John 12:1-3 Jesus returns to the home of Mary and Martha
"On another occasion both Mary and Martha ministered to Jesus' temporal needs. These 'former-day Saints' were dedicated homemakers. Relief Society General President Barbara Winder states that 'every woman is a homemaker. ... There is an art to being a homemaker. For ourselves and for our families, it is important that we have a sanctuary-a place of refuge away from the world where we feel comfortable and where, if others come, they, too, can feel comfortable.' (Ensign, March 1986, p. 20.)
"Jesus apparently felt comfortable in this home in Bethany. He chose to be there the last week of his mortal existence. It seems that both Mary and Martha prepared the food this time; Martha again served Jesus, and also Lazarus, who sat at the table with him. It was customary in those days to care for the feet of travelers, and since Jesus had journeyed from the wilderness, Mary saw to his comfort by anointing his feet with a costly ointment. (See John 12:3.)" (Evelyn T Marshall, "Mary and Martha-Faithful Sisters, Devoted Disciples," Ensign, Jan. 1987, 30)
John 12:3 Mary anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair
"There are several incidents when the Savior was a guest at dinner and an uninvited person approached him. One of the best known occurred at the home of Simon the Pharisee. (See Luke 7:36-50.) During the dinner, a woman whom Simon knew was a sinner approached the Savior, carrying an alabaster box of ointment, and 'began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.' (Luke 7:38.)
"...In a similar incident six days before the last Passover of the Savior's life, Mary the sister of Martha also anointed the Savior's feet with costly oil and wiped them with her hair. Judas Iscariot objected, but the Lord declared, 'Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept' the oil. (See John 12:1-9.) In the two cases, the women's actions fit the general custom of anointing guests of honor, but the differences from the traditional approach-anointing the feet instead of the head and wiping them with hair instead of cloth-showed unusually deep respect, honor, and love." (Richard D. Draper, "Home Life at the Time of Christ," Ensign, Sept. 1987, 58-59)
James E. Talmage
"To anoint the head of a guest with ordinary oil was to do him honor; to anoint his feet also was to show unusual and signal regard; but the anointing of head and feet with spikenard, and in such abundance, was an act of reverential homage rarely rendered even to kings. Mary's act was an expression of adoration; it was the fragrant outwelling of a heart overflowing with worship and affection." (Jesus the Christ, p. 512.)
John 12:6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag
David O. McKay
"The dishonest man brings only misery into the world. Look what Judas brought upon himself by not being true! He associated with his Lord and heard the divine truths from his Master's lips. It may be that once he felt in his heart the truth, but he let outside influences come upon him. He let his appetite for greed lead him into dishonesty.
"Following that prompting, he opposed the work of the Master, found fault with conditions around him. Six days before the passover, Mary, out of the great love in her heart, anointed Jesus with costly oils. Who was it that found fault? Not the honest man in whose heart was the truth; but Judas. And even in his faultfinding, you detect the lie: 'Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?' (John 12:5.)
"What a dissembler! What a hypocrite! He did not want the money for the poor, 'but,' says one of his companions, 'because he was a thief, and had the bag. . . .' (John 12:6.) He sat at meat with his Lord, near his Master's side, there in the presence of the Divine Man, pretending to be one with him-not only in friendship, but in discipleship; not only that, but a disciple in whom had been placed trust. There at the table eating bread by the side of the Master, he was still untrue and had already bargained to betray his Lord into the hands of his enemies." (Man May Know for Himself: Teachings of President David O. McKay, compiled by Clare Middlemiss [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1967], 272.)
John 12:7 against the day of my burying hath she kept this
Mary was inspired to save this very costly ointment for a special occasion. While the disciples around her were in denial about Christ's many predictions of his death, Mary seemed to have greater spiritual insight. Elder McConkie noted, "To understand this solemn scene one must both know and feel the religious significance of Mary's act. Here sat the Lord of Heaven, in the house of his friends, as the hour of his greatest trials approached...What act of love, of devotion, of adoration, of worship, could a mere mortal perform for him who is eternal?" (DNTC 1:700)
Mary probably understood that Jesus would be sacrificed. It is doubtful that she understood that exactly one week from her anointing, Jesus body would be taken from the cross and anointed again. Mary anointed Jesus' living head and feet with ointment one Friday evening, and Nicodemus anointed Jesus' dead body with myrrh and aloes the next (Jn. 19:38-39). Mary's privilege was greater, for she anointed the living Christ. She had earned the privilege with faith and devotion which had stood the test of time. Tragically, Nicodemus, one who had feared being put out of the synagogue, was only able to declare his allegiance when the Master was already gone.
