Friday, April 12, 2013

Bible Study: Meet Jesus, Son of God/Son of Man - John - Chapter 1

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the Gospel of John, although they are a bit better formatted than former efforts. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses and encourages you through this material. I’m not sure of the condition of the world at the time of this publication. But at the time of its writing, fall 2009 through late spring 2010, things are looking increasingly bleak with the economy, health care and unemployment, there is a renewal and increase of racism, and godly principles of living being disregarded, there are floods in India, earthquake and tsunami in Samoa. Are these the first stages of birth pains? The last? God only knows. And He is very busy these days. Seek His wisdom. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming to deliver His people and judge the wicked…


Take a few minutes to pray and savor chapter 1 of the book of John. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

The apostle John, one of the “Sons of Thunder”, writes this account of Jesus, focusing on what Jesus said rather than what He did. He seems to have captured the heart of Jesus. This book is written primarily for the non-believer, so it is a fantastic place to start a new believer in relationship with Him.

A Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) lecture I heard in September 2009 set the stage for the Gospel of John as jury duty for the reader. We must hear the witnesses, weigh the evidence and respond. Since this book was written primarily to the non-believer, the response is absolutely crucial.

If you’re already a believer, soak up the brilliant person of Christ that is imprinted throughout this book. If you’re not a believer, prepare to meet the King of Kings because He wants you to get to know Him.

1:1 – Compare this verse with Genesis 1:1. What similarity do you see? I noticed that both books begin the same way: “In the beginning…” What significance does this similarity indicate to you?

Imagine you’re John. Why did you begin your gospel account this way?

1:3 – Take a look at Colossians 1:16. What did Christ make?

1:6-9 – John the Baptist came to testify to the Light, Jesus, pointing men to Him.

John the Baptist is our first witness for Christ.

1:13 – born –

Not of natural descent –

Nor of human decision –

Or a husband’s will –

Born of God –

1:14 – we are saved by His grace and set free by His truth!

God moved into the neighborhood. (Beth Moore)

Christ is the tabernacle! (A Woman’s Heart – Moore)

1:16-17 – The law was a blessing from God through Moses that was made complete by the grace and truth given by Christ.

1:21 – see Deuteronomy 18, particularly v. 15 for a description of the Prophet.

If John wasn’t the Prophet, who was?

1:24-25 – Who was baptizing? Did the Pharisees believe that only the Christ, Elijah and the Prophet would baptize? Why?

1:30 – “because he was before me” – John is acknowledging Jesus’ deity, His God-hood. If you recall, John was actually born first.

1:31 – Is John saying he didn’t realize that his cousin was the Christ?

1:35-47 – Who pointed you to Jesus? Take a few minutes to thank the Lord for them, then contact them (if you can) to say thank you.

1:35-41 – Andrew and John are the second and third witnesses for Christ.

1:38 – When Jesus asked Andrew and John what they wanted, they asked where He was staying. What a ridiculous reply! Until you read v. 41, which says the first thing Andrew did was run and get Peter. I’m convinced that Andrew asked this question because he wanted to get Peter and meet Jesus where He was staying. So, why did Jesus have Andrew follow Him rather than answer his question? My thought is that the Lord wanted time with Andrew, no shortcuts, no rushed encounters. He wanted Andrew to Himself before Peter joined the group. Each of us is that important to Him.

1:40-42 – See Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:2-11. What similarities exist in these parallel accounts? What additional information do you glean from these passages? What does this tell you about the perspective of the writer, John? How does this knowledge enhance your understanding of the event?

1:43-45 – Philip is the fourth witness for Christ.

1:46-49 – Nathanael is the fifth witness for Christ.

1:47 – When Jesus calls Nathanael “a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false”, He is giving a great compliment. He is saying that Nathanael is a “what you see is what you get” kind of guy! He possesses no deceit or hidden agenda. (When the Good News Gets Even Better – Hayden, p.42)

Some scholars believe that Nathanael was meditating on the story of Jacob, the deceitful birthright thief, adding another dimension to Jesus’ comment about there being nothing false in Nathanael.

Also, some fig trees’ branches grew in weeping fashion to the ground, completely shrouding those sitting underneath them. This is thought to be the sort of tree Nathanael sat under, adding a further mystical quality to Jesus’ statement that He saw Nathanael under the fig tree.

1:51 – Jacob’s ladder. See Genesis 28:12. Jesus is the ladder between heaven and earth. Do you think Jesus used this reference because it was the story that Nathanael was meditating on under the fig tree?

• The book of John is called the “Love Gospel”. How have you seen God’s love at work in this chapter of scripture and how will you apply it to your life this week?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?

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