BSF Study Questions John Lesson 25, Day 4: John 18:38-19:17

Summary of passage:  Pilate declares Jesus innocent and offers to release him as is the Jewish custom of Passover.  The Jews instead demand a rebel, Barabbas.  So Jesus was flogged and beaten and mocked.  Pilate again says Jesus is innocent.  The Jews again demand to crucify him and accuse him of disobeying their law.  Afraid of an uprising, Pilate questions Jesus again, probably looking for more reasons to set him free.  Jesus refuses to answer, saying all the power Pilate has over him is from God.

Still, Pilate tried to set Jesus free but the Jews kept insisting he die.  Finally, the Jews said Jesus is violating Roman law by claiming to be a king over Caesar.  So Pilate brings Jesus out and the people demand he die so Pilate reneges.  Jesus carries his cross to Golgotha.

Questions:

9)  Pilate ignores the truth in front of him.  Jesus explains how God is the one who has given him power over him.  Pilate chose instead to look out for himself.  He was afraid he’d lose his position.

10)  He ultimately condemns a man he knows to be innocent to death.  He’s afraid of a Jewish uprising.  He’s afraid he’ll lose his position.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Many.  Unquestioningly.

Conclusions:  Not the best questions.  We all know Pilate was a coward and caved to political pressure.  Obeying God is our job.

End Notes:  Knowing Jesus was innocent, Pilate offers to release him, calling Jesus the King of the Jews in hopes of appealing to them.  The crowd condemns Jesus as Matthew tells us at the prompting of the religious leaders (Matthew 27:20; Mark 15:11).  The name Barabbas sounds like son of the father.  The people chose the antichrist instead, a choice that is still being made every day when Jesus is rejected.

Barabbas was probably involved in the local resistance movement against the Romans and would have been viewed as a hero.  He was accused of at least three crimes: Theft (John 18:40), insurrection (Mark 15:7), and murder (Mark 15:7).

Pilate ordered Jesus to be scourged.  Most think Pilate was trying to help Jesus–that this act would satisfy the crowd.  Scourging like crucifixion was a Roman practice.  It involved a whip (picture HERE) with many leather strands, each having sharp pieces of bone or metal at the ends, pummeling the back, redoing it to raw flesh.  Many died from its use.

Scourging had three purposes. It was used to punish prisoners, and to gain confessions of crimes from prisoners. Also, in cases of crucifixion scourging was used to weaken the victim so he would die more quickly on the cross.

Jesus was humiliated and mocked.  The crown of thorns cut into his head and purple was reserved only for royalty.

As a judge Pilate had both reason and responsibility to set Jesus free with no punishment instead of the humiliation and brutality that He endured.  Pilate made five attempts to release Jesus (Luke 23:4, 15, 20, 22; John 19:4, 12, 13).

Whatever pity the crowd might have had was drowned out when the religious leaders shouted:  “Crucify!”  Pure hatred this was plain and simple.

The Jews finally admitted they wanted Jesus dead because he claimed to be God.  Pilate was afraid because he did see something in Jesus.  The Romans believed their gods came to earth in human guise all the time.  Pilate probably did believe Jesus was some sort of divine being.

Pilate questions Jesus more, hoping for something to set him free.  Unfortunately, he asks Jesus the same questions he already answers so Jesus says nothing more.

Pilate is angry Jesus won’t beg for his life or answer someone as important as him.  Pilate claims to have power but he’s at the mercy of the religious leaders and the crowd.  Jesus tells him God is in charge and there are others more guilty than you.  These are Jesus’ last words to Pilate.

Pilate panics.  His wife had told him she dreamed Jesus should be set free (Matthew 27:19-20); yet he caves to the crowd.  Pilate was a weak, unremarkable man who only had his position because he married the granddaughter of the emperor. He was scared his position would suffer if he set Jesus free.

The Lamb of God is ready for sacrifice on Passover.  Pilate is the one actually on trial.  He refuses to free an innocent man and condemns him to death.

Mark and John disagree on the time here.  It is possible it’s a copyist error or John may have been using Roman time, which means Jesus was before Pilate at 6 am and crucified at 9 am.

