BSF Study Questions John Lesson 29, Day 5: John 21:24-25

Summary of passage:  John says this is his testimony that he recorded and Jesus did many other things he didn’t record.

Questions:

12)  John recorded these events in Jesus’ life so people will believe Jesus is the Christ, the Sone of God, and have faith in him and his name and thus receive eternal life with the Father.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  My faith has grown.  My depth of love for Jesus and God have grown.  My path is clearer.  My love is stronger.

Conclusions:  Why are we being asked a question that is not in this passage at all (question 12)?  Question 13 should be in Lesson 30.  Weak ending to the study of John.

End Notes:  We have been given all we need to know.  John refers to the ongoing work or Christ throughout the centuries–so much good it could not possibly be written down.  Awesome!

John, once known as the “son of thunder” in Mark 3:17 changes as he journeys with Jesus and becomes known as the apostle of love.  Scholars speculate that as John looked back and wrote these episodes of Jesus’ life that these are the ones that convinced him Jesus was the Son of God.  As we journey with God and Jesus, we change as well.  We grow, we expand, we deepen, we love.

I hope you all have done all of this and more throughout this study.  Have a great summer break and I’ll see you all in the Fall for the Book of Romans!

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BSF Study Questions John Lesson 29, Day 3: John 21:15-17

Summary of passage:  Jesus asks Peter if he loves him.  Peter says of course.  Jesus tells Peter to feed his lambs, take care of his sheep, and feed his sheep.

Questions:

6)  Jesus is letting Peter know he is forgiving for denying him three times after his arrest and that he has important work for him to do.  He’s encouraging him to forgive himself, get over the past, and concentrate on the work ahead.  He’s doing this in front of the others so the others support him as well.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It seems I always have people placed in my way to teach me something the Lord is trying to get across to me.  He always knows just where I need to be or what I need to hear in order to move more towards Him.

8 )  Our past and our sins are forgiven.  Despite our faults of being human, we can still impact this world and make a difference.  In fact, we can use our shortcomings to help others who are struggling with the same sins (addiction, etc).  All is for a purpose for Him.

Conclusions:  Great example of God’s love for us.  There is no reason to wallow in self-pity over our sins when God doesn’t.  He has a plan for us and we can’t waste precious time avoiding it.

End Notes:  Jesus had already met with Peter individually on the day of His resurrection (Luke 24:34, 1 Corinthians 15:5). We can only wonder at what Jesus and Peter talked about at that first meeting. Nevertheless, it was still important for Jesus to restore Peter in the presence of the other disciples.

Peter means “rock” and Jesus does not address him as such here.  Peter hadn’t been a rock.  But he sure would become one!

Before Peter denied Jesus three times, he claimed to love Jesus more than the other disciples did (Matthew 26:33).  Jesus wanted to know if Peter still believed thus.  Of course, Jesus already knew the answer (as Peter points out in verse 17), but Jesus is asking for Peter’s self-knowledge, not his.

Some scholars say here Jesus could be asking if Peter were willing to give up fishing for him since “these” is a pronoun referring to something previous.  However, all indications are it’s the disciples he’s referring to.

Jesus uses the word “agape” when speaking of love and Peter responds with the Greek word “philio”.  Agape is the all-encompassing love and philip is brotherly love as we discussed HERE.

Most scholars agree there is a reason for the difference but most disagree as to what that reason could be.  Some think Peter was now being more reserved after his dismal denials earlier.

Jesus instructs Peter on how to act towards God’s people.  Jesus first emphasizes that the people are his.  The verb translated “take care” or “tend” has a much fuller meaning.  It means to shepherd his people.  Collect them, care for their every need, and lead them.

If Peter loved Jesus how he claimed he loved Jesus, then he would care for Jesus’ people.

Peter, abashed, knows why Jesus is asking him three times.  Three times he denied and now three times he gets to confirm.

This third question Jesus uses “philio” instead of agape.  Again, Jesus tells Peter to forget the past and move on to feeding his people.  Great stuff!

