"Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in 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. Then Jesus cried out and said, 'He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him--the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak'" (John 12:42-50).
Although many of the rulers believed in Jesus, they were reluctant to acknowledge such publicly (i.e., "confess Him"). They feared the Pharisees and the threat of becoming social outcasts (cf. John 9:22). How sad it is to find some who "believe," yet lack the courage to live by their convictions! Here is convincing proof that faith alone will not save (cf. James 2:24,26). Faith blesses only when it leads its possessor to obey.
"For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God" (cf. John 5:44; Gal. 1:10). Ones such as these believe only with their heads and not with their hearts (cf. Rom. 10:10). Their hearts are already occupied with the love of praise from men.
The words in John 12:44-50 were certainly spoken by Jesus before His departure mentioned in 12:36. They are probably included to show the patient, persistent effort that Jesus had put forth to convince the unbelievers.
"He who believes in Me, believes not in Me, but in Him who sent Me" - Jesus and the Father are certainly distinguishable, but yet their relation is so close that it is impossible to genuinely believe in one and not the other. It seems that Jesus is trying to say that those who believe in Him do not have their faith grounded in Him alone, but rather, in the Father who sent Him. Similar thoughts are found elsewhere (e.g., John 5:23; 7:16; 8:42; 13:20; 14:1). To really see Jesus in His proper light is to see the Father who sent Him.
Jesus entered this world as a man to provide light (i.e., truth). To accept Him is to walk in the light, but to reject Him, as the Jews did, is to remain in darkness.
"And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world" (John 12:47; cf. 3:17). On this occasion Jesus came as a Savior for a world that was condemned in sin. However, when He returns He will do so as the Judge of all mankind (cf. Acts 17:30,31).
"He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him--the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day" - The decision one makes concerning Jesus is not without its consequences. To reject Jesus is to not receive His words obediently; such a one will be ultimately condemned by Jesus' words, the ultimate standard for judgment. There are many today who claim allegiance to Jesus, yet they do not truly receive His words (i.e., the New Testament) when it comes to such subjects as baptism for the remission of sins, wearing His name and avoiding denominationalism, worshipping in spirit and truth, etc.
"For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak" - Jesus has made this point clear on several occasions (cf. John 5:30; 7:16ff; 8:26-38). He treasured undeviating conformity to the Father's will; He is a perfect example for us in this regard (and all others). May our love be so strong that we always strive to speak and act only as the Father directs us through the divine standard (cf. I John 2:4,5; 5:3).
"And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak" - As seed planted in good soil springs forth because of the life in it, likewise Jesus knows the word of God planted in a good heart will bring forth life of the everlasting sort.