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37 But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him,

This section theologically transitions from Jesus’ plan for Israel to His twelve disciples and their future ministry.

The Holy Spirit through John now provided an overview of the nation Israel’s response to Jesus (12:37-43). They outright rejected His message in unbelief. Note emphasis on unbelief in this section:

“they still did not believe in him,” 12:37

“they could not believe,” 12:39

37 But although He had done so many signs before them,

The Greek indicates that both the character and number of miracles Jesus performed were powerful proofs for His claim to be the Messiah. Although Jesus performed many miracles, it was to no avail because Israel persisted in unbelief. These Jews had maximum exposure to the gospel, yet they still rejected the message of Jesus. He did not measure up to their preconceived idea of what the Messiah should be.

they did not believe in Him,

The record of seven “signs” or miracles in the gospel of John should have been enough for the Jews to believe on Jesus. However, they progressively hardened their unbelief. They were no different than their forefathers in the wilderness. The wilderness crowd calloused themselves toward God, and the same went for Israel in Jesus’ day. They wanted a temporal ruler or King, not a genuine Messiah, to save them from their present circumstances.


The predominance of unbelief today should not surprise us if people in Christ’s day also rejected His message.


It is characteristic of unbelievers to reject the Bible and the power of God. The gospel of John showed God’s power in the miracles of Christ (“signs”).

The prevalence of unbelief in our day should not surprise us. Mankind is fallen, with a corrupt nature. Unless God supernaturally draws people to Himself, and they open themselves to His initiative, most will remain entrenched in unbelief. No amount of evidence will change the thinking of some people, especially those who have reached a point of hardness toward God.