Again, it was Roman custom to carry the crosspiece to the place of execution.

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BSF Study Questions John Lesson 23, Day 3: John 17:6-10

Summary of passage:  Jesus says he has revealed God to the disciples.  They have obeyed him and accepted Jesus as God.  Glory comes to Jesus through them.  God has given the disciples and us to Jesus. We are His.  We will bring glory to God.

Questions:

6)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Because we are God’s gift to him (Jesus).  We have believed in Jesus. We will bring glory to Jesus.  It’s hard to internalize that I bring joy to Jesus especially when my life is wrought with sin.  It helps to know I’m on his path and doing his work.

7a)  Because they obeyed God, accepted the teaching, knew Jesus’ origin, and believed in Jesus as God’s Son.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  By following Jesus everyday in all the little things in life that add up to the big things in life.  By having faith in him.  By showing the world our faith to bring Jesus glory.

Conclusions:  Thought we could have dug a little deeper into these questions instead of focusing so much on the personal.  See End Notes for more.

End Notes: This prayer is to the disciples initially but is extended to all believers as well.  Here, Jesus is giving the disciples over to God.  Only as people see the Father at work in Jesus do they have a proper concept of God.

Manifest is a better translation that revealed in the NIV.  Jesus manifested God to his disciples in all that he did:  miracles, the way he lived, the love, the compassion, the holiness of God.  So we are to manifest God as well in all we do.

God gave the disciples to Jesus (Luke 6:12-16).  Yet they had faith in Jesus as the Savior.  Both must occur for eternal salvation.

This prayer is for the disciples.  It is the disciples who will bring the rest of us to faith.

Spurgeon says, “There is an old proverb; it is, ‘Love me, love my dog.’ It is as if the Lord Jesus so loved the Father that even such poor dogs as we are get loved by him for his Father’s sake. To the eyes of Jesus we are radiant with beauty because God hath loved us.”  Because God loves us, Jesus loves us.  And thank God for that!  He loved us enough to pay our penalty for sin.  Amazing!

Believers belong to both God and Jesus.  Everything we have belongs to God, but not everything He has belongs to us.  Anyone can say to God the Father “all mine are Yours“; but only Jesus could say “and Yours are Mine.”

Jesus is glorified in us.  Think on that a moment.  Think of our actions every day.  We must be mindful that Jesus is in us and must be glorified.  How would your actions change if you remembered that?

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 23, Day 2: John 17:1-5

Summary of passage:  Beautiful prayer of Jesus to his Father, saying the time has come to glorify Him through himself, defining eternal life as knowing God and himself, Jesus Christ.  Tearful!

Questions:

3)  The definition of glorify according to Webster’s Dictionary is:  “to make glorious by bestowing honor, praise, or admiration; to elevate to celestial glory; to light up brilliantly; to represent as glorious : extol; to cause to be or seem to be better than the actual condition; to give glory to (as in worship)”

Jesus asks God to glorify him so that He Himself would be glorified.

Glory according to Webster’s Dictionary is:  ” praise, honor, or distinction extended by common consent : renown; worshipful praise, honor, and thanksgiving; giving glory to God”.

It is time to give glory to God by bringing His plan to fruition and saving mankind for Himself.

4a)  Knowing about Jesus doesn’t mean you believe in Him.  Most people in the developed world know about Jesus.  Only those saved know who Jesus is and what he has done for them as sinners and be saved.  I know about Communism.  That doesn’t make me a communist.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  There have been signs recently in my life that time is of the essence and I need to get back to His path and quit dinkering around and being diverted by frivolous desires of my heart.  It is all about Him and I need to get on it!

5)  Before Jesus’ death, he had existed, taking a background to God.  After he was sent to die for mankind, God the Father elevated him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above all names.  All will bow in heaven and on earth before him and confess him as Lord and Savior.  He sits at God’s right hand in heaven.  God created the universe through Jesus.  He is heir to all things.  Jesus represents God’s being and radiates God’s glory.  His role in this world was amplified for humans.  Jesus was always there and important.  God just chose not to reveal this to mankind.

