In John 12:12 Jesus moves to enter Jerusalem (Carson 1991, 431). Jerusalem would be very crowded at this time. Josephus notes immense numbers of people coming to Passover. What appears to be an impromptu parade welcomes Jesus in the way one would welcome a king (Carson 1991, 433). Carson observes the prophetic significance of the coming of a gentle king (Carson 1991, 433). The people understand the prophecies only after the resurrection (Carson 1991, 434). The presence of the crowds does create more challenges for the leaders. They wished to arrest Jesus quietly (Carson 1991, 435). In verse 20 even some “Greeks” seek out Jesus. Carson considers who the people might have been and why they came but sees it as inconclusive (Carson 1991, 437). Jesus does not respond plainly to the requet but does point out the necessity of his death to reach all people (v. 23). Jesus’ death brings glory by giving life to others (v. 24) (Carson 1991, 438). Likewise, in verse 25, as a man gives his life away in this world, he gains it in eternity (Carson 1991, 439). This is dependent on Jesus’ work to replace our mortal life with his immortality. Carson sees that Jesus’ conflict over this prospect is real. He is troubled by death (Carson 1991, 440). Jesus’ commitment to give himself is affirmed by a heavenly voice in vv. 29-30. Carson notes that here the stage is set for Jesus’ final victory over sin and his judgment of the world (Carson 1991, 443). Carson points out that in Christ’s exaltation he will draw people to himself, not to any other thing, such as the cross (Carson 1991, 444). The difficulty at this point is the people’s expectation that the Messiah would remain forever. They did not take this to allow for death (Carson 1991, 4455). Jesus, however, in verses 35-36, refers to his death and says people must trust in him. He then leaves and hides himself. Carson sees this as a demonstration of the consequence of unbelief.
In John 12:37-50 Jesus addresses the idea of unbelief (Carson 1991, 447). Humans are responsible to believe (vv. 37-43). Yet their desire to sin forces them not to believe. Carson connects this passage with Isaiah 53 and Isaiah 6. He concludes that God’s judicial hardening of hearts is not capricious but actually confirms the people’s will (Carson 1991, 448-449). This work is alien to God’s general will (Isaiah 28:21-22) and brings about God’s redemption. Jesus states that Isaiah saw his glory. Carson ties this to the vision in Isaiah 6. It is only reasonable that others who have seen Jesus in prson would believe (Carson 1991, 450).
Carson, D. A. The Gospel According to John. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991.
Carson, D. A., and Douglas J. Moo. An Introduction to the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005.