This reinstatement helped embolden Peter to become one of the early church’s most fearless spokesmen.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 28, Day 3: John 20:11-18

Summary of passage:  John and Peter depart.  Mary weeps and saw 2 angels in the tomb where Jesus’ body had been.  Jesus appears at the tomb but Mary does not recognize him until he calls her name.  Jesus orders Mary to return to the disciples and tell them what she has seen.

Questions:

6)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  He called her name.  How amazing and powerful!  I’ve never noticed this before.  A name is power.  When Jesus calls your name (like when your parents do when you’re in trouble), you’d better listen.

7)  Jesus wants her to realize he is only risen and here temporarily.  That soon the Holy Spirit will descend upon her and take his place.  Not to get attached to him physically for he is leaving again.  He is headed back home to His Father.  He has important work for her to do.

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus told Mary to go and tell his brothers/disciples what she has seen.  It’s the same for us to spread the word about Jesus.  Also, Jesus tells us our work here on this side of heaven to complete and we must obey!

Conclusions:  What power in a name!  Love the focus on women again and how Jesus uses Mary to spread the word.  We are all equal in God’s eyes.

End Notes:  Mary did not yet believe in the resurrection so she weeped.  Mary was not afraid when she saw the angels.  She may not have even known they were angels (Hebrews 13:2).  They were seated at the head and feet like cherubim (Exodus 25:18-19).  She didn’t notice the burial cloths.

Matthew has one angel (Matthew 28:2).  Mark a young man (Mark 16:5).  Luke has 2 men who were angels (Luke 24:4, 23).

Mary turned possibly because she heard Jesus or the angels motioned for her to turn.  She didn’t recognize Jesus.  Perhaps he was a bit different in appearance or her tears blurred her vision.  Or perhaps Jesus intentionally blinded them to him.  A number of times he was not recognized (John 21:4, Matthew 28:17, Luke 24:16, 37)  Jesus asks her questions so she’ll push through her unbelief.  She plans to carry Jesus’ body for burial.  Likely, she is not strong enough but all she is thinking about is Jesus!

Jesus calls her by her Hebrew name.  In one word, Jesus changes a life.  She recognizes the voice of her shepherd as his sheep instantly.  Jesus told her who she was to him not who he was to her.

Spurgeon points out how in the garden the sentence of sorrow falls heavily upon a woman.  And after the resurrection the comfort and peace falls upon a woman as well.  How apropos!

The presumption of verse 17 is Mary is clinging to Jesus and does not want to let him go.  Jesus tells her he has important work for her to do (notify the disciples of his return) and that he will be around for a bit longer.

Jesus made a woman the first witness of His resurrection.  The law courts in ancient times would not recognize the testimony of a woman, but Jesus did.  This shows the historic truth of this account.  If someone fabricated this story, they would not make the first witnesses to the resurrection women, who were regarded as unreliable witnesses.

Fun Fact:  This is the first time Jesus calls his disciples “brothers.”

Jesus says “my Father and your Father” because his relationship with God is different than ours.  By nature, Jesus.  By grace, ours.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 28, Day 2: John 20:1-10

Summary of passage:  Mary Magdalene went to Jesus’ tomb and saw the stone to the entrance had been moved.  She ran and told Peter and John who came running to the tomb.  John got there first and looked in and saw no body.  Peter went in and saw the strips of linen lying there and the burial cloth, folded up separate.  John followed inside.  They left and still did not get it that Jesus had risen!

Questions:

3a)  John was the cautious one.  He had to stop and think.  Peter the reckless, impulsive, more courageous one.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m unsure I expect anything of Jesus.  I hope for things–for him to work in my life and provide me the way and the strength to do His will–but I don’t think I expect anything from him.  His death was enough for me.  I’m in bible study to draw closer to God and Jesus.  Period.

4)  John saw the strips of linen and the burial cloth folded up separate from one another.  This wouldn’t have been done by tomb robbers who would have ripped the cloth and thrown it haphazardly about.

5)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  If Jesus doesn’t rise from the grave, none of us will rise either.  He was raised so we’d be justified before God and spend all of eternity together with Him.  Furthermore, it was in Scripture and thus the will of God.  It has made all the difference.