Conclusions:  I had missed that God made the universe through his Son!  Awesome how there are always new revelations to discover in His word.  Beautiful prayer to God.  Great questions about completing God’s work for us.

End Notes:  Commentators call this the greatest recorded prayer in the Bible.

Fun Fact:   This is the only long, continuous prayer of Jesus recorded in the Gospels.  It is sometimes called his High Priestly Prayer.

We see the nature and heart of Jesus.  This echoes the Lord’s prayer and we see what it’s like to have equals revere one another.  Amazing!

We see the customs of the time:  Jesus prayed with his eyes open towards heaven, very different from us bowing our heads today.

Jesus’ work being done on earth except to die, he prays.  Great lesson for us!  He will never again perform miracles or instruct his disciples.  He prays.  This is a victory prayer.

Note the words: Father . . . Your Son . . . Your Son . . . You. This is a prayer deep and rich with relationship. Jesus prayed with a full and deep sense of the familial relationship and the natural hierarchy or order that exists between God the Father and God the Son.  There is no Lord mentioned here.

This is often translated as “the hour has come”, which in my mind is better.  To Jesus, it is but one hour to suffer to him.  Great lesson for us who are stuck in the trenches of life’s tribulations.  It is but an hour before we will be glorified or our trials will appease.  Remember that!

Jesus is concerned for God’s glory only here.  It is the cross that brings glory to God and to Jesus.  If this doesn’t happen, then all if for naught.  God is glorified in His wisdom and power over evil.

All of our prayers need to have the desire to glorify God in them.  Are we looking for promotion so we can do God’s work?  Is it His desire or yours?

Verses 2-3:  Jesus has authority over all people (another claim to deity).  This is comforting to us as we evangelize cause Jesus is in control, not us.  With this authority, comes the authority to grant eternal life.  Jesus is God’s gift to us.  However, we are God’s gift to Jesus.  God gave Jesus US!  Powerful!

Everything Jesus did glorified the Father.  Jesus saw his work on the cross as finished.  Similarly, God sees the work in us as finished.  We just have to do it.

Jesus asks for the same glory God has.  Jesus relinquished some of this glory to accomplish his task. He asks for its return, confirming his preexistence and equality with the Father as One being.  This happens at Christ’s resurrection and exaltation at God’s right hand.

Fun Fact:  “World” occurs 18 times in this one prayer.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 22, Day 5: John 16:16-33

Summary of passage: Jesus says he is leaving, but they disciples will see him again after the Resurrection and he appears before them.. The grief will turn to joy once they realize all Jesus’ death means. When they see him again, they will know all. If you ask for things in Jesus name, God will give them whatever they ask and they will have complete joy.

You will pray in Jesus’ name.  At last, the disciples get it and Jesus rejoices.  A time will come when they will be scattered.  In Jesus, they will have peace even though in this world they will have trouble.

Questions:

11a)  If we have faith in Jesus and ask in his name, God will answer our prayers according to His will.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To do His will through my writings and my kids.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Whether to work for money in the immediate future or whether to work for Him for patience for money to come.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus has overcome Satan to rule and despite any troubles we will be with him one day.  Knowing I’m following him despite troubles is a great comfort.

Conclusions:  Personal day.  Understanding who Jesus is and belief in Him will allow God to answer all our prayers.

End Notes:  The disciples didn’t know like we do that he is about to be arrested and crucified. Jesus is telling them he will rise from the dead. This obviously would confuse anyone.

The disciples are talking among themselves, asking if anyone knows what Jesus is saying here. Jesus interrupts them to give them more clarity. He says their grief will turn to joy once all is revealed. This is true. We see no writings of regret from the apostles. They got it after all!

The disciples will have access to God through Jesus by speaking in Jesus’ name.  There will be no need for Jesus to do it for them.  They can go directly to God in prayer since they have loved him and have faith in him and God will hear them.

Our love for God is evidence that He loves us.  Jesus’ death shows God’s love and God’s love is the reason for Jesus’ death–so we can be saved.

Verse 28 is a summary of God’s love and work for us:  Jesus is God, born into this world as man, and he will die and rise again into heaven.