John 12:8 the poor always ye have with you
Gordon B. Hinckley
"We must take care of the poor. Said the Lord, 'The poor ye have with you always.' (Mark 14:7;John 12:8.) There have always been poor and I guess there always will be poor until the Millennium. We must take care of them and we must have the facilities to do so. But we must be very careful not to overinstitutionalize that care. We must not shift the burden that we ought to carry in our own hearts of spreading kindness and love and help to others, to the institution, which at best, is impersonal.
"I do not want you to get any idea that I am saying we should not have the welfare program. We must have it. It is a part of the Lord's plan and the good it does is vast and incalculable. But I think there is a tendency among us to say, 'Oh, the Church will take care of that. I pay my fast offering. Let the Church take care of that.' We need as individuals, I think, to reach down and extend a helping hand without notice, without thanks, without expectation of anything in return, to give of that with which the Lord has so generously blessed us. (General Authority Training Meeting, April 2, 1996.)" (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 459.)
John 12:10 the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death
Neal A. Maxwell
"It shouldn't surprise us that such spiritual events are mocked and resented, though. You'll recall how the chief priests wanted to murder the restored Lazarus, who was Exhibit A of Jesus' divinity. (John 12:2-11.) A restored Lazarus threatened some then just as a restored Church threatens some now!" (We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ, 51.)
John 12:12-15 The Triumphal Entry
The triumphal entry marks the most glorious moment in Christ's ministry. But with due respect to the adoring crowd, this was a pathetic little parade compared to what the Master deserved. The King enters the city not in a chariot of fire but on the colt of an ass. The King enters the city not with a powerful army but with a few disciple-soldiers. The King enters the city not with a crown or a throne (although a thorned crown and mocking robe await him). There are no statesmen, no ambassadors, no welcoming committees. There is no fanfare, no trumpets, no decorations. He who deserved a red carpet on a street of gold received a carpet of clothes and palm leaves on a dirt path. He who deserved shouts of adoration from the whole world received praise from only one multitude-a multitude only large enough to silence the stones (Lu 19:40).
From the lowly stable to the gates of the holy city, Christ's entire life was an example of incredible meekness. His Father had planned it that way. There was to be no pomp and circumstance. The Author of the winding up scene intended to contrast this humble start with a dramatic finish. When Christ's truly triumphal entry takes place, the grandeur and awe of the scene will surpass all human understanding. The power of men to praise and glorify will be dwarfed by the heavenly celebration. There will be great signs in heaven including angelic trumpet blasts, adoring resurrected saints, and angelic announcements.
John the Revelator gives us part of the script for the dramatic climax of human history. This time, the "Hosannas" come from heaven, the king wears 'many crowns,' and the colt of an ass is exchanged for a white horse and a celestial cavalry:
John 12:16 These things understood not his disciples at the first
The apostles didn't understand that the scriptures were being fulfilled before their very eyes. Yet, after the Master was gone, they undoubtedly read the Old Testament and found passages like, 'behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt,' realizing the significance only after the fact. Reading the Old Testament is like panning for gold in a sandy stream. First, the prospector must sift through a lot of sand to find a few precious grains of gold. With experience however, he soon learns that there is much more gold than first meets the eye. Peter's ability to find the golden grains was much greater once Christ was gone. His understanding grew even before he received the gift of the Holy Ghost (see Acts 1:16-26). This is a natural and understandable phenomenon. The word of God is always easier to understand when looking back rather than looking forward. The figurative instrument called the retrospectoscope provides a much clearer picture of any scriptural passage.
Certainly, this same phenomenon will happen again. Seemingly obscure Old Testament passages will take on new meaning once the Savior comes again. Then the saints will reread their scriptures to find out that there are specific and prolific references to events dealing with the Second Coming which had been read many times but had never been appreciated. In that day, the Old Testament (especially Isaiah through Malachi) will appear to be a pan full of gold mixed with a very few specks of sand.
John 12:20-21 there were certain Greeks...saying, Sir, we would see Jesus
"Certain Greeks approached Philip one day in Jerusalem. Presumably they had heard about the Savior from others, and, impressed by what they had heard about him, they now desired to spend some time with him. They wanted to get to know him personally. 'Sir,' they requested, 'we would see Jesus.' (John 12:21.)