Conclusions:  Stock answer to “difference in life” question we’ve had many times in this study.  I think they saw and believed but still didn’t get it.  The Holy Spirit has yet to descend on them.  I believe this is where all the disciples finally get it.

End Notes:  Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus risen from the dead and spread the word.  All we know about her was she came from Magdala, a city on the Sea of Galilee and Jesus drove 7 demons from her.  Afterwards, she dedicated her life to him and helped finance his ministry.  She was there at the crucifixion and went faithfully to care for his body.  As a second class citizen in ancient times, God chose her to be the first to witness Jesus’ work fulfilled.  Imagine:  Jewish courts did not even accept women’s testimony.  Take that, mankind!

Fun Fact:  Mary Magdalene is mentioned more often than most of the other believing women, and usually first.

Jesus was crucified on a Friday (or some say Thursday).  Afterwards, the tomb was guarded (Matthew 27:62-66) until today.  Other Gospel accounts say Mary was not the only woman to go to Jesus’ tomb.  She was just the one to run back and report her findings.  The women were probably going back to finish burial rites.  She immediately thinks the body is stolen.  No one was expecting a risen Jesus!

John was humble enough not to mention his name but prideful enough to say he outran Peter!  Peter is in his mid-40-50’s and John is in his mid-20’s.  Obviously, he outran Peter.

The Greek work blepei meant “seeing clearly.”  There was no doubt what John saw.  However, he didn’t enter either presuming the body was there since he saw the wrappings or out of fear of defilement of touching a dead body.  A rich man’s tomb would have been big enough to walk into but probably with some stooping.

Peter saw (Greek theorei meaning contemplate and scrutinize) the cloths as if the body has evaporated.  Remember the linens were lathered with ointments, aloes, and spices.  They would have hardened and would have had to have been cut off the body.  Think ancient Egyptian mummies and Howard Carter and King Tut.  The point here is something inhuman was at work here.

Some scholars point to the Shroud of Turin here.  However, would God allow the wrappings to be preserved so it could be worshipped?

John then saw (the Greek word eiden meaning, “to understand, to perceive the significance of”) and then believed.  The distinctive arrangement of the burial wrappings convinced him.  Note that John believed here but Peter did not.  He would not until he met the resurrected Jesus.  John believed on faith with his eyes only.  It is obvious they did not make up a story of a resurrection to fit  preconceived understanding of Scriptural prophecy when it was written about later.

Both Peter and John know the fact Jesus rose again.  They don’t understand the meaning behind it yet.  That Jesus is the Son of the One, True God.  That he died sinless for our sins so we can rise again and be with God.  It proves the gnostics of the day wrong that God does have a plan for our bodies, which is sacred (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 27, Day 5: John 19:38-42

Summary of passage: Joseph of Arimathea, a secret follower of Jesus, asked Pilate for Jesus’ body. Along with Nicodemus, the two of them prepared Jesus’ body for burial by wrapping it in strips of linen. Jesus was laid in a nearby tomb.

Questions:

12)  Jesus was not abandoned nor did his body decay.  Jesus was wrapped in linen, his body rubbed with spices, myrrh and aloes that were expensive.  He died with wicked men.  He conquered death and sin to overcome the devil.

13)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Because Jesus was buried when he died so were we so that we may rise again.  Jesus was raised from the dead as we will be as well.  To be honest, it doesn’t impact my daily life.  I prefer to mediate on his resurrection rather than the details of his burial.

Conclusions:  I’d never asked myself before why we bury the dead.  Why not burn them?  Different cultures treat their dead differently so I decided to google.  Fascinating.  Some of what I discovered is in the End Notes.

End Notes:  God used these men to protect the body of Jesus. Jewish custom was to bury the body before sundown and the start of the Sabbath. All indications are that Joseph and Nicodemus did this work themselves instead of slaves. This must have been difficult to remove the bloody body of Jesus from a hanging cross. These 2 men who were religious leaders must have known they were fulfilling prophecy. Can you imagine being in their place? How awesome!