The disciples declare they finally get it, but Jesus warns their faith will be shaken and tested.  They will leave Jesus, but he won’t be alone–God will not abandon him (nor us) ever.  It would be God and Jesus at the cross–together forever.

He concludes his discourse with his disciples, offering them peace in Him.  It’s not a promise; we have to find it.  He offers peace with God and peace with others and peace realized through conflict and struggle, which is promised we’ll have.

Fun Fact:  Jesus speaks of his victory.  “Overcome” is used only once here but 22 times in the 1 John and Revelation.

The world conquers when it comes between you and God.  Jesus is in control.  He never abandons us.  He loves us.  He overcomes.  Be of good cheer!

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 22, Day 4: John 16:16-24

Summary of passage:  Jesus says he is leaving, but they disciples will see him again after the Resurrection and he appears before them..  The grief will turn to joy once they realize all Jesus’ death means.  When they see him again, they will know all.  If you ask for things in Jesus name, God will give them whatever they ask and they will have complete joy.

Questions:

8 )  When Jesus dies, they won’t see him.  When they die and ascend to heaven, they will see him.  More specifically, this is referring to the Resurrection and Jesus reveals himself to them.

9)  He tells them they will “weep and mourn…but their grief will turn to joy.”  He tells them they will have complete joy.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I keep asking and keep listening.  They keep searching and asking and Jesus keeps answering until they get it.  The same goes for us.  Jesus will keep responding as long as we keep seeking until we do get it.

Conclusions:  Perhaps the greatest example in history of pain and grief bringing joy.  Great lesson for us in the throes of life.

End Notes:  The disciples didn’t know like we do that he is about to be arrested and crucified.  Jesus is telling them he will rise from the dead.  This obviously would confuse anyone.

The disciples are talking among themselves, asking if anyone knows what Jesus is saying here.  Jesus interrupts them to give them more clarity.  He says their grief will turn to joy once all is revealed.  This is true.  We see no writings of regret from the apostles.  They got it after all!

The disciples will have access to God through Jesus by speaking in Jesus’ name.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 21, Day 5: 1 John 4:7-5:21

Summary of passage:  1 John 4:7-21: God is love and showed it to us by sending His Son so that we may live.  We ought to love one another.  If you love, you know God.  If you acknowledge Jesus and God’s Son, then God lives in you.  You should have no fear.

1 John 5:  To love God is to obey His commands.  Only those who believe Jesus is the Son of God will overcome this world and have eternal life.  The Spirit, the water (baptism), and the blood all testify the truth.  If we ask anything according to his will, God hears us and will answer us.  We are born of God.  He keeps us safe from the evil one.  We are God’s children.  Jesus gives us understanding.  Stay with the truth.

Questions:

12)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  He sent His Son to dies for us so that we might live.  He has given us the Holy Spirit as a guide.  He has taken away our fear.  I am more loving towards others and compassionate.  Love overflows from God’s love.

13a)  We have eternal life through faith in Jesus.  We do not continue to sin as the Holy Spirit is our guide.

b)  We do not continue to sin and are kept safe from the evil one.  We are God’s children.  Christ gives us understanding so that we may know the truth.

Conclusions:  John repeats himself here, summing up what he just said and what’s most important:  loving God and others and obeying his commands.  Jesus’ baptism, death, and Spirit testify to who he is and are a gift from God to us.

End Notes: 1 John 4:  We love one another because and only because we are loved by God.  Otherwise, we’d all hate each other.  Man is still capable of love because we are made in God’s image.  But it’s imperfect and messy like man.  The Greek says is best:  agapetoi agapomen, “those who are loved, let us love.”

When you are born of God, you have a love you didn’t have before, one you weren’t capable of.  Because it’s God’s love, not man’s, which is non-existent without God.

This is the agape love, the love without expecting anything in return.  If we want to love one another more, we need to draw closer to God.  Love is a triangle with God at the apex.

God does everything out of love.  He’s righteous and holy and just because He loves us.  He is incapable of hating.

Love is also the giving of the Father as much as it is the sacrifice of the Son.  This should read only begotten Son, indicating God and the Son are of the same substance or being.

The love of the Father takes away our sin and allows us to live.  Both are important for we still deserve death but God wants us with Him.

