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John 12:38

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

That the saying of Esaias - Or, Thus the word of Isaiah was fulfilled. So I think ἱνα (commonly rendered that) should be translated. For it certainly does not mean the end the Pharisees had in view by not believing; nor the end which the prophet had in view in predicting the incredulity of the Jews; but simply, such a thing was spoken by the prophet, concerning the Jews of his own time, and it had its literal fulfillment in those of our Lord's time.

Our report - The testimony of the prophets, concerning the person, office, sufferings, death, and sacrifice of the Messiah. See Isaiah 53:1, etc.

The arm of the Lord - The power, strength, and miracles of Christ.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

The saying - The word of Isaiah, or that which Isaiah predicted. This occurs in Isaiah 53:1.

Might be fulfilled - That the same effect should occur which occurred in the time of Isaiah. This does not mean that the Pharisees rejected Christ in order that the prophecy of Isaiah should be fulfilled, but that by their rejection of him the same thing had occurred which took place in the time of Isaiah. His message was despised by the nation, and he himself put to death. And it was also true - by the same causes, by the same nation that the same gospel message was rejected by the Jews in the time of Christ. The same language of the prophet would express both events, and no doubt it was intended by the Holy Spirit to mark both events. In this way it was completely fulfilled. See the notes at Isaiah 53:1.

Our report - Literally, by report is meant “what is heard.” Our speech, our message. That is, few or none have received the message. The form of the question is an emphatic way of saying that it was rejected.

The arm of the Lord - The arm is a symbol of power, as it is the instrument by which we execute our purposes. It is put for the power of God, Isaiah 51:9; Isaiah 52:10. Thus, he is said to have brought out the children of Israel from Egypt with a high arm that is, with great power. It hence means God‘s power in defending his people, in overcoming his enemies, and in saving the soul. In this place it clearly denotes the power displayed by the miracles of Christ.

Revealed - Made known, seen, understood. Though the power of God was displayed, yet the people did not see and understand it.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Observe the method of conversion implied here. Sinners are brought to see the reality of Divine things, and to have some knowledge of them. To be converted, and truly turned from sin to Christ, as their Happiness and Portion. God will heal them, will justify and sanctify them; will pardon their sins, which are as bleeding wounds, and mortify their corruptions, which are as lurking diseases. See the power of the world in smothering convictions, from regard to the applause or censure of men. Love of the praise of men, as a by-end in that which is good, will make a man a hypocrite when religion is in fashion, and credit is to be got by it; and love of the praise of men, as a base principle in that which is evil, will make a man an apostate, when religion is in disgrace, and credit is to be lost for it.
Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 621-6

This chapter is based on John 12:20-42.

“And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: the same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.” DA 621.1

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