"Sooner or later, every person who has ever lived on earth will be given a knowledge about the divinity of Jesus Christ...But knowledge about him is not enough. The knowledge that saves comes from our personal efforts to develop a close companionship with the Lord through prayer and meditation.
"Let us, like the Greeks who approached Philip, be sufficiently motivated by what we have heard about Christ that we desire to develop a personal, intimate relationship with him. As we spend time with him through mighty prayer and thoughtful meditation, we will gain a personal knowledge of the God we worship and realize that he is indeed our dearest friend.
"As we do, we will begin to appreciate the insight of Paul, truly one of Christ's friends, who declared: 'I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things ... that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings!' (Philip. 3:8, 10.)" (David A. Whetten, "Sir, We Would See Jesus," Ensign, Oct. 1978, 5-7)
Thomas S. Monson
"'Sir, we would see Jesus.' (John 12:20-21) I feel this is your desire even today. The little children have another way of expressing the same wish. Most often they say: 'Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear; things I would ask him to tell me if he were here.' (W. H. Parker, The Children Sing, No. 65.)
"They seek after Jesus, and so it has ever been. No search is so universal. No undertaking so richly rewarding. No effort so ennobling. No purpose so divine." (Conference Report, October 1965, Afternoon Meeting 141.)
Sterling W. Sill
"'Sir, we would see Jesus.' (John 12:21.) In these five words they were also voicing an idea that has the greatest significance for every age. That is, what could be more helpful in our own days of miracles, atheism, and crime than for everyone to have an unshakable testimony of, and an inspiring personal relationship with, the divine Ruler of this earth." (Conference Report, April 1968, First Day-Morning Meeting 16.)
John 12:24 Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit
When we think of the symbolism of the Law of Moses, we think of the offerings of the firstlings of the flock. But the Law also required the firstfruits of the field. We might wonder how the firstfruits of the field are symbolic of Christ's life and mission. This passage from John helps to understand the meaning. The Lord tells us that he is likened unto a grain of wheat which must die in order to produce its fruit. Just as a seed is of no value unless it is planted, so Christ's earthly mission would have been almost meaningless without his death and atoning sacrifice. The Law states, 'ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfuits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you' (Lev. 23:10-11). Symbolically, Christ is the seed of the harvest. Before Elohim is waved the sheaf of Jesus' sacrifice, which will be accepted for us, lest we be punished for our many sins (see DC 19:5-20; 45:3-5).
The latter-day application is that we must follow the Lord's example. Just as Christ died a physical death in order to bring life to all the world, so we must die as to the carnal things of the world so that we can bring forth spiritual fruit. Elder Neal A. Maxwell noted, "our tiny cup cannot be taken from us any more than the Savior's huge one could from Him. For this reason we too have come into the world (see John 12:27)." (Men and Women of Christ, 72.) Hence the doctrine, 'whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it' (Luke 17:33.).
John 12:25 He that loveth his life shall lost it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal
Gordon B. Hinckley
"One Sunday morning several years ago, I was in the home of a stake president in a small Idaho town. Before morning prayer, the family read together a few verses of scripture. Among these were the words of Jesus as recorded in John 12:24: 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.'
"No doubt the Master was referring to his own forthcoming death, declaring that except he die his mission in life would be largely in vain. But I see in these words a further meaning. It seems to me that the Lord is saying to each of us that unless we lose ourselves in the service of others our lives are largely lived to no real purpose, for he went on to say, 'He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.' (John 12:25.) Or, as recorded in Luke, 'Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.' (Luke 17:33.) In other words, he who lives only unto himself withers and dies, while he who forgets himself in the service of others grows and blossoms in this life and in eternity.
Neal A. Maxwell
"The submission of one's will is placing on God's altar the only uniquely personal thing one has to place there. The many other things we 'give' are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. However, when we finally submit ourselves by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God's will, we will really be giving something to Him! It is the only possession which is truly ours to give. Consecration thus constitutes the only unconditional surrender which is also a total victory." (If Thou Endure It Well [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 54.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"...unconditional surrender to God is actually a personal victory! Such surrender is giving up squinting through a homemade telescope in exchange for a chance to see things as they really are. This fresh view made possible by this dispensation's flood of light is made more breathtaking by our using an eye single to the glory of God.