“One of the customs of the Jews in preparing a body for burial is the requirement to remove all foreign matter from the body and to carefully wash it. Joseph and Nicodemus examined His entire body and found broken pieces of thorn all over the head. They saw His bloody, matted hair; the terrible bruising of the face, the areas of beard pulled out, the dry and cracked lips. They turned the body over to see His shoulders and arms are riddled with splinters; each one was removed with care. The back, from the shoulders down, was a bloody open wound from the terrible scourging suffered before the crucifixion. His hands and feet were smashed and bloodied. On the front – just beneath the rib cage – there was a gaping wound made from the spear thrust that confirmed His death.” Taken from Enduring Word.com. Can you imagine?

Jesus could have risen right then. But instead he hung dead on the cross. God’s perfect plan.

The burial of Jesus is so important it’s considered one of the essential components of the gospel itself (1 Corinthians 15:3-4):

· The burial fulfilled the Scripture of Isaiah 53:9 says, “And they made His grave with the wicked”; so that meant the Messiah would be buried in a grave – and He was

· The burial fulfilled the promise, the prediction of Jesus. Jesus said that He, like Jonah, would be buried away for three days (Matthew 12:40), and so it had to be fulfilled

· The burial demonstrated that Jesus was truly dead; it was proof of the glory of the coming resurrection.

· The burial was important because burial spices and preparations protected His holy body from decay; as it was said in Psalm 16:10: You will not allow Your Holy One to see decay

· The burial pushed both Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus to proclaim their relationship with Jesus in public

· The burial and the days of Jesus in the tomb tested the faith and devotion of the disciples; it made them die a certain kind of death for those days they knew Jesus lay in the tomb

· The burial and the days of Jesus in the tomb proved Jesus defeated not only sin, but also death. The burial and the empty tomb show that Jesus conquered sin and death

· The days in the tomb were important because there was important work for Jesus to do during that time in the tomb. 1 Peter 3:18-20 tells us that Jesus went and preached to the spirits in prison; though there isn’t as much explanation on all this as we would like to have, it seems that as the body of Jesus lay lifeless in the tomb, His Spirit went to Hades, the abode of the dead. There He led the faithful dead to heaven, in light of His then-completed work on the cross. He also preached a message of judgment and coming condemnation to the evil spirits that were imprisoned in the depths

· The burial shows he was buried with us, in the humiliation of utter humanness. We are buried with Him – spiritually by faith, ceremonially by baptism. He identified with us; we by faith identify with Him. [Again, summarized from enduring word.com]

The myrrh and aloes were an extravagant amount of money.

Matthew 27:60 tells us that this tomb belonged to Joseph of Arimathea himself. A rich man like Joseph would probably have a tomb that was carved into solid rock; this tomb was in a garden near the place of crucifixion.

A typical tomb of this type had a small entrance and perhaps one or more compartments where bodies were laid out after being somewhat mummified with spices, ointments, and linen strips. Customarily, the Jews left these bodies alone for a few years until they decayed down to the bones, then the bones were placed in a small stone box known as an ossuary (picture HERE.) The ossuary remained in the tomb with the remains of other family members.

The door to the tomb was typically made of a heavy, circular shaped stone, running in a groove and settled down into a channel, so it could not be moved except by several strong men. This was done to ensure that no one would disturb the remains.

Adam fell in a Garden. And so we are redeemed in one.

Spurgeon points out that the tomb was empty so no one could say Jesus’ body had touched the bones of a prophet and so sprung to life. Every detail recorded was super important to the Jewish people at that time too all would know–Yes, He is King!

So why do we bury the dead?  Evidence shows since the beginning of time the dead have been buried mainly to show respect to the dead.  Wikipedia has a great article HERE on the history.  I think it’s inherent to mankind.  It’s like the search for God.  Something inside all of us leads us to do what we do like instinct in animals.  Abraham purchased a cave and even God laid Moses to rest (article HERE) in Deuteronomy 34:6.  Christian burial link HERE  Fascinating study if you’re interested.  It’s always good to question tradition.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 26, Day 5: John 28-30

Summary of passage:  Jesus was given a drink of wine before he pronounced, “It is finished” and died.

Questions:

11)  His last thought and words of this world is for us, saying his work is finished for us to be with God.  Awesome!

