always amaze me. We have this mighty and powerful God who is urning for a relationship with us. HE wants to have a relationship with a sinner like me. He is patiently waiting for me to start the conversation.

  • churchmouse

    It all comes down to this : Do I believe He is Who He says He is? Based on my answer to that question : how then shall I live? I fully own the consequences of my answers.

    • Brandi

      I love this! Thank you!

    • Naomi LaBoo


    • Leslie

      Oh so true! I think to all the things the world is throwing at us these days…politics, same sex marriage, divorce being rampant, the list is endless. But the bottom line to all these divisive issues is exactly that…do I really believe what Jesus says is true? When I believe then I don’t have to fear, I don’t have to doubt, I can walk in trust.

  • SRT Sisters, please pray for me today. I am a high school art teacher (in a public school) and we are starting a new semester today – 91 new students!! Besides just the logistics of having 91 students during the day is my desire to really, really love them the way the Jesus loves me. So many times in John we have read Jesus’ description of Himself as light. That’s what I want to be for these kiddos – I want them to see Jesus in me. I want them to hear Jesus when I speak. I want them to feel the love of Jesus when they walk into my classroom. I don’t just want to teach them about art, I want them to learn about the God who created art, who created creativity!
    Life is chaotic and life with teenagers is like chaos on crack. But, when they walk into my room I want the peace of God and the Spirit of God to feel that space.
    Thank you for your prayers.

    • Amy

      As the mom of 2 teenagers, this meant so much to me. Praying for your semester to be the best one yet!

    • churchmouse

      All those things you desire for your students, God desires also. Success is guaranteed. You will plant the seeds. Thankful you are there.

    • Alexandra

      Love this Kathy! I echo your same feelings and desires, except I teach early childhood. Sometimes our days are such a blur with 15 four-year-olds that I feel like there’s no time to do anything more than “put out fires”. But, they came to my mind while I was reading too and I just want to love them and be a safe haven for them.

    • Kelsie

      As a fellow teacher, I pray the same prayer. Remember Kathy, if things get hairy today, find your strength and grace in Jesus!

    • Jonelle Wuttke

      Praying that all of us treat all those we encounter today with this a Spirit of light. Your heart will shine through in your classroom. Be blessed.

    • Laura Andersen

      Praying for you Kathy! This is my prayer for my middle school students as well!

    • Sandy

      Praying every corner of your classroom be filled with His Spirit…that it is undeniable and palpable! May they leave your classroom every day in a wake of joy and love as you teach them and as you represent Jesus to them through your actions.

    • Lynne

      Kathy, I am praying for you. Thank you SRT sisters for being there for each other.

    • Maggie

      Praying the blood of Jesus over each student you teach!

    • Leslie

      I’m behind in my reading but am so thankful for Christian teachers in a public school. You ARE a light and I am praying for you. Thank you for your obedience to shine…

  • Elisabeth7291

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

    This got me this morning. Lord, I confess this is my heart. Forgive me & train my heart to want more of you.

  • Jesus is the center

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