John 12:26 where I am, there shall also my servant be
"Christ Himself has assuredly risen from the dead; and if He has risen from the dead...the bands of the temporal death are broken that the grave has no victory. If then, the grave has no victory, those who keep the sayings of Jesus and obey His teachings have not only a promise of a resurrection from the dead, but an assurance of being admitted into His glorious kingdom; for, He Himself says, 'Where I am, there shall also my servant be.'" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 62.)
John 12:27 what shall I say? Father, save me...but for this cause came I unto this hour
Neal A. Maxwell
"When the unimaginable burden began to weigh upon Christ, it confirmed His long-held and intellectually clear understanding as to what He must now do. His working through began, and Jesus declared: 'Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour.' Then, whether in spiritual soliloquy or by way of instruction to those about Him, He observed, 'But for this cause came I unto this hour.' (John 12:27.)
"Later, in Gethsemane, the suffering Jesus began to be 'sore amazed' (Mark 14:33), or, in the Greek, 'awestruck' and 'astonished.'
"Imagine, Jehovah, the Creator of this and other worlds, 'astonished'! Jesus knew cognitively what He must do, but not experientially. He had never personally known the exquisite and exacting process of an atonement before. Thus, when the agony came in its fulness, it was so much, much worse than even He with his unique intellect had ever imagined!" ("Willing to Submit," Ensign, May 1985, 72-73)
John 12:28 I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again
Inherent in the plan from the beginning, was that Christ would give the glory to the Father (Moses 4:2). But prior to the greatest accomplishment of Christ's ministry, the Father declares that he has already glorified his name through Jesus. The Father's name was glorified when the Son created the heavens and the earth. The Father's name was glorified by the Son's dealings with the holy prophets from Adam to Nephi (3 Nephi 1:2). The Father's name was glorified by the Son's mission and testimony (John 3-12). The Father's name had already been glorified and would be glorified again and again-but the next thing on the list was the glorification from Gethsemane and Golgotha.
John 12:29 The people...said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him
J. Reuben Clark, Jr.
"He asked the Father to glorify his name, and the Father said: 'I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.' (John 12: 28) Some of the people thought it thundered-others thought an angel spoke. Jesus understood.
"There has always been to me a great lesson in that incident. We do not always understand the Savior. We do not always understand the messages from heaven. We are not in tune. When the Savior was introduced upon this continent, the Father spoke from heaven. The people heard the noise but did not understand. He spoke again, but they did not understand. Finally, the third time they heard and knew what he said: 'Behold my Beloved Son.' (3 Ne. 11:3-7)." (Conference Report, October 1950, Afternoon Meeting 101 - 102.)
John 12:31 now shall the prince of this world be cast out
The 'prince of this world' is Satan (see Jn. 14:30; 16:11; DC 127:11). Jesus says 'now' he will be cast out in the sense that Christ's atonement will deny the prince of all his power over death. In another sense, the prince of this world will be literally cast from the earth at the beginning of the Millenium (Rev. 20:1-3).
John 12:34 We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever
"Most of Jesus' contemporaries...did not expect that the Messiah would suffer and die. When Jesus taught the crowds in Jerusalem about his impending crucifixion, 'the people answered him, We have heard out of the law that [Messiah] abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up?' (John 12:34.)
"Even the Apostles were confused about the sacrificial role of the Messiah. After Peter declared that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the living God, Peter presumed to rebuke the Lord for saying that the Messiah 'must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.' (Matt. 16:16, 21-22.)" (Keith Meservy, "This Day Is This Scripture Fulfilled," Ensign, Apr. 1987, 7)
John 12:36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light
"This image [of light vs. darkness] was also used by Jesus in teaching his disciples about the imminence of his death and the preciousness of their time with him. Jesus is the Light, and to his disciples he juxtaposed the light of his presence with the darkness of his absence: 'Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.' (John 12:35-36.) We become spiritually begotten of Jesus Christ through accepting the gospel, and in this sense we become his children, or 'children of light.' Paul reminds the saints at Thessalonica that they have already accepted the gospel and received confirmation of the Holy Ghost and are therefore children of light. They have been taught the way to go and are not left wandering in darkness (5:5). In the Doctrine and Covenants these two images of the thief in the night and the children of light are also found together in a warning that the Lord has issued for the Latter-day Saints: 'The coming of the Lord draweth nigh, and it overtaketh the world as a thief in the night-therefore, gird up your loins, that you may be the children of light, and that day shall not overtake you as a thief.' (D&C 106:4-5.)" (Jo Ann H. Seely, Studies in Scripture, Vol. 6: Acts to Revelation, ed. by Jackson and Millet, 163.)