12a)  His asking for the drink and acceptance of it show it is done.  He was at peace and he willingly gave up his spirit when all was done.  What we don’t see is God laying upon Jesus’ shoulders our guilt and sins and wrath and Jesus accepting it for us in our place and paying the penalty or consequences of it–death.  When this is satisfied, Jesus speaks.

b)  The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.  This is the curtain separating God from His people that only the High Priest was allowed to enter.  Now we are all allowed to be with God since the blood of Jesus has cleansed us of our sins.  We can enter into a personal relationship with God with no barriers, physical or spiritual before us.

13)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  It means Jesus’ work to die for our sins so we are forgiven, justifying us before God, being righteous, so we can be with God, is finished.  It means eternal life and life with the Holy Spirit.  It has given me peace and confidence to go forth and do God’s work despite opposition and the world’s ways.  God has and will bless me.

Conclusions:  Good lesson on the meaning of Jesus’ death.

End Notes:  Being thirsty is a real torture and Jesus needed to wet his throat in order to make his last pronouncement.  This is not a drugged wine.  It’s the wine of those standing around waiting for the crucified to die.  It’s the common drink all drank in Ancient Times.  Hence, we all thirst for God in our deepest and darkest moments.

This is one word in the ancient Greek (tetelestai), announcing our debt paid and our peace made with God, His wrath against man satisfied.  This is a triumphant, victory cry.  The power of Satan, sin, and death is overcome.

One word changes everything–the most important word ever spoken in all of history for mankind. It’s like “Yes” to a marriage proposal.  “Good-bye” to someone.  “Guilty” in a court of law.  Nothing can compare.

Bowing his head is Jesus at peace.

Jesus willingly gave up his spirit.  No one took it from him.

Jesus’ last week of life takes up 1/3 of the Gospels.  All are writing with hindsight and understand his death. Can you imagine how it would read otherwise?  At this point, understanding if far, far away.  The Son of God die?  Impossible!  Jesus will live again.  The Holy Spirit will come.  All will be clear.  For now, only John stands by his side.  And women.  Women who loved him despite any danger to their lives.

Jesus experienced anything we can ever experience:  trivial irritations in life, hard work, poverty, pain, fear, rejection, humiliation, defeat, despair, and death.  How can we not fall in love with him?

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 26, Day 4: John 25-27

Summary of passage:  At the cross was Mary, Jesus’ mother, his mother’s sister, Mary, Mary Magdalene, and John.  Jesus tells his mother John is her son and tells John his mother is his now. John cares for Jesus’ mother from here on out.

Questions:

8 )  John’s focus is on the more personal and how Jesus’ death affects those closest to him.  He shows how even at death Jesus is thinking of others as he commissions John to care for his mother.  John is focusing on individuals.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus honored his Father and obeyed his Father to the cross, accepting the physical pain of death out of love for us.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I would grow closer to God and my life would be more joyful and fulfilling.

Conclusions:  Would have liked to focus more on the women at Jesus’ feet and the disciple rather than on myself.  And on how Jesus gave his mother into John’s care.  How awesome!

End Notes:  Mary must have been suffering almost as much as Jesus to see her son dying before her eyes.  She had to have been weeping and calling out to God herself.  All these women were there to support Mary.

This was the author John’s humble way to refer to himself in the story, as he does four times in his Gospel (John 13:23, 19:26, 21:7, 21:20). John told us that he was at Jesus’ crucifixion and saw these things with his own eyes (John 19:35).

Jesus never once thought of himself.  It was always about us.

Jesus did not call Mary mother probably to spare her more pain.  He also didn’t need to be specific.  Both Mary and John knew what Jesus was asking of them.

We know Mary had other children with Joseph who could have cared for her into old age (Matthew 12:46-47, 13:55-56, John 2:12 and 7:3-10).  Instead, Jesus chose John for the job.  What an honor!  Scholars speculate reasons for this:  Jesus knew John would outlive his siblings.  His siblings were not yet believers and Jesus wanted her with a believer.  He did this to honor John who was the only disciple to stand at the cross of Jesus.  He did this to show you can care for others outside of blood bonds.  Who knows?  It could be all of these reasons.

Great summary of who was at the cross with biblical references to try and reconcile the different accounts in the Gospels HERE