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John 12 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Jesus in Bethany With His Friends

12 Six days before the Passover festival, Jesus went to Bethany. That is where Lazarus lived, the man Jesus raised from death. There they had a dinner for Jesus. Martha served the food, and Lazarus was one of the people eating with Jesus. Mary brought in a pint[a] of expensive perfume made of pure nard. She poured the perfume on Jesus’ feet. Then she wiped his feet with her hair. And the sweet smell from the perfume filled the whole house.

Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ followers, was there—the one who would later hand Jesus over to his enemies. Judas said, “That perfume was worth a full year’s pay.[b] It should have been sold, and the money should have been given to the poor people.” But Judas did not really care about the poor. He said this because he was a thief. He was the one who kept the moneybag for the group of followers. And he often stole money from the bag.

Jesus answered, “Don’t stop her. It was right for her to save this perfume for today—the day for me to be prepared for burial. You will always have those who are poor with you.[c] But you will not always have me.”

The Plot Against Lazarus

Many of the Jews heard that Jesus was in Bethany, so they went there to see him. They also went there to see Lazarus, the one Jesus raised from death. 10 So the leading priests made plans to kill Lazarus too. 11 Because of him, many Jews were leaving them and believing in Jesus. That is why they wanted to kill Lazarus too.

Jesus Enters Jerusalem Like a King

12 The next day the people in Jerusalem heard that Jesus was coming there. These were the crowds of people who had come to the Passover festival. 13 They took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Jesus. They shouted,

“‘Praise[d] Him!’
    ‘Welcome! God bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’

God bless the King of Israel!”

14 Jesus found a donkey and rode on it, as the Scriptures say,

15 “Do not be afraid, people of Zion[e]!
    Look! Your king is coming.
    He is riding on a young donkey.”

16 The followers of Jesus did not understand at that time what was happening. But after he was raised to glory, they understood that this was written about him. Then they remembered that they had done these things for him.

17 There were many people with Jesus when he raised Lazarus from death and told him to come out of the tomb. Now they were telling others about what Jesus did. 18 That’s why so many people went out to meet him—because they had heard about this miraculous sign he did. 19 So the Pharisees said to each other, “Look! Our plan is not working. The people are all following him!”

Jesus Talks About Life and Death

20 There were some Greeks there too. These were some of the people who went to Jerusalem to worship at the Passover festival. 21 They went to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee. They said, “Sir, we want to meet Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew. Then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.

23 Jesus said to them, “The time has come for the Son of Man to receive his glory. 24 It is a fact that a grain of wheat must fall to the ground and die before it can grow and produce much more wheat. If it never dies, it will never be more than a single seed. 25 Whoever loves the life they have now will lose it. But whoever is willing to give up their life in this world will keep it. They will have eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me. My servants must be with me everywhere I am. My Father will give honor to anyone who serves me.

Jesus Talks About His Death

27 “Now I am very troubled. What should I say? Should I say, ‘Father save me from this time of suffering’? No, I came to this time so that I could suffer. 28 Father, do what will bring you glory!”

Then a voice came from heaven, “I have already brought glory to myself. I will do it again.”

29 The people standing there heard the voice. They said it was thunder.

But others said, “An angel spoke to him!”

30 Jesus said, “That voice was for you and not for me. 31 Now is the time for the world to be judged. Now the ruler of this world will be thrown out. 32 I will be lifted up[f] from the earth. When that happens, I will draw all people to myself.” 33 Jesus said this to show how he would die.

34 The people said, “But our law says that the Messiah will live forever. So why do you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”

35 Then Jesus said, “The light[g] will be with you for only a short time more. So walk while you have the light. Then the darkness will not catch you. People who walk in the darkness don’t know where they are going. 36 So put your trust in the light while you still have it. Then you will be children of light.” When Jesus finished saying these things, he went away to a place where the people could not find him.

Some Jews Refuse to Believe in Jesus

37 The people saw all these miraculous signs Jesus did, but they still did not believe in him. 38 This was to give full meaning to what Isaiah the prophet said:

“Lord, who believed what we told them?
    Who has seen the Lord’s power?”

39 This is why the people could not believe. Because Isaiah also said,

40 “God made the people blind.
    He closed their minds.
He did this so that they would not see with their eyes
    and understand with their minds.
He did it so that they would not turn
    and be healed.”

41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ divine greatness. So he spoke about him.

42 But many people believed in Jesus. Even many of the Jewish leaders believed in him, but they were afraid of the Pharisees, so they did not say openly that they believed. They were afraid they would be ordered to stay out of the synagogue. 43 They loved praise from people more than praise from God.

Jesus’ Teaching Will Judge People

44 Then Jesus said loudly, “Everyone who believes in me is really believing in the one who sent me. 45 Everyone who sees me is really seeing the one who sent me. 46 I came into this world as a light. I came so that everyone who believes in me will not stay in darkness.

47 “I did not come into the world to judge people. I came to save the people in the world. So I am not the one who judges those who hear my teaching and do not obey. 48 But there is a judge for all those who refuse to believe in me and do not accept what I say. The message I have spoken will judge them on the last day. 49 That is because what I taught was not from myself. The Father who sent me told me what to say and what to teach. 50 And I know that whatever he says to do will bring eternal life. So the things I say are exactly what the Father told me to say.”


  1. John 12:3 pint Literally, “ litra,” a Roman pound, equal to 327 grams (11.5 ounces).
  2. John 12:5 a full year’s pay Literally, “300 denarii.” One Roman denarius, a silver coin, was the average pay for one day’s work.
  3. John 12:8 You will … with you See Deut. 15:11.
  4. John 12:13 Praise Literally, “Hosanna,” a Hebrew word used in praying to God for help. Here, it was probably a shout of celebration used in praising God or his Messiah.
  5. John 12:15 people of Zion Literally, “daughter of Zion,” meaning the city of Jerusalem. See “Zion” in the Word List.
  6. John 12:32 lifted up Meaning to be nailed to a cross and “lifted up” on it to die. It may also have a second meaning: to be “lifted up” from death to heaven. Also in verse 34.
  7. John 12:35 light This means Christ, as in Jn. 1:5-9. Also, it is a symbol of goodness and truth, qualities associated with Christ and his kingdom.
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International

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