His love for us initiates our relationship of love with Him, our love only responds to His love for us. We can’t love God the way we should unless we are receiving and living in His love.

Love is the constant.  Wherever there is love, there is God.  This is our evidence since we cannot see God that He exists and is working in our lives.  However, God is also spirit (John 3:24), light (1 John 1:5), righteous (1 John 2:29; 3:7), holy (1 John 2:20), powerful or great (1 John 4:4), faithful (1 John 1:9), true (1 John 5:20), and just (1 John 1:9).

We know (not hope) that Jesus is in us (through the Holy Spirit) and we are in him (giving us this knowledge is the Holy Spirit).

“We” are the disciples and the eyewitnesses.  Believers must acknowledge of confess that Jesus is the Son and believe God loves them even when they don’t feel His love.  God’s love will be complete on the day of Judgment.

Fear here is not the fear of God of his awesomeness but the fear that robs us of having a life full of peace in Him.  We should not fear judgment when Christ has taken it all on him.

“We love because he first loved us.”  We love God and Christ.  God has always loved us since before time.  Our love for God is always in response to His love for us; He initiates, and we respond. We never have to draw God to us; instead, He draws us to Himself.

Loving others is a choice and that is why it is a command from God.  We must choose to love others even when it’s not easy; otherwise, God is not in us if not.  To love God more is to love others more. If you want to love God move, love fellow Christians more.

1 John 5:  John wants to make sure you understand that you don’t earn salvation by loving others. You trust in Jesus and his atoning sacrifice on the cross to earn salvation.

Our love and obedience to God is a demonstration of love to the body of Christ.  Love for God will show itself in obedience.  Commandments are gifts from God to show us the most fulfilling life possible.  The Holy Spirit enables us to obey.

The key to victory is faith (reliance upon, trust, etc) in Jesus as Son and Savior.

“water and blood” has perplexed scholars for centuries.  What exactly did John mean here?  Some think water is our baptism and blood is communion (Luther and Calvin).  Some think this is the water and blood that flowed from Jesus when he was pierced with the spear at crucifixion (Augustine).  Others think the water is Jesus’ birth from the womb and the blood is his death.

Most likely, John means the water of Jesus’ baptism, and the blood of His crucifixion.  This was when Jesus’ ministry began and ended.  This explanation is the oldest recorded Christian understanding of the passage.  Jesus identified with man when he was baptized and saved us with his death.  This also supports John 3:5.

A priest was always ordained by sacrificial blood, cleansing water, and oil that spoke of the anointing of the Holy Spirit.  So Jesus also had these same three witnesses to His priestly ministry.

John keeps harping on this point because of the Gnostics.  If Jesus was not fully God at death, then his death was not sufficient to pay for our sins.

The Holy Spirit testifies that Jesus is the Son of God in two ways:  When the Spirit descended upon Jesus at his baptism and he continues to affirm this truth in the heart of believers.

Note on 1 John 5:7-8:  This passage is disputed.  Some words were added to the Latin manuscript that never appeared in any Greek manuscript that still appear in some Bible versions.  The NIV has it correct however.  Words were probably added to clarify the Trinity late in the Middle Ages.

If you reject Jesus, you are calling God a liar with your unbelief.

Eternal life is a gift from God receive in Jesus.

Ask anything and everything in His will.  Why doesn’t God just answer prayers?  God wants us to work with Him, and that means bringing our will and agenda into alignment with His. He wants us to care about the things He cares about, and He wants us to care about them enough to pray passionately about them.  God is delighted when we pray His promises. It shows our will aligned with His, our dependence on Him, and that we take His Word seriously.

We pray for our sinful brothers.  There are sins that lead to death but not all.  This could refer to the Gnostics adamant denial of the truth and their shameless immorality.  This is a spiritual death. Another view here is a physical death because a believer continues to sin so God takes their life (1 Corinthians 11:30).

If we are in Jesus, Satan cannot harm us.  Some bibles say “touch” instead of harm here.  It means “grasp” or “lay hold of”.  The only other place in his writings where John uses this particular verb for touch is in John 20:17, where He literally tells Mary to stop clinging to Me.