John 12:37 though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him
Dallin H. Oaks
"The viewing of signs or miracles is not a secure foundation for conversion. Scriptural history attests that people converted by signs and wonders soon forget them and again become susceptible to the lies and distortions of Satan and his servants. (Hel. 16:23; 3 Ne. 1:22,12:1) 'How long will this people provoke me?' the Lord said to Moses, 'and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs that I have shewed among them?' (Num. 14:11.)
"Jesus made a triumphal entry into Jerusalem, but John records in sadness, 'Though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him.' (John 12:37.)
"In contrast to the witness of the Spirit, which can be renewed from time to time as needed by a worthy recipient, the viewing of a sign or the experiencing of a miracle is a one-time event that will fade in the memory of its witness and can dim in its impact upon him or her. For example, as President Kimball observed, 'Oliver Cowdery saw many signs. He handled the sacred plates; saw John the Baptist; received the higher priesthood from Peter, James, and John, and was the recipient of many great miracles, and yet they could not hold him to the faith.'
"President George Q. Cannon summarized the experience: 'I do not believe that men can be convinced as they should be convinced by such manifestations. It has been a matter of remark among those who have had experience in this Church, that where men have been brought into the Church by such manifestations, it has required a constant succession of them to keep them in the Church; their faith has had to be constantly strengthened by witnessing some such manifestations; but where they have been convinced by the outpouring of the spirit of God, where their judgment has been convinced, where they have examined for themselves and become satisfied by the testimony of Jesus in answer to their prayers and to their faithful seeking unto the Lord for knowledge-where this has been the case they have been more likely to stand, more likely to endure persecution and trial than those who have been convinced through some supernatural manifestation of the character to which I have alluded.'" (The Lord's Way [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 87.)
Ezra Taft Benson
"Today some unbelievers among us spread seeds of heresy, claiming that Jesus could not cast out evil spirits and did not walk on water nor heal the sick nor miraculously feed five thousand nor calm storms nor raise the dead. These would have us believe that such claims are fantastic and that there is a natural explanation for each alleged miracle. Some have gone so far as to publish psychological explanations for His reported miracles. But Jesus' entire ministry was a mark of His divinity. He spoke as God, He acted as God, and He performed works that only God Himself can do. His works bear testimony to His divinity." (Come unto Christ [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 6.)
John 12:38 Who hath believed our report, and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed
George F. Richards
"If they believed not in Jesus who wrought such mighty miracles among them, and taught them as no other person could do, we will not be discouraged though but few believe our report." (Conference Report, April 1930, Second Day-Morning Meeting 76.)
John 12:42 the Pharisees...did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue
Neal A. Maxwell
"...will we be like those who were decent but who lacked the courage to declare openly for Jesus and who were afraid of losing their places in the synagogue? (John 12:42-43.) There are so many equivalent situations today, and some Church members are reluctant to risk losing their places! Each day we decide the degree of our discipleship. Each day we answer the question, 'Who's on the Lord's side? Who?'" ("My Servant Joseph," Ensign, May 1992, 39)
Neal A. Maxwell
"...we cannot say to the Lord that we are willing to surrender but only on our terms. There are no conditions in unconditional surrender!
"Even with all of its interior consistency, however, the plan cannot bring true happiness to anyone whose life is grossly inconsistent with its standards. It cannot fully enfold him who is too worried about being taken in. It has no place of honor for one too concerned with losing his place in the secular synagogue. (See John 12:42-43.)" ("The Great Plan of the Eternal God," Ensign, May 1984, 22)
Neal A. Maxwell
"What sort of individuals will receive eternal life? Among others, the few rich who sought the kingdom first and wanted riches only in order to do good (see Jacob 2:18-19); those few who learned not to cease hearkening to the counsels of God (see 2 Nephi 9:29); those few whose hearts were not set upon the praise and things of this world; those few who did not abuse power and authority...Missing from that glorious scene will be those who remained too concerned with keeping their places in the society's establishments and with receiving the honors and praise of men; those who neglected the poor and needy; those who gained the world but lost their souls in the process." (A Wonderful Flood of Light [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1990], 58.)