Significantly, this understanding must be given. We cannot attain it on our own. If God did not reveal Himself to us, we would never find Him.  Jesus is fully man and God.

Idols interfere with our relationship and fellowship with God.  Remember, putting anything (wealth, money, others, clothes, power, self, food, etc) above God is an idol.

BSF Study Questions Lesson 21, Day 2: 1 John 1:1-2:2

INTRODUCTORY NOTE TO THIS LESSON:  This lesson took me 2 1/2 weeks to complete.  There is so much here in this short book about Christianity.  Please take the time to read my End Notes to each day which I have tried to make as condensed as possible to what all this means.  Your time put in this lesson will echo volumes in your understanding of the Bible and of John.

Summary of passage: The author makes clear Jesus was a human, one he has heard, seen, and touched. God is light without darkness. If we have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness we lie to ourselves and do not live by the truth. We are all sinners and if we confess our sins, we will be purified and forgiven. Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for our sins. We will know Jesus if we obey his commands.

Questions:

3)  Jesus (who is God as His Son, Jesus) because John has heard, seen, and touched him.

4) God is light and if we walk in the light, we’ll have fellowship with one another and Jesus’ blood will purify us of all sin.  He writes this to believers so that we may know we have eternal life, have fellowship with others, and with the Father and the Son.  He writes this so we won’t sin.

5)  Personal Question. My answer: False claims: 1) If you claim to have fellowship yet walk in the darkness. 2) If you claim to be without sin. 3) If you claim you have never sinned. Fellowship: 1) If we walk in the light. 2) If we confess our sins. 3) If we obey his commands. Well, I do sin but I don’t deny it. I do obey and walk in His ways. Do I stumble? Absolutely. But He picks me up. That’s all that matters.

Conclusions: Unsure why we’re reading 1 John at this point in our study right after the Last Supper. I hope the notes will shed some light on this. Great passage of how we are to walk in the light always and not tell ourselves we are when we still dally in the darkness.
End Notes: Much like the Book of Revelation, John does not expressly state that he is writing this letter. However, certain hints and distinctive writing patterns of style make it very likely that John the Apostle wrote this letter at an advanced age. This letter is eerily similar to the beginning of the Book of John and says how he was a close eyewitness of Jesus’ life.

John wrote the Book of John in order to bring readers to a belief in Christ. Here, this letter is directed to those who are already Christians, outlining how that faith should affect a person’s life. John starts with a few simple themes–light, truth, life, love–then builds variations on them. He defines a word, discusses its opposite, and then describes what a life should look like with God as the source of power in the Christian life.

Presumably, the Christian faith has been around for 50-60 years by the time of this letter.  John repeatedly begins with the phrase “If we claim” and then proceeds to show what actions must result if we claim to live in the true light and know God.

Most people understand that the important things in life are not things at all – they are the relationships we have. God has put a desire for relationship in every one of us, a desire He intended to be met with relationships with other people, but most of all, to be met by a relationship with Him. In this remarkable letter, John tells us the truth about relationships – and shows us how to have relationships that are real, for both now and eternity.  The whole purpose of the letter is to bring us to a relationship with God and His son, Jesus Christ.

The beginning John is referencing here is the beginning when there was only God.  He came to earth to know him (hence the seen, looked, and touched).  At the time John was writing, Gnosticism (from the Greek word for knowledge or gnosis) was gaining in popularity.  The gnostics believe Jesus was God’s Son but he never came to earth in a physical body.  They believed a physical body was intrinsically evil.  They believed Jesus was a phantom, a temporary apparition who only looked human.  Some said God descended on Jesus at his baptism but left him before death.

John debated these beliefs in person and he had them in mind when he said he touched, seen, and heard Jesus.  Throughout this letter he lambastes those who deny Jesus was flesh.

Gnostics believed all matter was evil.  Only the spirit was pure and they sought to rise to this spiritual level.  However, this led to horrible ethics as they believed they could act how they wanted since their spirit was pure and could not be tainted by earthly sins.

This is the same Logos (Word) spoken of in John 1:1.  For the Jews, God was often referred to as the Word because they knew God perfectly revealed Himself in His Word.  For the Greeks, their philosophers had spoken for centuries about the Logos – the basis for organization and intelligence in the universe, the Ultimate Reason which controls all things.

John is telling everyone, “I have seen and heard and touched and studied the Word!”.

John is calling Jesus the “eternal life”(John 5:26, 6:48; 11:25; Micah 5:2) equal to God.  He references the eternal relationship as well.  This eternal relationship is clearly described in the Scriptures, but we could also understand it from simple logic. If God is love (1 John 4:8) and God is eternal (Micah 5:2), we understand that love in isolation is meaningless. Love needs an object, and since there was a time before anything was created, there was a time when the only love in the universe was between the members of the Godhead: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Christ is life because he is the living one who has life in himself (John 1:4; 11:25; 14:6).  He is also the source of life and sovereign over life.  This letter begins and ends with the theme of eternal life.

The word “with” indicates that this being, who is eternal, and is eternal life Himself, is distinct from the Father. John builds the New Testament understanding of the Trinity – that one God exists as three Persons, equal and one, yet distinct in their person.

The purpose of John’s declaration of the Word of life who is God yet distinct from the Father is to bring people into relationship with both God’s people and with God himself.

The idea of fellowship is one of the most important ideas in this letter of John’s. It is the ancient Greek word koinonia, which speaks of a sharing, a communion, a common bond and common life. It speaks of a living, breathing, sharing, loving relationship with another person.  It literally means common as in being shared by all.  We see this idea in common areas for animals to graze in.  We all share in the same resources and responsibilities of God and others.  Amazing grace at work!

This was a revolutionary idea in ancient times that man could have fellowship with God!  It’s the same idea as when Jesus told everyone to address God as Father (Matthew 6:9).  This relationship is only possible because Jesus was human.  We can become more like Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit because of this fellowship of a shared, common life–fellowship.  We share our life with Jesus and he shares his with us and we are better able to do life with Jesus.

Fellowships with others often leads to encounters with God.

Joy is optimism and cheerfulness and contentment.  John echoes Jesus (John 15:11; 16:24; 17:13).  Circumstances sap us of joy and we must fight to stay close to God to maintain it.

Verses 1-4 are one long sentence in the original manuscripts.  John sums up perfectly how to live our whole Christian life. God was.  He physically manifested.  He’s Jesus.  Fellowship with Jesus will bring you joy.

Verse 5 begins with John telling us this is what God says, not him. God is light.  Darkness is an absence of light. This is similar to saying God is perfect.

Some falsely claim to have fellowship.  “Walking” in the darkness is a pattern of life of wickedness and evil, not the occasional lapse we all experience.  This is active as we grow with Him.  “Walking” in the light is an obedient life–full of holiness and truth.  Since God is light, when we walk in the light we walk with God and experience the continual cleansing of the blood of Jesus.

Sin is the hindrance to fellowship and the blood of Jesus, received by faith as the payment for our sin, solves the problem of sin and opens the way to fellowship with God.

Note there is nothing said here about rites, ceremonies, baptisms, sacraments, the Eucharist, communion, etc.  It is only the blood of Jesus we need.

We are all sinners.  “Making mistakes” or being “only human” or “not perfect” will not get you to heaven.  Admitting you are a sinner will because Jesus came to rescue sinners.

We must keep on confessing our sins.  By admitting to God that what we have done is sin, and by asking for His divine forgiveness, we will be cleansed based on what Jesus has done for us on the cross.  Be truthful and God will be truthful.

This text doesn’t mean go and sin cause God will forgive you.  This is not fellowship with God and a right heart.  This is an evil heart and God will not forgive that.

If we don’t admit our sin, Jesus (the word) is not in us.  We will sin.  There is forgiveness in confessed sin.  Gnostics denied that their immoral actions were sinful.

God’s desire for us is not to sin, which is possible through Jesus Christ.  He is our defender if/when we sin and is our atoner and remover of our sins.  God’s wrath against man is satisfied and turned on to Jesus instead.  We must receive Christ’s sacrifice through faith (John 3:16).  This verse does not teach universalism (that all people ultimately will be saved), but that God is an impartial God and Christ’s sacrifice is open to all.