John 12:43 they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God
James E. Faust
"There are those who are bystanders. They come to a certain persuasion in their hearts and minds, but for social, family, economic, or political fears they cannot hold the ring of truth. Festus accused Paul of having so much learning that 'much learning doth make thee mad.' Paul's response was, 'For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul [some of the saddest words in all recorded sacred history], Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.' (Acts 26:24-28.)
"Almost. What a heartbreaking sound the word almost has. Almost some of our good members keep the Word of Wisdom; almost some go to priesthood meeting and sacrament meeting; almost some hold family home evening. Some of us almost, but not quite, pay our tithing.
"Since the time of the Savior, there have been those who have believed, but who for social pressures have been fearful of standing up and being counted as believers. John speaks of the chief rulers who were afraid of the social stigma: 'Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.' (John 12:42-43.)" (To Reach Even unto You [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1980], 124.)
N. Eldon Tanner
"I wonder how many of us are guilty of this or any of these, and if so, are we ready tonight to change our ways, and repent, and try to be worthy of the praise of God and his blessings rather than forget who we are and try to be popular? How important it is that we remember who we are, servants of the Lord, and then act accordingly.
"...How sad it is to see one who would rather be popular than do what he knows is right. I have in mind and remember so well a good member of the Church who was elected to the legislature but who wanted to be a good fellow, popular with everyone. He, wanting to be popular, let down his standards and took one drink at a social and then another. It happened again and again. He began drinking with the fellows at lunch and at dinner. And then, unintentionally I am sure, and contrary to his greatest desire, he became an alcoholic and lost the support of his constituency and the respect of his friends and family who loved him and sorrowed for him. He died an early death as an alcoholic. What a sad situation-all because he sought the praise of men more than the praise of God.
"...Someone said to me the other day when we were talking about this that those who constantly love the praise of men more than the praise of God are faint reflections of another-meaning Satan, of course-who in the preexistence wanted to save all mankind, but with one condition attached-that the honor and glory go to him, not to God. He was more concerned with credit than with results; glory and praise were the end in themselves. My friend went on to say that on the crucial issues, if individuals are more concerned with pleasing men than pleasing God, then they suffer from the same virus Satan had, for there are many situations where seeking the praise of men will clearly result in their hurting, not helping, mankind for they will do expedient and temporary things instead of those which are lasting and beneficial.
"How much more satisfying it is when we receive the praise of God, knowing that it is fully justified and that his love and respect for us will persist, when usually the praise of men is fleeting and most disappointing." ("For They Loved the Praise of Men More Than the Praise of God," Ensign, Nov. 1975, 75-76)
John 12:47 I came not to judge the world, but to save the world
"The time of Christ and the apostles was not to be the time of judgment, but of testing; without the opportunity of freely accepting or rejecting, there could be no judgment: 'If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now they have both seen and hated both me and my Father' (John 15:24; italics added). That was the purpose of his preaching to them-to give them the chance, not to convert them no matter what-'That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? . . .
"'Therefore they could not believe' (John 12:38-41); 'their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted' (Matthew 13:15). The world is not going to be converted, but it is going to be judged. The first act of the drama is all a preparation, not for the second act, but for the last one-the second coming and the judgment; on that time and event all the apostles fix their gaze as the reward and vindication of all they are doing. In between lies the dark and dismal interlude of the second act about which the Lord and the apostles have a great deal to say." (Mormonism and Early Christianity, 270.)
John 12:49-50 the Father...gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak
"Jesus Himself, though He was sent by His Father, and came forth from God, did not presume to teach of Himself, or perform anything pertaining to the work of the ministry, without first obtaining a revelation from the Father to direct Him. He says, 'I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, He gave me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak.' 'Whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak' (John 12:49-50). Again, He says, 'The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself, but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the work,' 'and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do' (John 14:10-31). He further states, 'I can of my own self do nothing: as I hear I judge, and my judgment is just, because I speak not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me' (Romans 5:30). Now if the great and glorious Redeemer of the world could not do anything of Himself pertaining to the ministry, but was dependent altogether upon the Father to give Him revelation and commandment what to do, and what to speak, how much more necessary it is for poor, weak and fallible man, after having been called of God, to be directed in all things pertaining to the duties of his calling by continued revelation. And yet, strange to say, the whole of Christendom have been without this essential qualification for centuries, and have still dared to act as ministers in the name of the Lord. Oh, the wickedness of apostate Christendom!" (Orson Pratt's Works [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1945], 145 - 146.)